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How To Calculate Your Market Share and Breakeven Point

Take note of the formulas to calculate market share and breakeven for your business.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

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

This guide is a tour of the five basic structures to develop an effective business plan when starting up, launching a new line or integrating a partner to grow.
Although each project is different, everything starts from having an idea and putting it into writing based on five basic points:
• Ideological structure. It includes the name of the company, as well as the Mission, Vision, Values and a description of the competitive advantages of the business.
• Structure of the environment. It is based on an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the company, as well as the behavior of the sector in which it operates, market trends, competition and potential customers.
Guide to approximations of percentage of market share

* Source: E Foundation, Macro Plan. Design guide. Mentoring for the entrepreneur.
Once you find which row (1-13) most closely matches the description of your competition, you can see how their market share is doing .
Example: my competitors are “Big”, they are “Some” competitors and their products are “Similar” to mine. Therefore, its market share percentage is 0.5% -5%.
• Mechanical structure. Here are the distribution, sales, marketing and advertising strategies, that is, what actions must be taken to achieve the success of the business idea.
To know more: 15 sustainable and ecological business ideas for you
• Financial structure. This point is essential, as it tests –based on calculations and scenario projections– if the idea is viable –speaking in economic terms– and if it will generate an attractive profit margin.
Calculate your breakeven point:It is a measure that indicates the units that a company must sell to absorb the fixed costs derived from its own operation. This data is relevant to determine the moment in which sales will begin to generate profits for the company.
The breakeven point is calculated with the following formula:P.eq. = CFPV -CV
Where:
CF = fixed costs of the operation
PV: unit selling price
CV: unit variable cost
Example:
A trading company has the following price and cost structure:
Fixed costs: $ 12,000
Variable costs per product: $ 4.5
Variable Price: $ 9
Therefore, when applying the breakeven formula in this case, the entrepreneur knows that he needs to sell 2,667 units in order not to have a profit or loss.
When the company sells fewer units than its breakeven point, it will make losses, when it sells 2,667 it will not have significant profits, and when it sells more than 2,667 units it will begin to generate profits.
To learn more: What is the difference between Purpose, Mission and Vision?
Note: it is important to mention that the breakeven point can be calculated in units (as in the previous case), but also in pesos that must be sold to reach the breakeven point.
• Human Resources. It helps to define each of the jobs to be filled, and determines the rights and obligations of each of the members of the organization. It does not matter if you are just starting up by yourself, this will be your base to ensure the growth of your company.

You can't cancel the debt, you can only move

January 19, 2021 7 min read

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.
Editor’s Note: This article is based on US law and cases.
Imagine buying a second home, one that you must repair. You spill your sweat, not to mention your money, to make it look good. Once you’re done, you decide to rent rather than sell it. It will take longer to recover your investment, but you will have a stable source of income later. Maybe you can even stay in retirement.
But then the city council sends you a letter: “Times are tough for tenants now, so we forbid you to collect rent.” After freaking out a bit, call the city hall and ask if the council members have prohibited the bank from charging you each month for the $ 100,000 loan you asked for to buy the house.
They say no. The city council just canceled the rent. I’m sorry.
Unfortunately, this is no longer a hypothetical situation. The city of Ithaca in central New York wants to cancel the rent to ease the burden on tenants. He has said nothing about the burden that decision would place on others.
This is just one recent example of a trend that resurfaces among good people who want to help, but don’t want to learn from history: Let’s solve our financial problems simply by declaring, “The debt is dead.” There is also a movement underway in Congress to write off $ 1.6 trillion in student loan debt – as if that amount of money could be wiped out.
Canceling the debt only changes the burden
Can city leaders really order you to let people live on your property for free? Not fortunately. Not in this country (United States), anyway, and not without an eminent domain – paying you fair market value for the property the government is seizing.
Of course, the Ithaca leaders have not thought this through. As USA Today recently reported , “Ithaca does not yet have a plan for how it would execute the cancellation of the rental if the state approves its request.” The mayor told reporters that the city would develop the rental cancellation structure more fully if it is given approval to go ahead.
Image: Depositphotos.com
If the mayor went ahead with canceling the debt, he would be sued immediately. Landlords would argue in court that the government is effectively repossessing their property by ordering them not to collect rent.
I’m a CPA and personal debt specialist, not a lawyer, so I don’t want to discuss legal matters. I want to talk about the practical and personal implications of debt cancellation, a noble but dangerous concept.
In the long term, debt cancellation doesn’t help much. In fact, it can end up hurting everyone.
Why Debt Cancellation Cancels Nothing
In April, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) proposed the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act , which would “institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.”
So that the financial burden does not fall solely on the owners, the proposal includes an unspecified “relief fund”. But the text of the bill never mentions even an approximate amount of dollars in that relief fund, although I would expect it to rise to hundreds of billions of dollars. Who would pay for it? All of us. All taxpayers in the United States would pay for this relief.
So the legislation would not really cancel the debt. It would simply make every American pay rent for apartments and houses they don’t live in and have never seen.
Fortunately, the bill has been stuck in the House Financial Services Committee since it was first introduced in mid-April. But the concept of debt cancellation lives on in the minds of many.
Debt cancellation ignores the real problem
Although the concept of canceling debt is not new, it broke into the media six years ago when a group created out of the Occupy Wall Street movement did something new: Organizers bought nearly $ 4 million in bad student loans – and then they announced that they would not be charged. They canceled it.
At that time, I approved of his move. It was compassionate capitalism in action: Individuals bought private debt and decided to cancel it. There was no coercion, no asset forfeiture, and no taxpayer money at stake.
But I also noticed that even if they paid off all of the $ 1.6 trillion in student loan debt, they hadn’t solved the problem. In another decade, there would be another $ 1 trillion in student loan debt. Back then, the big news was that student loan debt was in excess of $ 1 billion nationally. Nowadays? It’s $ 1.6 trillion .
Forgiving student loans is like emptying a bathtub when the faucet is still on top. You will have to keep doing this forever, unless you can turn off the water. Let’s talk seriously about closing the debt instead of canceling it.
The way to follow
Let me be clear: there is no silver lining in a pandemic. But there are lessons we can learn that have more to do with financial health than physical health. Obviously, we have all learned to spend less on eating out. USA Today reported that prior to the pandemic, Americans spent $ 228 a month “on food eaten away from home, including fast food, takeout, delivery, vending machines and food trucks .” Although takeout and home delivery are popular right now, everyone has personal stories about learning to cook at home again. I can’t tell you how many friends of mine on Facebook have posted photos of spices and cans of food that they didn’t remember owning that were pushed to the back of their pantry.
People are pinching pennies today because they don’t know if they will make a dollar tomorrow. Many have been laid off, and those receiving unemployment assistance do not know when it will end. So spending of all kinds is down. That’s necessary now, but if we can maintain some of that frugal spirit when life inevitably returns to normal, we won’t need to talk about canceling debt. We can start paying it. It won’t be easy, and it certainly won’t be fun. But it is not only the best way; it’s probably the only way.

