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Messages - Maruf Reza Byron

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1. Bigger incentives and perks.
The broader economic environment of a town makes a big difference in the success of a startup and whether entrepreneurs even try to launch in the first place. As a result, a supportive environment is key. Because state taxes can create a barrier to profitability for businesses, entrepreneurs are better off in cities with relatively low state business tax burdens.

In most states, corporations are subject to a corporate income tax, while income from S Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), partnerships and sole proprietorships are subject to a state’s tax on personal income. Regardless of the amount of income, corporate rates generally range from 4-9 percent, and personal rates range from zero percent for small amounts of taxable income to 9 percent or more in some states.

In Oklahoma, I not only have the benefit of tax breaks but also promotional and recruiting assistance. In 2016, an entrepreneurial resource center called 36 Degrees North opened in Tulsa’s growing Brady Arts District, with financial assistance from the George Kaiser Family Foundation. With its seven conference rooms, 48 desks for rent and 10 private offices, the 11,500-square-foot space serves as a central gathering place for aspiring entrepreneurs and is a testament to the growing entrepreneurial movement here in Tulsa.

2. Fresh ground for development.
As an entrepreneur, you naturally become part of the fabric of development in smaller cities that are trying to expand on existing businesses, to attract new businesses and to develop a startup environment. Being located in a smaller city gives you the opportunity to be a pioneer in the area of development, which can help you forge closer partnerships with other local business owners and remain at the forefront of your community’s development.  For instance, we created an Entrepreneur Organization in Tulsa. EO is an international organization, but we only launched a Tulsa chapter this year.

Taking part in building the Tulsa business community has helped me network with other local business owners and have a say in the direction the city takes. I would be hard pressed to find a similar opportunity in a larger city. 

3. Little to no commute.
Smaller cities are a win-win for both the employer and the employee. Most have a commute time that’s almost non-existent, plentiful housing options and a much, much lower cost of living than their big city counterparts.

With a cost of living rating of 84.60, Tulsa is cheaper than the U.S. average of 100. For comparison, the cost of living rating in San Francisco is 242 compared to 168 for New York and 106.50 for Austin. In addition to the higher cost of living, workers face a lengthy commute on a daily basis in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where traffic adds 10-15 hours of transit time a week to get to and from the office. The maximum commute time to our office is 30 minutes, which leads to happier employees because they have more free time to spend with their families or friends.

4. Higher talent retention rates.

The advantage of a big city is its growing population, which creates consumer demand and economic opportunity for young people. Although there’s an inordinate amount of young talent in big cities, there co-exists the risk that they will be poached by a bigger company like Google, Microsoft or Facebook. I don’t have to worry about that as much because there aren't as many tech companies based in Tulsa who are in a position to hook my employees. As a result, vacancies are rare. ConsumerAffairs reports an annual employee retention rate of 98 percent. Staffers at ConsumerAffairs earn an equivalent salary to those based in the Bay Area who are in comparable positions but without the big city hassles of being based in San Francisco.

Our local talent pool might be smaller, but we’re still selective. We employ high-performing individuals who don’t have to be micromanaged. Like Netflix and other hot startups, ConsumerAffairs rewards its salaried employees with unlimited vacation and freedom to work flexible hours as long as they are performing at or above our expectations.


Entrepreneurship Development / This Entrepreneur Teaches
« on: May 04, 2017, 01:37:00 PM »

Step 1: Identify your skill.
“When it comes to starting a business, I always recommend people start with a skill-based side business. It’s the quickest way to get going with almost no overhead and everybody has something that they’re good at,” says DiPiazza. “The most important thing to realize is that you don’t need to be a world-class expert in order to find a skill or business idea that somebody is willing to pay you for.”

Things you’ve done for work in the past: For instance, DiPiazza worked for Kaplan Test Prep, so his first business was an SAT/ACT consulting firm.

Skills or hobbies that you already have: Are you bilingual? Are you a kitchen whiz? Can you build an app? People will pay for those skills!

Problems people are constantly asking you to solve: Are you the friend that always gets called for advice in a certain area of expertise? Maybe there’s the kernel of an idea there.

Once you choose which idea you’d like to run with, now it’s time to make sure your idea has legs. For this part of the process, DiPiazza recommends you use what he has dubbed “Three Question Validation” to make sure that your idea is fail-proof before you ever begin. If you can answer yes to these three questions, your idea has promise!

Question #1: “Is there competition?”
Contrary to popular belief, DiPiazza quips, you want your market to have a little bit of competition. Why? Because pioneers return with arrows in their backs! Those who are first to market often have to spend a great deal of time testing what works, figuring out who their customers are and what sells.

