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18 time hacks for busy leaders to recoup three to five hours a week

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Time management is a critical skill for business leaders who often have to juggle multiple responsibilities and obligations. Finding effective strategies to maximize productivity and reclaim more time is essential for leaders.

As experts, the members of gotechbusiness.com Business Council have extensive experience devising ways to increase productivity, save time and make the most of their limited availability. Below, 18 of them offer valuable techniques that can help busy leaders reclaim three to five hours a week and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

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1. Focus on the why, what and how

Focus and prioritize tasks that are critical to the “why” of your business. Collaborate and contribute to the “what”. Remove and delegate the “how” as much as you can! – Thomas Serrano, exclamation group

2. Make incremental changes

Incremental changes can help create a positive impact. For example, it can be helpful to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day to segment desires into a time block catalog. Time-blocking or cataloging where time is spent adjusting results is a revelation that can save time for delegation and prioritization. – Paul L. Gunn, Jr., KUG Corporation


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3. Find time to let your mind wander

Create what I call “mind-meandering hours” in the schedule. Senior leaders always move from task to task and from decision to decision. To make complex decisions and come up with out-of-the-box solutions to a problem, the mind must be clear and free. This only happens if you let it wander off without any interruption or agenda. I’ve seen some of my best decisions and insights happen during these winding hours. – Xavier Prabhu, PRUB

4. Use calendars to schedule meeting times accordingly

Attend or schedule only meetings with agendas and make sure to schedule an appropriate meeting duration based on the agenda. Often people choose a meeting of 30 or 60 minutes as standard when a shorter meeting would be more suitable. End the meeting when the meeting agenda is over. If you want to chat, schedule coffee chats. – Shavonnah Schreiber, SNR Creative

5. Give up 80% of your time

The fastest way to become super efficient is to challenge yourself to free up 80% of your time. When we do this, we force ourselves to be ruthless with our time. We are usually amazed at what we can really delegate and what is a totally inefficient use of time. – Marianne Evans, Raise BC Ltd

6. Hire an assistant

I had an assistant take over my schedule. I was so afraid to let it go, but I found it to be so liberating! I love waking up and knowing I already have a productive day ahead of me. I am now teaching my assistant to manage my email inbox. I’m terrified of giving up, but I look forward to the time when I have just a handful of emails to answer at the start of my work day. – Angie Noll, Reconciled solutions

7. Encourage pre-reads prior to meetings

To get the most out of meetings and reduce the time spent on them, we encourage pre-reads. This ensures that everyone is grounded with critical information for the meeting. This way, meetings can start with any clarifications and then dive deep into a rich discussion. It saves a lot of time upfront and makes meetings more fruitful. If we don’t do this effectively, we feel the impact. – Lee Rothschild, Packed with a purpose

8. Create empty calendar days

Have a day when you don’t get a call. Set your calendar so that no one can reserve time for you on this day, and the people on your team should know that this is the day you don’t want to be disturbed. You will have the opportunity to be more creative and will have the opportunity to work on other projects. This day is Friday for me and is now known as “No Call Friday”. It always feels like my most productive day. – Liam Pingree, Neuronic

9. Concentrate on work related to your position

Focus on what matters most to your role and let your team do the rest. Delegate tasks that are not essential or strategic. Trust your team and empower them to make decisions – your people will rise to the challenge and step forward if given the right leadership and direction. – Daniel Farar, Assembly software

10. Streamline your day

Plan your day and block out time for strategic thinking. Improving a day’s work or a week’s worth will probably keep you busy, but it won’t take you to the next level. Replace some meetings with Loom videos to save time. Also read your emails in batches as it has the same impact. – Marianella Manzur, Joorney Business Plans

11. Prioritize alignment and focus

Good time management is about alignment and focus, which can be represented using objectives and key results (OKRs) as an example. That’s why the time hack is to look at your work day, see what tasks fall outside of those OKRs and cut them out of the work schedule, especially for meetings. It takes some mental effort to do this. – Oleksandra Rostovtseva, Altamira

12. Focus on essential tasks and meetings

There’s no secret sauce, as we all work differently, but overall increasing your productivity works with this proven strategy: only attend essential meetings. Reduce meeting times to 30 minutes or less and prioritize meeting results for success. Skip non-essential meet and greets. Stay connected on the phone for fast action. Do not procrastinate tasks, because procrastination hinders progress! – Ali El Husseini, Land administration of the Medici

