Seven Ways To Optimize Your Business Website

Forbes Publication

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Have you been trying to increase your business site traffic, but you don’t know where and how to begin?

To start, it’s essential to optimize your site for conversions and search engines. This helps your business get higher rankings in search engines and improves your overall site quality. Additionally, it improves the user experience.

In this post, I will share the steps you can take to optimize your business site to increase traffic.

1. Analyze and audit.

The first step is to analyze your business website to diagnose the changes that must be made. Conduct an audit that summarizes site performance. During this process, your SEO team can evaluate the website’s content, navigation, aesthetics, back end SEO and layout.

Additionally, look at your competitors’ sites to assess the methods and features they have implemented, including site design, keywords and structure. Knowing your competitors’ strategies will assist you in determining your own optimization strategy.

2. Make necessary site upgrades.

After you complete the SEO and site audit, make updates to your website that were deemed necessary. You want to create a lasting impression that motivates users to visit your website, stick around and come back later. The primary objective of making site updates is to entice users to act, whether that means filling out a form or contacting you. This comes down to designing a funnel that encourages users to take action with a clear call to action (CTA).

Many searches are conducted on a smartphone, so make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Page load speed can also have a significant impact on SEO.

3. Conduct keyword research.

Keywords and phrases are the words people use when searching for information on search engines such as Google. Conduct keyword research to determine the most relevant search terms for your target audience. Including those keywords in front-facing content and the backend of your site will help your website rank higher on search engines.

However, it’s essential to remember that search engines will penalize your site for incorrect keyword positioning, such as keyword spamming. Understand these guidelines, and implement current industry best practices.

4. Focus on back-end SEO.

Back-end SEO is an on-page approach that involves the HTML source code of your website pages. This comprises incorporating keywords into meta data, title tags, headers, description and URL structure to assist search engines in determining the content of each page of your site quickly.

Back-end SEO involves complex coding, so I recommend hiring an experienced SEO expert to implement this tactic effectively.

5. Don’t forget about off-page SEO.

Off-page SEO is the technique of optimizing your site externally. Focus on maximizing your social media efforts, getting featured as a guest blogger on reputable sites, partnering with influencers relevant to your niche and link building.

Link building requires strategic digital communications to get top-notch links back to your site. If other websites that have high authority link back to your site, Google will interpret your website as more credible.

6. Remember, content is king.

Top-notch content and link building are indeed essential to position your site in search engines. So, make sure you have a strong and SEO-driven content marketing plan. The more reputable posts you churn out, the more likely it is that other sites will link back to you. This will help you to increase your organic search ranking and bring more visitors to your website.

Content marketing might be intimidating for most businesses because it requires time, thought and strategy. Create a calendar that outlines what to write every week so you don’t fall behind.

7. Analyze your site data.

A single piece of data may not show an effect, but when you accumulate lots of data, you begin to notice patterns. When a few people visit your website and fail to click on your CTA, that may not be a problem. However, if a huge percentage of users visiting your site fails to click on your CTA, it’s a sign that you need to make some amendments.

User habit reports and Google traffic data will assist you in painting a clear image. User habits will show you how users behave when they visit your website. Google Search Console will track essential metrics such as unique sessions, bounce rate and number of sessions.

Your website plays a vital role in lead generation for your business. Start by maintaining your conversion path and ensuring your content is of high quality. Optimize your business using the simple steps outlined above, and you’ll see your organic traffic improve over time.

10 Creative Marketing Ideas to Build Your Business

AllBusiness Publication

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When entrepreneurs are first starting out, they usually are not thinking of “rocking the boat” when it comes to marketing. Yet a very creative promotion can work wonders for a new business, generating a positive buzz that will get it noticed. 

To find out which approaches work best, we asked 10 entrepreneurs from YEC Next and Young Entrepreneur Council this question:

Q: What is one out-of-the-box promotion that worked wonders for your fledgling business? 