Question #2: “Is my competition making money?”

Sometimes the market is crowded, but businesses are fighting over scraps. You want to make sure that there’s enough to go around. It’s time for you to do some research to see how your competitors run business.

Take a look at Yelp! Reviews or other forums. Google them for recent news articles. Give them a call or stop into their store if your competition is local. Start getting a feel for how much business they are getting, whether customers are happy and what the market size is like.

“If you can see that your competitors are occupied taking care of their customers — and their customers seem to be pretty happy, this is another good sign! You want a market that’s happy to pay. Because soon, they’ll be paying you!” DiPiazza said.

Question #3: “How can I do it differently or better?”
This is where you really get to shine.

Now, it’s clear that there is a market and a need for your product or service. It’s time to think about how you can be different or better than your competition. This will catch the eye of potential clients and create a contrast between your business and others in your field.

“Standing out is a big sticking point for most people, so I’m constantly talking about this on my blog, Yes, of course you can compete on price. But that’s a war of attrition. Everybody does that, and it hurts the entire market. Why not switch it up?

You can have better variety, better customer service, a better guarantee, or simply better craftsmanship. Most of the time, it’s just about meeting the customer’s needs more completely. If you’re a personal trainer, rather than having your client come to you, you could go to them and train them at their house. Boom, now you have a unique angle.”


1. How much money do you need to make?
Whether you’re single, married or supporting a family, think about your cost of living as well as your need for financial autonomy. Most entrepreneurs don’t quit their “day job” to pursue their startup full-time right away. If you have a stable income to cover financial obligations, you may prefer to pursue the hobby-related business on the side, affording the latitude to enjoy the hobby and explore its market potential without the pressure of relying on it as a significant source of income. As you increase commitment to your hobby-related business and it begins to generate income, consider any financial tradeoffs you may have to make. If money is not a major concern or you have a financial safety net to fall back on when sales are low, you may be able to increase this commitment more quickly.

2. How flexible are you?
In other words, how willing are you to pivot your hobby to meet market demands? By practicing your hobby, you are creating value for yourself in terms of the intrinsic enjoyment it provides. But, to run a profitable business, you must create value for others -- your customers. How well does your hobby provide value for customers who are willing and able to pay? Many hobby entrepreneurs experience a divide between their enjoyment of the hobby and their work on the business as money becomes a larger factor. If running and developing a business is distracting from your original passion, it may be wise to delegate or outsource certain tasks to employees, co-owners or other professionals.

3. Are you prepared for negative feedback?
By sharing your hobby with the rest of the world, you’re inviting both positive and negative feedback -- about yourself, your competence and your business. Entrepreneurship inherently involves a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s easy to cling to the “ups.” But, make sure you’re also open to experiencing the “downs” and managing their impact on your enjoyment of the hobby.

Hobby entrepreneurship is not the right path for everyone. A double-edged sword, it has the potential to either bolster or erode passion for your craft. For some, starting a business may be the best of both work and play -- being paid to do what you love -- or it may end up shifting your focus away from an activity that you would otherwise practice purely for enjoyment.

So rather than jumping in right away or taking an “all or nothing” approach, try easing into monetizing your hobby. Continue practicing what you love, and be humble and receptive to feedback along the way. Eventually, you may realize you’re already taking steps toward starting a business and money will naturally enter the equation. But, if the business ends up taking you so far away from doing what you love that it’s no longer enjoyable, consider keeping the two separate.


In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brittney Castro explains three good ways you can spend the money you get from your tax refund. The first way is to fund an IRA, so you can invest your money into retirement. To maximize the investment, Castro stresses the importance of meeting with a financial planner for this step to decide which kind of IRA would be best for you.

Click play to learn more tips about investing and to learn two other good ways to spend your refund money.

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.



1. Use split testing in Facebook advertising.
Aaron Chavez, co-founder of Media Maven, explains one of his favorite ways to hyper target his following for his business is to use Facebook advertising. Chavez says this is the best way to pinpoint the exact follower for your brand on Facebook. "After testing all other popular ad platforms we've found that no other platform produces as high of a return on ad spend compared to Facebook."

Facebook advertising allows your brand to locate the follower who wants exactly what you have. One of the functions of Facebook ads is how it allows you to use split test messaging to find the best message that resonates with your followers. If you want to reach people in Montana who like to fish, love kitesurfing and enjoy drinking tea, then you can target them and only them with an offer.

In order to split test your ads, write two Facebook posts you can compare against each other, changing only one or two concepts within the post so you know which one is which. This way, you completely understand what the motivation is within each posting.

