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Robots Aren't Stealing Jobs — They're Making Them Better

February 20, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Not that long ago, the process for filling orders or assembling a product involved mind-numbing tasks done over and over again, to the point the worker really didn’t have to think.
Building a car, for instance, was essentially a hands-on endeavor. Axles were cut and installed by hand, seat covers were sewed and manually installed and even engines were assembled right there on the assembly line.
Now, manufacturing robots have taken over those and other repetitive tasks that used to be performed by human workers — installing tires, applying paint and welding frames — allowing automakers to drastically scale up their production while cutting costs and freeing up their workforce up to take on higher-value tasks.
Related: Ai-Da, the First Robot Artist To Exhibit Herself
But far too many of today’s information workers perform tasks that are the 21st-century equivalent of installing a tire on a new car over and over again. Workers at a number of small and medium-size businesses, from call centers, financial services, to other professional service providers, instead of answering more calls or attending to the needs of customers while they have them on the line, are copying and pasting basic information into templates that should be automatically populated.
This rework is monotonous — sending follow-up emails after sales calls, processing invoices from contractors, logging phone calls and hundreds of other small things — and inefficient use of a seasoned workers’ time. They’re living in the information age, but they’re more analogous to early factory workers.
The natural progression, then, is to automate those tasks just as the manufacturing industry has done. This is where Robotic Process Automation (RPA) comes in, and it’s becoming more widely used than ever.
That’s because the tools that used to be limited to those with advanced computer science backgrounds are being democratized thanks to new platforms and infrastructure that make it easier to incorporate RPA into organizations without heavy development efforts.
Call it “citizen development” or whatever you want, but the fact is access to robotic process automation has gained traction in recent years alongside the growth of artificial intelligence.
And there are important benefits from this kind of automation technology:  
Repurposing human work
At many companies, there is a ticket for everything. If something in the kitchen breaks a repair ticket is created, the service department comes out to fix it and the ticket is closed after the work is completed. The process works seamlessly until the end, when someone has to go through all of the tickets manually to verify that the job is finished and the ticket can be closed, even without knowing whether or not it was done right or actually completed.  RPA can simplify this entire process by automating approvals based on true job completion.
Improving digital systems
Believe it or not, plenty of work still requires an immense amount of non-value-added copy and paste or re-entry from one system to another.  A great example is consumer loan-processing. For many banks and credit unions whose core banking and customer relationship management systems do not communicate with each other, employees need to manually look at both systems to pull necessary information that isn’t stored in both. This problem is more common than anyone would imagine. An RPA-based system would replace human involvement in this entire process, pulling the correct data elements every time and feeding everything directly into the system for review and next steps.
Related: Boston Dynamics’ Robotic Dog Now Has an Arm and Here’s What It Can Do
Streamlining existing processes
Accounting is still a very manual process in many companies. Invoices have to be printed, reviewed and then the proper information from each invoice needs to be entered into the accounting database. This opens up the process to “fat-fingered” data entry mistakes, backlogs and other issues, all problems that RPA can address better. These improvements free up staff time for workers to spend on solving customer problems and deepening their engagement with your company.
RPA does still have its limitations. As early robotics adopters learned 30+ years ago, these technologies fail when asked to work on complex tasks. It doesn’t work for shades of gray and processes involving a lot of individual decisions, but rather excels on simple tasks or a series of tasks where there is no interpretation required.
Why aren’t all companies doing this already? For one thing, those companies that don’t have solid processes in place already run the risk of automating bad processes and making things worse. That won’t save them anything. The other issue is getting over the inertia of never having embraced robotics technology. Too often, leaders can’t see the benefits of automating redundant tasks until they see it in action.
But RPA use is snowballing.
As more and more information businesses embrace automation it’s like opening the floodgates – those that adopt these tools gain a competitive advantage and those that don’t risk falling behind. Those that are able to automate and spend less time on redundant activity open themselves up to take on higher-value work. They have more capacity to do new things, helping keep their backlog from growing.
In particular, achieving this level of efficiency means cost savings as well as quality improvements. Embracing RPA to streamline the day-to-day work, eliminate human error, and create more time to improve the customer experience will lead to higher quality service, better data to make decisions about productivity and inventory control, and a better bottom line.
Boyd Bell is the founder and CEO of Useful Rocket Science.