13. Delegate responsibilities

Delegate. The most common mistake leaders make is trying to do everything themselves because they think they can do it better. This is not scalable. You must learn to delegate responsibilities to others and demand quality. – Jay Rawat, Zinrelo

14. Block out time during the day

Sometimes making time saves time. I’ve been blocking 8 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 5 pm in my calendar for years. Morning time is thinking time where I read and research where we need to take our business. My coach says: “You can’t do more for your company, you can only think more.” Afternoon time is for the end of the day to clean up and debrief. Because of this ritual I usually don’t have to work at night and/or on weekends. – Misty Dijkema, Simante

15. Make your environment reflective of your work

Assign specific contexts to different tasks and allocate most of your time to creative and strategic work. For creative work, position yourself in a creative physical space with limited or no distractions. For strategic work, identify the combination of people or resources you need and make sure the environment has enough stimulation to keep your energy flowing. – DeEtta Jones, DeEtta Jones and associates

16. Eliminate procrastinating tasks first

Start your week, and every day, with the tasks most likely to fuel the procrastination pitfall. You’d be surprised how busy we fool ourselves when we put forward something annoying or unpleasant. You gain time and train yourself to eliminate procrastination. – Michael Paiva, The financial therapist

17. Use useful tools

Use productivity and automation tools. Also identify tasks that can be entrusted to skilled team members and empower them to take responsibility. Delegate tasks that match their strengths and provide clear instructions and expectations. This not only eases your workload, but also develops team members’ skills and promotes collaboration. – Myrtle Anne Ramos, Block tides

18. Multitask during Power Hours

I use power hours almost daily and combine many tasks to work in parallel. I could take my daughter to her figure skating practice and book a face-to-face meeting at a location where we can train in sports and meet each other at the same time. On the way home I do the shopping and listen to an audio book. There are many combinations for power hours. It is about having two to three parallel activities carried out at the same time. – Aslak de Silva, Shop yourself

How to put your new business before the brand

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Whitney A. White is CEO & founder of Afara Global and creator of the transformational coaching program, Take Back Your Time.

Many of us like to fantasize about achievements in the form of big moments. Play in the Super Bowl. Win an Oscar. Delivering a visionary TedTalk about your popular product launch.

What we don’t often think about are all the hours of turmoil, sacrifice, and work that are often required to achieve something great. Unfortunately, too often we put the cart before the horse, focusing on the image before going into the content of the company, the product or the audience itself. I know because I learned this lesson firsthand.

When I first launched my innovation company, Afara Global, I was focused on all the wrong things. I had a website, business cards and fonts all custom made for my brand.

You may be thinking, “Wait, aren’t those things necessary for a great company?” Maybe one day, but I didn’t have any clients yet. With no money coming into my business, all my branding materials were just for show.

So what are some ways you can make sure you put the business over the brand?

Contents

1. Focus on your ideal customer.

In the early stages of your business, it’s critical that you focus most of your energy on understanding your ideal customer. You need to understand the competitive landscape you operate in and what differentiates your solution from the other options your audience may be considering.

Before you start building the perfect website, branding materials, and social media strategy, build an in-depth understanding of your ideal customer’s needs and what they’re most willing to pay for. Otherwise, you are holding yourself back from taking action that will ultimately give you a better return on your investment.

2. Perfect your solution.

Go back to basics: what is the specific pain point you are trying to solve for your target audience? How can you reach your audience through imperfect action to build traction and close sales?

By shifting your focus to the actual operation of your business, you’ll see where time, energy, and resources are most needed to build a profitable business.

In my coaching business, I found that the initial investment of my time was best spent developing a highly effective curriculum and continuing to test and iterate until I felt confident in my product. Ensuring you have a high-quality product that truly addresses your ideal customer’s most pressing pain point is critical before branding material can come in handy.

3. Sell like crazy.

When it comes to my work with Afara Global and my coaching business, I see selling like crazy portion like a freak. I know the work I do impacts organizations and people’s lives, so I’m not afraid to introduce myself to those who could benefit.

I really started to see traction in my businesses when I made sure my personal and professional networks knew about my businesses and the pain points I was solving. I also started developing thought leadership to share through social media, blog posts, speaking engagements and workshops I hosted.