In the example below, PostPlanner used the same link destination, yet it changed the wording just a tad in order to see its followers responses.

2. Continue to share quality content.
If there’s one thing your brand should always do on Facebook (and everywhere else) is to share quality content. Joel Contartese, digital marketing expert and brand strategist, says, "Facebook is a game of give and take. Sharing high quality content which is both educational and informational is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your audience."

When your brand continues to share quality content consistently, which helps your market, you build trust within your community.

It’s important to remember even the little things like this on Facebook because, even though these people may not be actively purchasing a product or opting into your email list, they are consistently engaging with your brand. It puts your business top of mind with your target audience.

Jay Baer, author of Youtility, confirms this idea when he gave an example of the Geek Squad in his book. He shared how the Geek Squad continually shared ideas and tips about how to fix computers every day. A friend of the CEO came to him and told him he was giving away great information for free by doing this, and how they should be charging for it. But, the CEO of the Geek Squad understood if they continued to give quality information to their market, sharing how their audience could fix their computers, the day would come when their audience couldn’t fix their computer -- and those people would come to the Geek Squad because they were building trust every time they shared valuable content and tips.

Ian Anderson Gray from Seriously Social understands not every post he shares should be about his brand, but about how he can help his followers. Gray reports an 80/20 consistent sharing method for the best results -- 80 percent other people's content and 20 percent his own branded content. It helps further engagement and conversation and keeps his audience connected to his company.



To measure your company’s vision requires a deeper understanding of what the words that you use to define it really mean. You’ll need to dig a little deeper to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of each key phrase, so try to consult with key staff and reach a consensus about those meanings.

Next comes defining the right indicators that measure progress towards vision. Let’s look at one common vision statements as an example: “outstanding value to customers.” How can this statement be measured? How do you know when it’s achieved? It must be based on solid evidence and not opinion. What information is needed to prove that this phrase from the vision is being realized? First, “outstanding” implies something that performs better than expected. How do we measure this? Two possible indicators would be one for quality and one for service.

Where do you find these indicators? You can either design a survey and ask your customers to rate the quality or the service of your offerings, or find the data within your internal processes from sales to delivery. The first alternative will give you the information you want but might inconvenience your customers. The second doesn’t take the customer’s time but only approximates the intent of your vision of providing outstanding value.

An approximate measure of value delivered to your customers might be something like “percent of repeat sales,” implying that repeat sales come as a result of value perceived by customers. Or you can look at the “percent of returns” assuming that a high percentage implies the customer didn’t perceive value.

Let’s try another example. Suppose the vision of a pizza company is “on-time delivery.” First, this has to be made clear before assigning an indicator to measure it. What is “on-time delivery?” It can be clarified by stating, “We deliver pizza within 15 minutes of the order.” Now, you can define an indicator to measure this intent.

How do you measure whether this actually happens? You can look at the delivery logs and count how many times the delivery was made within the 15 minutes promised. A good measurement of this statement would be “percent delivered within 15 minutes.” The measurement gives the owners of the company a clear indication of how their delivery service is operating. If their main selling point is “delivery within 15 minutes,” they would give attention to this indicator as their highest priority.

Here’s another example to illustrate how to clarify a part of a vision statement and convert it into a measurable indicator. If you state in your vision, “We’ll be the market leader,” what exactly does this mean? Do you mean the leader in technology, the leader in ethics, the leader in customer service? If the intent of your statement is to capture your market presence, then your vision statement could be clarified by defining it as, ‘We will have a higher market share in our lead product than any of our competitors.” You can then define an indicator to measure this statement as “percentage of market share in lead product.”

Acceptance criteria for indicators

To effectively measure your progress toward your vision, it’s imperative that the indicators you design be of the highest possible quality. What does this mean? It means that they be measurable, supported by data, fact based, reliable and accurately convey the intent of the vision. The descriptions below provide the characteristics the indicators should have:

Measurable. The indicators should be measurable. An indi­cator is measurable if it begins with the words “number of,” “percent,” “ratio,” “average,” “sum” or “delta” (difference between A and B). Examples are: number of customer orders, percent of customer orders through online channels, average number of customer orders per day, total customer orders, difference between customer orders received versus projected.

Supported by data. The indicator must be able to be supported by data that already exists in the company’s data systems, or can be captured by examining the documents generated during the operation of the company processes. If data doesn’t cur­rently exist, you can assess whether data capture is possible or cost effective.

Fact-based. Indicators are more meaningful if they’re based on facts, not opinions. Although opinions may give valuable infor­mation, indicators based on facts are preferable. For example, an opinion-based indicator might be the percentage of customers who rated the product with five stars on an ecommerce site. This is based on customer opinion. It’s valuable information but isn’t fact-based, whereas the percentage of customers who ordered the product a second time is fact-based. The more you make your indicator fact-based, the higher the quality of your measurement will be.

