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How Cultural Changes in the Workplace Can Grow Your Business

16, 2017

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Glenn Llopis’s book The Innovation Mentality. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.The Cultural Demographic Shift (CDS) is driving the fastest-growing part of our U.S. workforce, and shift populations represent the largest segments of America’s potential purchasing power. But they also represent some of the fastest-growing demographics of business owners in the U.S. You want them to be your customers, but they’re also fast becoming your competitors.Related: What Magic Johnson Can Teach You About the Advantages of Cultural Demographic ShiftsShift populations, like immigrants, have been compelled to use the innovation mentality to see opportunity and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. This is part of the reason why black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. (up more than 322 percent from 1997 to 2015 according to the “2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” commissioned by American Express Open) and why the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 15 times faster than other U.S. businesses (or at a rate of 7.5 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a study by the consulting firm Geoscape and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce).Those shift population businesses present opportunities to reach the populations a business doesn’t have the talent internally to connect with. That’s how we come up with the three most visible areas where the CDS has created immediate and obvious opportunities for growth:Workplace/workforceExternal partnershipsMarketplace/consumersSolve for the gaps in these three areas using the six characteristics of the innovation mentality, and you solve for high-performance teams through diversity of thought; authentic workplace cultures whose values are defined by individuals who are encouraged to breed continuous innovation; and intellectual capital and know-how previously unseen that enables the full potential in people. All this results in an intimate engagement that maximizes the full potential of people who are your employees and your customers. That’s sustainable ROI!So ask yourself: “Does your workplace culture support demographic, cultural and experiential differences and leverage them in these three areas?” Probably not. Most current leadership in the U.S. is woefully unprepared or unwilling to see the opportunity gaps, let alone invest in them. Unfortunately, American corporations see all this activity as an initiative (cost center) and will see the CDS as the last remaining true growth opportunity (profit center) only when Latin America and other international regions begin seizing the previously unseen opportunities because they had the vision to see it first.Related: 4 Steps to Profiting from the Cultural Demographic ShiftSolving for workplace/workforceDo you celebrate differences and individuality in your workplace? Or are you like the hundreds of companies I’ve worked with that have said something similar to what senior executives from a major investment-banking firm told me: “Today, we’re afraid for the future of our business because our employees don’t relate with our emerging global client base. Many of our new competitors are now owned and operated by Indians, Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics. We continue to lose key diverse members of our workforce to these same competitors because we lack the cultural intelligence to keep them.”Remember, you can’t develop this cultural intelligence, let alone define your business platform, unless you have leaders who own the experiences and influence their cultures can bring to how they think, act and are motivated to perform. This is part of their leadership identity. That’s why it’s important for you and your managers to spend time defining your personal brand value propositions and leadership identities.When you’re in evolution mode, you have to create your own platforms. Otherwise you just keep substituting, which is exactly what workplace programs like Employee Resource Groups do. ERGs are growing initiatives in corporations as the CDS has required new, diverse talent in management, director level and senior executive management roles. I used to think ERGs could play this role and have a purpose beyond events, social aspects and focus groups that usually define what they do at most companies — in a strictly voluntary capacity, mind you. But I realized that they almost always have no real strategic value. They’re just initiatives. Even when they have hundreds of members, only a small percentage of ERGs are active. It’s difficult to recruit new members when these volunteer groups are not incentivized or properly invested in. And why should people participate when no one in senior leadership is active or sees any real strategic value in them, other than as initiatives that exist solely to check off another box on the “compliance” list.That’s irresponsible. ERGs and workplace groups like them have value only if they matter and have quantitative influence — and that happens at such a small percentage of companies, it’s almost statistically irrelevant. Until then, ERGs will likely make an organization more divisive until that organization can recognize the value that comes from different types of people. Which is why, like job descriptions, I believe they should be eliminated until organizations clearly define what their ERGs are solving for. Before it makes sense to reinstitute ERGs, organizations should view these groups as profit centers not cost centers, pay active members a small bonus to remain active and quantifiably contribute to business growth. Without that, ERGs will continue to play the role of “diversity checkboxes” that unknowingly create more tension and widen engagement gaps among their members.So what’s the solution? Instead of large groups of inactive members, I’d rather see small “idea labs” led by subject matter experts who serve as examples of how their unique differences cultivate innovation and initiative. You can’t come into the group unless you’re a subject matter expert or have a desire to be one, because as experts, you know what you can solve for, see the opportunity gaps and identify them quickly to build a plan around them. This group and its plan then serve as examples of how their unique differences cultivate tangible change and growth that impact the bottom line.Related: 6 Characteristics of an Innovative LeaderThat’s how ERGs become smarter about defining what they’re ultimately trying to accomplish for themselves and the business, and then create a metric to enforce accountability to assure their objectives are being measured and attained. ERGs must view themselves as formidable advancement platforms for talent and market development activity. They must be focused on defining a value proposition that is more strategically aligned to seeing and seizing business innovation and growth opportunities that are directly related to a person’s cultural, gender, sexual-orientation and societal identity. They must be more forceful and encourage different points of view and perspectives that translate into solutions to meet corporate growth objectives and initiatives across channels, brands and business units. Until then, they will do little to alleviate the fact that the changing face of America is being met with tremendous resistance. That’s how and why the “old guard” remains uncomfortable with the CDS; it still represents uncertainty and change for those who are uninformed about what diversity means to enabling business growth, which brings us to external partnerships.Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code LEAD2021 through 4/10/21.