Are You Easily Distracted and the Hours Fly by? Turn Your Time Into Productivity With These 10 Habits

Develop these qualities that will allow you to be more effective.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

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

In today’s dynamic world, learning to get more done in less time is key to personal and professional development. Effective and successful people have several habits in common. And the best: you can also develop them.
We share some of the qualities that will help you be more effective in your day to day:
1. Say ‘no’ to distractions. Forever.
Successful people use their time better because they are disciplined and know how to set their goals. I also speak of those people who do not have low moments; yes, there is time for vacations and for family, but they know how to balance it and they do not let themselves have unproductive moments.
To be highly effective, you need to learn to focus and avoid things that distract you (like your gadgets, noise, chatting, social media, or emails). Surely there will be things that you do not enjoy doing, but you know you have to finish them. Therefore, being organized and disciplined is essential.
2. Read something new every day
Successful and creative people constantly read , and find mentors who teach them, valuing all the information they receive and may serve them in the future. In addition, the habit of reading will help increase your understanding, imagination, synthetic ability and other skills such as spelling and grammar.
3. Accept your mistakes and move on
Fail as many times as necessary. Everybody fails from time to time; It’s part of life. But when you do, don’t give up or waste your time. What separates successful people from ordinary people is the ability to get up and start over and over again, with a better plan to succeed.
You must also learn to accept that there is no such thing as perfection. So don’t waste your time looking for it.
4. Get up early
The most proactive and effective people usually get up early . By taking advantage of the mornings in a better way you will be able to finish your things on time, as well as have hours to exercise, work and be with your family.
5. Follow the 80/20 rule
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to spend their time attending to all the issues. However, it is important that you understand that, just like in sales, 20 percent of your actions will produce 80 percent of your results. That is why it is key that you establish priorities and work on the things that generate the most money or greater opportunities for the future.

The famous Pareto rule says that 20 percent of your actions will produce 80 percent of your results / Image: Depositphotos.com
6. Take care of your body
The body is the machine that allows us to execute and work; And like any machine, it requires maintenance. To have good energy levels and a good physical condition (which leads to a mental one) it is important that you: take care of your diet , trying to consume protein and plenty of water, and to reduce processed foods; exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and stretch every hour; and try to sleep well, trying to go to bed early and relaxing to get a good sleep.
7. Learn to delegate
This is an especially difficult point for entrepreneurs who treat their business like their “baby.” You must understand that you cannot do everything by yourself and that you need to trust others to complete your tasks and achieve your goals. A truly effective person knows how to surround himself with talented people, who can fulfill some responsibilities even better than himself.
8. Do not accumulate pending
Having your schedule full or your desk covered in post-its with slopes is a sign that you are procrastinating and procrastinating. Although it is important that you define priorities, try to accomplish certain tasks in the moment. This will avoid mental worries that only distract you and distract you from what is important.
9. Identify when to walk away
While highly effective people excel at working quickly and attentively, it’s also important to know when to take a break and briefly walk away from work. This will allow you to regain focus, refresh your mind, and avoid creativity and productivity stagnations.
10. Define goals
Effective people have well-established goals in the short, medium and long term. Even on a daily basis. Every day set new goals that challenge you and keep you motivated. For example, for today you could propose to make 10 calls to new clients and 5 to current clients. The idea is that you make it your own goal to be more effective every day.