So take a break from designing the sleek website for your business and reach out to someone in your area who you know could benefit from what you offer. That is the real key to building your business.


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What should I know about Microsoft Copilot for my company?

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If you’re one of the millions of companies running on Microsoft products, then it’s called Microsoft’s AI offering Second pilot will turn your world upside down.

It will be as ubiquitous as Windows. It will be as disruptive as the cloud. It makes Microsoft billions and you contribute a little bit of that revenue because you’re going to be using it a lot. Anyway, I hope you get to use it a lot. If you take the time to really understand the power of what it can and will do, you can significantly improve the productivity of your workforce and increase your company’s bottom line.

However, it is still early for this. But here are six things you should know about Copilot right now.

You can’t use it yet.

Microsoft launched Copilot in March 2023 and made it available to select large enterprise customers. The videos the company has released look exciting, but they were created in highly controlled environments with very limited data and samples. In June 2023, Microsoft expanded the product’s availability to an “invited” list of approximately 600 customers. At the time, the company said a general release will be in the “next few months,” but realistically, I’m betting it will take at least four to six months to complete these tests and roll out the features to Microsoft 365 users. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on this by the end of 2023, but given the amount of attention it’s going to get, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft pushes the general release in early 2024.

Copilot is ChatGPT on steroids.

Make no mistake, this is ChatGPT, but taken to another level. While Microsoft is not sharing the details of its relationship with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, it has been reported that the software giant – which has invested billions in what was once an open-source company but is now becoming a for-profit model company – is entitled to 75 percent of OpenAI’s profits until it recoups its investment, at which point it would own a 49 percent stake in the company. Microsoft is also the “exclusive provider” of Azure’s backend infrastructure, products, and programming interfaces on its Azure platform. Microsoft and ChatGPT are one.

Copilot will be in your face.

Once it’s released with Microsoft applications, you won’t have to look far to find Copilot functionality. You’re going to see it everywhere. In the demos I’ve attended, just about every screen has a Copilot button to “help” more. Once selected, a panel will open in the application that looks like a chat box and you will be taken to the races. Copilot will be everywhere in every Microsoft product. While the company will focus on its Office 365 applications, you’ll also see it in Windows, Bing, and most of its developer tools and platforms.

Copilot saves a lot of time for your users learning.

In Word, it creates a proposal based on the notes you’ve taken in OneNote, adjusts it to look like your previous proposals, and adds clip art or images you request. It can turn a proposal – or any other document – into a PowerPoint presentation, add new slides based on your needs, and take speaker notes. Excel users can ask Copilot to display trends based on data in a spreadsheet, add new spreadsheets by diving into existing data, generate graphs and charts, apply color coding, and run what-if scenarios . Teams and Dynamics users can have Copilot “listen” to meetings, write a summary, create tasks, and email next actions to participants. You and your employees need training to understand not only how to use Copilot, but also where to use it.

Copilot won’t be perfect.

I want to be clear here: Copilot will do all of the above just by asking. It will suggest better formulas in Excel, suggest better wording for an email, make a proposal look more professional with better formatting and graphics, and provide ideas for emails, policies, memos, and other communications. It is literally an assistant that will perform these functions. However, and like any assistant, it’s not you. It won’t be perfect. All the recommendations, suggestions, proposals and brainstorming sessions it makes are aimed at helping you and your employees move things faster. This saves a huge amount of time in doing the mundane tasks that need to be done before people analyze the result. But in the end, people will make the final decision about all these changes.

Copilot has one Achilles’ heel: your data.

Copilot uses a Large Language Model (LLM) that draws not only from information from the Internet, but from all of your internal data sources. It will provide all of its opinions, recommendations, and changes based on what it sees in Outlook messages, Dynamics databases, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, SharePoint files, and any other internal (and external) information it can find and to which it has access. Aside from privacy concerns, the biggest problem it will create for your business is that it will often be inaccurate and incomplete. That’s because your data is likely to be inaccurate and incomplete. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed and it’s something you can do right now – check out some of my thoughts on tackling this problem here.

AI is not for your tech people. Copilot is not just a product. It’s a way to reduce costs, increase revenues and grow profits. If you run a business, you have to understand it. Otherwise, you will be outsmarted by others – especially your competitors – who do.

