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Modified Broad Match Is Going Away: What You Need to Know

On February 4, Google made another in a series of announcements over the years about changes to the structure of its keyword match types (the last being in 2019). As of February 18, 2021, the phrase match type will be expanded to match to more search queries, and the broad match modifier option—which was introduced in 2010, and which allows advertisers to specify certain words (with a plus sign) that must be included in a search query—will be retired.

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This is a pretty significant change, with upsides and downsides. Today, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about this upcoming change, including:
A brief refresher on existing keyword match types in Google Ads.
What is changing now that the modified broad match type is going away.
What Google and the community are saying about the change.
What you can do about it, with five actionable tips on what to do next.
Let’s get started.
A refresher on match types
To understand what’s happening, let’s do a quick refresher on the existing match types and then compare them to the new match types.
Existing match types (before February 18)
Existing match types in Google Ads include broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, and exact match.
Broad match: With broad match, as long as the search query is contextually similar to the keyword you are targeting, this could trigger your ad to show.
Modified broad match: With modified broad match keywords, you choose specific keywords that are required for your ad to show, through the use of a plus sign. In other words, your ads will only show for queries that contain all of the words you precede with a plus sign in your keyword or phrase. However, order does not matter. Here are Google’s examples of modified broad match keywords:

Phrase match: Phrase match keywords are similar to modified broad in that your ad will show for queries that have your target keywords (in quotations) in the search query, but order does matter. Google had already opened this match type a bit more to consider intent as well.
Exact match: For exact match, you would choose a specific phrase for which you want your ad to show—indicated with brackets. This is (as of 2018) with the exception of functional words within a user’s search query (such as “in,” “to,” and “for”), conjunctions (such as “and,” “but,” and “or”), articles (such as “a,” “an,” and “the”), misspellings, and other close variants.
Modified broad is going away—what has changed?
Now, when you input keywords for your ads, you will only have three options: broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

So say, for example, that you are targeting +get +more +google +ads, this input will no longer act as a “true” broad match modifier. Rather, Google will treat the keywords as a phrase match type, but will expand to cover broad match modifier traffic as well.
“This is not an ideal change,” said Allison Day, WordStream’s Lead Acquisition Specialist, “because phrase match isn’t an equivalent replacement for a broad match modifier in all cases. Phrase match matches keywords that have the same meaning, but in the case with our example, get more Google ads does not mean the same thing as get more conversions on Google ads.”
Here is another visual of the new keyword match type logic will work, from Google’s support page:

What Google says
According to Google’s help article, this change will “bring the best of broad match modifier into phrase match.” Google states that the reasoning for this is that both phrase match and broad match modified keywords “often serve the same use cases, and that you can reach more of the right customers through a combination of the two.”

They also state that this change makes it easier to manage keywords in your account (by saving you the time spent managing specific keywords) and gives you more control.
According to Google’s help article, here are some additional points:
No specific action is needed. When the change takes place on February 18, performance data will not be affected and no keyword migration will be needed. In fact, it’s best not to migrate or convert them at this time, since additional tools will be rolled out for easier conversion in the future.
You can still create broad match modifier keywords until July when the new behavior is rolled out globally, but any new broad match modifier keywords will serve under the new logic. That being said, it is recommended that you create new keywords using phrase match going forward.
The PPC community weighs in
Unsurprisingly, many advertisers in the community do not agree that the removal of the modified broad match type allows for greater control. Rather, they say, it appears to be in line with the push toward automated/Smart bidding—with Google having the control.

Some advertisers, however, are more open to the change.

The bad news…
When we asked PPC expert Mark Irvine about this change, one of the initial concerns he brought to light was the growing sense of ambiguity around these changes.
“This is the fifth time that Google’s changed its keyword match type rules (2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021), and every time, it has brought a lot of unpredictability to PPC advertisers and unearthed a lot of problems in accounts that are still following the best practices of yesteryear. What’s more interesting about this time, however, is that it’s harder to predict how advertisers will be impacted. In the past, we all knew that this meant more traffic on your keywords. This time around, that might not be the case.”
Irvine also shared his thoughts on the negative impact this change could have on reach, impressions, and more for some accounts.
“Accounts that get more of their traffic from modified broad match keywords may actually see a small decrease in their ad impressions, clicks, costs, and potentially conversions, as the new match type logic will prevent some of their keywords from matching to traffic in cases where the word order might matter. Additionally, BMM keywords that only used the + modifier on some of the words in their keyword will now require all those words to be included in a user’s search, which could significantly reduce reach.”
…And the good news
According to Irvine, some accounts may see a positive impact.
“In accounts that get more of their traffic from phrase match keywords, they should expect an increase in their ad impression, clicks, costs, and potentially conversions with this change. With the ‘more broad phrase’ match, these keywords will be more flexible to reach traffic that they previously hadn’t.”
Note here that advertisers will need to keep an eye on their budget because along with more clicks, costs could increase as well.
Brett McHale, founder of Empiric Marketing, LLC  shared a similar mix of positive and negative outlooks on the situation:
“The change to phrase match and the phasing out of modified broad match appears to me to be another step in the automation direction for Google. They’ve consistently blurred lines between what were once very clearly defined match types. Whether through automated bid strategies or limited search terms appearing in the search terms report, it’s clear that they want you to rely on their recommendations.”
Brett went on: “With that being said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing—a lot of these changes have been beneficial to the accounts that I manage, and this change will certainly make it easier for novice advertisers to understand keyword targeting as it simplifies the process. As with any change that simplifies paid media, the tradeoff is that you take control and complexity away from advanced users.”
In short, Brett said, “Google is doubling down on their technology and its ability to make ‘smart’ decisions for advertisers. The change can be good for many, while it may make it harder to really fine-tune ad groups for others.”
How to navigate the sunsetting of modified broad match
Due to the aforementioned ambiguity of this change, there aren’t any clear-cut instructions on how to navigate or even prepare it. This is very much a wait-and-see-situation. However, Natalie Livingston, Team Lead on Customer Success at WordStream, has some foundational tips to consider for the time being.
Here are our five tips on what to do next.
1. Look at Recommendations
Now more than ever it will be important to keep an eye on Google’s Recommendations specifically the add new keywords and remove duplicate keywords recommendations. Due to the changes in what would be captured with a phrase match keyword, you might want to consider adding in new keywords to expand your reach. Even more importantly, because modified broad keywords and phrase match keywords are now going to pick up the same traffic, you might run into more duplicate keywords within your account. This is very important for accounts that bid on the same keywords, but use different match types.