How to Make Money Online

Determine your strong skills and sell them. You can do just about anything online.
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
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February 20, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
These days, online jobs and education opportunities are quite popular. People love to work from home, and the internet is exploding with money-making opportunities. How can you fit into this new popular niche? Let’s explore!
Working online does not impose the same time restrictions as working in an office or brick-and-mortar store. You don’t have to adhere to strict dress codes or company policies. Often, you don’t even have to interact face-to-face with clients, customers or co-workers. This can be especially nice for independent spirits or introverts.
Not having to go to an office affords people a lot of freedom and autonomy. Imagine working in your pajamas! If you need to take off to get your kids for an activity, you can do that without having to call your boss and arrange to leave the office. Your attendance is up to you as you set your own hours. Often, you can leave the computer for a spell to get things done and then return to work when you are ready.
Related: 5 Ways to Stand Out from the Competition on Major Freelancing Sites
You can also be your own boss. Expand your business as you see fit. No one can restrict your decisions or tell you what to do with your work. This does not apply if you work online for a company, but it does apply if you are a freelancer or have your own online business.
The internet is a great way to reach lots of people on an international scale. You can use it to advertise or offer your services to a variety of clients all over the world. Marketing through social media enables you to reach lots of people with minimal effort.
What can you do online?
Anything, really. But having a clear goal and solid service or product is key. You must be able to offer your future employers something. Determine your strong skills and advertise those.
Freelancing
Try freelancing sites like Upwork or Guru. You can charge an hourly rate or charge by the project.
Writing. Being able to write is a great way to make money online. Written communication is important for businesses. You can find jobs writing for blogs, gossip sites, online journals and business websites, just to name a few.
Editing. Documents often contain errors. As an editor, you comb through documents and improve them. You can find editing jobs online in a huge variety of languages.
Web design. Use your skills for creating websites and your aesthetic sense to create websites for people.
Illustration and logo design. Are you an artist? Then you can work online creating art for businesses or other people.
Translating. If you are bilingual, offer your services as a translator. Use your skills to change the native language of documents. Translation services are in demand throughout the world.
Transcribing. After listening to audio or watching videos, you put the words down on paper (or in an electronic document). Transcribing is hard work that requires attention to detail and concentration. But if you are good at a language, you can find transcription jobs online.
Code writing. If you can write code, you have limitless job opportunities online. You can create websites and computer programs for various companies eager to hire new coders.
Related: 10 Business Ideas to Make Easy Money and Change the World
Education
Tutoring. High school and college students are taking to the internet looking for cheap tutoring services. Offer your expertise in any subject and teach over video or through written lessons. Try Chegg and the Knowledge Roundtable for tutoring jobs.
Teaching. There are sites like VIPKid where you can teach languages online over video chat or written lessons. English is probably in the most demand, but you can find opportunities for any language. Offer your language teaching services to any site that teaches the language you are most fluent in.
Academic writing. On sites like Ultius, you can find opportunities to write academic papers. Typically, you need a bachelor’s degree to get these jobs. Writing experience is also helpful.
Lifestyle coaching. Help people become their best selves. Self-improvement is a popular niche. Writing books and offering self-improvement videos for a small monthly fee is a great way to make money. Promise to help people transform their lives or bodies and you’ll get customers.
Educational videos. Making educational videos and selling courses on sites like Lynda or Coursera allows you to make money with the knowledge and skills you have. Popular niches on these sites include coding, crafting and entrepreneurial tips and skills.
Blogging
Travel blogging. Travel blogging is a popular niche for those who like to be on the move. If you have traveled a lot, you can share your experiences and advice that you have picked up along the way with massive audiences. You can get all sorts of sponsorship and generate revenue as you capture readers.
Recipe writing. Sharing your expertise in the kitchen can help you make money online. Make videos and write recipes to publish on popular recipe sites. Or find people on freelancing sites seeking recipe and cookbook writers.
Online retail
Dropshipping. You can create your own dropshipping business and sell products online. Use eBay and Amazon for these, as well as wholesale sites and social media like Facebook.
Selling products. If you make any sort of product, you can sell it online. Consider using Shopify or Etsy for handmade or vintage products. Consider Amazon and eBay for other types of products, like books or inventions or wholesale items. You can also create your own e-shop but you must market it. Learn about SEO so that your website shows up high in Google searches.
Related: What Is the Real Future of Work?
Remote jobs
Online companies. Many companies are hiring remote workers. You can do things like medical coding and billing, customer service, coding, software engineering, journalism and many other jobs from home. Some companies are even hiring doctors or psychologists to provide services over the internet instead of in a traditional office setting. As people become more comfortable with working online, the workplace is adjusting. Companies have found that remote workers are actually more productive and they can cut costs by not having a building.
Penny hoarder
Maybe you don’t want to start your own business or teach or freelance online, but you want a little extra spending money on top of your current income. The internet offers a wide variety of ways to make money without really working. You can find great tips on The Penny Hoarder website.
The Penny Hoarder shares opportunities with you such as apps that pay you to download them. They also offer surveys that pay you to fill out the information. There are lists of other things, such as banks that pay you to open an account. Check this site out for lots of tips on how to make a little extra cash online.