Free Webinar | Feb. 2: How to Safely Reopen Offices & Manage a Hybrid Workforce

Join Envoy CEO as he discusses reinventing your business in order to survive a badly-affected market segment and how to safely welcome workers back to the office.
Free Book Preview: Unstoppable
Get a glimpse of how to overcome the mental and physical fatigue that is standing between you and your full potential.

January 19, 2021 2 min read
In the wake of coronavirus shutting down offices around the world, remote work has become the new norm. So how do you make workplaces safer post-pandemic? 
In the 15th episode of our Leadership Lessons series, Comparably CEO Jason Nazar speaks with an expert on the topic, Envoy founder/CEO Larry Gadea, who has facilitated 1 million safe returns to the office. With a suite of products that redefine how to welcome visitors and employees back to the office, the workplace platform includes tools for check-in registrations, booking rooms/desks, managing deliveries, and capacity limits for social distancing. Envoy is used in more than 14,000 offices across 70 countries — including Slack, Pinterest, Warby Parker, Lionsgate, and L’Oreal — and is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Menlo Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Silicon Valley bigwigs like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Quora’s Adam D’Angelo, and Yelp’s Jeremy Stoppelman. Gadea will also share lessons learned along his life’s journey, from being smuggled out of communist Romania as a child to being recruited as one of Google’s youngest software engineers at the age of 17 to joining Twitter as one of its first 50 employees. The software prodigy will cover the following topics:
Reinventing your business in order to survive a badly-affected market segment
What you need to safely welcome workers back to the office
The future of the physical workplace and preparing for a hybrid workforce
The keys to leaving a comfortable job to start your own company
Pursuing a career in tech and insights from working at Google and Twitter
Register Now
Larry Gadea is founder/CEO of Envoy, a workplace platform that makes office life and work more meaningful. 
Jason Nazar is co-founder/CEO of Comparably, a leading workplace culture and compensation site that provides the most comprehensive and accurate representation of what it’s like to work at companies.

You can understand your tenderloin! This collar translates your dog's barking using artificial intelligence

Scientists from South Korea are working on a collar capable of interpreting a dog’s emotions and expressing them to humans.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 18, 2021 3 min read

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

If you saw the Pixar movie ‘Up: a tall adventure’ , you might remember Dug , the dog who ‘spoke’ through a collar . Well, it seems that this imaginary technology, which converted the thoughts of the dog into a voice, could come true. A team of South Korean scientists presented a necklace that, using artificial intelligence (AI) , translates the barking of your tenderloin and interprets its emotions.
The startup Petpuls presented the ingenious necklace at the Consumer Electronics show (CES) 2021 . The creators explained that, in addition to tracking the physical activity and rest of the dogs, the accessory can detect five canine emotions. This is achieved by including microphones and a voice recognition technology , to monitor barking .
After the analysis, Petpuls informs the owner through a mobile app , if his furry is happy, relaxed, anxious, angry or sad .
“This device gives the dog a voice for humans to understand ,” Andrew Gil , global marketing director for Petpuls Lab , told Reuters.
How does the bark translator necklace work?
In 2017, Petpuls Lab began building a database with more than 10,000 barks from 50 breeds of dogs . Three years later, scientists managed to develop a proprietary algorithm , which analyzes the emotions of dogs.
According to the Seoul National University , which tested the device, the necklace has an average accuracy rate of 90% in emotional recognition .
The company began selling the interesting device in October 2020, through its online store . You can choose between five vibrant colors and its price is 99 dollars (about 1,960 Mexican pesos).

During the pandemic, in 2020, the adoption and purchase of pets increased. In particular, the world population of dogs grew 18% in the same year, going to 489 million dogs.
“More people started adopting dogs, but unfortunately some of them abandoned their dogs due to lack of communication,” Gil explained. “Petpuls may play an important role in the pandemic. It helps owners understand how dogs feel and increases their bond, “he concluded.