2. Revisit your account structure
As Irvine mentioned, the changes to the modified broad and phrase match are going to affect the amount of traffic coming in and therefore your spend. For keywords on modified broad, the traffic is going to be less than in the past and then keywords on phrase are more likely going to see more traffic come through. It will be important to keep an eye on budgets and adjust accordingly. This is particularly important for accounts that structure their campaigns or ad groups by match types. An account will most likely want to allocate more budget to campaigns with more phrase match keywords than they would with modified broad. Traffic will fluctuate so it is important to keep and eye on these fluctuations and make adjustments when needed.
3. Continue to use negative keywords to block out bad traffic
Although phrase match will continue to keep intent in mind when it comes to the search traffic, it will be important to continue to use negative keywords to exclude matches you don’t want. Our phrase match keywords are going to open up to more traffic than it had before so evaluating your keywords and adding negatives should be a frequent task within an account. Note: phrase match negative keywords will stay the same!
4. Stay up to date
This is a new change for all of us so we are in this together in regards to really seeing how this is going to play out in each account. It is important to continue to read what other advertisers are saying about the changes and take note of what you are seeing in your account to help share with others.
5. Get familiar with automated bidding
Google mentioned that over the last year or so, they have made improvements to other match types as well. One being the broad match type. Now, broad match will look at additional signals (such as landing pages, keywords in your ad group) within an account to deliver more relevant searches. If you are nervous about the lack of volume in your account with these new changes, you can test out broad match keywords with smart bidding to help unlock new opportunities within your account. Just be careful that your search traffic with your broad keyword isn’t overlapping with search traffic in other ad groups/campaigns.
Prepare for the new match type logic with these tips
As we already mentioned, the real impact of the sunsetting of modified broad match types will be more clear once the new logic is fully rolled out. In the meantime, take a look at your match types and account structure, check out Recommendations, continue to use negative keywords, and familiarize with automated bidding if you haven’t already done so.
How do you feel about the change? Let us know in the comments below.

Aha Moments Are a Dime a Dozen — What Matters Is Taking a Big Chance, According to This Entrepreneur.

Steph Clymer details the pivots that transformed her retail business.
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February 10, 2021 4 min read
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what is your business?
I am Steph Clymer, a 40-year-old mom of three and retail entrepreneur. My number one business tip is to be willing to change, that is the one value you will find on repeat in my life. I opened my first retail store in SoCal in 2006, and while my location remains the same my concept has evolved. Originally called Xpecting, a maternity boutique, we re-branded after 10 years and Shop Common Thread was born. Trust me, there were many doubters! People told me day after day that it wasn’t smart to take a well-known business and change the name.
Why did you make the change?
We no longer sold maternity clothing and I could not stand to hear one more woman ask, “Isn’t that store for pregnant women?” As soon as we rebranded our business boomed and we could feel ourselves outgrowing our current space. In 2019 we signed the lease on the space next door and in January 2020 we reopened after an extensive remodel. We literally doubled in size in 2020.
Related: How This 18-Year-Old High School Student Built a 6-Figure Social Media Consulting Business
What did you learn from this experience?
Always be ready for a pivot. We closed for two months in March 2020 and ran the store like a warehouse where we offered shipping, curbside pickups, deliveries, you name it. Just about anything our clients asked us to do, we answered with a resounding yes! During this time we discovered a need for an online gift-giving business. So I partnered with my longtime store manager, Cindy, and we quickly rented a warehouse space where we launched Heart + Twine. We provide custom gifts for everyone from the mom next door who needs just one special package to Realtors who need 25 ‘thinking of you’ gifts to fellow entrepreneurs who need 50+ employee or customer gifts.
Aha moments are a dime a dozen, we have to recognize the ideas that are difference makers and then we have to be willing to take a great chance.
What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic and how did you overcome it?
You are going to laugh but the analytical side of me would say space. With the changes to Shop Common Thread and the launch of Heart + Twine, we suddenly had double the staff and double the inventory. We were bursting until we rented our warehouse.
Related: This Entrepreneur Is Working to Create a Simple Answer to a Tough Question We All Must Face
The emotional side of me would say uncertainty. Will we be able to get fresh goods, how will the supply chain be affected, will my staff get sick, will they feel safe, will people leave their homes and shop? You name it, I’ve worried about it!  But my job is to lead my amazing team who trust me and depend on me for a paycheck. To do that I must create the vision for the future and then find ways to make it happen.
Any funding advice?
I took out an SBA loan 15+ years ago, but since then all growth has been self-funded.  My best advice is to keep your business cash-heavy.  You never know what will happen, but if you have cash on hand you will be able to expand when opportunity arises and survive when hard times hit. I believe in preparation – expect the best, prepare for challenges and never ever take care of yourself first.  
What does the word entrepreneur mean?
I love Brene Brown and her book called Daring Greatly. That is how I define an entrepreneur, somebody who dares greatly.  We see opportunity and then we take action, we take risks, we fail big time, but we learn and then we try again. Entrepreneurs are vulnerable leaders, visionaries, dreamers and hustlers!
Related: The First Female RV Company CEO on Bringing Ultra Luxury to Land TravelA quote that inspires me?
What’s a quote that inspires you?
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