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8, 2021

2 min read

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The demand for project management is expected to grow by 10 percent over the next few years, due in large part to the need for companies to operate more efficiently in a competitive marketplace. That point goes double for small businesses and entrepreneurs trying to make a dent in the industry. Project managers help deliver projects on time and under-budget so your company can operate as efficiently as possible. If you’re leading a company, it makes sense to have these skills.You can learn them in The Ultimate PMP, Six Sigma & Minitab Certification Bundle.This 12-course bundle will give you instructional material on 10 world-class, in-demand process improvement certifications. You’ll gain in-depth and hands-on knowledge of Lean Six Sigma, Minitab, Lean, and more to help hone your managerial and data analysis skills, thereby improving your project delivery effectiveness. The certification programs will not only help you understand process improvement but they will also enhance your leadership skills and make you a more effective manager.These courses are taught by Advanced Innovation Group Pro Excellence (AIGPE), a global independent Lean Six Sigma Credentialing Organization that works for professionals in all industries. AIGPE has trained and certified more than 75,000 professionals in 175 countries. Each of AIGPE’s instructors are certified in Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and more.Learn project management skills from the best today. Right now, The Ultimate PMP, Six Sigma & Minitab Certification Bundle is on sale for just $49.99.Don’t forget to check out DiversyFund to start investing in private real estate in 2021. You don’t have to be in the 1% to get started. Invest today for as low as $500.Prices subject to change.

How To Streamline Communication At Your Virtual Office

By John Turner, founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.
Virtual offices are now commonplace, especially if most of your customer interactions and transactions take place online. But with this change, we’ve realized that there are plenty of unique challenges that come with working with people that you don’t see face to face every day. 
If you’re like most small-business owners, you want to streamline the way people communicate at your virtual office. Stronger communication leads to improved morale and fewer misunderstandings, which contributes to better performance in day-to-day operations. Plus, when your team works hard and works well together, your customers get top-notch service. 

The bottom line is this — it’s nearly impossible for you to do your best if there are frequent communication breakdowns between individuals and departments. Our goal today is to help you organize the way you interact with everyone on your team so you can streamline communication and boost productivity. 

Let’s get started. 
Use defined key performance indicators (KPIs) and tools. 

