Monthly Archives: December 2016

How To Find Your Dream Business

Starting a business takes, before anything else, a great idea.

Inspiration is everywhere, all around us just waiting to be articulated. Sometimes, that inspiration comes from looking at existing businesses and thinking about how they succeeded where others might have failed. New and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a lot from other companies, especially those who saw a unique need and filled it with an innovative product or clever service.

If you need some serious inspiration for your business ideas, then check out these stories. They profile companies in industries from food and travel to art and music, and everything in between. You may even find some to be quite out of the box, exactly the way you need to think to create a truly successful company.

Gift-giving businesses
For when you’re searching for holiday gifts for your clients and co-workers, shopping for the perfect birthday present for your boss, or just looking for business inspiration, here are five companies with unique business models that can help. From mobile gift cards to personalized sweet treats, these businesses put a whole new spin on gift giving.

Food trucks
Now more than ever, the best food often comes from tiny carts, stands and trucks. These 10 food trucks from around the country are serving up so much more than just mobile meals — entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their creativity and innovation, too.

Businesses for kids
These companies don’t just give children and young adults something fun to do after school or when school’s out for the summer. They also help them learn valuable skills, develop their creativity, improve their health and further their education in other ways — keeping parents everywhere happy, too.

Cannabis businesses
The legal cannabis industry is rapidly growing as more states adopt both medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. An industry research group projects that cannabis will be worth more than $20 billion in less than 5 years, meaning now is the time to get in on the ground floor of this fledgling business.

Back-to-school businesses
Back-to-school season isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of businesses out there that can help make starting a new school year a lot less stressful for students, parents and teachers.

Art businesses
From facilitating new ways to display art in your home or office, to giving artists new mediums to showcase and sell their work, these businesses put the “art” in “startup.”

All-natural businesses
Whether you’re looking for products or want to start a business that brings it back to basics, you need to check out these inspiring all-natural businesses.

Music businesses
Beyond record labels, major streaming services, equipment retailers and concert venues, there are a lot of ways business and music intersect, and these music businesses are really changing the game.

Sports businesses
From virtual-reality sports platforms and game-footage analysis to family-friendly youth sports programs, these six businesses put a whole new spin on sports, helping coaches, athletes and families do what they love.

Vegan businesses
Fortunately for all you vegans out there, more and more stores and brands are dedicated to this animal- and eco-friendly lifestyle, covering everything from food and cosmetics to clothes and accessories.

Green businesses
While many organizations do their part by increasing recycling efforts, sourcing local materials and using energy-efficient equipment, some have taken their eco-friendly efforts to the next level by basing their entire business models on these principles.

Travel businesses
Ready to use some of your hard-earned vacation time? Don’t book your flight just yet. Check out these cool travel businesses first to make your next vacation even less stressful — and more memorable!

Death-related businesses
From afterlife preparations to unique burial methods and memorials, there are more businesses related to death than you might expect, including these seven totally killer businesses that will probably give you the heebie-jeebies.

“Disgusting” businesses
Successful businesses all have one thing in common: They solve a problem for their customers. But some problems are less pleasant than others, and some are downright disgusting.

Culinary businesses
From the weird (bacon-flavored envelopes) to the inspiring (a food truck that gives back to the community), here are seven unique food and beverage businesses you probably didn’t know existed.

Breakup businesses
These breakup-inspired businesses know what it’s like to get dumped and are taking advantage of it. But don’t worry, unlike your ex, they’re not really taking advantage of you.

Animal businesses
Whether they’re making use of a critter’s natural behaviors or pampering your pet to the fullest, these 10 companies have your four-legged friends in mind.

Halloween businesses
While most companies simply run Halloween-themed promotions during October, these eight startups have built their businesses entirely on the season of spirits.

Wedding businesses
Your wedding day should be flawless, and these services are here to help. To make sure your big day goes off without a hitch, take a look at these businesses that are dedicated to helping couples like you plan the best day ever.

Yoga businesses
Staying fit and relaxing are rarely the same thing. One invokes images of pumping iron, the other of lying on the couch. But Yoga harnesses the best of fitness and relaxation to bring you a mind, body, and spirit experience that rejuvenates and strengthens. These businesses help support those goals.