20 Essential Oil Businesses to Help You Get The Sweet Smell of Success

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When looking for an Etsy business, consider a product often sold at community events, but which is just as successful when selling from the Etsy site.

Essential Oils
The popularity of essential oils has led many entrepreneurs to start their own business selling these and related accessories. One search on a site like Etsy shows plenty of room for more aspiring shop owners to get started in this field.
If you want to start an essential oil business, research and spend time learning what other sellers are doing. You’ll need that research and learning to make products and brand voice. But a bit of inspiration can help you get started generating sales. Here are some essential oil businesses on Etsy to spark your own creative business ideas.
Essential Oil Businesses
Here are the best essential oil businesses to use as examples for your own.
Zelda Briglia, Zelda’s Aromatics

Zelda’s Aromatics offers starter kits full of pure essential oils, along with other items used aromatherapy. More specifically, the shop offers incense, body oils, and soaps in a wide array of scents to drive sales. All are proprietary blends created by the shop owner. And she even offers certain items on a wholesale basis. This can be a perfect way to market a bunch of smaller items like individual essential oil bottles to retailers for bulk sales.
Sage Ryza, Sophiespincher

This shop is more than just an essential oil company. Sophiespincher provides a wide array of “witchy” goods, including crystals, altars, and apothecary sets. Essential oils can be a popular part of this niche. So it makes sense for small kits to be included. This shop offers unique inspiration for those who would like to open an online store that caters to a specific audience, rather than focusing on a specific product to generate sales.
Arlin Zuniga, Chakra Sister

Not all essential oil companies sell oils separately. Chakra Sister sells an array of items that feature oils and various aromatherapy scents, without focusing on the oils themselves. This is another shop with a focus on new wave wellness. These include candles, shower melts, bath bombs, face steams, body scrubs, and sprays. All the items fit into a very clear style. This can provide a perfect example for anyone interested in getting started with a business that sells multiple items under one consistent brand.
Breeanna Wright, Honey Hive Five

This Etsy shop mainly features bags, pouches, and other handmade goods designed to store and carry essential oils. Honey Hive Five also sells a few roller bottles and wood shelves that people can use to create their own essential oil blends and display them about their home. With more and more people getting into aromatherapy, this type of shop could become increasingly popular even if people opt to get their actual oils from larger companies.
Dyamond Troxler, Skinsovation

Skinsovation is a shop full of self care items. The shop doesn’t exclusively sell essential oils. But there are plenty of items like lip glosses and bath soaks that feature them prominently. The shop even offers kits where buyers can pick their own essential oils to mix and match the scents they really want to purchase. Self care is a major selling point for customers right now. So this business demonstrates how powerful essential oils can be when applied to this angle.
Carolyn Horner, Moon Essentials Shop

Moon Essentials Shop is mainly full of healing crystals and jewelry. But the jewelry isn’t just about style. Many of the pieces feature diffuser beads that wearers can apply essential oils to and enjoy the aromatherapy benefits throughout the day. There are also small sample kits of oils available for those who want to purchase them along with a unique piece of jewelry. This product line demonstrates a unique new way to integrate oils into an Etsy shop. It can also provide an avenue for shop owners to break into the wellness space if their skills lie more in the realm of jewelry making.
Jennifer Heather, Mythic Mist

Mythic Mist offers essential oils in unique blends designed to uplift, calm, and otherwise improve the customer’s mood. Each one features a custom label with a name like “sleep blend” or “headache blend.” So they clearly describe what the person can achieve by using them. This type of packaging and branding can help sell the idea of these oils to potential new buyers. It’s not just about scents or aromatherapy. The products are designed to solve specific problems for people.
Geri Plockelman, Georgia Herbal

Georgia Herbal features a huge array of essential and fragrance oils sold in various bottles and forms. Individuals can purchase the oils in their original form. Or they can buy pre-made items like soaps and room sprays that integrate these aromatherapy scents. This type of business model gives buyers a choice for how they want to experience these products. Some may want to buy the pure oils to create their own blends or finished products. But others may prefer the ease of a spray or bar of soap to drive sales.
Carrie Todora, His & Hers Woodworking

Those who collect and use essential oils need a place to put all of those glass bottles. Instead of storing them in a drawer, His & Hers Woodworking offers attractive wooden shelves that are made specifically with essential oils in mind. It’s a perfect idea to generate income by mixing a skill like woodworking with a passion for essential oils or other wellness trends. The company also provides wood shelves to store and display items like mugs. But the majority are aimed at aromatherapy products.
Lindia Sangster, Sensual Scents by Lin

Sensual Scents by Lin provides fragrance oils and burners designed to fill up spaces with unique smells. These items are aimed more at adding fragrance to a room instead of the wellness attributes touted by some other essential oil sellers. However, there are plenty of potential buyers who are mainly interested in this benefit. And the shop even offers burners that can add some unique decor along with their powerful scents.
Connie Pierce, Him and Her Co. 

