Friday, May 13, 2016

Crucial advice for every entrepreneur wanting to stay motivated

By Sharon Lee

Do you sometimes struggle to stay motivated? I know that I do.

Staying motivated is crucial for every entrepreneur—funding concerns, long hours, team-building worries and an apparent lack of traction are just a few of the issues that can quickly lead to disenchantment and even burnout.

Motivation, thankfully, comes in many different forms.

Here are seven ways that I use to keep myself motivated at all times.

1. Visualize your future
From Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, every great entrepreneur has had a vision of what they wanted to achieve. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and the steps you’ll follow to get there. If you haven’t already done so, consider writing your goals down on paper and review them frequently—ask how your daily activities are enabling you to achieve your goals. 

2. Find an inner strength
Although the pressures facing entrepreneurs can be fatiguing, they don’t have to be damaging. Convince yourself to welcome challenges and use them to make you better–after all, the muscles in your body become stronger through repeated exercise.

"I personally prefer to turn those entrepreneurship pressures around and use them to push me and my business harder, faster, farther." Aaron Schmitz, CEO and President of Equity Technology Partners explains that, "I've seen how a lack of motivation in entrepreneurs can affect their mental and physical health and, while it's an easy trap to fall into, it's also avoidable."

3. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a great way to release stress and become reinvigorated. By nature, exercise is similar to entrepreneurship—both involve hard work, excuses are not welcome in either, and they're all about personal development. The dedication and motivation that comes from exercising carries over to entrepreneurship—so don't skip that workout.

4. Mediate frequently
Find some time every morning or evening to meditate. It doesn't really matter what it takes to clear the mind, but finding a calming process to wipe the mental slate clean is a great tool for staying motivated. It invigorates and refreshes, allowing you to see each day as a new opportunity.

5. Delegate decision-making
Although you probably have a lot of tough choices to make each day, too much decision making can take a toll. Try to limit your decision-making as much as possible. Delegate to your co-founders and employees in your work life, and significant other, family and friends in your non-work life, as much as possible—doing so will help you motivated because you will be confident that, when it comes time to make those important decisions, your ability to do so will be as strong as ever.

"You can become exhausted by decision making and the day-to-day activities," says Mary Ferguson, President of Concenter Services. "Delegating as much as possible can be a crucial factor to staying motivated."

6. Appreciate your progress
If you feel yourself becoming demotivated, take a little time to realize how much progress you have already made. Make of a list of your accomplishments—it's a great way to appreciate your personal progress and it can be pleasantly surprising, too. Put your mistakes into perspective. Don’t look back with regret and, instead, view every mistake as an opportunity to learn and become better.

7. Take time off
Sometimes, a break is all that's required to feel reinvigorated. We are are human, after all, and we get tired. Spending some time with friends or family, or perhaps embracing a hobby, provides the refreshing mental break that allows for a proper return to form the next day.

Lastly, motivation comes from many places, and not just mental ones. With the unbelievable range of cultures, values, and regions across the world, inspiration and new ideas are virtually limitless. Find time to explore. There are endless ways to find motivation in the world, so don't hesitate to expand those horizons.

Remember that starting a successful business is easy; running a successful one takes confidence, flexibility, innovation, passion, tenacity, tolerance, vision and more. Find ways to keep yourself motivated and you’ll increase the likelihood of meeting the requirements of the job.

Friday, May 6, 2016

5 marketing metrics every entrepreneur needs to know

By David Ronald

There are metrics, and then there are metrics.

Metrics need to be measurable and actionable—if you are going to select your marketing programs based on data, those data need to correlate directly to the success of your business.

Web and marketing analytics tools such as Google Analytics, HubSpot Analytics, and KISSmetrics enable you to delve into the metrics that will help you to understand the customer journey and identify what sort of content and which channels are contributing to the bottom line.

But what, exactly, should you be measuring?

In this post I will examine five key metrics that provide insights into how your marketing is performing.

1. Customer acquisition cost
Add up all money you spend on marketing programs and divide it by the number of new customers. Track this over time to determine and observe if the cost is increasing, decreasing, or staying constant (ideally the cost should decrease as the efficacy of your marketing programs improves).

2. Marketing contribution to revenue
Quantify all of the new customers you signed up and look at what percentage of them started with a lead that marketing generated. This is much, much easier to do when you have a marketing analytics systems, but you can do it manually by contacting each new customer by email or phone.

3. Revenue per channel
Identify your most effective channels (organic, ads, social media, direct email, referrals and so on) by looking at how much revenue each one generates and compare it to the cost of running the channel.

4. Inbound traffic mix
Determine how much traffic is coming into your website and which channels your visitors are coming from—you can do this manually using tracking URLs, Google Analytics, spreadsheets and the like, and marketing automation programs help too. Track how the total volume and mix changes over time.

5. Conversion rates
Track how well your website is performing. Better yet, monitor how specific pages are working. Adjust landing pages and see what changes. Test, for example, if the wording and layout can be improved or if the Download button should be higher up. or determine if your call to action is underwhelming or your forms too complicated. And explore which offer your visitors respond to.

Measuring these metrics with as much precision and consistency as possible should be an integral part of your marketing focus.

And, of course, statistics mean nothing if you don’t do something with them. Getting to the people and journeys behind the numbers delivers insights that help you direct spending to the most beneficial programs.

Thanks for reading. Do you agree with everything on this list?

Did we leave anything off?

Leave us a comment or question.