1. Speed dating with potential customers

I would set up in a WeWork conference room for a day and let people book 20 to 30 minute time slots with me. Founders would come in for free and get growth advice from our growth team (me) on how to scale their business. My main goal was to get out of the office and talk to potential customers. This method doesn’t scale, but by doing it we formed some great relationships with people. —Jim HuffmanGrowthHit

2. Performance guarantees

When we first started out, a great way to get our foot in the door was to offer various performance guarantees that we felt we could, and should, be able to meet or exceed. This de-risked the choice for our clients, and it’s something we still offer to ensure our clients meet their demand generation targets. —Brandon PindulicOpGen Media

3. Get a little outrageous

We made a list of 50 of our perfect target clients. We then worked out a deal with a local pizza place to deliver free pizza to all of them. Out of each pizza, we had the shop remove one slice and replace it with a small printed graphic that was in the shape of a slice. It said: “Looking to grow your company? We are the missing piece. Give us a call.” —Frank BravataMarketing Rebellion

4. Radio interviews

By giving radio interviews, you get exposure, and potential customers get to know you and will remember you. Contact radio stations to promote your business and let them know you have expertise in a particular area and are available to provide a local angle whenever necessary. This is something I personally did in the early stages of Aligned Signs. It is still a good practice for free publicity. —Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

5. Public speaking

One of the best lead generation methods is public speaking—it’s inexpensive and very effective! Sharing knowledge is a great way to provide value and position yourself as an expert. Every time I present, I have multiple people approach me afterward who are interested in learning more about my services. We’ve closed many deals this way. —Zack HanebrinkHookLead

6. Alignment with trade associations

One of the best things we did was to strategically align ourselves with several respected trade associations by offering our services in exchange for being considered their marketing partner. By first proving our worth, we built a strong endorsement from them to their respected members within the organization. That opened the door to high-quality companies looking for a vetted marketing partner. Remember, most associations are non-profits that have limited resources but do great things for their communities, so they are always interested in expert help. —Matt BardenIndustrial Marketing

7. Third-party guest posting

In the world of digital marketing, this is nothing new. But for other businesses that aren’t so content-centered, the last thing they want to think about for a quick promotion is creating content for relevant websites or blogs within their industry. Start with the most influential sites and pitch blog ideas to them that discuss unique solutions to their readers’ problems, while not being self-promoting. —Ron LiebackContentMender

8. Tell your story

If people don’t know you’re up and running, they can’t hire you. Get the word out to your entire network, however is best for you to communicate (email, social media, in person, phone, mail, etc.). When you’re first starting out, you have the novelty of newness that people will pay attention to. Tell your story about who you are serving, what problems you solve, and why you decided to start. —Todd GiannattasioTresnic Media

9. Be very specific

Be laser specific and identify your most ideal 100 clients. Think of the companies or people you’d love to work with most and to whom you can provide great value, too. From there, I’d build a very specific outbound campaign to reach them, demonstrate value, and have a call to action to hop on the phone. Before this CTA, I’d work hard to establish rapport and trust. Think in terms of “What makes me different and how can I give before getting?” This campaign might look like: Email 1, Mail 1, Call 1, Email 2, Contact Us form, etc. —Zach BurkesPredictable Profits

10. Offer add-ons

Since we sell travel experiences, we offered promotions of free side trips, tours, and adventures to incentivize customers to take action there and then, rather than get lost among our competitors. We still do this to this day. As it’s a promotion of a product within the same space as us, we get industry rates and we can find “add-ons” that sound interesting and are cool that don’t necessarily cost as much as they sound. We found this makes a big difference to customers who are often seeking more and more value for their money. This is something many companies and industries could do with partners they already work with: Buy X today and get a free Y. —Jürgen HimmelmannThe Global Work & Travel Co.

Does Your Web Business Face One Of These Common Problems?

Forbes Publication

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It’s important to do what you love, or at least to find a way to derive pleasure from whatever it is you do to earn a living. But at the end of the day, if your business isn’t making ends meet, you’ve got a problem. A lot of people come to me for business advice and, most of the time, the problem lies in one of three areas: marketing, messaging and traffic.

