Entrepreneurship Often Involves Uncertainty. Here’s How to Deal With It Productively.

The future may be unknowable, but it isn’t unimaginable.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Late South African economist Ludwig Lachmann once wrote, “The future is unknowable, though not unimaginable.”

What he meant is, it’s beyond our ability to know what the future will bring. We cannot plan without errors, because we do not actually know anything about the future before it’s already reality.

The future is not simply unknown, which suggests a lack of information, but unknowable — what will be is uncertain. There is no information. We are, in this sense, slaves to destiny.

Related: 11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Uncertainty

But while the future is unknowable, this does not mean it is hopeless. Our efforts always aim to create some specific, limited part of the future. Entrepreneurs do this more than others, as entrepreneurship scholar Saras Sarasvathy argues.

They can do this, as Lachmann notes, as the future is imaginable. Because we can imagine different futures, we can act to create the better version. We have the creative ability to draft scenarios and possible outcomes, so we can prepare for what is more likely to be. And attempt to bring it about.

We all differ in our ability to imagine the future that will be. Very often it might simply be luck. But luck is not all, and it certainly isn’t reliable. Some seem to have the ability and willingness to face the unknowable by imagining and attempting to shape it, and they’re willing to bet that they’re right and put their money where their mouths are.

Related: 16 Ways to Create Your Own Happiness at Work

Entrepreneurs are in the business of creating big chunks of our future. They bear uncertainty.

How entrepreneurs bear uncertainty

But how do they do it? In his recent doctoral dissertation, Dr. Steve Trost studies how entrepreneurs bear uncertainty. They don’t simply rely on luck. Very often, entrepreneurs direct their efforts seemingly against the odds simply because they disregard information that others do not question — information that is oftentimes limiting.

Many entrepreneurs escape the curse of knowledge, because they don’t accept the notion that the past limits the promise of the future.

Related: 38 of the Most Inspirational Leadership Quotes

This is not necessarily an ability they are born with, however. There are ways to improve one’s ability to bear uncertainty. Here are four common strategies for entrepreneurs to better deal with the unknowable future:

1. Select the right members for your team

It is important to have a team with skills and competencies, but don’t forget the ability to think creatively and “outside the box.” Select members for your team who have the right expertise and whom you can trust. But also make sure that you believe they will be able to handle unanticipated situations. Because if they cannot, your business might fail.

2. Control the future

Sometimes offense is the best defense, and with uncertainty there is no other way to protect yourself. As Nicholas Nassim Taleb has discussed in his books, there can often be downsides that we never anticipated — and that can be much worse than we could have imagined. So take command and create the future instead of hoping it will be beneficial. Step ahead of the curve.

Related: How Successful People Stay Productive and In Control

3. Let others take the risk

A major problem with uncertainty is that you simply cannot know what to expect. One way of dealing with this is to have others share this burden. For example, by letting customers prepay, you can avoid cashflow problems and get a better idea of the demand for your product. By crowdfunding your product development, you don’t have to carry all of the financial burden — maybe even none of it.

4. Learn what matters

As the founder of a startup, you likely already have expertise in your area of business. But what you need is entrepreneurship expertise. Your job is to imagine the future and go about creating the version of it that is best for you and your business. The only way of doing this is to learn two things: to understand people and understand the economy. Technical knowledge is easily acquired — and can be hired. You have a team for a reason, so use it.

We are desperate to know about the future, but the problem is that it is unknowable. This is the foremost burden on entrepreneurs, since they are in the business of creating their version of the future and hoping for the best. They bear uncertainty. And they do it for the whole economy.

The future is imaginable and, at least to some degree, can be controlled and even created. But to create something new, it is necessary to also think outside the box — new and different. Don’t allow yourself to be unnecessarily restricted by the past and what you think you know. More information is not necessarily better, especially if you endeavor to do what has never been done before.

In a very real sense, entrepreneurs create our future.

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‘Speak Up! You Have a Seat at the Table Because You Earned It’: Bacardi’s Laila Mignoni

The brand builder, digital native expert and Bacardi’s Director of Creative Excellence has delivered award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s most iconic brands.