Increasing speed limits could lead to more crashes and deaths, AAA believes

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Raising speed limits leads to more car crashes, while lowering them leads to fewer crashes, a new analysis from AAA concludes. It’s the kind of conclusion that seems obvious on the surface, but still needs to be emphasized how many states seem convinced that increase speed limits can save drivers time, when in fact it only endangers the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.

The report is the latest in a growing body of evidence showing that changing speed limits could have a major impact on road safety in the US. AAA analyzed a dozen roads of various types in the US, half of which raised the speed limit and the other half lowered the limit. The group then carried out a pre- and post-assessment to see what impact the changed speed limits had on road safety and travel times.

The report is the latest in a growing body of evidence showing that changing speed limits can have a major impact on road safety

Two of the three highways that increased speed limits experienced more accidents, injuries or deaths. Meanwhile, commute travel times remained “similar” to how they were before the limits were raised – undermining the expectation that higher speeds would lead to faster journeys for drivers. A number of other road types that increased speed limits did not see a corresponding increase in crashes, injuries or deaths, leading the AAA to conclude that more research is needed.

Reducing speed limits also had a marginal impact on travel times, which could help to undermine arguments that changing limits is at the expense of travel time and driving comfort.

Speeding is a critical factor in road accidents in the US. Speeding-related fatalities recently reached their highest level in 14 years, representing almost a third of all road fatalities. This is reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is amid an ongoing “crisis” in road fatalities in the US, with traffic fatalities peaking in 2021.

AAA recommends that states take a “holistic approach” to the issue of raising or lowering speed limits, including road type, surrounding land use, and historical accident data.

“The movement in state homes to raise speed limits is happening nationwide this year in at least eight states,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “But the benefits are overestimated and the risks are underestimated. Raising speed limits does not always produce the positive results that traffic planners had in mind.”

10 legal considerations to make when starting your first business

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Of all the considerations an entrepreneur has to make when starting a business – what to call it, how to price the products and more – the legal considerations are perhaps the most important. From determining a business structure to complying with local labor laws, to making sure you prepare and file your taxes correctly, forgetting any of these aspects can have disastrous legal consequences over time – which may be impossible to fix .

To ensure you don’t commit any legal missteps as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, consider the advice of those experienced with the legalities of starting a business. Here, 10 members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs outline some of the most important legal considerations to make when starting a business and why performing these tasks should be at the top of your to-do list.

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1. Accurate tax returns and documentation

Get accurate tax returns and documentation from the very first year. Missteps in this area could lead to significant fines, audits or even legal action in the future. Also, early errors can snowball over time, making them more difficult and costly to correct later on. Investing in a skilled accountant or tax advisor from the start can be a wise decision to avoid such potential problems. – Yuri Sokolov, Finazon

2. Registration for Data Protection and Privacy Compliance

For immigrant founders, it is very important to have the correct immigration status when starting your business and to own the company IP. Some founders register their company mainly in the US for sale and then develop offshore to protect the IP rights to the software. As you build a data-centric organization, go beyond the legal considerations and prioritize registration for data protection and privacy compliance. Validate your customer and product usage data rights and make sure your business is registered in a country or state where you can define data ownership as part of your terms of service. – Surbi Rathore, Symbl.ai

3. Clear, detailed contracts and agreements

When starting a business, it is very important to prepare clear and detailed contracts and agreements. These are legal documents that explain the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved in the business. Having good contracts helps prevent disagreements and protects everyone’s interests. It also shows that your company is reliable and professional. Contracts ensure that you comply with the law and help your business run smoothly. It’s a good idea to get help from a lawyer to tailor the contracts to your needs and review them regularly. By focusing on clear and comprehensive contracts, founders can keep their business safe and build good relationships with customers, partners and everyone else involved. – Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT

4. Your company’s legal structure

The first legal consideration that founders should consider when starting a business is the legal structure of the entity. Depending on your business type, desired activities and long-term vision, you need to decide whether to start an LLC, S Corporation, C Corporation or non-profit organization. This decision not only affects things like taxation and investors, but also your liability as an owner and founder. Always start by limiting your personal liability from the company’s liability. From there you can worry about getting legal advice, getting the right licenses and maintaining the right insurance. But protecting your personal liability should always be the first step. – Ian Blair, ConstructionFire