One common reason for miscommunications is people use different words to describe the same thing. It’s not easy to get your message across to someone when they don’t understand how you define specific work-related terms. 
We suggest avoiding this problem altogether and establishing standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) and tools. Imagine how much easier it will be to talk to people from different departments when you’re both speaking the same technical language. 
KPIs are essentially expectations for each team member. So, an employee that writes for your blog might keep track of how many articles they write each week. As you can imagine, this seemingly simple idea can branch out in many different ways across your various departments. 
Similarly, talking about various tools can get overwhelming if team members are using two different pieces of software. If possible, buy bulk software plans and give everyone on your team a copy, so they are all working with the same tools and software. 
Encourage team meetings.
Another way to streamline communication across your business is to encourage regular team meetings. Ideally, each department should meet up once a week to discuss their goals, potential roadblocks, and estimated progress. 
We have a medium-sized team, and these gatherings last between 15-20 minutes. But the value we gain from chatting face to face each week is unmatched. These meetings allow us to get on the same page and sort out our plans for the week. As a result, we always know what needs to happen next. 
You should also consider bringing everyone together once a month for a townhall-style meeting. Use this opportunity to share with your team the various updates and changes happening throughout the company. 
The best way to streamline communication at your virtual office is to make sure everyone is in the loop. Team meetings help bridge this success gap and make it easier for groups of people to accomplish large tasks. 
Invite team members to participate in extra activities.
Finally, we want to talk about the importance of getting to know your team beyond weekly meetings. Team building is absolutely vital to the success of your business and effective communication. 
There are several ways you can invite members of your team to participate in extra activities. 
For example, you could have a daily question in your Slack channel such as, “What’s your favorite food?” These simple prompts can lead to a much deeper discussion, especially if your team is from around the world and have unique food preferences. 
We also suggest that you host activities that encourage your team to work together and grow. One of our favorite things to do is have a monthly webinar where one of our team members teaches the rest of our crew a new skill or technique. We’ve found these events to bring our team closer together, which is perfect for improving communication among different departments. 
Final Thoughts
There are plenty of things you should take into consideration when streamlining the way people communicate in your virtual office. Use the tips we’ve outlined today to build a strong framework so people will have an easier time exchanging ideas and growing as a team.

How 24-Hour Streaming Brought Media Full-Circle

By Michael Gruen, blockchain, DeFi, CPG, SoMe Tech and entertainment industry entrepreneur. At only 22, Michael has millions worth of BTC.
Media, by its very existence, is constantly fluid. Think of the evolution of the music world. People went from tuning into their local radio station to hear shows and songs to being able to listen to their favorite music on demand by playing records. Then our on-demand music evolved, from records to eight-tracks and cassette tapes to CDs and finally the digital revolution that brought about mp3s, iPods and streaming. 
There was a similar evolution in film and TV entertainment. Remember the days when you had to be at home, tuned in and sitting in front of your TV when your favorite show came on? If you missed it when it aired, you missed it forever. Many of the people reading this won’t remember that. I certainly don’t.

I grew up in a world of on-demand visual entertainment — one that kicked off with VHS tapes to record and watch your favorite movies and shows and then DVDs that were more reliable and had better audio-visual quality than their tape counterparts. Video game systems brought the fun of the arcade into bedrooms and living rooms. 

Then came truly on-demand home entertainment. Don’t have a particular movie at home? No worries! Watch it on demand through your cable company. Platforms like Netflix and Hulu expanded access and put shows and movies online, followed by online versions of TV and cable network platforms (HBO Max and Peacock, for example).  