Him and Her Co. is a t-shirt shop rather than a traditional essential oils business. But many of the t-shirt designs are likely to appeal to those who are into oil. For example, one listing is for a shirt that says “oily babe.” And another says “there’s an oil for that.” This is a unique way for someone to target oil enthusiasts and generate income even if they don’t want to sell the actual oils themselves. Additionally, the company sells shirts with sayings that involve things like wine and true crime – interests that may overlap with the target audience.
Lyla Messenger, Sage Moon Soaps

Sage Moon Soaps is an essential oils business that offers healing soaps and other self care options that integrate essential oils. The shop is full of organic and aromatherapy products that put a heavy emphasis on wellness and healing. This type of business opportunity is relevant for those who want to generate income by marketing a brand or feeling to customers. Everything from product names to photos fit into a very specific brand image.
Megan Montgomery, Oil Design Co. 

Oil Design Co. features a wide array of essential oils and unique accessories. The oils and some accessories appear sourced from Young Living, a popular network marketing distributor. However, the shop owner adds a unique twist by offering items in unique packaging and adding extra ingredients or using them in custom blends. This may be an easy way for some shop owners to keep production costs down while driving sales. Source quality product while also providing a unique experience through design and branding.
Annie Doll, Essential Herb

This essential oil business features pure essential oils and custom blends. And Essential Herb isn’t just full of unique scents. Some of the items are made specifically for wellness purposes, like immune guard and breathe better. The shop owner is a master herbalist, naturopath, and aromatherapist. This can help the customer feel more comfortable about purchasing essential oils and viewing this woman as a wellness advocate who can share valuable information with them. Creating an essential oil business backed up by professional knowledge can help a shop really stand out. Just make sure not to make unfounded claims or share information that isn’t accurate just to generate sales.
Vyktoria Keating, Pie Town Soap Co. 

Pie Town Soap Co. is full of soaps, sprays, and other scented items that feature essential oils. They even offer starter kits of oils so people can find their ideal aromatherapy blends. The company stands out because of its custom labels and wide array of blends. This may be the perfect inspiration for those who want to start an essential oil business that allows them to experiment with various product formats to create sales.
Karen Bell, Radiant Empath

Radiant Empath is marketed as a shop for empaths. This term describes a person who is energetically sensitive, which may overlap significantly with those interested in essential oils. The business name does an amazing job of describing exactly who the shop is for. And there are tons of products featuring aromatherapy scents, crystals, and gemstones aimed at this specific target audience. For this type of company, everything from website to social media platforms should be tailored to this target market. With that successful marketing plan, a shop may be able to sell multiple products to each customer since there are a variety of relevant goods to drive sales.
Lauren Foliano, Mountain Drop Essentials

Mountain Drop Essentials is an essential oil business that mainly features aromatherapy products that can be applied topically. Each listing is designated for specific uses. For example, there are products for staying calm during labor, calming crying babies, and even just relaxing. This provides an example of a company that may source items from various distributors and making them stand out with marketing and packaging. Since you cannot simply resell products on Etsy, this model shows how it’s possible to purchase a starter kit or wholesale products and turn them into something unique.
Kim Biske, Kraftastic Krafting
Kraftastic Krafting provides decals and labels that are perfect for use on various essential oil blends. For example, there are labels for cleaner bottles and soaps sold by companies like Young Living. Since these companies have large followings of loyal buyers, these products could be a perfect way to bring in more money by creating low cost offerings. There are even decals designed to decorate essential oil diffusers. This shop may provide inspiration for companies that want to create unique designs to compliment aromatherapy and wellness items.
Sadie Perry, Perry Apothecary
Perry Apothecary is an Etsy page full of oil blends and wellness products made with organic ingredients. There are bath salts, bath bombs, and custom blends, along with accessories like roller bottles and dryer balls. Each one comes with a custom label that features minimalist branding. The website also specifies that they’re open to custom and wholesale orders. These provide more avenues for companies to bring in extra money. So it’s a perfect example of using Etsy as a launching pad for a more fully formed business. This doesn’t mean that every shop owner needs to market to retailers or others looking for custom products. But integrating extra revenue streams like classes, workshops, or groups may help Etsy businesses generate even more sales.
Essential Oils Business
Essential oil businesses provide excellent opportunities for Etsy sellers. However, it’s important to study the competition on the website before starting. We hope the essential oils business list above will hope you find a way to make your brand stand out.
Read more: How to Start an Etsy Shop
Image: Depositphotos.com

SoftBank Will Invest $1 Billion in Latin America This Year

The Japanese conglomerate’s fund has $5 billion, of which it already has invested $2.3 billion in companies such as Rappi, Banco Inter and Gympass.
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February 10, 2021 1 min read

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

Softbank Group will invest one billion dollars in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia through its private investment fund. The group sees potential in technology companies in the Latin American region after the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate growth in this area, according to Bloomberg .
The Japanese conglomerate’s fund has $ 5 billion, of which it already has invested $ 2.3 billion in companies like Rappi , Banco Inter and Gympass .
As a result of the upturn in the shares of these firms, their value amounted to 3 billion dollars at the end of 2020. For its part, Banco Inter has had a 60% increase in its assets so far in year and this would raise the group’s stake in the financial institution to more than a billion dollars.
According to the statements of Paulo Passoni, fund manager, to Bloomberg, 70% of its investments will continue to be in Brazil, however, he sees opportunities for Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.