5. Proper Insurance Coverage

When new founders embark on an entrepreneurial journey, they must prioritize getting the right insurance coverage for their business. Starting a business involves known and unknown risks. Insurance acts as a safety net, protecting you against potential financial losses that may result from unexpected events or liabilities. By taking out the right insurance coverage, you limit risks and gain peace of mind. Some reasons why insurance should be high on the priority list are liability protection, property protection, business interruption and professional liability. It demonstrates your commitment to responsible and prudent business practices, building trust with stakeholders and potential partners. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress theme

6. Labor and Labor Laws

Labor and employment laws are absolutely vital considerations for any founder to take care of. You must protect the interests of all parties involved: your company, yourself, your employees and other stakeholders. You need to understand employee classification, overtime and more. You must also follow fair practices, ensure there is no discrimination, and protect your and your employees’ intellectual property and contributions. Make sure you hire the right people to help meet labor requirements from the start to avoid problems later on. – Syed Balky, WPB Beginner

7. Intellectual Property Protection

A critical legal consideration that new founders should prioritize is protecting their intellectual property (IP). This includes trademarks, copyrights and patents. Protecting IP assets is critical to gaining a competitive advantage, preventing others from using or copying your unique ideas, products or brand identity, and preserving the value of your business. It is advisable to consult an intellectual property attorney to identify and protect your IP assets through proper registrations, contracts, and confidentiality agreements. – Ishmael Wrixen, FE International

8. IP or patent violations

When starting a business, it’s important for founders to be wary of intellectual property and patent laws and make sure they’re not breaking any of them. Intellectual property laws can apply to even the most basic things that aspiring entrepreneurs are not aware of or don’t consider, such as the name of the company, the logo of the company, the design of the item, the content, and so forth. Not only would breaking these laws lead to the downfall of a company before it even started, but it could also cause the founders to face harsh penalties that will haunt them for a long time to come. Research is key to avoiding such legal complications and helping new founders successfully launch their businesses. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

9. Proper Industry Licenses

One of the most important things you need to do is get the right licenses for the industry you operate in. This is especially critical as having the correct licenses ensures that your business is operating legally and is not at risk of being shut down by the authorities. Plus, the added benefit is that you appear legit and more trustworthy to your audience and customers. You can demonstrate compliance with industry regulations and build a positive reputation, attracting more customers – something essential for success. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

10. Previous Non-Compete Agreements

Consider whether you are still covered by a previous non-compete agreement. Many entrepreneurs are inspired to start their business based on their past experiences; however, problems can arise if you violate a non-compete agreement you’ve signed in the past. Think carefully about whether or not your new company is in direct competition with a previous employer. Review the contracts you have executed to determine the exact bans and their expiration dates. If in doubt, seek legal advice or start another business instead. You don’t want to burden yourself or your company with such an avoidable issue early on. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep mattress

Artificial intelligence heralds a new era in construction

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Artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming an integral tool in various industries. But have you ever thought about how it can reform construction? Regardless of the type of business, owners are always looking for operational and efficiency improvement strategies. And with construction, the use cases are intriguing.

One might understandably assume that the methods of laying reinforcing bars or pouring concrete are limited. That’s where AI comes in and adds a high-tech touch to the traditional hands-on field.

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What is AI?

Many people’s idea of ​​what AI is comes from film and television, especially in recent years. AI, in its current form, is a computer that can perform complex tasks. It understands natural language, recognizes patterns, solves problems and makes decisions.

An artificial intelligence system can learn from data sets to make predictions or draw conclusions without human intervention.

One of the most common uses of AI can be found on your phone. Voice assistants like Siri and Google understand benign requests and deliver results (within a reasonable range).

What about the construction industry?

Theoretically, AI can be used in the pre-construction phases. The application of historical data analysis allows AI, trained on extensive data sets from the past, to scrutinize data to make informed decisions. For example, the data it can search is project type, downtime averages, work size, delivery methods, and more.

Imagine a giant virtual brain plunging into decades of data to predict the best strategies to complete projects, or to estimate project man-hours.

Artificial intelligence not only relates to intelligent decision-making, but also includes strategic planning. It can help construction companies optimize resource usage, manage timelines and achieve better efficiency overall.

Analyzing building codes

The world of building codes and permits can be a minefield.