10 min read

This story originally appeared on Authority Magazine

Laila Mignoni, the Director of Creative Excellence at BACARDI, is based in Bermuda and New York City. Throughout her career, she has delivered award-winning campaigns for some of the most iconic global brands across Retail, Automotive and Luxury. She graduated with Honors from La Sorbonne University in Paris with a Masters in Arts — she’s a brand builder and digital native expert. Laila moved from agency side to BACARDI Global Brands in 2014 where she ran MARTINI global communications from London. Recently she has shifted to manage BACARDI rums, launching the brand’s new platform ‘Do What Moves You’ across channels.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve worked in the industry for more than 15 years, leading creative for some of the world’s most iconic brands including Martini, Volkswagen, adidas and Stella McCartney. I didn’t immediately think that I wanted to be on the marketing side, I got a Masters in Arts from La Sorbonne in Paris and moved to London to work for an NGO and then started in advertising at DDB London.

It wasn’t until later in my career that I saw the impact — the true business impact — good creative could have for a company. I always knew it was about building brand connections, but it wasn’t until I saw it translate into recall and then to sales, that I really could see my impact on the business world. From there, I found a company that would allow me to invest in myself — BACARDI — where I was able to complete the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.

Creative storytelling through marketing has changed drastically throughout my career. In the last five years alone, the depth and breadth of what we can do has increased exponentially. I love that my role as the Global Director of Creative Excellence at BACARDI has allowed me to stretch the brand to new heights.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?

While not funny, I did learn from this experience! I once made the mistake about airing my frustration and grievances to a team member out on email, when it really should be talked out in person. I find that in tough situations, it’s always best to take a moment away from the situation (or the person) and then come back for a face-to-face discussion.

While it is important to put feedback down in writing, most of the time, I find that a personal connection helps both parties feel like they have a chance to be heard and find a solution together to move forward.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

The spirits world is an extremely male-dominated industry, especially at the leadership level. It’s always been just that much more challenging to compete against my peers, so last year, when we announced the Bacardi Women in Leadership Initiative, I was thrilled.

The initiative and annual summit dive deep into topics such as representation, accountability and innovation in all facets of the hospitality world. I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve always had mentors and managers that build me up — and I’m excited to give back to my peers and continue to champion other women in the industry.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now?

Just this month, BACARDI launched our latest summer campaign, called “Pass the Beat,” in partnership with global music superstars, Major Lazer and Anitta. We realized the artists’ latest summer smash hit, “Make It Hot,” and it’s the first time in our brand’s history that we worked with artists on a creative piece that served both as our TV spot and the foundation of their official music video. As BACARDI’s Director of Creative Excellence, I’ve always strived to brainstorm collaborations that will ladder back up to our “Do What Moves You” creative platform. As the global leader in rum, we want to make people move. Our “Pass the Beat” campaign is an homage to that — it’s all about the process through which artists inspire other artists, passing on and moving their energy and creativity from one to another. I hope that when you hear the song or see the commercial, you’re immediately inspired to move — both physically and emotionally — and be the best, truest version of yourself.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Speak up! You have a seat at the table because you earned it and people want to hear your opinion. Whether it’s cosigning another colleague’s point of view, or raising a drastically different perspective, I always encourage people on my team to find their voice. Know that your team is built of many different people for a reason, use that to your advantage. No successful campaign or brand ever got anywhere by only listening to one person in the room.

Experience, experience, experience: I’ve worked both on the agency-side and in-house and lived in many different parts of the world. I would encourage female leaders to have their team embrace and experience as many different parts of the industry as they can. You can’t just “learn” how to be creative — you absorb it from working with different people, different brands and in different parts of the world.

Lastly, we don’t have to blend, nor conform we can be who are 100% of the time.

Image Credit: via Authority Magazine

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Pause the technology: with large teams and in big meetings and, it’s easy to get distracted by your phone and laptop. I always ask the group to put away their technology and focus on the task at hand. This tactic always encourages higher engagement and more focused discussions. Unless it’s urgent, that text can wait!

Build sub-committees, then mix it up, but always come back together: sometimes it’s easier to divide and conquer! In big meetings, I love encouraging mini breakout sessions where each group will tackle a challenge, then we’ll mix-up the groups and tackle a new challenge. At the end, we always come back together. This always encourages camaraderie and better thinking.