Upcoming Webinar Reveals the Best States to Incorporate

Once you have made up your mind to start your own business, there are many more steps to make it a reality and registering your business is one of the more important steps. But not all states are the same, and some are much more friendly for incorporating than others.
A new webinar titled Best State to Incorporate by CorpNet.com will go in-depth to answer some key questions about the different options available to you as an entrepreneur. The webinar will answer, What is the best state to register a business in? What if your business is expanding into new territory? At what point should you Foreign Qualify? and much more.
At the same time, the webinar will have some learning objectives that will further expound on those questions with:
Learn why Delaware, Nevada and others are ‘popular’ states with entrepreneurs.
Observe what state option most business owners should choose.
Discover questions to help identify when a business must foreign qualify.
Learn how to foreign qualify a business.
The webinar is going to be moderated by Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com and Anita Campbell, Founder and CEO of Small Business Trends on July 28, 2021, 2 p.m. (EDST).
Click on the red button and register now.

Register Now

Featured Events, Contests and Awards
Small Business Innovation Research Summit (SBIR)February 23, 2021, Online
This event is designed to help small businesses enter the market by learning from the subject matter experts who have been successful. The SBIR Summit will bring together innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs from all areas – commercial, government and academia.
WEBINAR: Email Marketing Basics: Automating and Monitoring Your CampaignsFebruary 24, 2021, Online
Learn how to build, segment, and nurture your email lists in order to improve engagement and retain quality campaign subscribers. In this webinar you will also gain a better understanding of GDPR, avoiding spam filters, and the importance of keeping your lists clean.
Email Marketing Basics Webinar: Automating and Monitoring Your ListsFebruary 24, 2021, Online
Learn how to create automated email marketing campaigns to streamline your customer acquisition process. You’ll also learn about managing your sender reputation score, as well as key email marketing metrics to track to make sure your emails are performing as well as they can.
WEBINAR: What Business Structure is Right for You?April 28, 2021, Online
Picking a business structure is usually the first big legal decision for a new business owner and one of the most confusing. However confusing, it is an essential step to protecting your personal assets from any liabilities of the company. In this webinar, Nellie Akalp CEO of CorpNet.com, will share insight on business entities to help guide you to the best decision for your new venture.
WEBINAR: Best State to IncorporateJuly 28, 2021, Online
Some say Delaware, others say Nevada while someone else may say your home state. What is the best state to register a business in? What if your business is expanding into new territory? At what point should you Foreign Qualify? Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, will go in-depth to answer these questions and more in this webinar.
WEBINAR: Steps to Start Your BusinessOctober 20, 2021, Online
Starting a business can be an exhilarating time, where everything seems full of potential and purpose. But navigating the logistics of launching a business can be daunting. In this webinar Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet.com, will outline the steps necessary to legally start a business and get up and running on the right foot.
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Chief Data and Analytics Officers, Financial Services: Live 2021March 2, 2021, Online
AMA: Employment Law for Start-UpsMarch 4, 2021, Online
The COVID Challenge – Managing Apartment Complexes During The PandemicMarch 5, 2021, Online
AMA: Privacy Law Considerations for Start-UpsMarch 11, 2021, Online
Digital Marketing World Forum – North America Online 2021March 24, 2021, Online
Power BI in 2021April 1, 2021, Online
HR Benefits Conference, April 2021April 7, 2021, Las Vegas, NV
TECHSPO New York 2021 Technology Expo (Internet ~ Mobile ~ AdTech ~ MarTech ~ SaaS)April 15, 2021, Online
DigiMarCon Mid-Atlantic 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & ExhibitionApril 26, 2021, Philadelphia, PA
DigiMarCon At Home 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising ConferenceApril 28, 2021, Online
Sitecore CMS in 2021May 1, 2021, Online
DevOps Engineer in 2021May 1, 2021, Online
DigiMarCon New England 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & ExhibitionMay 6, 2021, Boston, MA
Marketing Analytics Summit North America – Virtual Edition 2021May 10, 2021, Online
DigiMarCon Canada West 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & ExhibitionMay 13, 2021, Vancouver, BC
DigiMarCon Canada East 2021 – Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising Conference & ExhibitionMay 17, 2021, Montreal, QC
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This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.
You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.
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How Startups Can Sell Software To Large Enterprises