Valuable Lessons from “Shark Tank” for Entrepreneurs

The television reality show is a crash course in business and entrepreneurship.

February 10, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a very good chance that you’ve seen the ABC TV show Shark Tank. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Although it’s easy to write off reality shows for being overly dramatic and often staged, Shark Tank provides some valuable lessons to entrepreneurs who pitch to investors for capital. Many of the worthiest takeaways from the show are thanks to the genius of Mark Cuban, a business mastermind and personal mentor of mine. 
Network effect
The first important lesson that Shark Tank imparts—and one that’s not the easiest for entrepreneurs to stomach — is the incredible importance of networks. The most successful pitches in Shark Tank were aligned with huge brands such as QVC and Best Buy. Although some people might be opposed to these megastores, there is so much success to be had by aligning yourself with a major distributor. If that means receiving a bit less cash upfront in order to get connected to one of these networks, it will most likely benefit your business in the long run. Whatever you do, don’t tip your nose up to Walmart. You’d be making a big mistake. 
Related: Thinking of Pitching Your New Business on Shark Tank? 5 Things to Consider Before You Take the Leap.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for an investor and you have a very specific request for what you need, be sure that that’s your final offer. No one likes to give what someone asks for and then have that business or individual ask for more. Once you get what you asked for, take it. There’s no changing the terms from that point on. Getting someone on board for your product or service is hard enough, so once you receive that coveted yes, don’t change your request. Not only does such a move lack professionalism, it shows that you didn’t sit down and think hard enough in the beginning about exactly what you need. 
Have you considered forming an advisory board for your business? It’s an excellent idea. You’ll notice on Shark Tank that in addition to years of experience, all of the Sharks have a vast network behind them. There’s a reason retired business professionals are seated on advisory boards — they know a lot of people and have been in the game longer than many of us have. Bringing these wise individuals into your corner will not only open doors to other people, but also give you insight and clarity that only comes from hardened experience. These professionals can also offer suggestions on investment ideas, branding, and key financial insights. 
Related: Why Your Business Plan’s First Draft Is Terrible
Do the research
If there’s anything that you are skilled at as an entrepreneur, it’s probably doing research. You research how to build your business, you research your product or service, and you research the market that you’re selling in. Why not do a bit of research before you find yourself sitting across from an investor, asking for capital? What you’ll notice on Shark Tank is that all of the Sharks are a little different. The most successful pitches reflect that, because entrepreneurs have done their research and they know who they’re talking to. If you have a meeting with a potential investor on the horizon, learn some things about them. What have they invested in before? What are their tastes and inclinations? This will save you a lot of time and guesswork, and it’ll give your product or service a better chance. 
How low can you go?
As with anything, getting your business off the ground requires a lot of pushing and pulling. You throw out a pitch, they lower their offer, you reconfigure things in your brain, and they lower the offer again. In very few instances are you going to walk into that office, give your pitch, and have everything go to plan. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly how low you’re willing to go. If you’re unsure of what you’re willing to accept, it appears not only unprofessional but also looks like you don’t know the ins and outs of your business. Hesitancy comes across as ignorance and may lead to the offer going down even further. Worse yet, you could accept an offer that is too low and regret it down the line. 
Related: 5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran
You, your brand and your product
One of the most important takeaways from Shark Tank for me is the fact that you are your brand, just as much as your product is. There’s a reason why the show makes for such good television, and it’s because there’s something exciting about watching a person pitch their brand. We like to examine how they present themselves just as much as how they present their product. This is incredibly important for me as an Instagram influencer as well as an entrepreneur. I’m always conscious of my appearance and how I’m presenting myself. Remember, investors are buying into you as much as they’re buying into what you’re selling. How is your brand reflected in your appearance?
Always remember that you’re selling your product or service because it solves some sort of problem in society. If it solves a big enough problem, you’re going to gain many investors because they will understand that there’s a sizable market for what you have on offer. If your product doesn’t reach a large market, there will be less interest. So ask yourself: What problem is my product solving? What hole does it fill in the market? If you have an amazing idea and it’s unique, there’s going to be a lot of buzz. Take a moment to consider what problem you’re solving and how your business is going to make people’s lives easier and better. 
The most important lesson from Shark Tank? Listen. Communication is one of the most important skills for entrepreneurs. If you’re turned down by an investor, don’t become defensive. Listen to what they have to say, because there are valuable lessons to be learned. Listen to your advisors and listen to your gut. There’s so much to learn from those who know the game. If you ever had a chance to sit down with Marc Cuban to discuss being an entrepreneur, my biggest piece of advice would be to take notes. 

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Tesla Is Phase One of the EV Investing Cycle. What's in Phase Two?