5 Inspiring Lessons from the Life of Oprah Winfrey

January 18, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Few people in history have been able to reach the same level of achievement as Oprah Winfrey. Best known for her multi-award-winning daytime talk show, Oprah has also created her own television network (OWN), earned the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, been nominated for an Oscar, and been recognized as the first Black female billionaire in the United States.
While Oprah is known for encouraging others to live their best possible lives, there are several valuable lessons we can learn from Oprah’s own life story. 
1. Your past doesn’t define you
Oprah’s success contrasts sharply with her upbringing. Born to an unwed teenage mother, Oprah spent the first few years of her life in extreme poverty on her maternal grandmother’s farm. She left the farm when she was six years old to join her mother, Vernita, in Milwaukee. Unfortunately living conditions there were not an improvement; while her mother was away at work, Oprah was repeatedly molested by male relatives and a family friend.
This abuse sent Oprah down a dangerous path, one that led to promiscuity and eventually, at age 14, to a pregnancy. After her son died soon after birth, Oprah moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father, Vernon. 
The move to Tennessee proved to be a turning point in Oprah’s life. Guided by her father’s strict rules and his insistence that she work hard to reach her full potential, Oprah turned her life around. She became an honor student, earned awards for oratory and dramatic recitation and at age 17 won the title of Miss Black Tennessee.
Oprah didn’t let her past experiences define her. Instead of basing her identity on a previous life of poverty, abuse, and promiscuity, Oprah focused on her potential and started on a new path – one that led to success.
Related: 7 Billionaire Entrepreneurs Who Started Off Dirt-Poor
2. Education is the key to progress
Oprah has stated that her father’s love of learning was key to helping turn her life around. She believes that Improving a person’s circumstances alone won’t lead to a better life; the only way a person can truly grow is by changing their way of thinking.  
Oprah learned this lesson after a failed attempt at helping poverty-stricken families in the Chicago area. As Oprah describes in an article for O Magazine, “…I came up with the misguided idea of moving families out of the projects and into new homes. Trying to show people how to build successful lives was overwhelming—I had taken for granted that they understood what it means to go to work, be on time, and make sure their children go to school and do their homework. So I failed with that idea, but I learned something invaluable: In order to make meaningful changes, you have to transform the way people think.”
Regardless of your circumstances, you should never stop learning. The only way to improve your life is by changing your mind first, which happens through education.
Related: The Daily Schedules of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Other Famous Business Billionaires
3. Don’t be afraid to try something new 
Much of Oprah’s success can be attributed to the fact that she took risks and was willing to venture into new territory. She began her broadcasting career at a Nashville-area radio station soon after winning the Miss Black Tennessee title. She continued working there for several years until she was offered a newscasting job at a local television station. 
That was just the first of many opportunities that Oprah embraced. Other people in a similar situation might let the fear of failure prevent them from taking chances. But instead of being complacent, Oprah continued to learn and grow.
This willingness to take risks and explore new avenues has continued throughout her career. Even after the astounding success of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she refused to rest on her laurels. Instead, she launched a television network and published her own magazine, proving once again that success is earned when you push through fear and risk failure by trying something new.
4. Be authentic and intentional
When The Oprah Winfrey Show first began, it focused on sensational topics like most other daytime talk shows. But after taping a show where a woman found out on the air that her husband had been unfaithful, Oprah made a conscious decision to change the show’s format to align with her values.  
As Oprah explained in an article for O Magazine, “Right then I decided I’d never again be part of a show that demeans, embarrasses, or diminishes another human being. I replaced the ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ news philosophy with an intention that still guides me—to use the medium of television for its higher good.” 
From that point on, The Oprah Winfrey Show shifted its focus away from salacious topics towards self-improvement, spirituality and healthy living. For a daytime talk show, this was uncharted territory. 
Regardless of the risk, Oprah let her principles take the lead. As she explains, “Once the light bulb came on for me that day, my calling became to create shows that encourage and inspire as much as they entertain — television that leaves guests with their dignity and helps us all see our lives in a different way.”
The change in format proved to be beneficial; it led to even greater acclaim and popularity for the show, demonstrating that don’t have to compromise your values to become successful. On the contrary, making intentional, authentic choices can often lead to greater success.
Related: 5 Important Business Lessons You Can Learn From Billionaire Oprah Winfrey
5. Find success and significance through service
Oprah didn’t reach the heights of success by continuously pursuing it. Instead, her primary goal has been to fulfill her calling as a teacher and serve others. 
As Oprah stated in an article for O Magazine, “What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal…the key is not to worry about being successful but to instead work toward being significant—and the success will naturally follow. How can you serve your way to greatness? When you shift your focus from success to service, your work as a teacher, clerk, doctor, or dot-comer will instantly have more meaning.”
Our culture tends to believe that success must be doggedly pursued at all costs. Oprah’s life demonstrates that you can create a meaningful existence and become successful simply by serving others.

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Conquer Loneliness and Feel More Connected