Here, we’ll discuss common problems in these three areas and how to fix them.

Marketing Problems

• Leads and traffic: This could be a quality problem. If your content isn’t drawing clicks, you need to step up your game. Start by conducting research to find out what your audience wants.

• Insufficient return on investment (ROI): If your marketing efforts aren’t paying for themselves, you have a problem. If meeting your financial needs isn’t the problem, consider curtailing your spending. Otherwise, finding alternate hosting options or new partners might be called for.

• Budgeting: If you’ve nailed down exactly what you need to be spending on marketing, but you just can’t draw away enough funds from other assets to pay for it, something needs to be adjusted. Like ROI problems, you can try making money-saving changes. But better marketing is probably the real solution in the long run. Try turning your attention to your messaging efforts. We’ll discuss this more below.

Website management: Most companies have a website because it’s necessary to do business. If managing your web site is too time-consuming or isn’t your cup of tea, you could go with a full-service hosting provider. They sometimes have prefab site templates you can use. Another solution is to hire a web development professional. This doesn’t have to be terribly expensive, and you can ask a developer to deliver a product that’s designed to be easy to maintain by a novice user.

Messaging Problems

• Inconsistent or insufficient branding: Major brands discovered long ago that the purpose of branding is to make people feel that your brand is a person, a simple and consistent person who’s behavior is trustworthy and predictable. Think of Walt Disney. Disney has a very consistent branding profile. People know what to expect from Disney. It could be that your brand messaging does not communicate a simple, attractive and consistent brand image. If that’s the case, create a “branding bible” for your company. Another solution is to have all your content and marketing done by the same person.

• Failure to communicate your value proposition: If your audience doesn’t know what makes you special, then they might as well go to the next company that has a similar product or service. Make sure your messaging and branding clearly explain why you are different. It may be that you’re less expensive, offer better quality or superior service, and so on.

• Content quality issues: These days, your content should not consist only of advertisements. You need to give your audience information that they want or need. If your content does not entertain or educate, it’s not doing its job and it won’t draw clicks.

Traffic Problems

If your website isn’t drawing traffic, that’s a problem. If it’s not due to one of the problems mentioned above, then the fix might be pretty straightforward.

• Search engine optimization (SEO): If you’ve spent more than a minute looking into advertising online, you’ve heard of SEO. SEO is about researching terms that are proven to attract clicks to merchants in your industry. SEO is a full-time job. If you’re new to it, consider contacting the professionals.

• Too little or stagnant content: If your blog isn’t active enough, Google might give you a low search rank. Advertisers don’t like having their ads on inactive sites, so make sure you update your blog at least once a week. I recommend that posts be at least 750 words in length.

• Been to Quora?: Quora is still a great place to answer questions for people seeking advice from experts. Whatever your profession is, you’re sure to know many things about it that outsiders aren’t privy to. Congratulations, that means you’re an expert. By answering questions relevant to your industry, you’re advertising your expertise to a new audience. Quora isn’t the only Q&A site, but it’s a good place to start.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re plugging away at these common problem areas, you’ll make progress. Just put in a full day’s work and stay under budget — you’ll be A-okay.

Original Post: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/10/02/does-your-web-business-face-one-of-these-common-problems/#687ef269387e

5 Key Things New Recruiters Should Know

Recruiter Publication

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Today’s Question: What is one thing new recruiters should know to better position themselves for success?

The answers below are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs.


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1. Spend More Time With Candidates

I wish new recruiters knew to have more open conversations and personal interactions with their candidate pools outside of the feedback required for specific job openings. We’ve found that our most underwhelming referrals come from recruiters who exclusively rely on matching titles and skills with opportunities. The talent acquisition professionals who spend more time on the phone or in person with their candidate pools tend to have a better sense of how their candidates could fit in and excel at our organizations.

Justin Moodley, LASANAN

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2. Learn All About Your Industry Specialty

Sometimes recruiters have too much on their plates and they forget to make time for research. Having insight into your niche helps you better connect with talent because you know their world and the trends they are seeing in their specific industry.

Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

Ron

3. Take Chances for Growth

Throughout our years of schooling and our past work experiences, many of us learn to maintain the status quo and avoid risk. However, keeping with the status quo means complacency, which does not nurture growth.

Everyone, especially new recruiters, must take chances to grow. Realize that mistakes are a natural byproduct of chances. It’s when you learn from these mistakes that true growth begins, both personally and professionally.

Ron Lieback, ContentMender

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4. Understand the Skill Sets You’re Seeking

I specialize in tech recruiting, and a lot of candidates will say they are senior developers or CTOs, but when I dig deeper into their work experience and educational background, it’s a lot of fluff and no substance. They can’t even answer basic foundational software engineering questions. It’s very important to know a lot about the field you recruit in, especially if it’s technical, as this allows you to thoroughly vet every candidate who comes your way.

Aliya Amershi, Techie Concierge

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5. Study the Applicant’s Character

Your recruiting efforts would be improved if you knew more about the character of the applicant rather than only knowing the experience they seem to have. A lot can be faked on a resume, but little can be faked when it comes to character. The more recruiters speak with candidates and learn about who they are as people — their ambitions and their commitment to work — the better off businesses would be.

Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

Survival Of The Fittest: How To Overcome Common Startup Problems

FORBES Publication

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Creating a company that is not only going to survive but thrive is difficult. However, with a certain combination of elements, strong willpower and the right information, you can create a business that will stand the test of time.

Lack of funding is one of the biggest issues that new companies face, but other issues include product-market fit, not properly defining a custom problem and HR/people problems between founders and team members.

As a startup founder, I’d like to dive into each of these problems and lay out how startup founders can mitigate these issues to help ensure their companies survive and thrive.

Product-Market Fit

To start a successful business, you must offer a product or service that is sellable and that fits into a market, either niche or mainstream. You can have a product or a service that is fantastic and that you have spent years thinking up and developing, but without a proper market, it will be extremely difficult to secure investors who share your vision.

Consider this: 42% of businesses failed because there was no market need for them, according to 2014 CB Insights data. So, here are some key ways to determine whether or not you have product-market fit.

• Talk to your target audience via customer surveys to determine if there’s a need for your product or service.

• Make sure that the value proposition you’re proposing will address the current and future needs of your customers.

• Look for investors who not only want to sell your product but also invest in its development.

Defining A Custom Problem

Unless your product solves one specific problem, it will be difficult to justify why an investor should throw their hard-earned money into your idea. Your product needs to serve a purpose and, again, be sellable in order for investors to see that it has potential.

Investors need to know that you’ve considered not only the viability of your product, but also ways your product could evolve. Ask yourself what assumptions you’re making and whether you’ve validated your assumptions.

• Have you proven that your audience needs it?

• Have you explored (or considered) other ideas?

• Have you mitigated risks to ensure product success and return on investment?

People Problems

Yet another issue you may face involves your co-founder(s). Often, when one founder comes up with an idea and the other wants to go a different way, you may have trouble coming to a consensus about what you to do with the company.

• Write out all your ideas related to the topic in question on a whiteboard and determine the areas where you agree.

• If disagreements escalate, consider bringing in a consultant to facilitate open and honest discussion with your co-founder and perhaps your leadership team as well.

According to the same CB Insights data, 23% of companies failed due to having the wrong team. It is always best to take the time to get on the same page and to try to find a common goal and direction for the company.

• Remember, you’re a team.

• Create an environment where every person’s opinion is valued and appreciated.

• Set aside the time in your busy schedules for team meetings.

• Make effective communication a cornerstone of your company’s culture.

Lack Of Funding

Lack of funding is one of the hardest things for a company to overcome and many simply do not find the investors they need in order to thrive, let alone survive. Thousands of aspiring companies offer similar products. It is your job as a founder to make sure your company is the one that stands out. You must capture the eye, and the pocketbook, of the right investor to help your company succeed.