Reliable. The data source you’re considering for your indi­cator determines reliability. How reliable is the data accuracy from the source? How dependable is the source that provides the data on a regular basis?

Accurately conveys the intent of the vision. If you have a choice of several indicators to measure the vision, the one that most accurately conveys the intent is the one you should choose. However, if data for this indicator doesn’t exist or is difficult to obtain, then you can choose an indicator that closely approximates that intent.

Your company may currently be using metrics to track performance. How do these differ from the indicators of vision? They don’t. They’re both indicators that measure progress. Your existing indicators are candidates to be linked to your vision. However, companies often have too many existing indicators, some of which might not be relevant but continue to be tracked from year to year. We suggest you make a list of these indicators and analyze them one by one to see if they adequately describe the intent of any of the phrases in your vision statement. If they do, then they become vision indicators. If they don’t, you might not need them.

Engage your team in clarifying your vision, then measuring the intent of your vision with the highest-quality indicators that might include some of your existing indicators. Once you’ve developed your strategy, pick the indicators you need to focus on in the next twelve months.


Pay your dues.
Like many successful members of the entertainment community, Charlamagne started at the bottom, as an intern at a local radio station in South Carolina. He was given the opportunity to get on the air, and eventually caught the eye -- er, ear -- of Wendy Williams. She offered him a spot on her show -- but without pay. What impresses me most about this part of the story is that Charlamagne worked for her without pay for not just a few months but a year-and-a- half.

“That's how you know if something is your passion or not," he explained. "I always tell people, "How do you figure out something is your passion? It's that thing you go to sleep about at night and it's on your mind. You wake up and it's still on your mind. It's like a burning desire inside of you, you just can't escape it, and you would do it for free simply because you love it.” That’s what radio was for him, and he knew that if he could succeed with Wendy in New York, then the “sky’s the limit from there.”

He added, “Yo, it's 168 hours in a week. So, even if you're going to school for 30 hours, and you got a job for 40 hours, you still got like 80, 90 plus hours to do whatever it is that you wanna do. If you can't find time to pursue your dream, and deal with your reality in this 168-hour week, then you ain't hustling right.”

If you want to become a person of influence in your industry, realize it usually takes years of experience to earn a spot at the top.

Be yourself.

Though outspoken and unfiltered, Charlamagne makes sure that he never becomes “a caricature of himself.” He doesn’t give people a hard time for the sake of entertainment. He doesn’t switch to a persona once the "On Air" light turns on. He can get away with his schtick because it’s not a schtick -- it’s who he’s always been. “The best thing about me is that I didn't know how to do radio,” he said. “Nobody taught me, so the only thing I would do when I would go into air is just be myself. I would just talk.”

He warned other influencers and personalities to be careful not to start doing everything you think the audience wants. That’s not sustainable for an entire career, so be sure and build a personal brand around your authentic self.

Take risks.
It’s worth noting that his bold style has indeed gotten him fired multiple times. But, Charlamagne has repeatedly said that he is “for the people” not “for the industry” -- meaning while he is a fan of many hip-hop celebrities, he’s not going to pander to them in any way. This is a risky move, since The Breakfast Club obviously wants to maintain its celebrity interviews. The risk continues to pay off, however, because “the people” love Charlamagne.

Now with his brand new book, Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It, Charlamagne is taking a bit of a risk again, choosing such a provocative title. But the bottom line for him comes down to honest, even when it’s risky.

As he told The New York Times recently, “Honesty is a foundation, and it’s usually a solid foundation. Even if I do get in trouble for what I said, it’s something that I can stand on.”

Stay hungry.
Charlemagne decided back in his intern days that he wanted to be a star jock, not content to stay in South Carolina forever. He put in the hustle, and he also worked to stay relevant and innovative. For example, he started recording his radio shows on video back when YouTube was still relatively new. Now part of his fame is due to the viral videos that have come out of provocative Breakfast Club conversations. He was also an early adopter on social media, now with over 1.8 million followers on Twitter alone.

If you want to go far, work to prove yourself and then make meaningful connections, he advises. “Every opportunity I've ever gotten is because of somebody I've met, a new connection I've made . . . showing love, meeting people, shaking hands.” he shared. “I have no problem asking somebody what they do, what they're into, how did they get there, how can I be involved? If it's something I want to be involved in . . . being annoying. You gotta have a DJ Khaled level of annoyance.” His willingness to ask questions and show his hunger brings me to my next point.