Tony Hsieh, entrepreneur and founder of Zappos, seemingly had everything.
He was worth millions. He had a degree from Harvard, was surrounded by famous artists and entrepreneurs, and wrote a book, Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion and Purpose.
So when news that Hsieh had died on November 27, 2020 from complications of smoke inhalation when a fire broke out in the home of a friend where he was staying, it came as a shock to many. 
As news trickled out during the days following his death, it became apparent that he had been struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, depression, and loneliness for quite some time. Mentally, he was in a downward spiral, and the pandemic had exacerbated Hsieh’s isolation and loneliness. In a Forbes article about Hsieh, apparently his friends and family had tried to intervene, to no avail.
Although the fire is still under investigation, there’s some indication that his drug addiction and destructive behavior caused the fire or contributed to Hsieh’s inability to escape it.
Entrepreneurs Are a Lonely Bunch
Loneliness has become an epidemic in America. The global health service company Cigna recently released results from a national survey exploring the impact of loneliness in the United States and found that almost half of Americans report feeling lonely.
The problem of isolation is even worse for entrepreneurs. Starting and growing a business, it turns out, can be extremely lonely. A recent study found that entrepreneurs who experience occupational loneliness are more likely to burn out. Another study showed that half of CEOs report feelings of loneliness in their role. 
“We’re told things like ‘fake it till you make it’ and ‘just keep pushing and you’ll get there,’” says Jay Clouse, an entrepreneur who recently became SPI’s Community Experience Director. “But it’s a really, really tough road. And we fear sharing the challenges because people will think if it’s not successful, then ‘I’m not going to pay attention to it or invest in it.’”
“We’re afraid to let people into the reality of what’s going on because we don’t want to undermine our own efforts,” says Jay.
The need for connectedness is a basic ingredient for psychological growth and well-being. But there are many forces that contribute to entrepreneurial isolation, including:
Other People Don’t Understand Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs are unique human beings. It takes a certain kind of person to take risks and chart their own path, and they may be constantly having to deal with the “doubters” and hand-wringing family members. Not everyone understands or condones their decisions. 
“Being an entrepreneur is not normal. It’s not what most people do,” says entrepreneur Jeff Gargas, who is the Co-Founder and COO of Team Better Team.  “Because of that, most people don’t understand what it is actually like running a business. Most people don’t understand how your brain works. And when most people don’t understand you, how you think, what you do, and how you feel, it’s lonely.” 
Entrepreneurs Have to Make the Final Decisions
For entrepreneur Heather Newton, founder of Protospiel Online, the thing that stirs up the strongest feelings of loneliness is “the pressure of being the one that makes the final decision for anything that needs to happen in my business. Although I can ask for input from my trusted circle of friends, I know that the decision is ultimately mine, and that can feel scary and lonely — especially when the decision is big and hairy.”
There’s added pressure when you know your decisions will affect your employees and family. There may be a lot of people depending on you to make the right decisions and succeed. When you have the sole responsibility of making decisions that will affect others’ lives and livelihood, there’s no one to turn to for support. It’s only you.  
Entrepreneurs Typically Work Alone
“I used to travel alone as an equine photographer,” says Olie Moss, founder of Equine Photo School. “I would live alone far from friends and family. Life as a traveling entrepreneur is tough. I could at least call home and chat with my parents who are also entrepreneurs who understand the stress and struggle.”
The pandemic has made this issue much worse. Studies have found an “alarming” increase in loneliness since the arrival of COVID-19. More and more people are working from home—alone.
“I spend so much of my day(s) at my computer, working on project tasks, organization, etc.,” says Jeff Gargas. “Even with a team, most of my days are just me. I love when I have meetings, or someone interrupts my day because so often I have almost no contact.” 
Entrepreneurs Face Long Hours and Hard Realities 
It’s common knowledge that being an entrepreneur can mean long hours. Bringing your vision to life takes time and commitment. Studies have shown that twenty-five percent of founders work over sixty hours a week, which affects their physical and mental health. 
And it goes without saying that working sixty hours a week leaves little time for relationships. Beyond long hours, the financial stress of starting a business, and waiting months or even years to become profitable, can take a toll on your partner and family, leaving you even more vulnerable to isolation and loneliness. 
Entrepreneurs often have to face hard realities as well. “A lot of entrepreneurs have teams,” says Jay. “They’re leaders of organizations and they often find that they have to shield some of the hard realities from their team in order to protect the team’s psychological well-being. Also, your family probably doesn’t have a lot of experience with it and doesn’t understand. So who do you talk to?”
5 Ways to Fight Loneliness as an Entrepreneur
So what’s the solution? Here are a few tips that will help to keep you connected, happy, and healthy.
#1: Seek Out Connections
Finding people you can talk to, and developing true connections, is key, says Jay Clouse. 