The key is to collect the proper metrics:

• Revenue generation

• What affects revenue generation

• Features that will drive growth and revenue generation

The goal is to improve the perceived value of your company to heighten its appeal to investors. Finding investors is the next step, which is easier if you know where to look.

• Contact companies that you admire and ask for advice. You may get a better response than if you come right out and ask for money.

• Develop relationships at networking events, conferences and more; you just might find an investor who is interested in your company and eager to invest.

Taking the time to create a strong base is the fastest way to get sound investors and make sure that your company will stand the test of time.

How To Hire For Your Deficiencies In The Early Stages

Forbes Publication

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Hiring for your deficiencies is one of those “it depends” questions.

Who you hire first depends on your team’s current deficiencies, and your deficiencies are defined by what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re a typical startup creating a software product (apps, website, etc.), there are typically a few standard roles and capabilities you’re going to need to fill: product, sales and engineering. These are not the only capabilities and roles you’ll need to fill to make a company work, but they’re capabilities that are 100% necessary.

Who you need to hire depends on what you can do. You already have one or more founders. What can those founders do? While you’re searching for product market fit, do you need sales? Maybe that’s covered by one or more founders, for now. Maybe it’s not, and you are at a point where you need to build and scale a sales team. Can one of your founders code or lead external engineers? Perhaps not, and you need to hire someone to do one or the other.

In general, the main things you should make sure your team can do are the three capabilities I listed, plus one:

1. Product

2. Sales

3. Engineering

4. Vision

Let’s dive into these four capabilities, and who will be responsible for each one:

Vision

Vision is what’s left over, and is almost always the main responsibility of the CEO. Vision is the mental understanding of what your business will be, as well as what it is now. It’s the understanding both of what you think the market will grow to and how you can take your business, as it is today and build it into what it will be tomorrow. Vision has ramifications in all three other areas. It’s what ties them all together and becomes your means of communicating a future view of the world with your employees and your customers.

Product

Product is the job of the person who takes vision and translates it into the different products and services your company provides. They maintain the mental image of what those products and services are now and how they can be modified in the future to help guide the company toward a realization of the vision. A good product person will have the ability to inform engineering on how they should build product, and they should do so in a way that asks for metrics to be collected on the functionality created. Product teams should use these metrics to provide feedback to vision, which will guide which product direction should be continued in the future.

Engineering

Engineering is the technical implementation of products. To build them well, you need to hire quality people who have the capability to implement the products and services you want to create. This means someone on the team has to have the ability to either create quality engineering outputs or to judge them and guide others to create them. This is either a CTO, VP of engineering, lead engineer or manager in the case that they are not technical but can lead.

Sales

Sales is a different animal than the above, but it’s arguably more important. A sales organization is both a sole means for achieving revenue for a company, as well as a feedback mechanism for product and engineering. A good sales lead will have the ability to set up an organization so that it is driven by incentives and judged by concrete metrics. Sales organizations are almost always internally competitive.

So, you’ll need to figure out what capabilities you need and how each person involved is differentiated. You’ll also need to figure out how to distribute equity amongst them. Are they essential to running the business? Perhaps they’re essential enough that you consider them a founder.

If not, think of what percentage of ownership feels motivating but is larger than what a future standard employee will get. An engineer on your already built-out team will likely get one-tenth of one percent of the employee equity pool. A good rule of thumb for equity is to give between that and what you give to yourself — somewhere in that range is what your first hires should get.

Six Communication Habits Leaders Should Remember

Forbes Publication

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Becoming a great leader takes some real initiative and confidence. But how you communicate with an audience—whether it’s your own team, potential or existing customers, or industry peers—can heavily impact just how well your message and ideas are received.

Using techniques such as body language, empathy and self-awareness can help you become a leader who is successful at getting others to see your vision and act accordingly. With your staff in particular, being a great speaker with strong communication skills can lead to increased productivity and great morale.

So how can an entrepreneur best acquire the necessary skills to effectively communicate with others? To help, six members of YEC Next share a few crucial communications habits that can make all the difference between an average speaker and someone who inspires. Here’s what they said:

Members discuss some communication habits worth remembering.