3D printing businesses
What was once seemed like a high-tech, futuristic device is now reality; 3D printers are taking the world by storm and allowing users to create real, physical objects from nothing more than a computer representation. These companies have harnessed the power of the 3D printer to create truly amazing businesses.

“Sexy” businesses
What makes for a better business model than catering to one of the world’s oldest pastimes? Sex is more than just instinct and reproduction for these companies; it’s their business, and business is booming.
Gaming businesses
Do you love gaming? These startups have their sights aimed at the top of the heap when it comes to video games. See what these six businesses are working on that could change the game, literally.

Socially repsonsible businesses
Are you passionate about social justice AND looking to start your own business? Here are some examples of socially responsible businesses that don’t just turn a profit, but also give back to the communities around them.

Nonprofit organizations
Most companies are for-profit endeavors, but there are a ton of much-needed services offered by non-profit organizations as well. Often, these seek to support a community or further social projects, but each is unique in its own way. Take a cue from these inspiring organizations.

Delivery businesses
Are you a proud couch potato? If you don’t want to do any heavy lifting, you need to have these unique delivery services in your life. Don’t fret, you’ll only have to get up to answer the door!

Beauty businesses
If beauty and cosmetics are your thing, then look no further! These companies found creative ways to make beauty into booming business; you can too, with the right mix of inspiration, creativity and style.

Fitness businesses
If you’re a health and fitness nut, then these businesses are just for you. These companies found innovative ways to approach fitness, spreading health and general well-being amongst their customers. How can you stay fit and proft? Let’s find out.

Fashion businesses
If you’ve got fashion sense and a mind for innovation, you’ll fit right in with these entrepreneurs. Let’s take a look at some of the businesses that are disrupting the fashion industry and find out what it takes to launch a successful startup based on changing the game.

Best Places to Find Businesses For Sale Online

Want to be an entrepreneur? You don’t necessarily have to start and build your own brand-new business; sometimes the best move is to buy and grow an already-established company.

Aspiring owners who don’t know where to start should consider looking into websites, which direct you to the best businesses and properties for sale. From there, you can decide which best fits your entrepreneurial goals and budget.

Here are seven companies to find a business to take over:

1. BizBuySell.com
BizBuySell.com boasts that it is “the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace” and offers users options to buy a business, buy a franchise, sell a business, get help with financing and more. Users can search for businesses by category, state and country, and even set a minimum and maximum price. You can also search franchises by type, state, and amount of capital you have available to invest. Or, you can search for a business broker near you.

2. BizQuest.com
Search on BizQuest.com for your desired businesses, franchises or business brokers by location and business type or industry. And perks for sellers are good, too: BizQuest.com allows you to post ads in just five minutes. The ads are then shared on the company’s partner websites, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. BizQuest.com also gives you the option to browse listings in top cities as well as the most popular franchises and industries.

3. BusinessBroker.net
BusinessBroker.net has more than 30,000 business-for-sale listings just waiting for you to sift through. As with the other websites, you can search for businesses and franchises, find brokers and see listings by industry and location. BusinessBroker.net also has a finance and loan center that offers professional help to guide you in your business purchasing decisions.

4. MergerNetwork.com
MergerNetwork.com has more than 15,000 active business-for-sale listings around the world. It allows sellers to post ads for their business for free and connect with over 14,000 entrepreneurs, investment bankers and business brokers.

5. BusinessesForSale.com
This website currently has more than 62,000 business listings in the United States and around the world, including available franchises. Users can search by business sector and location to find the perfect business for them. BusinessesForSale.com also has features like email alerts and a services directory for those who need accountants, brokers, lawyers and more.

6. LoopNet.com
With more than 800,000 listings available, it’s easy to understand why LoopNet.com is a reliable resource for discovering businesses for sale in your region. If you’re already a business owner or an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, LoopNet is available in app form (on Google Play and in the App Store) to peruse listings on your schedule, from wherever.

Additionally, the site is partners with commercial real estate firms like Century21, Chusman & Wakefield, CBRE, Sperry Van Ness, and Re/Max Commercial.

On the other end of it? If you’re looking to sell your current business, LoopNet provides the opportunity to list your business.

7. BusinessMart.com
BusinessMart.com, like many of the other websites, has both businesses and franchises available as well as resources and services to help you get funding. It also allows you to search by location and business category, or search franchises by your available capital.