AI makes parsing building codes a breeze. It can quickly identify relevant codessaving companies potential legal hassles and ensuring that every construction job is compliant.

Do you remember the headaches you had the last time you went through the building permit process? Well, AI can help streamline this, making it more efficient and less hassle.

Project lifecycle

Every construction project goes through several phases. Artificial intelligence can help in every aspect, thanks in large part to the capabilities of neural networks.

‘A neural network is a computer model inspired by the structure of the brain, used for machine learning tasks.’ – Explained by ChatGPT

AI can use neural networks to classify the progress of different sub-projects. It’s like having a virtual project manager keeping an eye on everything.

This means it can detect potential problems early. Instead of reacting to problems, you can prevent them. Now that’s what we call a game-changer!

Ensuring safety on site with AI

Perhaps the most important way AI can help construction is by improving safety.

Through photo recognition, AI can detect safety risks, such as employees not wearing protective equipment or dangerous working conditions. AI can be trained on how to perform tasks to show deficiencies in activities.

AI can look at the work area and past data to guess project risks. This allows you to avoid risky situations.

With lots of building data, AI can use simulations to suggest ways to make structures and designs better for things like energy use and air quality.

What now?

AI is growing fast. It’s hard to find an expert who can help you with your ideas, especially an affordable construction AI expert.

While AI already brings significant benefits, it is not without its challenges. Other issues include data privacy, technology costs and the need for significant cultural shifts within construction companies.

Despite these challenges, the potential of AI in construction is huge. As technology continues to advance, we can only imagine how much more it could reshape the industry.

We think the AI ​​evolution opens the doors to enormous potential and opportunity.

Four factors to consider before opening a franchise

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CEO of Frenchaward-winning franchise consultant and author of “Profits Are Better Than Pay.”

Owning a business can be risky, so you need to think carefully about the type of business you want to run and the decisions you make in doing so. For example, branding, structure and overall business strategies should be explored and considered.

New businesses require a lot of trial and error, requiring the luxury of time and resources, which not everyone has. That is why franchising is so attractive to many who want to start a business. When you buy a franchise, the hard work of business model planning, branding, and strategy is laid out like a playbook.

Of course, the key to success for any entrepreneur lies in the choices you make and the paths you take. When you buy a franchise, you can avoid many of the hurdles and pitfalls that can lead to failure. So in this article, I’ll look at four of the common benefits that franchising offers, as well as the common challenges that come with those benefits.

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Have your own business

The main advantage of owning a franchise is the ownership of a business. Opening a location provides a satellite of a company that already has a successful strategy. It’s like being given the keys to a car; you just have to follow the rules of the road. As a franchisee, you can still build your dream team like other businesses, but you’ll be given the tools to succeed from the start instead of many years down the road.

However, owning a franchise in itself does not guarantee financial freedom. As anyone who has ever owned a business can attest, there are always challenges to overcome. Whether you’re starting a startup or buying a franchise, be prepared to put in the hard work it takes to open your doors. Like a startup, a franchise requires your full attention and the ability to think creatively to solve problems. You also see other challenges in the field of personnel.

Entrepreneurs choose franchises over startups because they have a roadmap for success. A script that is not followed and well planned will never win. Before you open, make the most of the close working relationship with the franchisor and reap all the knowledge, support, and on-the-job training you can get. Giving up fundamental control can be difficult for some, but success is most likely if you follow the company’s lead.

Brand recognition

For many businesses, branding can take years to decades — and there are many different attempts to make it stick — but the branding is already done for you with a franchise. Here are a few considerations when choosing a brand to work with.

1. Remember that owning a franchise is a significant investment, not only financially, but it will take up your time. Choose a franchise you feel personally invested in, in a field you find intriguing.

2. Franchises that have been around for a long time are likely to give you the biggest returns at the fastest pace because the foundations have already been laid.

3. Trendy but proven innovators, on the other hand, can empower you to enter the market that is becoming saturated. Be forward-thinking to find a franchise that impresses while being able to sustain it as long as you believe in their mission and values.

Meeting a need locally

One of the most important benefits an entrepreneur can have is meeting a community need. If you notice that something is missing in your environment, finding a way to fill it will make your life easier and increase the likelihood that the community will rally behind your business. But filling a niche isn’t all about profit; sometimes it means making everyone’s lives easier and finding a fulfilling and rewarding new venture.