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For software startups, it is common to initially focus on smaller customers. The sales cycles are much shorter and there will likely to be more interest in taking a risk.
Yet this does not mean startups should avoid enterprises (these are companies usually with more than 1,000 employees). “Startups are critical for enterprises as they undergo digital transformation, modernize their businesses and enable a different kind of work coming out of the pandemic,”said Shruti Tournatory, who is the Head of Business Development at Sapphire Ventures. “Sapphire Ventures recently released the CIO Innovation Index, which shows that while startups account for 10% of the IT budget today, that number is expected to grow 50% in the next 12 months, proving that CIOs are increasingly adopting emerging technologies to run their businesses. In particular, enterprises are turning to startups for their AI and machine learning needs, and next-gen data management cybersecurity.”
Keep in mind that the sales motion for large enterprises can be jarring for founders. There will be a need to talk to various departments and levels within an organization. And yes, there will be considerable inertia. A deal can easily take a year to get done. 
Given this, what are some strategies to take? How can you improve your odds of success?
Well, let’s take a look at the following:

Creative Marketing: Cold emails often fail. Of course, it is much better to have a “warm” introduction. But this may be tough, especially for young founders who do not have extensive networks.
Then what to do? Well, you can try creative marketing to get the attention of enterprises “If your buyer wants to learn how startups approach a specific problem, you can create workshops featuring startup leaders that enterprise buyers will benefit from,” said Sandhya Hegde, who is a Partner at Unusual Ventures. “If they are looking to teach at-scale best practices, you could start a podcast and offer them a platform to do so. Great marketing is all about supporting your customers’ aspirations.”