Stay grounded.
You probably cannot find an interview with Charlamagne where he doesn’t mention his upbringing on the dirt-road town of Monck’s Corner, S.C. He is big on supporting his home state and goes back to his high school regularly for charity events. This is a man who will never forget where he came from. He takes manners seriously, a lesson learned from his grandmother, and true to form, he shook every hand in the room when he walked in for our interview.

Charlamagne is also big on listening and observing, another common trait of the massively successful people I interview on The Pursuit. He is also well read and deeply spiritual. He explained that in order to have such real moments live on the radio, you have to stay present, open and receptive. For such a brash personality, he’s very willing to get vulnerable. He explained, “I don't mind having that experience with the listeners, like I don't mind that confusion. I don't mind [saying ‘I don’t know.’]”

Even if you’ve fallen on hard times -- like Charlamagne did in his early years, serving some jail time and then working whatever odd jobs he could -- don’t let the negativity in.

He shared his advice: “Just simply don't listen to that poison, when people are telling you that this can't happen or that won't happen, of course it's difficult, of course it's hard. But, I think a lot of people do tend to get over [your mistakes] especially if they can see you actually trying to make a positive change.”

Watch in-depth interviews with celebrity entrepreneurs on The Pursuit with Kelsey Humphreys

Entrepreneur Network is premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.



1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
With a couple tweaks, you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a powerful sales asset. The most important thing is that your profile is a 100 percent complete. There is a high chance that your prospects will look you up if they are interested in what you are selling. When they do, your profile should give off a professional impression of you and your company.

Your headline

LinkedIn automatically populates your headline with your current job title (your headline appears right under your name). To stand out, change this tagline to a value proposition that captures your audience’s attention. Get creative with the 120 characters you have. It should showcase what you bring to the table. Below you can see how I optimized my own headline.

Entrepreneurship Development / Acing Your Pitch to Investors
« on: May 04, 2017, 01:22:49 PM »

1. Take only 10 minutes
Timing is critical. The less time your pitch takes, the better. A brilliant idea means nothing unless you can distill it to a few moments of sheer power. The more concise you can be, the more effective you’ll be. Here are a few timing pointers:

If you say you’ll take “only X minutes,” take at least one minute less.
If you are told, “You only have X minutes to pitch,” take at least five minutes less.
If you say, “One last thing,” make sure it’s truly the last thing.
Move at a good pace. Don’t rush at the end.
If you’re using slides, don’t stay on one slide for more than three minutes.
Here’s the great thing about taking 10 minutes: If the investors are really interested, they’ll ask questions. If they’re not, you’ll have saved them (and yourself) some time.

2. Turn your pitch into a story
Storytelling is a scientifically proven way to capture a listener’s attention and hold it. Besides, it makes your pitch unforgettable. Investors are bored with spreadsheets, valuations and numbers. If they want that information, they can get it. What you can offer that no term sheet can convey is the story and pathos behind your startup. Everyone loves a good story, even the most data-driven investor.

So tell your story and tell it right. You’re bound to gain attention, and the funding will follow.

3. Be laser-focused
Investors’ time is their most valuable asset. If you convey respect for their time, they’ll interpret that as your willingness to treat their funding with respect.

Because time is important, you need to develop an absolute focus on the core components of your pitch, detailed in the following tips.

4. Explain exactly what your product or service is

Show your potential investors a picture of or give them the actual product to handle. Be careful not to drone endlessly on about your product. Honestly, investors don’t care about your product as much as they care about the money your product will make. The sooner you get to the money, the better.

5. Explain exactly what is unique about your product or service

If you aren’t producing or providing anything different from the run-of-the-mill widget, don’t even go to the meeting. Go back to your drawing board, and design something better.

6. Explain exactly who your target audience is
Use demographic and psychographic features to pinpoint your customers. Show investors a picture of a customer along with relevant data points.

7. Explain exactly how you intend to acquire these customers
Business success comes down to marketing. If you have a marketing idea, method, technique or process, this is your chance to showcase it. Contrary to pithy maxims, great products don’t sell themselves. You sell the product. To be persuaded, investors have to see an airtight strategy for getting the product to market.

Most VCs are well aware of the advantages of digital marketing and won’t take a second glance at a product that isn’t backed by a tactical plan for online marketing.

8. Explain your revenue model
Investors invest because they want to make a return on that investment. An investor will care about your pitch if you can answer this question: How will my company make you rich?

The answer, in investor-speak, is your revenue model. Specifically identify which type of revenue model you’re embracing and how you intend to apply it.