What was next? Delivering entertainment in the hands of people at home. Enter YouTube, which allowed people to upload their own videos. Although the very first video uploaded to the platform — an 18-second clip of YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the zoo — seems quaint by today’s standards, it kicked off a wave of user-generated video content across social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Livestreaming was the next frontier. While the first livestream technically happened in 1993 (in an internet broadcast by a band called Severe Tire Damage), it gained popularity starting in 2008 on platforms like YouTube Live and later via livestreams via other social media platforms. In 2011, Twitch put a new twist on livestreaming by bringing together the world of gaming and livestreaming.  
In time, YouTube figured out how to monetize its content by running ads. The strategy has paid off. In early 2020, Google (which purchased YouTube in 2006) revealed that the video platform had generated nearly $5 billion in ad revenue in the three months prior. Other platforms quickly followed suit.
With each exciting new development in media evolution, it seems as though we’ve finally reached the end of all that is possible. What could be next? How could streaming, for example, have any more room for change? How can we possibly take things to the next level?
Strangely, the next level is going to look a lot like returning to media’s humble television beginnings. Think ad-supported, 24-hour-a-day broadcasts that people can tune into anytime. This is certainly the future on Twitch, which kicked off mid-roll ads in September 2020. Users like myself are kicking off networks that stream content 24-7, generating ad revenue. With a significant percentage of Gen Zers and Millennials tuning into Twitch frequently, the platform plays heavily into the media future of the younger demographic.
From eight-tracks and mp3s to video beaming and streaming, the younger demographic has always driven media change for everyone. If the advent of the 24-hour network “Twitch TV” model means visual media has come full circle, it will be truly interesting to see where we go next.

Meet Tskenya Frazer: Entrepreneur Making Stylish Larger Sized Footwear More Accessible

 Representation in fashion is something that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. The historical images of models on runways have seeped into the styles and clothes we see on the high streets. However, there has been a revolution as more consumers become body-conscious and fashion labels receive criticism for their lack of diversity. Consumers are now also voting with their pockets by shunning or canceling brands that do not change. Whilst all of this has been great progress, one area which hasn’t seen much change is footwear. People with larger-sized feet, regardless of their gendered identity, find it extremely difficult to buy shoes and are often left with dull and bland options. An entrepreneur who is building a shoe brand to tackle this problem is Tskenya-Sarah Frazer, founder of eponymous brand TSKENYA. 

Early Beginnings 
Frazer grew up in Hackney, East London, which was rife with gang violence and crime before it became the cultural center it is today. She was fortunate to go to a new academy in the area that mimicked the model of a private school but was free for the students. Additionally, “I remember my mother always taking me to the library and museum when I was young” she says, which made her more culturally privileged than her peers. After doing well at school, she went on to King’s College London to study English Literature and Language with ambitions to become a journalist when she finished university. However, after completing publishing and editorial internships it became very obvious that it was an inhospitable industry for black working-class women – it would be an uphill battle that she was unwilling to climb. 
A short while later, as Frazer neared her graduation ceremony, she grew tired of not being able to find footwear to match her graduation dress. Being 5ft9 since she was 11 years old, with size 9 feet meant that this was an issue she faced throughout her adolescence as the shoes that were available were limited and flavorless. This experience coupled with the bullying she experienced for her larger-sized feet and lack of diversity in journalism was the final straw. 

Frazer started doing research on what it would take to start her own brand as she was “tired of being a victim of the eurocentric fashion industry” and “wanted to show the fashion world what real authentic sustainable inclusion could look like”. Whilst researching, she realized that it was not just cis-gendered women with larger-sized feet who were excluded from the footwear industry but so were members of the LGBTQ+ community, hence the brand’s stance against gendered marketing and language. In her own words, “we provide inclusive luxury for everybody”.

Launching TSKENYA Shoes 

Despite having very little background in fashion production and design, she dedicated years to learning about footwear, production, and sustainability and how these three things could mingle together. With the support of charitable organizations like the Prince’s Trust, and her business mentors she was able to launch a Kickstarter campaign explaining the concept to people and allowing them to order the first batch as a pre-order so she could validate the idea. This campaign was a huge success and it sold out within 48 hours. 