Members discuss some communication habits worth remembering. Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Demanding Presence

The telltale sign of a great leader versus an average speaker is how a person keeps eye contact. It can be very intimidating to have direct eye contact with the audience when one is speaking, but the person who is able to pull it off, demands greater attention. When a person has such a demanding presence, they are distinguishable from an average speaker. A person who is looking at the clock, their shoes or even up at the air shows a sense of nervousness. Great leaders are very careful to not let their attention wander while speaking. Sometimes, just looking slightly above the audience does the trick, because the people in front think you are looking at the people behind them. As long as the attention of the speaker is focused on the people, he or she exhibits the qualities of a great leader. – Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

2. Self-Awareness

A great speaker is a person who can convey to an audience that they are the most interesting person in the room.  A great leader is one who inspires their audience to be and become the most interesting person that they know. We pride ourselves on self-awareness. Every great communication starts from knowing yourself, so you need to be aware of your inner self. The more aware you are about yourself, how others perceive you and how you take in the information the world offers you, the better you are able to connect. Having confidence and conviction in what you say translates into what you do, how you carry yourself and how you convey your message. The best way to be a great leader is to start with you, and believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else? – Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

3. Posture

Posture and eye contact are paramount to being an effective speaker. You have to consider what the audience is seeing. Watching a speaker whose shoulders are slumped and whose eyes are directed at the floor is uninspiring and will damage the event at hand. When speaking, you want to command respect and hold the attention of your audience. Hold yourself upright and look at those to whom you’re speaking. It is not a big deal if you look at notes every once in a while; your audience is expecting to listen to a fellow human. That said, you need to do enough to make them feel present and engaged. The best way to develop this skill is to practice. Work with friends or family, and be open to failing for a time. Public speaking skills don’t come easy. It takes persistence. – Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

4. Empathy

Great leaders are experts in their verticals, whether it’s Steve Jobs in tech or Anthony Williams in health. The moment a speaker can’t communicate an expert opinion is the moment all attention is diluted and lost. When speaking, great leaders are not cocky about their expertise; rather, they share with empathy, always putting the audience’s emotions and understanding before their own opinions. If they are concerned, then share that concern; if they are excited, then share that excitement. It takes practice, but it helps you target the exact thoughts and emotions they are feeling, which allows you to speak in a personal manner—something much better than just a generalized manner. And always be as transparent as possible: If you don’t know an answer to a question, be honest about that. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender

5. Eye Contact

People underestimate the power of eye contact. When you look into someone’s eyes, you communicate your interest in what they have to say. Even if you are the one speaking, you show your attention to the conversation through eye contact. Establishing that connection is crucial for leaders. Practice with a close friend and ask them to give you feedback about how your communication made them feel. – Kyle Wiggins, Keteka

6. Storytelling

An excellent storyteller makes a fantastic speaker, engages an audience, and is thereby seen as a leader. The best way to develop this skill is to find your story for your particular audience. What is your unique story? What is relatable? What is interesting? What are you trying to convey? What is your why? Find your story. Create your story. And practice practice practice. You might have a great story and be terrified of speaking. Or you may be a great speaker but you’re not sure what story to share. There are many factors at play here. You can hire an expert to help you determine your story, develop your speech, body language, posture, and delivery. – Angela Delmedico, Elev8 Consulting Group

Five Things To Look For When Considering Working With A Vendor

Forbes Publication

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As an entrepreneur and business owner, you work with vendors on a nearly daily basis. While you certainly will be regularly courted by a series of new vendors, knowing whether it makes sense to start a partnership with one of them or not requires some careful consideration.

Before you decide, you first need to figure out whether this is someone you can work with long term. Can they provide you what you need in a way that will be agreeable to your values or will you grimace every time they come into your establishment?

To find out more, we asked five members of YEC Next to discuss some of the important things to look for when deciding whether or not you want to work with a vendor. Here’s what they said:

Members share a few things to consider when debating establishing a relationship with a vendor.