He actively seeks out people who “get it.” When he first started his business, he went to a bunch of local meetups in Columbus, where he lives, and built a local community. 
“I just think it’s really important to talk about it. And as hard as it is, you need to be able to confide in someone—it could be a partner, a friend, a business partner. You need to tell somebody if you’re feeling this way or it’s going to fester and get worse. And it seems to build up and get harder the more time that you let pass.” 
During a particularly hard time in his entrepreneurial journey, Jay reached out to a friend, who was going through a similar situation, and the two met up for dinner once a week. “We didn’t actually talk about our businesses that much. We just knew that we were both in it. There was something about that, that comradery and connection, knowing that this person gets it and that they’re not asking how the business is going, because they know that I don’t really want to talk about that because it is challenging.”
For Heather Newton, she finds that attending conventions and meetups with others in her industry is helpful. “When we’re not in a pandemic, I attend several local and out-of-state board game conventions and other meetups for entrepreneurs and various types of creatives. Whenever I start feeling lonely, it’s nice to have a date on the calendar that I can look forward to as a chance to be with like-minded people.” 
But during the pandemic, Heather says, she participates in peer mastermind video calls, and keeps up with what her favorite communities are doing through online groups. “I try to be choosy and only put my time into online spaces with an encouraging, fun, and hopeful tone.”
#2: Create “Water-Cooler” Moments
Another way to create connections is by building in water-cooler moments throughout your day. 
If you were a regular employee working in an office, you’d have several opportunities to connect with people in the lunchroom or water cooler. But as an entrepreneur you’ve probably left those corporate cubicle days behind, for good reason. 
So instead, set up a Zoom call for you and your friends and colleagues to check in and chat. This could be a virtual lunch, happy hour, or coffee break
At SPI Media, we sometimes have virtual happy hour on Friday afternoons to chat about different topics (like our vinyl record collections), or play games together. 
#3: Be Vulnerable
There’s a certain amount of confidence that entrepreneurs must possess, and showing vulnerability can feel like the kiss of death for anyone who’s attempting to “fake it until you make it.” 
But being vulnerable is key to combating loneliness. Sharing your struggles and fears with your spouse, a mentor, or a trusted friend will foster true connection. 
“It’s really easy to get your identity wrapped up in the business that you’re building. And so if you’re admitting that the business has problems, that can feel very personal,” says Jay. 
“If you haven’t done the self-work to understand that you are not what you do, you are not the business, that’s a hard chasm to cross. And it does take humility, especially from that position of having your identity so wrapped up in the business to, to ask for help or to share the challenges or to admit that things aren’t going as well as you’d like, because it feels like you’re admitting your own flaws or exposing your own weaknesses. And that’s not the case, but it’s really easy to feel like it is.” 
#4: Keep Mental and Physical Health a Priority
Of course, getting enough sleep and exercise is common advice to help fight depression, stress, and feelings of loneliness. And drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet can help too. 
Writing down your feelings in a journal is a good idea as well. It can help you to clarify what you’re feeling, and help you realize what you need to do to find a solution. Sometimes, feelings of loneliness can be subconscious. Maybe you’re feeling angry or sad, but at the core of those feelings is your isolation. Writing down your feelings and coming face to face with them can help you to sort it all out.
And reaching out to a mental health professional is always a good idea, especially if you find that you’re taking steps to feel connected, but it’s not working. 
#5: Join a Membership Community
Online communities are also a great way to find other like-minded people and help fight loneliness. They allow you to have a regular place to “hang out” online, and (pre-pandemic), meet up with local members as well.
When Jay was first starting out, he found communities like Tropical MBA. And then he started his own online community, the Unreal Collective, which recently joined forces with SPI Pro.  “If you can’t find the community you’re looking for, you can build your own,” he says.
Here at SPI Media, we knew our audience members were looking for connections. When surveyed, “connecting with other entrepreneurs” was at the top of their list of reasons for joining an online community. That’s why we’re are taking steps within SPI Pro to help entrepreneurs feel less lonely. 
“We are really focused on making the community about connection,” says Jay, “to the degree that we hold frequent events so that we can connect people in real time over video. We want each member to be able to find at least one other person who they can trust and connect with as quickly as possible. We’re not giving you a digital space and saying ‘good luck.’ We’re welcoming you into that space and helping you get connected to other people, whether it’s through our events, whether it’s through our mastermind program, so you can continuously meet with other people on a weekly or monthly basis. Those are really, really big aspects to the SPI Pro membership.”
If you’re looking to connect with other entrepreneurs, check out SPI Pro. Or, if want to start your own membership community, check out the live training workshop below. Let’s fight loneliness—together.