Tskenya ‘Grace’ boots

Courtesy of Tskenya

With the Kickstarter proving to be a success Frazer was now ready to go about launching the brand at scale so needed to seek out manufacturing processes and inputs that were sustainable and made sense from an ethical standpoint. Looking at her options she quickly realized “how hard business can be” and how tough it was to find sustainable materials at a price where she could compete with other companies on the market. Frazer decided rather than rushing the launch and pushing the brand forward, that she would take the time to build out a supply chain and products that would be truly authentic to the brand’s values, so that she, her team, and those wearing the footwear could feel proud of the product.
After years of work, she was comfortable enough to relaunch her brand which is available to purchase and support now.
The Future
Frazer hopes the brand continues to grow and reaches new markets for those “who are in need of affirming footwear in their size” which is why she is currently looking into investment options. Even though sourcing has proved to be tough she has tried her best to make sure it remains as ethical as possible but offers customers great value for money and style. 
Outside of building the shoe brand, Frazer has made it her mission to help people support young entrepreneurs build equitable businesses, works as a VC Scout for Ada Ventures, and assists organizations in becoming more inclusive through her consultancy. She is also an upcoming author and has a book being published later this year about black British business in the U.K. titled “A Quick Ting On: Black Brit-ish Business” which is available for pre-order. 
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. To submit ideas for features or keep up to date with new releases you can find me on Twitter – @TommyPF91

The Effects Of The Pandemic Mean That Employee Voice Has Never Been More Important.

Recently I read a report from the Institute for Employment Studies on the importance of employee voice and the damages a business risks when they ignore it. The researcher compared the potential consequences of disregarding employee voice with democratic elections of the last decade that have surprised analysts and produced uncertainty because the powerful didn’t see them coming. The comparison went like this: in organizations, like in societies, the powerless have opinions, concerns, and perspectives that often go ignored by the powerful, which results in a deepening division and discontent until a breaking point is reached and potentially damaging, uncontrolled change occurs.
The comparison seemed reasonable enough. In so many respects organizations mirror the societies they operate within, but they differ in one key respect: most businesses are not democratic. The sudden and unforeseen changes is generally not a realistic scenario in business because employees often cannot produce en masse decision making without executive oversight. Instead the effects of a lack of employee voice in business are much more subtle and corrosive.
Individuals can take a stand and leave an organization, but collective action is difficult, particularly in the US and UK where unions tend to wield less power than some of their European counterparts. Discontent as a result of voicelessness can be more corrosive in businesses precisely because there is no sudden shock result followed by earnest introspection from the powerful, who ask themselves how they got it so wrong. Businesses can operate with their heads in the sand for much longer without realizing there is a problem. Without realizing they are losing valuable employees because they feel ignored, without realizing the lack of employee voice in the organization is impacting the bottom line, because the dissatisfaction of employees is impacting the quality of the service or product.

The dangers of voicelessness
Paying attention to employee voice is in the interest of any kind of business because there is a need for it wherever people work. People have an innate drive to make their voices heard, no matter the circumstances. So not providing them with a platform to express themselves will not result in them simply shutting up. They will instead seek out alternative and subversive means of making themselves heard, which has the potential to be less constructive and actively damage team morale as well as, potentially, the reputation of the business.

The positive effect of prioritizing employee voice is the improved general well-being of a team that feels valued and respected. Making them truly feel like stakeholders in the organization, rather than cogs in a machine. While overlooking employee voice risks disengaging team members, losing them to competitors, and contributing to a generally negative atmosphere.