Members share a few things to consider when debating establishing a relationship with a vendor. Photos courtesy of the individual members

1. Integrity

Integrity is the most important quality to look for when considering working with a vendor. Look for a proven track record of following through on commitments. Many companies are good at sales and telling you what you want to hear, but do not deliver. Ask for a list of the vendor’s past and current clients and contact them to get an objective viewpoint about the vendor. – Kyle Wiggins, Keteka

2. Alignment Of Core Values

As entrepreneurs, we’re driven for quick growth and value, and sometimes forget that we’ll have to frequently work with these vendors. To make things stress-free, make sure that your company’s core values and ethics align with those of the vendors. Without alignment, aggravation can set in, and even the most successful of relationships from a monetary perspective can feel draining and invaluable. – Ron Lieback, ContentMender

3. Strong Communication

Something to consider is how frequent, quick to respond, clear and kind the communication is. Does the vendor communicate honestly? Have they been clear about what is being offered and what costs should be expected throughout the sales process? What is their timeline to deliver services? We partner with vendors that respond within 24 hours and show us they value working together. – Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

4. Clarity

I want to know exactly what I am paying for. It makes me cringe when I start working with a vendor and all of a sudden, they say something is not included in what I purchased. Whether it be a service or product, I like to list out clearly what I am expecting from a particular transaction. I don’t move forward until I get written confirmation from the vendor that all my requirements will be met. – Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

5. Alignment Of Goals

You should never enter into business with a vendor who doesn’t understand the value of your product or service. They should understand exactly what you want to achieve in the market, and should be able to articulate why they’re suited to make that goal a reality. Likewise, get to know their business goals and track record with similar businesses. Make sure you see eye to eye with one another. – Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC

Will a New Hire Work Out? 6 Signs to Watch For

Recruiter Publication

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Today’s Question: After 90 days, you should have a good idea whether a new employee will work out. What is the top trait you look for in new hires when evaluating whether to keep them on board? Why is that trait particularly important?

The answers below are provided by members of YEC Next, an invitation-only community for the world’s most promising early-stage entrepreneurs.


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1. Passion and Motivation

Passion is about believing in your idea. Passion creates a drive to persevere when you are tired, commitment when things look bleak, and conviction to make an idea a reality. Motivation is key to us. We want to know what motivates employees. That way, I can get to know their aspirations better and understand what they are bringing to the business.

Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs

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2. A Proactive Nature

Is this person doing the minimum to get by, or are they doing their job and then one thing above that? It’s the people who are proactive who help you get your business to the next level. You can see this in their words. Do they actually care and ask questions that go deeper than simply doing a task?

Jim Huffman, Growthhit

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3. Commitment to the Mission

We’re a small startup, so it’s incredibly important that every core member of our team is completely committed to the mission, vision, and values of our company. We’ve seen that this level of commitment can determine whether or not someone is willing to stay late or work on the weekend in order to complete a necessary task or solve a crucial problem. Beyond ability, complete buy-in is crucial.

Kyle Wiggins, Keteka

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4. Having ‘GWC’

I’d have to use ideas from How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman. There really have to be three things, not one. They have to “GWC”: Get it, want it, and have capacity. They need to understand the job they have to do, they have to want to do it, and they need the mental/physical capacity to do it. If any of those three are missing after the first 90 days, they are likely not the one for the job.

Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing, Inc.

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5. Impressing Others

The top trait I look for is if this person continues to impress others with their behavior. Good people will continue to impress you by going the extra mile, reminding you of top priorities, and getting things done faster and better than you expected. If the new employee is simply getting things done at expectation, that’s likely not good enough.

James Hu, Jobscan

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6. Attitude and Aptitude

It all comes down to attitude and aptitude, two traits that are paramount for a successful workforce. The attitude speaks for itself; no client or customer wants to deal with a disgruntled person, and neither do coworkers. As for aptitude, the ones constantly pushing themselves to learn new areas of your business are the ones who will help you scale quicker and smoother.

Ron Lieback, ContentMender