Trusted Relationship: In the early meetings, you do not want to sell your solutions. Instead, the goal should be to learn about the company’s business and needs.
“Remember, you’re selling more than just a product or service,” said Keith Richey, who is the Senior Director of Global Marketing at LinkedIn. “You’re also building a trusted and long-term relationship. So ask questions. What does the industry look like? What is success for the buyer? Also, before you have a meeting, come equipped with perspective and insight. Share content specific to the buyer’s industry to bring credibility and add value to the selling process. A recent study by LinkedIn found that trust ranks among the top qualities buyers are looking for when engaging with sellers. However, only 40% of buyers describe the sales profession as ‘trustworthy.’ Be an advocate for your buyer and ensure that they feel supported throughout the whole buying process.”
Identify the Pain Points: This is the best way to break through the resistance. 
“When selling to larger companies you must come to every conversation with a point of view about their business,” said Doug Landis, who is a Growth Partner at Emergence Capital. “You have to know what they are focused on: growth, mitigating risk or cutting costs. These strategic initiatives for the business will trickle down to every department across the organization. When you know what their strategic initiatives are then it’s easier to map/align your solution.”
Concise Messaging: Get away from talking about the jargon and complex technology. Craft a message that stands out. 
“I used to be a journalist, so at Delphix we coach our sales teams to hone the ‘business pain headline’—the compelling, concise reason why a customer needs our software,” said Jedidiah Yueh, who is the founder and CEO of Delphix. “It has to be concise, because your champions have to be able to remember and repeat it when they’re fighting internally for budget.”
Freemium Model: This can be an effective way to get interest from an enterprise customer. It’s about a try-before-you buy approach, which has minimal risk.
“The freemium model works particularly well when the solution is easy to adopt and use even by smaller groups inside a large enterprise,” said Andy Stinnes, who is a Venture Partner at Cloud Apps Capital Partners. “You attract free subscription users in the short term, and then convert some of these customers to a paid tier at a much lower acquisition cost, even when including the ongoing cost of the large free user base. When you have enough adopters, you look for prospects with enough individual free users and bundle add-on features into an enterprise edition that you can sell to the company.”
Special Requirements: Enterprises often want high scalability and configurability. After all, they are looking for something that can move the needle. 
“Every enterprise has a different, complex culture and organizational structure— meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a product that will be universally functional without the need for modification,” said Chris Babel, who is the CEO of TrustArc. “Building adaptable solutions can be tailored to address the needs of multiple organizations, regardless of those unique differences. This will allow for startups to continuously update offerings without starting from scratch as they continue to build a larger customer base.”
Best-In-Class Sales Stack: Invest in the tools your sales people need to succeed, such as for sales engagement, conversational marketing and account-based platforms. “This will allow you to demonstrate your modern approach, and paint the vision for a digital transformation that your enterprise buyer craves,” said Kraig Swensrud, who is the cofounder and CEO at Qualified.
Tom (@ttaulli) is an advisor/board member to startups and the author of Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook: A Guide to Implementing RPA Systems and Implementing AI Systems: Transform Your Business in 6 Steps. He also has developed various online courses, such as for the COBOL and Python programming languages.

What Should Be Your First Steps When Starting a Business? Consider These 10 Tips

There are so many tasks to accomplish when starting a new business. It can be tough to decide what to tackle first. Luckily, members of the online small business community have these steps covered. And even if you’re a seasoned business owner, there may be areas where you can improve these essential elements of any small business.

Create a Written Plan for Your Business
Every business starts with an idea. But if it just lives in your head, you may be liable to change things or forget your plans. That’s why a written business plan is so important. Martin Zwilling elaborates further in this Startup Professionals Musings post.
Consider the Benefits of Becoming an Entrepreneur
Running a business can be difficult. But there are still many benefits of becoming an entrepreneur. Ivan Widjaya covers some of them in this Funding Note post. And members of the BizSugar community chimed in with thoughts here.
Improve Website SEO for Your Local Business
SEO is one of the most important marketing strategies for a local business. So how can you improve your website this year to bring in more local customers? Ian Loew offers tips in this Bright Local post.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google is one of the first places any new customer will look for information about your business. So a Google My Business listing is a must-have. If you haven’t updated yours recently, this Pixel Productions post by Natasha Ramirez includes tips for doing just that.
Improve Your Visuals with Instagram Tools
The visuals you post on social media can make a major impact on your connections with customers. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to help you improve those images. In this Social Media Today post, Andrew Hutchinson explores Facebook’s latest tips regarding Instagram’s tools.
Enhance Google Ad Campaigns with New Features
Advertising is one way to step up your basic SEO strategy. Luckily, Google offers plenty of ad campaign tools, including a few new features. Martin Romerio describes those new options in this Search Engine Watch post.
Successfully Grow Your Business Online
No matter what type of business you run, you need online tools to help you grow. In this Aha!NOW post, Russell Emmental details how to grow a successful business online. And you can see discussion from members of the BizSugar community here.
Do Mobile Keyword Research
Before you start your SEO or marketing campaigns, you need the right keywords. And that starts with research. To find keywords that are optimized for mobile customers, read this SEM Rush post by Connor Lahey.
Humanize Your Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t just about keywords and SEO. The content you create can also humanize your brand. In this TopRank Marketing post, Joshua Nite explores how to do this with B2B brands. But other companies can learn from the ideas as well.
Step Up Cybersecurity for Your Small Business
Protecting your small business’s digital assets is an absolute must. If you experience a cyber attack, you may lose money, customers, or worse. To step up cybersecurity for your small business, check out this Smallbiztechnology.com post by Nicholas Winston.
If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.
Image: Depositphotos.com