It is important to look for concrete facts by analyzing your target market based on demographics and sustainability. Most locations have business leaders and networks, such as a Chamber of Commerce, that you can join. It is always best to use all available resources to investigate. The most important thing about research and due diligence is not overestimating your opinion of what people want, but looking for quantifiable and relatable statistics and numbers to support your intuition.

Build on business resources

Most franchises go beyond the franchise model to offer other services in the industry as needed. For example, opening a franchise that solves foundation problems gives you the equipment to look beyond just one service. Value-added services such as new home foundation digging and waterproofing that go hand-in-hand with the original franchise offering can increase your profit margin.

In other words, find other revenue streams to maximize your assets. Franchises give you the benefit of resources in the form of support, training, expert advice, coaching, promotional materials and sometimes even office help. However, if you don’t ask for help, you won’t receive it. Also, make sure to look at your business model in all directions and find the “sweet spot” to maximize your niche in the industry and market.

Step on the right foot when running a franchise

Franchises differ from original startups in the amount of support, training, and planning that is done from the start. But before embarking on any new venture, due diligence is a must, and franchise ownership is no different. There’s little room for error, so do your homework, benefit from the experiences of others, and understand that it takes a huge commitment to make sure the reward is worth the risk.


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EAT your way to success!

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If you’ve ever been on a sports team, you may have heard the phrase, “You have to EAT to win!” This is not a call for extra help at the dinner table, but a metaphorical reminder of the essential principles required for success: effort, attitude and toughness.

‘Effort’ is a principle that underpins every success story. It represents the raw energy and dedication you invest in your endeavors, the heart and soul you put into every activity. Without effort, goals remain unchecked, dreams fade into the ether, and ambitions become daydreams. The power of sustained effort turns the most daunting tasks into achievable achievements. It is the thrust that propels you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow.

Attitude is your mental box, your view of challenges and opportunities. A positive attitude allows you to see solutions where others may only see problems. It is the mindset that can turn barriers into gates and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. With the right attitude, you become more resilient and grow, and your optimistic outlook can help you overcome setbacks and failures.

“Toughness” is the mental armor you wear against adversity, the inner strength that helps you face challenges. Toughness is about resilience. It’s about staying steadfast when circumstances are challenging and persistent, even when every fiber of your being wants to give up. It’s the willpower that drives you to keep trying after every setback, and the determination to strive for victory no matter the hurdles.

The EAT principles are interrelated. The right attitude fuels your efforts, and persistence keeps you going even when the situation gets challenging. A resilient mindset helps you stay strong in the face of adversity.

But these features don’t just happen. They need to be nurtured, cultivated and refined. They are like skills that can be improved with dedication and determination over time. The good news is that every failure, every setback, and every difficulty is an opportunity to develop these skills.

Embracing the EAT principles will give you an edge whether you’re on a sports team or pursuing personal goals. Whether you are an athlete, an entrepreneur or a student, the principles of EAT – Effort, Attitude and Toughness – are universal. They are relevant to your gaming strategy and an integral part of every aspect of life. So, gear up, apply these principles and be ready to EAT your way to success!

Amazon Prime Day 2023: the best deals under $50

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Amazon Prime Day has had great discounts on a number of items, but let’s also acknowledge that spending $150 on a pair of wireless earbuds isn’t always feasible. You don’t need to feel too discouraged, though; Prime Day is still a great opportunity to save some on a variety of budget gadgets and gizmos, from smart speakers to eye-catching controllers, all of which can be had for less than $50.

If you know where to look, there are quite a few budget-friendly items on sale for Prime Day, many of which we’ve rounded up below. And while Amazon deals are only available to Prime members, retailers do match prices in some cases, so there should be a deal available for everyone.

Update July 11, 11:26 PM ET: Checked availability for existing deals and added several new items including the ChomChom pet hair remover.

Within Ross Sklar’s wave of acquisitions as Starco Brands pursues growth

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How do you build a multi-million dollar company from scratch? For Ross Sklar, who has done just that with Starco brands since launching the company in its current guise four years ago, the answer could be summed up as playing to your strengths. Entrepreneur Sklar has expanded Starco through a combination of careful management and strategic acquisitions, largely avoiding day-to-day involvement in operational matters in favor of encouraging collaboration and making smart agreements.