February 10, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Tesla stock is proof that investors are very bullish about the outlook for electric vehicles. Is this justified and what other investments stand to benefit from the EV megatrend?
The spectrum of electric vehicles is wide and the spectrum of investments that can benefit from the EV megatrend is even wider. EVs should have an electric engine powered through off-vehicle sources or one which is self-contained normally using a battery or fuel cells. All EV manufacturers as well as the makers of cars and trucks that run on hydrogen have been swept up in demand for non-Co2 emitting alternatives. We will also highlight momentarily some technology providers to the EV space that have huge room for growth.
EV phase one: Tesla
We consider there to be three elements to this first phase in the cycle of EVs that have shaped demand for Tesla stock: Tesla vehicle deliveries, EV industry forecasts and ‘Net Zero’ targets.
There have been hiccups and over-promises from Tesla boss Elon Musk but by-and-large Tesla has delivered EV sales growth, and more recently profitability thanks to government subsidies. Despite the supply-chain disruptions of the pandemic, Tesla delivered a record 500,000 vehicles in 2020 while upcoming Chinese rivals Nio and Xpeng doubled annual deliveries to 44,000 and 27,000 respectively from 2019 levels. In the UK, electric vehicle sales tripled in 2020 while in Norway, one of the largest oil producers in the world, EV sales outstripped gas and hybrid models for the first time.
Globally it is expected to take 15-20 years before EVs overtake the internal combustion engine according to BNEF. By 2040, there will be nearly 400 million EV sales with a more modest estimate of 35% of auto market share by 2040 according to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
A broad recognition that electric vehicles are a solution to cutting pollution has morphed over the last eighteen months into official government ‘net zero’ policies to ban internal combustion engines from the road. This is crystallized in the UN ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ Needless to say, an industry with global governments offering tax incentives and forcibly shutting down existing competition makes a very compelling investment case.
Tesla stock
The lengthy timeframe in which this auto-industry disruption will take place has not stopped investors pricing in that future growth now. The poster-child for EV manufacturers has been Tesla (TSLA), where the stock just overtook Facebook’s to make Tesla CEO Elon Musk the richest man in the world.
Tesla stock is richly valued by most metrics but it could easily be that many sales forecasts are too conservative for how quickly EVs will take over the automotive industry. Part of the explanation for Tesla’s inexorable rising stock price is recognition of the EV megatrend coupled with a lack of viable investment alternatives. You could say that if you want exposure to EV growth in your portfolio, you “need” to own Tesla. This is what we are calling ‘phase one’ of the EV megatrend.
EV phase 2: Apple and Big Auto
We think the next phase of EV market development is the comeback of the big automakers as well as the entry of Apple and perhaps Google to the global car market. We break down this next phase into three potential investing opportunities: automotive stocks, software stocks and battery stocks.
There is a lot of excitement about Apple (AAPL) joining forces with South Korean automaker Hyundai to enter the EV market. Apple reportedly dropped its EV ambitions a few years ago after failing to make a breakthrough but now looks to be entering the fray again. The difference this time of course is the partnership with a major automaker to quickly expand production. Reports suggest the pair are aiming to produce 100,000 vehicles in 2024. The partnership would extend to Apple Car production, self-driving and battery development.
Apple Car
We think the Apple Car has the best shot of being Apple’s ‘next big thing’ to replace the iPhone as Apple’s number one source of revenue. For the time being, Apple is far from a ‘pure EV play’ but if the car becomes a serious part of the company’s growth strategy, then investors would likely feel more comfortable about owning Apple, which has a lower multiple and much less volatility than Tesla. Possibly the biggest risk to using AAPL as part of an EV investing strategy now is that it is too early, meaning very little of Apple’s current business is tied to EVs and is instead tied to huge speculative flows into FAANG tech stocks that are susceptible as a group to a large correction. And lastly, the company could easily decide to drop the idea again.
It has taken a while but after a huge downturn in vehicle sales that pre-dated the covid pandemic and large investments and multiple partnerships, the traditional automakers – as well as new start-ups are now producing EVs at an accelerating clip. In Europe, the Renault Zoe has outsold Tesla’s Model 3 in 2020. It would make sense that as EV sales make up a larger percentage of total vehicle sales at the large automakers, the valuation gap between Tesla and the rest should narrow. That can be a combination of Big Auto stocks rising and Tesla stock falling.
EV software and batteries
Possibly the highest growth frontier for EVs is the software used by the automakers for autonomous driving as well as entertainment systems. You may have noticed we didn’t mention Google next to Apple Cars, we will explain why next. The prospect of a big new market means there will be fierce competition so picking the software companies that will come out on top is not without risk.
The near-term growth opportunity for Google-parent Alphabet ($GOOG) is likely via Android and its deployment as part of a ‘smart’ system into EVs as opposed to manufacturing their own ‘Google Cars’. Google is also at the forefront of pioneering autonomous driving systems that could in theory placed into any vehicle by any manufacturer. Even for the likes of Tesla and Nio, it seems probable that it will be a tech company that will design the AI system for autonomous driving, not the automakers themselves. Chinese tech rivals like Baidu are the biggest competition risk to Google benefitting as a supplier of autonomous driving systems. However, Android is already the core system in many combustion engine vehicles and that is likely to carry over into EVs.
Nvidia (NVDA), Cadence Design Systems (CDNS), Flex Ltd (FLEX) and Keysight Technologies (KEYS) have been touted as tech stocks that are well positioned to make the most of the EV boom
Another core component of the electric vehicles likely to be outsourced by big automakers is the battery. Tesla is also a battery company through its merger with First Solar so it supplies its own cars. Other manufacturers will lean on third parties, giving these battery-makers a larger share of a growing market. The top 5 lithium-Ion Battery manufacturers in 2019 were LG (LGCLF), Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), BYD Co (BYDDY), Panasonic (PCRFY) and Tesla (TSLA).
 