Nick Cave and the secret to silencing the voice of doubt

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

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Once again, you doubt .
About you, your voice and that promise you made to yourself so long ago, after the world you thought was true collapsed in a noisy way. Then, fresh from the position you held for years in a transnational company, the decision to fly alone (to pursue your dream, to finally dare to be yourself) seemed the best option.
Despite everything they told you the day you lost your job , you knew you were capable and talented. Scared, but sure of yourself, you jumped into the abyss of entrepreneurship . You submerged yourself in those waters that seemed calm only to discover that a few meters deep there were strong currents and eddies that dragged you away from the direction you wanted to go.
Down there, strange forces you didn’t know were challenging the old rules of the corporate world . Various monsters stalked you and approached you to intimidate you, to force you to take a step back: clients more complex than any boss you had ever had, payments deferred for months and months, projects that started only to be overshadowed by an uncertain economic environment. Proposals worked, quoted and presented that from one day to the next were transformed into unfulfilled wishes, into projects that would never happen.
And on top of all that, there was the voice inside you.
Intense, threatening and constant: a chant that echoed inside your skull repeating the same thing over and over again. It was the voice of doubt that was amplified when an obstacle appeared in your way; the greatest challenge to overcome in the world of creators, artists and dreamers. Also in that of entrepreneurs.
THE LITTLE GANDALLA THAT YOU WEAR INSIDE
Long ago Nick Cave , the Australian singer and writer, was questioned about his doubts about his own talent on The Red Hand Files , his personal blog. After clarifying that this was one of the most frequently asked questions (dark, poetic and twisted, Nick Cave’s musical style is definitely not for everyone), he launched into talking about that voice that most of us hear when they arise. the first complications.
A criticism, a comment or the lack of likes are enough for the voice of the little gandal that lives inside us to amplify and collapse the confidence in ourselves that with the passage of time and a lot of work we have managed to build. According to Cave, this gandal is a homunculus (a small man) who repeats the same thing over and over again. Sometimes he yells it, sometimes he whispers it. Sometimes he says it over and over again as we try to fall asleep: “Leave it alone, you are not and will never be good enough.”
The annoying chant of that horrifying voice is followed by the natural reaction of doubt. Hearing it we withdraw and end up fleeing wounded to the depths of ourselves. Scared, we seek comfort in the solitude of our intricate labyrinth and, knowing that we are absolutely vulnerable, we hide at least until silence reigns in our skull again and the echo of his words has disappeared.
The problem is that the only way to shut him up completely is to renounce our ideal. To the idea of writing a song, shooting a movie, painting a picture capable of bringing life back to a heart that has been transformed into stone. The only way to permanently silence the voice of doubt is to renounce the idea of undertaking this project that we are so passionate about.
In his little text Nick Cave explains that this voice is the true enemy of aspiration. A cruel command that orders us to distance ourselves from a possible better version of ourselves. Without realizing it, many of us fall for their game and, scared, we give up.
The most dramatic thing – Cave warns – is that that annoying voice is really our inner voice. Each of us is his own homunculus, his own gandal, his own detractor. The dislikes don’t have to come from abroad. We constantly judge ourselves, we disqualify ourselves, we scoff at our efforts. We deny our little achievements and, without help from anyone else, we managed to fall apart.
We lose the battle before we have fought it.
For Nick Cave, the act of beginning to create (a song, a novel, a company) is a declaration of war. A bloody battle between your true self and the gandal that screams from within. But that ruthless battle is absolutely necessary. It is from that tension between the two beings that you are that the true power of creation arises.
If you allow the battle to be won by your homunculus, if you surrender to bitter self-criticism, you run the risk of existing defeated and frustrated, eternally punishing yourself with dislikes like a little tyrant. But if you believe in yourself, if you have the courage to fight against the dark echoes of doubt that you engender, sooner or later you will realize that in the process you have created something unique, beautiful and valuable.
Nick Cave closes his text by reminding us that it is our responsibility, and no one else’s, to kick the little gandal within us as many times as necessary to silence it.
So the next time you are in doubt, you know what to do.