Free Webinar
Start Your Own Membership Community
Join us for two free live training webinars with our friends from Circle.so.
During the two training videos, titled “How to Create Your Own Community on Circle: Our Simple 5-Part Framework Based on Real-Life Examples,” we’ll help take the guess-work out of creating your community and also take you behind the scenes of community-building with dozens of examples from Circle’s most successful communities.

The Truth About Money Management

January 18, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Money can be a terrifying topic. Even the word itself seems daunting, with all of its underlying connotations. Because of this, some turn away from dirtying their hands and gaining important, empirical knowledge in the world of money managing. Instead, they turn their faces from it, and turn their money management over to someone who knows better. 
The unfortunate truth is these types of people will never generate the wealth they want or need. Money knowledge (what to do with it, how to use it, where to invest it, how to make it work for you, etc.) is one of the most important instruments in the tool belts of the wealthy, and they wield it as a weapon.
I sat down with reputed money-management mentor Chris Naugle (who, full disclosure, is also a personal friend) to discuss this important topic, and he started off with this gem: “Money isn’t complicated. I’ve spoken with so many people who have held onto this common misconception that they’ve developed from an early age. This leads them to believe that you’re better off handing it over to someone who can do more with it, or understands it better, than you can.”
Related: Learn the Personal Finance Habits of Wealthy Entrepreneurs
And this misconception isn’t only reserved for a select few. Naugle admits he felt this same way before diving head-first into life as a financial advisor. However, after years of education, practic and even some failures, he’s learned some valuable lessons, like this one: 
“The truth is that money is simply a tool. A tool that has a right and a wrong way to use it. Unfortunately, most of what we are taught is the wrong way, and that’s where a majority of our money problems stem from. Trust me, I know it’s hard to hear — or believe — that everything you’ve ever been taught about money is flat-out wrong.”
Here is Naughle’s insider breakdown on optimal money management:
The down-low on privatized banking
If you’re not in control of your money, someone else is, and you can bet they’re using your money to get richer. So the idea is to put your money in your own hands.
You may have heard this concept before. It goes by many names: The Money Multiplier, Infinite Banking, Privatized Banking, etc. But the name isn’t what’s important; it’s the significance. This concept puts you in control of your money and makes you your own bank. You are able to use a specially designed, whole-life policy with a mutually owned insurance company that pays dividends and puts you in a position of power. 
The bottom line: It’s your money, and you need to be the one earning the interest on it. Your bank isn’t doing you any favors with that skimpy rate.
Why you shouldn’t be asking for money to fund your deals
I still get baffled looks at the mere mention of this nugget of truth. You may be wondering, “How on Earth is that even possible? Don’t they always tell you to ask until you find a ‘yes’?” That’s what most people say, but that information isn’t correct either. 
Instead of coming from a position of needing permission, try solving someone’s problem. That way you can approach them from a position of authority and power. 
As an example, let’s you spark a conversation with your neighbor, Jim. Both of you have exchanged many stories over the years, so this starts off just like any other conversation. Except this time, you’re listening to him differently so you can really tune into what problems Jim may be having that you can help solve. 
Jim tells you that everything is going great, he’s in good health, his kids are having kids and he’s now enjoying being a grandfather. Recently, he’s started looking at RVs that would be big enough for the whole family to enjoy on camping trips. But before he gets an RV, he wants to finish paying off his truck.
**Ding Ding Ding** 
Now, that’s a problem you can solve. You and Jim have been neighbors for 12 years, and it’s pretty safe to say he’s got some equity in his home. What if he could loan you $100,000 of that equity at 12% interest (enough to pay the interest he owes and enough money to pay off his truck)? Then, you could complete your deal and he could make money. That’s a win-win. He already knows and trusts you, which makes him far more likely to lend to you, and you both could make money on the deal. 
That’s it! We’re just trying to solve someone’s problem. Give them an offer they can’t refuse, and you’ll both come out ahead. (I will add here that Jim will only trust you if you’ve been a good, upstanding neighbor. Yes, relationships and how you treat people really do make you wealthy.)
Demystifying winning strategies with options trading
If I told you that, in less than 10 minutes a day, you could earn higher returns than your High Yield Savings account offers, would you think I was crazy? Well, regardless of what you think, it’s true. You can earn higher returns just by investing 10 minutes of your time, per day, in Options Trading. From there, the process can be repeated and simplified, so you may only need to spend 10 minutes a month to get the same, mind-blowing results.
So what does it take? The trick is finding the right strategy that fits your goals, and sticking with a method that works. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. There’s no need to overcomplicate it. 
Related: The 8 Most Common Areas of Overspending in Business
The bottom line is, without the proper knowledge and consistent application of that knowledge, you’re going to stay stuck in a place you don’t want to be. How many years of your life are you willing to give up control, simply because you’ve been given the wrong information about how money really works?
I’ve watched Naugle change the lives of thousands of people through this simple, and correct, money-management advice. The truth is, money doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to intimidate or scare you. And, most importantly, your money can work for you.
So, have your money make you more money. That’s managing wealth, intelligently.