“My skills are in closing deals and bringing people together,” explains Sklar. “If you can recruit the best talent to run your business, you have a real chance of making it work.”

It’s an approach that has seen Starco make three major acquisitions since gotechbusiness.com first met the company just under two years ago. First, in September 2022, it acquired Art of Sport, a personal care company focused on athletes and sportspeople co-founded by basketball star Kobe Bryant. That was followed in January with the acquisition of Skylar, which produces a range of hypoallergenic fragrances, and then in February with a deal to acquire Soylent, a plant-based beverage company.

With the global economy faltering and businesses everywhere still suffering from the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, this period may not have been the most obvious time to launch a M&A wave. Global M&A deal volumes have indeed fallen off a cliff over the past year.

However, Sklar believes that now is exactly the time to take advantage of new opportunities. “I’ve always thought that difficult times can be the time to make a move,” he argues. “When you sit back and lick your wounds, you almost always discover that you’ve missed an opportunity.”

Each of Starco’s acquisitions is an example of this. First, with Art of Sport, Sklar was a fan of the company long before Bryant’s tragic death in 2020, but noted that it was struggling with Covid-19. “We started talking to management about how we could help,” explains Sklar. “What we saw was a company with a huge opportunity to play in so many different segments because it wasn’t just a sports and leisure brand.”

The company’s existing range of body and skin care products, designed specifically with athletes in mind, has had some appeal, Sklar points out, but he also sees opportunities to expand into areas such as sports drinks, supplements and similar products. The sports drink market alone is growing at a rate of 4.8% per year, according to research by Allied Market Research, and could be worth as much as $22 billion globally by 2031.

At Skylar, meanwhile, Sklar was excited about a company that was “developed by a great founder with a huge vision.” Skylar had developed the first hypoallergenic range of prestige fragrances for the mass market, aimed at a younger customer base willing to try different scents and sign up for subscriptions. But it was run for scale rather than profit. “The products were unique,” says Sklar.

Again, it’s a huge market with untapped potential. Sensitive skin products generated sales of more than $40 billion last year, according to Grand View Research, with the market expected to grow at nearly 9% per year. Yet few companies have identified fragrances as a potentially valuable subset of that market.

Turning to acquisition number three, Soylent is responding to massive demand from customers concerned about their health and wellness, which continues to grow in the wake of the pandemic. Products such as Soylent’s beverages are purchased by customers focused on tracking the nutritional benefits of what they consume, but more broadly there is a growing interest in beverages as potential meal replacements. Statista predicts that the value of the plant-based nutrition market could grow from about $29 billion in 2020 to as much as $162 billion in 2030. “There’s also an opportunity to make nutrition accessible to everyone,” says Sklar, who points out points out that cash. Families with a shortage of food may also find the product useful if they want to eat healthily.

Sklar’s focus is now on strengthening the acquired businesses by enabling them to leverage the expertise and experience of the wider group. For example, Soylent could benefit from Starco’s track record in experiential marketing – it has worked closely with music star Cardi B to build a brand for its Whipshots company, which sells whipped cream with vodka. All three companies are leveraging some kind of behavioral change in wider society, Sklar points out, so that also creates opportunities for idea sharing and innovation.

At Starco Brands as a whole, revenues have now grown to approximately $70 million per year. The company is listed on the OTC market, the decentralized stock market where investors can buy and sell shares of early-stage and emerging companies. That’s been important because it’s allowed Starco to grow in part through equity financing deals.

“This is the value-building phase for the company,” says Sklar. “Are we looking at the senior exchanges like Nasdaq or New York? Yes, but we don’t feel any pressure and we will do it within our time frame.” In the meantime, private equity and venture capital investors in the kinds of companies targeted by Starco have the option of taking a stake in the company when they sell out of their own portfolio holdings. Andreessen Horowitz, GV, Upfront Ventures and Lightspeed Partners have all become Starco shareholders in this way.

Entrepreneurs must be patient and choose their opportunities carefully, Sklar emphasises. It’s something he learned while building the Starco Group, which has assembled a string of consumer products companies over the past 20 years, either through organic innovation or through acquisitions. The realization that Starco was not capturing the full value of its intellectual property led to the launch of Starco Brands, and now Sklar hopes he is on his way to closing that gap.

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