9. Be wildly enthusiastic
Whatever you think of Shark Tank or investor Barbara Corcoran, you can’t argue with her insight into pitching a business idea: “My whole focus is on trying to size up the entrepreneur. I am looking at how much wild enthusiasm they genuinely have for their product. You can’t fake passion.”

A good technique for increasing your energy level is to add about 50 percent more energy than you feel comfortable with. You must crawl out of your comfort zone. Wild enthusiasm will not obscure your sophistication, insight, integrity and realism. It will only enhance it.

10. Dress to kill
People judge a person by the way they looks. That may be unfair, and you may resent it, but you’re not going to overcome this natural human tendency. The thousand bucks you spend on a new suit will pay for itself a thousand times over when you secure the funding you need. So don’t skimp.

11. Practice your pitch
And then practice it again. And again.

12. Anticipate questions and answer them ahead of time
If an investor is interested, they’ll ask more questions. Be ready for them. By formulating skillful and persuasive answers to the tough questions, you’ll demonstrate the panoply of abilities and traits that investors love to see.

Related: How to Finance a New Business by Rolling Over Your Retirement Funds

13. Show them the exit
Here’s the clincher on a killer pitch: an exit strategy. Starstruck entrepreneurs usually overlook this critical component when they’re pitching. They’re so sold on their sexy product that they cannot conceive there’ll ever be a need for an exit.

Every investor wants to make a lot of money in a short amount of time. What is a “short amount of time”? A five-year benchmark is a safe time frame. Your plan and pitch should explicitly answer the investor’s unstated question: How will this make me a lot of money in five years?

The answer is your exit strategy. Is it an IPO? An acquisition? Licensing? To answer “sales revenue or valuation” is to shipwreck your plan from the start. Investors want big payoffs, not marginal returns. They want to retire comfortably on a big yacht, not get their money back in a little equity package.

The goal of a successful pitch is to have investors begging to invest in your company. Sure, that sounds too good to be true, but it is possible. When you successfully deliver on what an investor wants, you’ll have a truly irresistible pitch.


Entrepreneurship Development / 6 Tips to Make You Love
« on: May 04, 2017, 01:21:04 PM »

1. Make sure you are speaking to the right person.
Sales is a numbers game, but we can reduce the rejections we receive by making sure we are speaking to someone for whom our offer is both relevant and resonant. It's better to spend 15 minutes making sure you have the right prospect than to call just anyone. Rejections are so demotivating; even with the right person you will feel that way. But with the wrong person, you are truly setting yourself up for failure.

2. Have the right goal.

If 80 percent of sales happen on or after the fifth goal, then we need to make sure we have the right goal for our calls. Clearly, the first four calls are not about making sales; they are about keeping the conversation going and getting potential clients to the fifth conversation, where our chance of making the sale is significantly higher.

I found that having the right goal took away the pressure I felt, leaving me more relaxed, which itself helps create better outcomes. You also take the pressure off the prospect: The reason is that he or she doesn't have to give an immediate "no," which then allows the conversation to flow, and gives both of you both opportunity to get better acquainted.

When we have the right goal, even a no can be a success, because it gets us motivated to come back and try again.

3. Make sure you have the right message.
Sales is not about selling products; it's about offering solutions. To do that, be sure that your sales message highlights the benefit that you bring. The message needs to both resonate and be relevant, even intriguing, to a potential client. When you have the right client and the right message, your chances of getting to the next stage increase significantly.

When I started out, I'd call and say I was a Top 100 Leadership Expert and was inquiring about speaking opportunities. I thought this was a great pitch: I was sure there would be interest from my prospect in hearing from a "top expert" but in fact nobody saw leadership as their issue.

I was much more successful when I changed the conversation to solutions. I particularly remember asking if an Atlanta-based company would be interested in hearing about my FAST success framework, which was excellent for driving change programs. The prospect was interested, given that the company was struggling with a large change program itself, so my call had a come at a great time.

People want solutions, not products or services, so make sure your message highlights that.

4. Review and refine your message.
Comedians and professional speakers are constantly reviewing their material, checking what works and what doesn't. They are brutal about it. They want to know what gets the right response from their audience, what creates a connection and generates engagement. When even an individual word doesn't work, it's cut or replaced.

It's great to have a script but you constantly assess it and improve it, always looking to increase your conversion rate. Sales is a process. Like any process, to be improved it needs to be assessed, reviewed and refined.

5. Use tools to increase the number of conversations.
It normally takes, on average, eight calls to get to a conversation with a potential client, so each call which ends with the wrong person or a voicemail is wasted effort, and that reality can help increase your frustration and reduce your confidence.