One of the less obvious consequences of presiding over a workforce that does not feel listened to is that they go silent. In this sense, the effects of enhancing employee voice go both ways. You’re not just opening your organization up to negative opinions and discontented venting; by providing an employee voice platform you also reap the rewards of creating a channel for fresh ideas and insightful perspectives.
Employee voice program
The ideal employee voice program is well thought out and structured in a way that is tailor-made for the particular business, with the aim of enhancing and improving the employee experience within your particular organization. It needs to be well advertised and accessible to all. Incorporating formal and informal structures within the system will help to include differing preferred ways of working from different employees, and allowing for anonymity will help encourage the more tentative contributors and will increase the likelihood of honest feedback. 
A simple form of employee voice infrastructure that you can set up as an employer is an employee survey. This can be carried out annually, biannually, monthly: whatever you think suits your organizations’ needs. This means that feedback can be structured within a framework predetermined by you, but it is also important to allow space for people to express their thoughts outside of the framework, and use it – if needed – in the next iteration of the survey. This will help to demonstrate to employees that their feedback is being heard and fed back into the corporate conversation. These kinds of surveys need to be well advertised and everyone within the organization should be encouraged to take part.
These larger scale, comprehensive surveys can also be supplemented with more informal check-ins during more routine company meetings, to repeatedly check-in, track progress, and demonstrate that peoples’ voices are being heard. These employee voice practices can be optimised by making sure contributions are truly anonymous in order to encourage honesty. Also make sure you dedicate allotted time to this: book it into peoples’ calendars, allowing employees to give useful input and feedback takes time and expressing your voice should be seen as part of our working hours not an added chore. It is also important that the results of all forms of employee voice are made transparent and shared throughout the organization.
Annual surveys are useful for gaining a more comprehensive insight into the satisfaction of your employees, but a token employee voice initiative rolled out once a year really isn’t often enough. You need to create open channels for employees to have their voices heard at any time; through effective line management and regular meeting feedback sessions. The better way of working they identify today they will have forgotten about in 4 months time when the infrequent survey is rolled out.
In addition to transparently sharing results with the wider company, one of the most important things is that you actually have to listen to the feedback you receive and do something about it! I have written at length before about the senselessness of ignoring your employees for a whole year until the annual survey comes around, but in addition to more regular opportunities, you also need to take action on the information you receive. Listen to your employees. Employee voice that falls on deaf ears is no employee voice at all.
Now more than ever
The cliché of the boss whose door is perpetually open has always been something of a myth. A packed calendar, personal assistant to guard the threshold, or just the overwhelming aura of being too busy to concern themselves with your problem, often serve as barriers to employee voice. But this sense of detachment is heightened in the time of Covid-19, where that door has never been more closed (since it may no longer even be in the same building).
Admittedly, their (digital) inbox is of course always open, but – when working from home – the work lives of colleagues of all stripes become something of a blackbox. When it comes to remote working, and especially in the case of the boss, an assumption is often made that they must be incredibly busy. Too busy to deal with the thing you wanted to talk to them about. When this might not necessarily be the case, and certainly shouldn’t be the case all of the time.
Also, looking hopefully towards the future, as we move forward, away from a fully remote working environment and towards a hybrid model, this too may bring its own problems for employee voice. The asymmetrical nature of hybrid, where some people are at the office and may have an informal route to communicate concerns or improvements, while those at home are marginalized, the need for formal structures to enable multidirectional communication within the organization becomes even more apparent.
Employee experience has a direct impact on customer experience. Prioritizing employee voice will ultimately serve to improve employee wellbeing, which ultimately serves to produce a positive financial return. So, if you don’t already have a program in place to give your employees a voice in a structured way, now is the time. Allow for anonymity, incorporate the formal and the informal, listen for trends, be curious, repeat. Then set action plans to resolve.

Eight Top Personal Brands And The ‘X’ Factors That Make Them Stand Out

When you think about outstanding personal branding, at least one person comes to mind. This person displays all the elements of what a personal brand should be, but they also have a little something more—an “X” factor.But what are these factors and how can other entrepreneurs tap into those same skills or traits for their own benefit? Below, eight professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss their favorite examples of amazing personal branding and the particular elements that make them so outstanding.