How to find a mentor that can 10x your potential

Ramit may have doubled his business over the years, but he didn’t get there alone. He’s not ashamed to admit that he sought out a trusted advisor, which helped him make $100,000 in one month. Yep, you read that right.
Wondering how to find a mentor and see results like this for yourself? For Ramit, it all started when he bought a book by Jay Abraham called Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got. This inspired him to buy a seat in a program Abraham was launching for small business owners. Each month for 15 months, Ramit flew from NYC to LA to not only learn from his hero but to surround himself with a community of like-minded, inspired entrepreneurs. This year+ changed the course of his career and launched him towards great success. 
Amazing stuff, right? Ramit realized the benefits of working with a mentor were:
Firm but friendly advice on how to advance in your career or business
Accountability, a mentor will help you stick to your business or career goals 
Fresh ideas and a sounding board to test out your own
Career coaching to help you advance down your dream career path

No matter if you’re 20 years in or just starting out, everyone can benefit from the advice of someone who’s done it before. 
How to find a mentor that’s right for you
Ready to get started? Here are some top tips for seeking a mentor if you don’t already have someone in mind.
Find that special someone you admire
Finding a mentor is unsurprisingly all about choosing the right person. If you don’t already have a dream mentor in mind, there are a few exercises you can do to find that special someone. 
What do you want to be like in 10 years? Time for some daydreaming. Imagine your life in 10 years, what does it look like? Who do you want to be like?
Identify what you want in a mentor. Do you want someone you feel comfortable with or would you prefer someone who says it how it is? Are you looking for someone who has overcome the challenges you’re facing right now? 
Make a list of people you know or admire and check who meets all your criteria. Your dream mentor doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. It could be someone on social media or an author of your favorite business book.
Learn everything you can about them
Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to learn everything about this person you can. Preferably in a non-creeper way. You don’t need to know how they take their coffee but you should read up on their background. Learn about their experience, how they got where they are and the reasons behind their success. 
This will put you in a great position to approach them because the information you learn here will be crucial to succeeding in the next step.
Approach your dream mentor 
How you approach your dream mentor is all about first impressions. First off, let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t do. 
The most common reasons people get rejected when they ask someone to be a mentor is because:
They come off as desperate or weird
They’re arrogant and irritating
They’re lazy and haven’t done their research
The chances are the person you’re asking is busy all the time. That means you need to work hard to get their attention, not waste their time and show you’ve done your research. If you ask vague or bland questions, you’re probably not going to get a response. 
The simplest and easiest way to get in touch with a potential mentor is through email. Here are three simple steps to approach your mentor and get them to say “yes!” 
Step 1: Focus on them 
You’re trying to get their attention in a sea of thousands of emails. Make sure your opening is punchy, to the point, and of course, about them. 
You can do this in a lot of ways but Ramit’s 1-2-3 Choice Technique is a simple way to introduce yourself. It goes a little like this:
“Hi [mentor’s name], I loved your [talk at X/your blog/book] and really liked the part where you said XYZ. I’m trying it out but I’m stuck on something. I have 3 options to try out next:
Choice 1
Choice 2
Choice 3
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think I should do next.”
This achieves several things. It shows you’ve done your research, you’re already putting their advice into practice, you value their opinion and want more of their advice. 
Best of all from the mentor’s side is they just have to do one simple thing — pick one choice and explain why. A direct question like this will have a much better response rate and leaves a great first impression. 
Step 2: Make them interested in you
The next step is to spin it around to you. Why are you interesting? What skills do you have? What’s your background? 
When you email your mentor, don’t leave it generic. Be specific, be engaging. When you tell them what you do, give examples or even samples of your work. Don’t say “I’m great at writing sales emails.” Instead say, “I’ve helped [company] increase their email list by X in three months.” That second line is much harder to ignore. It’s direct, it’s specific, and it shows your value instantly.
If you can tie this into something relevant to the mentor’s business or current needs, even better. What the mentor wants to know is who are you and how do you make their life easier? What’s in it for them?
Step 3: Give them an offer they can’t refuse
You’ll want to make whatever you’re asking for easy to say yes to. So, what can you offer? 
It could be offering to do some work for free in exchange for advice. If you can help your mentor out on a side project they just don’t have time for, it becomes easy for them to say yes. 
Just as a side note, if this all seems like an overwhelming amount of information to throw at a potential mentor, don’t worry. You don’t have to pile your life story into one golden email. If, in Step 1 or 2 you can prompt the mentor to give a response, you can then follow up with Step 3 if that feels more natural.
Be the best mentee
If your potential mentor agrees to work with you, congratulations! You just tapped into one of the best keys to professional growth you can get. But the work doesn’t stop there. You still need to make sure you’re a good mentee. 
The mentor-mentee relationship is all about give and take. Make sure you listen and more importantly, put their advice to action. A good mentor will hold you accountable and push you to succeed, so don’t waste their time. This will be key to a good long-term mentoring relationship that works for both of you. 
Now that you know how to find a mentor, go on … find your Mr. Miyagi, your Dumbledore, your Yoda. Ramit did and now look at him.
Having a skilled mentor can get you closer to living your Rich Life.

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TikTok's Sale to WalMart and Oracle Is Not Happening Anytime Soon

The sale was driven by former President Trump, citing security threats, but the Biden administration is reviewing.
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February 10, 2021 3 min read
This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
TikTok’s sale to Walmart and Oracle has reportedly been put on hold indefinitely. The Trump administration tried to force the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to a group that includes Walmart and Oracle. However, sources told The Wall Street Journal that President Joe Biden is reviewing his predecessor’s push to address possible security risks posed by Chinese tech firms.
On hold
The TikTok sale was driven by former President Donald Trump, who threatened to ban the video app. However, legal challenges from owner ByteDance have impeded it since the fall. Sources reportedly told the Journal that talks between ByteDance representatives and U.S. national security officials have continued since then. The discussions focused on data security and how to keep the Chinese government from accessing the information on American users collected by TikTok.
The Biden administration isn’t expected to make a decision on the issues involving TikTok any time soon. Officials are figuring out their response to possible security risks posed by the collection of data by Chinese tech firms. A spokesperson for the National Security Council said they “plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face.”