Action items: I never leave a big meeting without outlining next steps for each team member. After a long meeting, team members can feel overwhelmed, so it’s always nice to walk away with concrete, actionable items.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Speaking of Women in Leadership, someone who has been instrumental in my career growth is Bacardi’s head of Human Resources, Scott Northcutt. He has always been a great supporter and mentor and has pushed me when I really needed it the most. Finding someone who champions continuous education and gives employees a forum/space to shine is key — Scott hs really unlocked a lot of potential for female leaders at Bacardi!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

BACARDI’s creative platform is “Do What Moves You” — the notion that everything we do as a brand should move the consumer, whether that’s physically (dancing!) or emotionally (inspire you!). As the Global Director of Creative Excellence, it’s my job to ensure that every campaign, partner, collaboration and event we partake in evokes this message.

One of the most rewarding campaigns I’ve worked on since “Do What Moves You” was initiated was called Music Liberates Music. When we launched Music Liberates Music, our goal was to give rising artists time in the studio to record and work on their music. To be able to raise-up musicians and give them a platform to share their work with the world was beyond rewarding. To this day, we still invite those artists to come back and perform at BACARDI events and one of our winners worked with us on ‘Pass the Beat’ campaign.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

1. Be fearless: this was a call to action from our CEO a couple years ago and since then, it has been engrained in my every day work ethic. As a global creative, I want to come up with ideas that may be scary at first — after all, the bigger the risk, the bigger the return. And if you fail, fix it and try again.

2. Power in relationships: whether it’s internal networking or networking with others outside of your business, connections are key. Even more so, build long-term relationships. The payoff is always bigger.

3. Invest in yourself: find a company that allows you to invest in yourself. Thanks to Bacardi, I was able to complete the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School and move my family to both Bermuda and the U.S. Take any and all opportunities to better yourself.

4. Pay it forward: mentorship has been key throughout my career and I owe some of my own successes to other strong women and men in the industry.

5. Enjoy the ride: be yourself and bring a level of lightness when moments are tense. This elevates the whole dynamic and builds connection with everyone on your team. I’m so grateful for what I do, the people I work with and the places I go, that finding time to truly enjoy the moment is powerful.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Someone told me once that more email you send, the more you get, so I would initiate a movement to reduce all email inboxes by 80%! I want to see people talking more, collaborating in person and connecting through true face time. Finding human connections with the people you work with is so important, and I believe this would reduce a lot of stress level and allow people to enjoy the ride so much more.

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Here’s How to Reduce the Cost of Cannabis for Consumers

Consumers could be saving money while cultivators extract higher profits.

This story originally appeared on Green Market Report

On August 6 we published an article that illustrated the savings for consumers and additional profits for cultivators that could be produced through the use of a properly organized Cannabis Cooperative Association (“CCA”). This article describes the savings for consumers and the additional profits for cultivators in the movement of cannabis in the form of extracted oil.

As we have said on multiple occasions, a CCA is the most financially efficient structure for engaging in business in California’s cannabis industry. The utilization of a CCA for the movement of cannabis as extracted oil produces even greater price reductions for consumers and increased profits for cultivators than with flower. This occurs because more costs are incurred between the cultivator and the consumer in the movement of extracted oil than in the movement of flower.

We have once again assumed the cannabis material is moved from cultivator to consumer through a fully integrated CCA. A fully integrated CCA is a CCA that is a single entity from cultivator to consumer for financial reporting purposes. Since the benefits of conducting business through a CCA occur at each step in the movement of cannabis from cultivator to consumer, a partially integrated CCA will always be a more financially efficient structure than a comparable conventional structure.

The first spreadsheet illustrates the division of a total of $10,000 paid by consumers for refined cannabis oil, including Sales Tax of 8.75% and a Local Cannabis Tax of 10.0%, among taxes other than income taxes, and among a cultivator, manufacturer, distributor, and dispensary, using conventionally structured businesses. The first spreadsheet assumes a total of $10,000, including all taxes other than the income taxes, is generated from the retail sale of 250 cartridges of refined cannabis oil ($40 including taxes per 0.5-gram cartridge).

In the first spreadsheet, we have allocated as dollar amounts the slices of the $10,000 total paid by the purchasers of the cartridges into taxes other than income taxes, and the costs, profits and income taxes of the four businesses. A mark-up by the dispensary of 60.0% of the wholesale cost from the distributor is reflected in the first spreadsheet. We have assumed the cultivator, manufacturer, and distributor each have a profit before taxes that is one-third of the profit before taxes of the dispensary. The before-tax profit of the cultivator, manufacturer, and distributor in the first spreadsheet is in excess of a 30% profit margin for each of the businesses. We have also assumed a 40% income tax rate is applicable to the profits of each of the businesses.