5 Things Investors Look for in Your Pitch

January 18, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Today’s investors are looking for a lot more than just a clear and present pitch. Apart from the executive team and business plan—prospective players want to be assured their investment is sound while the company has real plans for growth. 
Badal Shah is a multiple-exit entrepreneur with experience in chemical manufacturing, real estate software and healthcare technology. He currently serves as the CEO for his own start up, The Anthos Group, while also being on the board of directors at The Federal Savings Bank and Cabrera Capital Holdings. Herein the active angel investor shares some of the key characteristics he looks for in promising start-ups…
People plus passion
Active investors have heard hundreds of promises regarding the “next big thing”. What pitches often miss, however, is the “wow factor”. It is essential to highlight actual passion for the project in question.
“I am inspired by people,” says Shah. “Those that have tested new concepts, pivoted from their first love and created something that the public is willing to make part of their lives.”Real passion must always radiate from the actual pitch.
Related: AAPL: Why Apple Stock Will Continue to Outperform in 2021
Thesis and fit
Start up companies and investors play a lot of matchmaking. In many cases, new businesses bypass an investment because the chemistry just wasn’t there. It is important to identify this early on because neither side wants to be micro-managed, or deal with extra stress, in an already high-stress situation.”It’s always difficult to balance being humble with being direct about why your company is the best and most investable opportunity,” says Shah. Building relationships, accommodating to the investor’s schedule, and presenting in ways they prefer are important factors that go beyond the actual pitch.
Transparency
When a company asks for a large sum of money, honesty is expected by an investor. As the founders build a relationship with an interested party, it is imperative that they are transparent about all areas of their lives so that the same trust can carry on through the relationship.”I need to understand the founders philosophies, family life and hobbies,” says Shah “These are important attributes to understand if they can handle the marathon in front of them.”An investor looks at the big picture, so it is important to share all of the details.”They can have great concepts, but what is their support structure like?” asks Shah. “If it is not intact, the investment can be risky.” 
Related: These are the Top Venture Capital Firms of 2020
Strategic raise
Remember that founders are always in capital raise mode. It may not necessarily be in a formal presentation, but you are constantly being evaluated as you share your ideas with new contacts. The company and your coworkers rely on you for the well-being of this venture.”A great founder should always be raising capital from strategic investors,” says Shah. “The greatest time to raise capital is when the company does not need it.” 
Listening skills
“Is the CEO an active listener?” asks Shah. “If they are listening, and willing to continuously learn, you have someone that is going to succeed.”The open mind can reach new levels while a closed one misses opportunities. Every entrepreneur can identify certain advice that changed their course. While founders may be the technical experts, they should always be open to ideas and guidance.
“If they are not actively listening?” adds Shah. “It is a dangerous sign and my check is off the table.”
When owners are pitching, they are being evaluated far beyond whatever their concept might be. Relationship building, synchronization and transparency will cultivate your meet-and-greets with investors and, as a result, put your business in a great position to succeed.
Related: What Startup Funding Will Look Like in a Post-Covid-19 World

Businesses Can Seize Online Growth by Pivoting Towards New Shopper Behaviors

January 18, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Success begets more success, but the current business and pandemic environment is also fraught with risks.
In Q2 of 2020, Amazon reported skyrocketing growth of $88.9 billion in revenue, while online grocery sales tripled year-over-year. But the Jeff Bezos-led company also said in early October that a staggering 20,000 workers got infected by Covid.
Almost twice as many employees now work from home than at the office, according to a June 2020 analysis by Stanford University. Charlie Munger, billionaire and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a public forum that life brings one or two extraordinary opportunities that one should fight hard for. 
Ecommerce sites, online retailers and digital service providers can exploit the pandemic as a rare opportunity to capture significant, life-changing sales growth. Here are three tips for doing so in the new normal.
Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth and Repeat Business?
1. Offer more SKUs
More Stock Keeping Units, or SKUs, can complicate operations and lower margins. However, extra SKUs can always be discontinued if sell-through is low. Even if you sell merchandise at a break-even pace, a visitor may purchase other items that have attractive margins and thus, improve the bottom line. That’s why 7-Eleven and gas stations sell lottery tickets, which is a low-margin product. Gamblers and those who purchase lottery tickets tend to also buy milk, cigarettes and snacks.
Ecommerce businesses should reinvest part of newfound profits by offering more SKUs. Particularly work from home (WFH) products that are in high demand. This accomplishes a few business objectives by gaining market share and becoming a one-stop-shop in your niche. Getting entrenched also makes it difficult for competitors to dislodge your position.
With the ongoing pandemic, consumers have shifted to ecommerce when purchasing everyday goods and services. Businesses should examine what this means for their operations, as well as regulatory compliance.
There are age verification tools like AgeChecker.net that help retailers increase the sales of products like tobacco and alcohol, while keeping these out of the hands of children and/or unauthorized buyers. By requiring self-verification, the site prevents minors from buying cigarettes from your web store, so your business can comply with local laws.
2. Sell trending WFH products
The more things change, the more they stay the same. A timeless objective of any business is to understand what the customer wants and to deliver it profitably at a sensible cost.
To ride the wave of online demand, a business can seek and sell viral WFH products, as well as health-related supplies. For example, demand for DIY haircuts is up 766% and online church is up 544%, according to trends-tracker Glimpse. Other in-demand goods include home-gym equipment like resistance bands (512%), nail kits (431%) and TikTok lights (531%).
Managers and entrepreneurs must always keep in mind it’s all about giving what the customer wants based on today’s new circumstances.
Adapt to new shopper behaviors
According to McKinsey’s Covid-19 Global Consumer Sentiment survey, 75% of consumers have changed shopping behaviors because of the pandemic.
“Value, availability and quality or organic products were the main drivers for consumers trying a different brand,” the McKinsey study authors said. “Consumers intend to shift their spending largely to essentials, such as grocery and household supplies, and cut back on discretionary categories.”
Related: 3 Major Opportunities That Will Come From This Pandemic
What goods can your business offer that are considered great bargains? Do you offer free shipping to regular customers? Is your website optimized for mobile devices? 
According to Adobe’s August 2020 Digital Economy Index, smartphones would be responsible for 50% of online spending by September 2020. And buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) in August saw 259% growth year-over-year. Does it make sense for your business to offer curbside pickup, in-store pickup and/or home delivery?
These days, consumers are mindful of their money, therefore, they’re trading down to acquire more value. Companies that seize the wave of WFH demand can drastically grow in revenue and profitability while reducing enterprise risk.