TikTok has denied that it would hand over U.S. users’ information to the Chinese government. CNBC notes that the app’s servers are not based in China and argues that many of the concerns “still appear to be hypothetical.”
Final deal will be different than the original
Sources also told The Wall Street Journal that TikTok had continued negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. They also said that the deal involving the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Walmart and Oracle would probably be different than the initial agreement. Chinese regulators would have to approve any transaction involving the Chinese firm.
Although Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S., federal judges have delayed it repeatedly. One ruled in December that the Commerce Department “likely overstepped” its legal authority in issuing the ban.
Shares of Walmart declined by more than 1% in early trading. The big-box retailer is part of the Entrepreneur Index because the Walton family is still involved in the day-to-day management of its operations. Oracle stock declined by nearly 1% after the TikTok news was reported.

 

 

 
 

Want to Do a Public Relations Push? Focus on Social Media First.

Here’s why Twitter and LinkedIn are popular outlets for executives.
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February 10, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As businesses increase their focus on digital marketing, many are turning to public relations (PR) to help boost their visibility and credibility. Of course, PR is one of the best ways to get your name out there and build thought leadership, but if you are one of the many companies considering media outreach as part of your digital marketing strategy, you can do some work ahead of time to increase your odds of success.
One element to consider as you lay the foundation for effective media outreach is social media. When a journalist gets intrigued about a business, one of the first things they may do is check it out on social media. Know what happens in many cases? It becomes apparent the company hasn’t been active on social media for some time.
Does it really matter if your brand is active on social media? 
I turned to my journalist friends on Twitter and asked just this. “When you get ready to cover a company,” I sent out, “do you look to see if its website is up-to-date and if they’re active on social media? Or are those things meaningless?” Here are some of the responses I received:
“Definitely do … doesn’t mean I’ll totally nix the story right away, but if neither is updated, it makes me leery of doing the story (like are they really doing what I’m being pitched) and makes my job much harder if I do decide to pursue it still.”
“I always check. For features I’ve been assigned, I try to focus only on the interview. But for roundups and mentions, I consider keeping a fresh online presence to be critical if I’m implying you are a thought leader or best-of in my article.”
“I want as much background information as possible. Plus, I want to be able to tag them in my social media posts.”
“It’s nice when you see a company knows online presence and SEO are important.” 
As you can see, it absolutely does matter to journalists if a brand is active on social media.
Research backs up these comments. In Muck Rack’s State of Journalism report, more than half (61%) of the journalists surveyed say they “usually” or “always” consult branded social media profiles when reporting on an organization.
If journalists feel it matters — and your goal is getting their attention — shouldn’t you invest some time in social media? (And while you’re at it, be sure your site is up-to-date. Add a press page if you haven’t yet.) 
Is Twitter important? 
Sometimes clients ask if Twitter needs to be part of their social media strategy. My answer is always yes, because that’s where journalists hang out. On that note, be sure to follow the reporters and media on whose radar you want to appear. It sounds so simple, but it’s an often-overlooked way to get them to take notice of you.
Start building the relationship before you need it. Like, share and comment on their posts. Don’t do it with an agenda, just start showing up in their feeds. Twitter works best, but you can also try this on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn — wherever that particular journalist seems to be the most active. 
Should your CEO be present on social media? 
What about your CEO and other C-suite executives? Should they be on social media? Again, the answer is yes.
Being present on social media increases trust with shareholders and employees. According to a Business Insider article, 65% of U.S. employees say it’s important for CEOs to actively communicate about their companies online, particularly during times of crisis. Further, 60% of employees say they would check an executive’s social media before joining a company.
On which platforms should executives choose to be active? LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular with executives, while Facebook and Instagram are less so.
In a digital-first world, social media matters
Social media matters more than ever in our digital-first world. Yes, it’s vital for companies who want to start an earned media push. But beyond getting in front of journalists, social media also helps you reach:
Customers
Employees (and potential employees)
Shareholders
Fans and followers (who may become customers)
There is a method to the madness of being present on social media, particularly if you’re preparing to launch a PR push. Focus on that first for a greater chance that your earned media efforts will be a success.

Why an $18 Burger Could Actually End Up Costing You $199

Certified financial planner Jeff Rose explains how hidden costs can pile up if you’re not careful.
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February 10, 2021 1 min read
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In this video, certfied financial planner Jeff Rose breaks down a financial story he recently read about the practice of buying a $9 cheeseburger but, due to service fees, taxes and delivery costs, the final tally was actually double that. While Rose says it’s okay to splurge occasionally, it’s dangerous to do this over and over again. If you do that 10 times, for example, you could be spending $90 on delivery fees.
That money could be invested into stocks or other good investments that actually put more money in your pocket. Rose points out that if you had spent $18 on a partial share of Tesla stock on January 1, 2019, it could be worth more than $200 today. 
In all likelihood, not all of your investments are going to pay such incredible dividends, but allocating your resources into things that make you more money is never a bad idea. 
Related: One of the Best Investments You Can Make


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