1. Tai Lopez’s Charisma And Consistency
Tai Lopez is incredibly charismatic and has an undeniable persona. At first, you might have people laughing at you and how far you go to capture attention, but you work so diligently and become so good that people cannot ignore you—that is what Tai did so brilliantly. Another thing that he did was put this persona out everywhere, and it was consistent. It was a caricature amplified all over the web, podcasts, book clubs and especially in video. He was one of the early adopters of video marketing that is now ubiquitous. Initially, many founders and entrepreneurs were shy of being on camera without a full professional crew and script carefully crafted with marketing messaging. Tai Lopez adopted transparency and engendered an authentic persona that was and is completely infectious. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

2. Sara Blakely’s Positivity, Openness And Playfulness
Personal branding is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. To me, Sara Blakely of SPANX rocks personal branding. She’s positive, affirming and playful while still being the boss. She doesn’t back away from celebrating her successes or her failures, and she is so magnetic. How many women could encourage you to flash your support undergarments and put the photo online? Sara’s openness has built a loyal community of women who resonate with her on a personal level and, therefore, support her professionally. Know your audience and include them on your journey. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity

3. Gary Vaynerchuk’s Originality
Gary Vaynerchuk has quickly built the strongest personal brand that I have seen. His social media content highlights his off-the-charts business and emotional IQ, but his brand is built more on his realness. He has the knack of “telling it like it is” but explaining the “why” and that his blunt honesty comes from a place of love. His content is completely original and has a real impact on millions of subscribers. He has built a strong personal brand on his unique blend of tough love and life advice. Anyone can build a brand, but building a personal brand is a lifetime achievement. The key is branding what makes you uniquely you instead of branding what you think people will like. People love originality and everyone has something that makes them uniquely successful. Brand yourself and that quality! – Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation

4. Tony Robbins’s Community Building
There are many business and life coaches, but there are few who can organize captivating live conferences like Tony Robbins. With conferences that last days in many big cities across the world, Tony tries to go a step above writing books and creating content natively for digital platforms. He takes the experience of content consumption to a new standard, adding a touch of his vibrant personality to the show while offering opportunities for community building in person. From the hotels to the halls, all the way to the conference auditoriums, people from all walks of life connect with each other through shared values and ambitions. This community building is what encourages people to return to his website, social accounts and books. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Courtney Elmer’s Unified Aesthetic
The one person who does an excellent job of personal branding is Courtney Elmer. Her brand colors, website, copy and digital marketing assets all have a cohesive and unified aesthetic. When you view any of her social media channels, website or content marketing, you know immediately it’s her brand. Entrepreneurs should consider doing the same. Ensure your personal brand colors, fonts, copy, website and marketing assets look consistent and congruent to build an identifiable brand. Clashing messaging and visual elements lead to a broken personal brand. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
6. Mark Cuban’s Use Of Media To Deliver Value
Mark Cuban is a great example of the power of personal branding. Few, if any, entrepreneurs are as synonymous with entrepreneurship as Mark Cuban. Relative to other entrepreneurs who have enjoyed similar levels of success, Cuban has been able to cultivate a unique brand by embracing media—as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as a Shark Tank investor and as a commentator on a wide range of issues related to business and beyond—and by delivering value in his media appearances. While not all other entrepreneurs can successfully emulate Cuban, all can learn from his example. Understand the lane you wish to play in, embrace media and continually deliver value. – Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group
7. Elon Musk’s Outlandish Personality
A good current example is Elon Musk. It doesn’t matter what you think of him or if you agree with all his ideas. He’s undeniably good at generating attention. While he’s known for his company and products, he’s also effective at getting publicity for social media comments. His branding often involves making controversial or cryptic statements that cause all kinds of debates. Someone who’s not running a big company obviously won’t get the same attention as Elon Musk, but you can study the way he’s cultivated an outlandish personality that he expresses in interviews, videos and posts. I wouldn’t recommend trying to copy him, but you can build your own brand in a similar way, by being yourself and letting your uniqueness shine through. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. Madonna’s Ability To Evolve Over Time
Having a personal brand that can change and grow with time is the tough part. I admire chameleons like Madonna. She is not only individualistic and instantly recognizable, but she can also morph into wildly different styles year after year while always remaining on brand. Having a recognizable brand is one thing, and being able to highlight different facets of yourself over time is the ultimate goal. To me, the only way to have a lasting brand is to remain true to yourself. Being an original soul is how you’re able to be truly different and stand out in a genuine way, especially over a long period of time. Anyone can sniff out a fake personality, so be honest about who you are if you want people to believe in your personal brand. – Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals

Lamb Weston Patiently Waiting For Reopening Surge

Lamb Weston (NYSE: LW) is among the very few consumer staples companies that have not had a fantastic post-COVID experience. The company, hampered by its exposure to restaurants and hospitality, saw its revenue drop sharply in the fiscal Q4 period of 2020

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8, 2021

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Lamb Weston And The French Fry Indicator 
Lamb Weston (NYSE: LW) is among the very few consumer staples companies that have not had a fantastic post-COVID experience. The company, hampered by its exposure to restaurants and hospitality, saw its revenue drop sharply in the fiscal Q4 period of 2020 (calendar Q2) and the rebound has been less than stellar. Now, more than a year into the crisis, the company is still struggling with COVID-related issues but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccine use spreading, the outdoor dining season upon us, and economic reopening underway management is expecting volumes to begin increasing and we think their forecasts are too cautious. Americans love to eat out and we’ve been shuttered away far too long. When we feel safe getting out to the local diner, the burger joint, the pub, the parks, and vacation spots the restaurants need to be ready for business. Lamb Weston, Slow Business But Not Bad Business 
Lamb Weston’s business in the Q3 period is down on a YOY basis but not bad, at least not in terms of making profits, paying the bills, delivering dividends to shareholders, and buying back stock. The $895.8 million in revenue is basically flat on a sequential basis but down -4.4% from last year and nearly 1000 basis points better than expected. The decline is driven by a -6.6% reduction in volume that was partially offset by higher prices. Moving down the report, the company saw a noticeable reduction in margin due to COVID-related supply chain issues that shaved 41% off of the bottom line. On a GAAP basis the $0.45 in earnings missed by $0.08 while the adjusted $0.45 missed by $0.06. Looking forward, the company is expecting the rebound to begin accelerating in the fiscal 4th quarter and return to pre-COVID levels by the end of the calendar year. The quarter-to-date results are promising and suggest this forecast is cautious. Volume in the U.S. is already running at 90% of pre-COVID levels with the EU and International markets trailing but expected to catch up soon. “We remain optimistic that overall demand in the U.S. will steadily return to pre-pandemic levels around the end of calendar 2021, and that global category growth will resume at historical rates soon thereafter. Our recently-announced investments to construct a new manufacturing facility in China, as well as the expansion of our chopped and formed product capacity in the U.S., underscore our confidence in the long-term health of the global category, as well as our strategy to support the growth of our customers as they continue to expand across our key markets,” Lamb Weston Gives Value To Shareholders
Business at Lamb Weston has been slow but not to the extent it has damaged the company’s financial position. Even at the reduced rate earnings are more than enough to cover the 1.15% dividend yield with room to spare for things like buybacks. As of the Q3 report, the annualized payout is about 42% of earnings with ample free cash flow to sustain dividend increases this year without an uptick in business. The balance sheet metrics are a little off due to the reduced cash flow but still healthy if not rock-solid. Leverage is a little high at 7.5X earnings and coverage a little low at only 4.5X debt obligation but that is mitigated by the outlook. With revenue, earnings, and profitability on track for improvement this quarter and next fiscal year both leverage and coverage are already improving. The Technical Outlook: Lamb Weston Falls But This Is One Hot Potato
Shares of Lamb Weston are down about 2.0% in early action following the FQ3 release but support is already evident. Buying support is showing up at the previous resistance level of $79 and is likely to be strong. The indicators are consistent with support at this level and more, stochastic is showing a clear buy signal and MACD is about to confirm it. If price action is able to move higher from here we see momentum building to drive the stock up to retest the recent highs. Once we get some positive news out of the restaurant industry we expect this stock will quickly recover the pre-COVID high of $95 and then move higher again.