How to Grow Leaders in Your Business

There are many reasons why organizations spend enormous amounts of time and resources on developing leaders. One of the most important examples would be that “Organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.”

If you want your organization to fall into that category, then use the following 10 tips to help develop leaders within your business.

1. Use big data.
As Heather Huhman reminds us in Entrepreneur, “Previously employers have relied on assessments such as IQ tests, skills aptitude tests, and even physical exams to answer questions like ‘Should Sarah be promoted?’ or ‘Is it time to fire Bill?’” Now we have big data to help us locate the right employees for our business and even predict how long they’ll remain at the company.

There are many companies now that use data to determine the best talent. I’ve used several but the best indicator that I’ve found is using the enneagram test. I make all new employees take this test. This helps me to better know how to make them a leader. Not everyone can become a leader the same way. Every personality is different and this test will help you better evaluate different types of leaders.

2. Develop leaders early.
Leadership development should take place as soon as possible within your organization by assessing and analyzing the strengths of potential future leaders. While big data can be used, you can also discover which employees have what it takes for certain jobs by letting them identify themselves as potential leaders in leadership positions.

This is a technique used by Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx; “Our Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Program explains the demands of management as well as the personal characteristics and traits needed for successful leadership. I find it interesting that, once they know the demands and requirements, some 70 percent of the participants drop out of the program.”

3. Educate and train employees.
Another way to develop future leaders is by constantly providing them with the education and training needed to become a leader. This could be accomplished by having employees attend webinars, conferences or classes to help them refine their leadership skills.

4. Challenge employees.
Give employees a chance to challenge themselves by assigning them unfamiliar tasks. It’s an effective way to push and test their skill levels. As The Wall Street Journal notes, it’s all right if they fail since it “offers valuable lessons that can add new skills, improve confidence, and solidify employee commitment.”

Watch to see if the employee just determines the task is above their skill level or if your employee determines that they will do what it takes to learn the new skill.

5. Let them interact with current leaders.
Companies like Southwest Airlines have found an effective way to give employees first-hand experience in a leadership role is for them to shadow current leaders. While speaking to Businessweek, Elizabeth Bryant, senior director of talent management at Southwest Airlines, stated “It goes beyond formal training and is part of everyday life at Southwest, where employees at every level are exposed to leaders so they get to see how the leaders think.”

Bryant added “Even informal mentoring and exposure to company executives helps to broaden people’s perspectives and stimulate their passion about the job.”
6. Teach them to network.
Networking is vital for everyone in a leadership position. Take for example how operational, personal and strategic networking was examined by Herminia Ibarra and Mark Hunter. The professors discovered that effective managers were able to locate the individuals within their organization who can help them complete a task or project.

Encourage employees to improve their networking skills through training or by having them communicate with co-workers they don’t know well.

7. Rotate employee positions.
For many innovative companies, employee rotation has become a great way to engage, motivate and work with different team members. Furthermore, by not locking employees into a single position, it’s developing additional skills in each employee that could be used if they have to fill-in for another team member.

Susan Heathfield, a human resources consultant, informed Charles Coy on the Cornerstone Blog that employee rotation is helpful because, “It helps employees spread their wings and extend their boundaries.”
8. Provide support for employees.
While you want to challenge employees and encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, you also need to make sure that you give them the proper support whenever assigning new tasks. This can be done by encouraging them yourself, directing them to someone who can help, providing them with the right support and frequently evaluating their work.

9. Inspire employees to be passionate.
Some of the the best leaders that I’ve ever met inspire others to become leaders by their passion. Employees will take a little bit of that passion and it will grow within them. Develop passion in your employees and they will become the biggest factors in the success of your business.

By letting employees be creative, encouraging them to work on side projects and sending out employee surveys, you will have found a couple of ways to discover which employees are authentic and have bought into your company’s culture. Keep in mind, you don’t have time for everything.

10. Give them a little power.
It’s important to give employees the right tools and resources to succeed. But, you don’t always have to hold their hand. Furthermore, you may have to give up a little control by giving them the power to make certain decisions.

According to Avery Augustine of The Muse, “I learned this firsthand when I was put in charge of a client event while my boss was out of town and completely out of touch. With no one else to lean on, I was forced to make decisions on my own, no matter how unsure I was. Eventually, I became more and more confident in making decisions solo (even if it took a couple slip-ups — a.k.a. “learning experiences” — to solidify that skill.)”