Make Your Brand Stand Out and Learn How to Create a Logo on a Budget

A logo is crucial to your brand’s identity. Here’s how to make one with ease.
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February 20, 2021 2 min read
Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.
Think about the world’s biggest brands. When you’re thinking about something abstract like a “brand identity,” it’s likely that you’re envisioning in your mind’s eye, a logo. From Pepsi, to Facebook, to Jaguar, and millions more, the world’s biggest, most identifiable companies usually have something in common: An awesome, and, more importantly, memorable logo.
A logo is crucial to growing your brand identity, as it provides a symbol that people instantly associate with your brand, and makes it stand out in the marketplace. Creating a logo doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, especially when you’ve taken The Complete Logo Design Masterclass in Photoshop Course.
This two-hour course is taught by design expert Benjamin Wilson (4.5/5 instructor rating) in conjunction with Entrepreneur Academy. Here, Wilson will give you a fun, practical step-by-step approach to Photoshop that even absolute beginners will be able to follow. You’ll learn about the basics of text logos and icons, and learn how to incorporate existing icons into your work. Wilson will teach you how to organize your workspace layouts and how to create and use layers effectively. Crucially, you’ll learn how to create different sizes of Photoshop documents, how to crop and resize images and icons, and apply a wide variety of adjustments to create your design just the way you want it.
Ultimately, you’ll build a versatile stamp or emblem logo and create three vintage-style logos that you can use for your future projects.
You don’t need to be an advanced designer to create an awesome logo for your business. Right now, The Complete Logo Design Masterclass in Photoshop Course is on sale for just $19.99.
Prices subject to change.
Looking to diversify your investments in 2021? Check out DiversyFund to start dipping your toes in private real estate for as low as $500.

How To Get Your Restaurant More Customers and More Money

December 1, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The simple pleasures of life include enjoying a meal from a restaurant with friends and family. Maintaining high standards of service is a must, so let us consider how your systems and processes can be enhanced for a better customer experience and win their confidence during a time of social distancing, stricter safety protocols, and restaurants being placed under governmental restrictions for service in an effort to reduce the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases. With the guests’ experience as our main objective and priority, let us look into the ways we can improve it while maximizing productivity and profitability for your business. 
Innovative reservations program
As entrepreneurs, let us be innovative on how we can best serve our customers and provide our teams with the solution, system, and process that will enable us to achieve our business’ goals. In a time of a global pandemic, it is a risk to have people gathered, especially in large numbers for any reason including to dine in an establishment. 
Related: 7 Things Restaurant Entrepreneurs Must Do to Survive and Thrive
To address this concern, having a reservation system where customers can order and pay for their meals in advance will allow both parties (consumer and business entity) to save time and effort. Considering the possibilities, they will be able to order and pick-up their food and beverages for take-out with the option of doing the same for their dine-in experience as well.
As you introduce and implement this approach, it is best to create a fun marketing initiative that will promote how your new program will benefit your consumers and embody the goals of your program: 1) To ensure their well-being and safety by reducing their waiting time efficiently. This includes all activity spent during their idle time at the establishment such as being seated and expecting orders, which could expose them to groups of waiting patrons and making them prone to catching the virus and; 2) Highlight the convenience of this service to working professionals, where they can be provided with their favorite meals, without having to worry about being late for their shift. 
Related: 5 Ways Restaurant Owners Can Prepare for Reopening
As a part of your online ordering system, provide a space for guests to enter optional notes while booking their reservations where they can modify their meals and specify food requests for special dine-in occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, business meetings, etc.  
Increase table turnover rates
A result of offering a service like this would be an increase in your table turnover rates. The front and back of the house’s work will become more predictable having an efficient workflow that can eliminate delayed orders, and inventory will be stocked based on what customers really want to avoid disappointments if their orders are out of stock. Before implementing this kind of system, however, create a detailed master plan that will allow you to launch this new service as seamlessly as possible.  
Seating and cancellation policies
For the success of your reservations program, establishing clearly defined, written, and advertised seating and cancellation policies are essential. Provide guidelines that explain the system to your guests before they proceed with their reservation, orders, and payment. The staff must also be given proper training and preparation for the new system to guide customers and deliver a satisfactory service. 
A couple of years ago when preparing to travel to Japan with my son, I was surprised to learn that an all-you-can-eat restaurant that we were interested in dining at advertised time limits for how long you could sit, eat, and drink at the tables. A part of the rules I read on their website also indicated that even though you have food or a beverage on the table after your allotted time, everything would still be discarded. 
The same practice can also be adapted to contribute to the success of this program. Set a time limit on how long a reservation can be made available with the understanding that each table is reserved for a specific time period to accommodate other guests as well, similar to scheduled doctor’s appointments. 
Stating these guidelines set expectations and remove the awkwardness of trying to get guests to leave at a designated time. This way, your staff will be able to prepare for the next reservation by sanitizing and disinfecting essential items and areas in your establishment. 
Related: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in a Chick-fil-A Franchise
For guests who need a longer dining experience, create a special program to address these requests by having a longer reservation period for special events or have an effective means of communicating that you will not be able to accommodate their requests.
Accountability by the restaurant and the guest
Efforts to guarantee the effectiveness of an innovative system include accountability on both ends. This means that your business must uphold its end of the bargain by serving guests promptly and accurately immediately after being seated and ensuring that you have what they ordered in stock. A seamless and timely experience can be made possible by preparing in advance all of the essential items such as condiments and utensils for their dining experience. 
When seated, each guest should receive napkins, utensils, their beverage, water, the appropriate condiments, straws, etc. Having them prepackaged, even the real silverware, is good to reduce possible contamination. In-between courses, clear the tables promptly and provide the appropriate settings, etc. After their meal, printing a check will no longer be necessary as they already ordered, paid, and hopefully tipped in advance. 
Prepare popular meal add-ons subjected upon request. Only allow add-ons to a meal if they are simple menu items that will not take extra time to prepare, extend dining time nor disrupt the flow of service unless it is being ordered for take-out. In scenarios like these, have an updated e-check that can double as a receipt you can readily issue, which they can verify through their mobile phones to provide payment. This reduces the amount of contact you will have with each other and gives you a backup of servers at your terminals as well.
Internal communication system
Trying to find a server after they have walked off can be challenging as well as time-consuming. Design an internal communication system using text messaging, for example, where guests and servers can communicate with each other, instead of waiting for their server to return or become visible again.
Another part of this system could include a time update, just like with parking meters, that lets them know that their time at the table is about to end. This keeps guests on their scheduled timetable, however, see to it that you are notifying them politely and professionally. 
Test some of these suggestions and tweak them according to the specific needs of your guests and operation, measure your results, and get feedback from your guests, management, and staff. Give the program a good effort before deciding away with it if you experience challenges in the beginning.
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Household Binder Bible Reading Plan