That's why you should consider using tools. There are several out that there that can help you maximize the amount of time you spend selling versus dialing.

6. Be persistent and consistent.
With 80 percent of sales happening after the fifth call, sales is all about being persistent and consistent. It's great to have the gift of the gab or to be able to charm the birds from the tree, but it's the drive to call and call again that differentiates success from failure.

The money is in the follow-up. Amazingly, 48 percent of sale people never follow up at all, let alone make five calls. Then they wonder why they're not finding success.


In this video, Entrepreneur Network partners Chris Haddon and Jason Balin answer questions about creating connections and using your community to build your business. That sense of community can come in all sorts of different forms. Whether you're making contacts with your neighbors or with like-minded people in your industry, it's important to build a support system that can help you and give you good advice.

You can even reach out to your competitors. After all, no one knows what you're going through as well as they do, and the lessons you can learn from them are often more important in the long run than any clients or customers they might take from you.


সেদিন ভার্সিটি লাইফের ক্লোজ ফ্রেন্ডরা মিলে আড্ডা দিচ্ছিলাম এক ব্যবসায়ী বন্ধুর অফিসে। তাদের কেউ কেউ আবার আ. লীগ-বিএনপি'র সাপোর্টার। প্রসংগক্রমে উঠে আসে চলমান রাজনৈতিক পরিস্থিতি। ০৫ জানুয়ারির নির্বাচন-সমাবেশ-৫০০ স্কুল পুড়িয়ে দেয়া-১২৬ জনের প্রাণনাশ-পেট্রোলবোমা-টানা অবরোধ-হরতালের বিশ্বরেকর্ড হলো কিনা-এক মাসে ৭৪ জন নিহত-দেশ পাকিস্তান হয়ে যাচ্ছে- ইত্যাদি ইত্যাদি। 'সাপোর্টার' বন্ধুরা এক অপরকে দোষারোপের খেলায় মেতে ওঠে। এ বলে বিএনপি দায়ী, ও বলে আ. লীগ দায়ী।... যাই হোক, দীর্ঘদিন পরে বন্ধুরা মিলে আড্ডা-দুষ্টামী-খিস্তিখেউর-স্মৃতিকাতরতা-দামি নাস্তা শেষে ফুরিয়ে আসা শীতের রাতে বাসায় ফিরছিলাম আর ভাবছিলাম এখন যদি রাস্তায় আমার কিছু হয়ে যায়, কোন বোমা এসে যদি আমার শরীর-মুখ ঝলসে দেয় অথবা পুলিশের "বন্দুক যুদ্ধ"-এর মাঝে যদি পড়ে যাই তখন কী হবে!... আমার 'সাপোর্টার' বন্ধুদের মুখ চোখের সামনে ভেসে ওঠে...

Career Tips / Re: সুইসাইড মার্কেটিং
« on: December 31, 2014, 12:25:18 PM »

Career Tips / সুইসাইড মার্কেটিং
« on: December 23, 2014, 02:17:06 PM »
[“...নিজের প্রতি যখন ঘৃণা ধরে যায়, তখন আর জীবনের প্রতি মায়া থাকে না; বাঁচতে ইচ্ছা করে না। মনে হয়, মরে যাই।...”]

আত্মহত্যা করা এখন ট্রেণ্ডে পরিণত হয়েছে। তারুণ্যের ক্রেজে পরিণত হয়েছে সুইসাইড। জীবনের প্রতি মায়া না থাকা মূহুর্ত এখন তাদের জীবনে ঘুরে ফিরে আসছে ষড়ঋতুর চেয়েও দ্রুত বেগে। ফলাফল - জীবনের নিদারূন অপচয়। উদ্দেশ্যহীন তারুণ্য এখন “ব্যক্তিগত সুখ” আর ‘আত্মসম্মান’ রক্ষায় মরিয়া হয়ে ছুটছে। এটাকেই মানছে জীবনের “মনজিলে মকসুদ” হিসেবে। আর এর করুণ পরিণতি হিসেবে আমরা পাচ্ছি কিছু শোক সংবাদঃ “প্রেমে ব্যর্থ হয়ে তরুণীর আত্মহত্যা”, পরীক্ষায় ফেল করায় ট্রেনের নীচে জীবন দিল তরুণ”, অথবা, “বাবা-মা’র বকুনিতে অকালে ঝরে গেল তাজা প্রাণ”। আবার কখনও কখনও দুঃখবিলাসী তারুণ্য আক্রমণাত্মক হয়ে উঠছে এবং কেড়ে নিচ্ছে বাবা-মা, নীতিবান শিক্ষক, অথবা প্রিয়তম মানুষের জীবন।