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Welcome to the Free Printables Household Binder series!  This is the bible reading plan and you can find the rest of the household binder free printables here.
Have you ever tried to read the Bible in a year and just fail miserably? You have great intentions and you start out well, but then LIFE happens, you fall behind, and before you know it, you’re too overwhelmed to try to catch up?
This Bible Study Reading Plan is different!
It doesn’t go by months or have any dates or anything like that in it. So, if you fall behind it’s okay.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter if you read the Bible in a year or 5 years, the point is that YOU READ IT. Because when you’re overwhelmed, you’re not reading it, right?! You give up.
This is the system that I personally use and really love it!
I’ve been saved seven years now and this is my third pass through of reading the entire Bible. I’ve not read the entire Bible every year, but I AM reading it. I’m consistent and whenever I read a large passage or short book of the Bible, I make sure to check mark the appropriate box. I keep the plan in my Bible, so it’s easily accessible and I see it often.
It’s a lot more laid-back, less stressed way of getting the Word into your heart and soul. And best of all, it’s completely FREE! I hope you like it and I hope this Bible verse reading plan works well for you.
Household Binder Bible Reading Plan

Download your printables here and here.

Want more designs? Here are 11 more styles!

Download the space design chronological bible study guide printable here.

Download the animals for boys bible scripture reading plan here.

Download the animals for girls printable Bible reading plans here.

Download the colorful one year bible reading printable here.

Download the watercolor printable reading plans here.

Download the coloring printable Bible reading plans here.

Download the dragon printable Bible studying plan here.

Download the cats printable Bible plans here.

Download the super cute Bible reading printable here.

Download the comic art ‘read the bible in a year plan’ printable here.

Download the yellow reading plan pdf here.

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Don't Let Poor Air Quality Slow Down Your Day-to-Day Productivity

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February 20, 2021 2 min read
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