আমি মনোবিদ নই। আত্মহত্যার মনোবৈজ্ঞানিক বিষয় ব্যাখ্যা করা আমার উদ্দেশ্যও নয়। আমি ছা-পোষা মাস্টার। তাও আবার পাবলিক বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের এলিট অধ্যাপক নয়; প্রাইভেট (কিন্তু ব্যক্তিগত নয়) বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের নিতান্তই ঘানিটানা ক্ল্যারিক্যাল শ্রমিক-মাস্টার। পড়াই মার্কেটিং। লোভের বাণিজ্য আর লাভের বাণিজ্যের তত্ত্ব পড়াতে পড়াতে হঠাৎ শখ জাগে LOVE-এর বাণিজ্যের প্রতি। সেখান থেকে স্লিপ কেটে পড়ে যাই সুইসাইড মার্কেটিংয়ের মায়াময় জগতে এবং বিমুগ্ধ বিষ্ময় নিয়ে দেখি লাভের নেশায় মত্ত পুঁজিওয়ালারা কিভাবে LOVE-এর ফাঁদে ফেলে কচি তাজা প্রাণগুলোকে সুইসাইডের প্রতি উস্কে দিচ্ছে। ভেবে শিউরে উঠি আমাদের মুভি-নাটক-গান তথা পুরো শোবিজ ইণ্ডাস্ট্রি আমাদের সমাজের ভবিষ্যত কাণ্ডারীদের অকালেই মরে যাবার সব রকম ব্যবস্থাকে অত্যন্ত যত্নের সাথে গ্লোরিফাই করছে কখনও আশিকি টু’র ব্যর্থ প্রেমিক, তো কখনও  আনজানা আনজানি’র আত্মহত্যা  আত্মহত্যা খেলা, আবার কখনও হেমলক সোসাইটি’র হাতেকলমে সুইসাইডশিক্ষার মাধ্যমে। চেহারা যাই হোক, সব গল্পেরই একটাই অব্যর্থ মেসেজঃ যদি নিজেকে স্বার্থক করতে চাও তবে there's always a second chance and that's SUICIDE।

প্রকৃতই সুইসাইডজ্বরে কাঁপছে তারুণ্য। সে জ্বরের উত্তাপ আমাদের এই দেশেও এসে লেগেছে। তাইতো টিভি চ্যানেলের পবিত্র ঈদ উৎসবের আয়োজনেও দেখি সুইসাইডের ঢেউ। ‘উদ্দেশ্য’ শীর্ষক নাটকের মাধ্যমে যদিও সুইসাইডের বিপক্ষে মেসেজ পাঠানো হয় যে জীবন একটি পবিত্র উপহার; এটা নষ্ট করার কোন উদ্দেশ্যই নাই... ইত্যাদি ইত্যাদি... তারুণ্য কিন্তু ঠিকই মেসেজ পেয়ে যায় কিছু সহজলভ্য সুইসাইড টিপসের যার ফলাফল হয়তো শুরুর উক্তিটি।

সম্মানিত মনোবিদগণ, প্লিজ মাইণ্ড  করবেন না। আমি আপনাদের জগতে অনধিকার প্রবেশ করতে চাই না। বরং মার্কেটিংয়ের একজন শিক্ষার্থী-শিক্ষক হিসেবে শুধু LOVE-এর বাণিজ্যের এই নতুন ছকটাকেই একটু বুঝতে চাই যা আমার ছোট ভাই বা বোন বা প্রিয় কোন শিক্ষার্থীর জীবন কেড়ে নিচ্ছে প্রতিনিয়ত। কখনও তাকে একেবারেই শিকার করছে, আবার কখনও তাকে বানিয়ে তুলছে হাসি-কান্নার জগতের এক জীবন্ত পুতুল।

প্রিয় প্রজন্ম, তুমি কি সুইসাইড মার্কেটিংয়ের এই ট্র্যাপ নিয়ে একবারও ভাববে না? একবারও তোমার মায়ের মায়াবী মুখ, পিতার কোমল স্নেহ, আর দেশের প্রতি তোমার কর্তব্যের কথা ভাববে না? নাকি কড়িকাঠের পুতুল হিসেবে সুইসাইড মার্কেটিংয়ের পাতা ফাঁদে পা দিয়ে নিজেকে absurd hero প্রমাণ করবে?

প্রিয় পাঠক, ভাবার এখনই সময়।...

Career Tips / What is ambition?
« on: December 20, 2014, 11:38:56 AM »
"We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or in drift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what do refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about."

Ambition: The Secret Passion (1980) by Joseph Epstein

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