The foundation for the first spreadsheet is a sale of five kilograms of trim by a cultivator at a price $304.60 per kilogram including Cannabis Cultivation Tax (“CCT”). The distributor assumes the CCT. The net to the cultivator is $1,051 which is approximately $95 per pound. We further assumed the cultivator has a production cost of $394 for the five kilograms of trim which produces a $265 before tax profit per kilogram for the cultivator. For the manufacturer, we assumed additional costs of $1,094 and a profit of $657 on the extraction of the five kilograms of trim. For the distributor, we assumed additional costs of $657 for the packaging and handling of the oil as well as a profit of $657 on the refined oil. We have assumed a total yield of 125 grams of refined oil (250 packages of 0.5 gram). For the dispensary, we assumed additional costs of $789 and a profit of $1,971 on the 250 cartridges based on a 60.0% mark-up of the wholesale cost.

In the preceding spreadsheet a total of $10,000, including Sales Tax and Local Cannabis Tax, is paid by consumers for the refined oil. The $10,000 is allocated as follows: (1) governmental agencies for taxes other than income tax, 26.4%; (2) dispensary revenue, 27.6%; (3) distributor revenue, 13.2%; (4) manufacturer revenue, 17.5%; and (5) cultivator revenue, 15.3%.

The dispensary has an after-tax profit of $1,182 on income of $2,658; the distributor has an after-tax profit of $394 on income of $1,314; the manufacturer has an after-tax profit of $394 on income of $1,751; and the cultivator has an after-tax profit of $394 on income of $1,051.

In the spreadsheet below we have assumed the cannabis is refined and moves from cultivator to consumer through a fully integrated cannabis cooperative association. We have also assumed the profit to the cultivator as the owner of the CCA is doubled by the shifting of the manufacturer’s profit in the first spreadsheet to the cultivator. We have further assumed the reductions in costs and profits of conducting business through a fully integrated CCA at the distributor and dispensary level are passed on to the consumers.

In the preceding spreadsheet, the costs for the cultivator, manufacturer, distributor, and dispensary are the same as in the first spreadsheet. The tax rates also remain the same. We have assumed any income tax at the dispensary level is included in the $787 of costs. The shifting of the amounts to which the tax rates are applied produces dramatic savings for the consumers.

In the preceding spreadsheet which reflects the use of a fully integrated CCA, a total of $6,427, including Sales Tax and Local Cannabis Tax, is paid by the consumers for the same 250 cartridges of refined oil for which $10,000 was paid when distributed through a conventional structure. The total amount paid by the consumers is allocated as follows: (1) governmental agencies for taxes other than income tax, 33.8%; (2) dispensary revenue, 12.4%; (3) distributor revenue, 10.2%; (4) manufacturer revenue, 17.0%; and (5) cultivator revenue, 26.6%. Through the use of a CCA, the cultivator has an after-tax profit of $788 on an income of $1,708. The cultivator’s profit is doubled. Even with twice the profit for the cultivator, the consumers purchase the same refined oil, including all taxes, for over 35% less than the consumer cost when conventional structures are used.

The total cost of the refined oil to the consumers, including taxes, can be reduced by over 35%, and the profit to the cultivator can be doubled, through the use of a CCA.

The preceding analysis is based on the sale of refined oil in the adult-use market. The use of a fully integrated CCA to move cannabis from cultivator to patient as a medical cannabis product creates even more dramatic savings for patients, or greater profits for cultivators, or both.

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How to Use Your Calendar Like GPS

This author breaks down how he perceives time and offers insight on how to maximize it.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Steven Griffith is an author of The Time Cleanse and performance expert on the connection between time, productivity and performanc. In this video, he talks about his perception of time and promotes his techniques and habits that not only minimize some of the most common distractions we face, but also help maximize the return on the time we invest.

Griffith and The Playbook host David Meltzer discuss the importance of the pragmatic calendar and the detrimental effects that technology has on our lives in terms of productivity. They share their perspectives on strategies they use to prevent the phone from wasting their time, the distinction between goals and intentions, and the beneficial impact that sleep and meditation have on your productivity.

Related: Why Discipline Is the Ultimate Cheat Code for Life

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6 AI Tools Entrepreneurs Can Use on a Budget

Countless businesses are already taking advantage of AI tools.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Artificial intelligence resources are touted as necessary tools to compete in today’s market, and many businesses are jumping on this bandwagon. According to a 2019 survey by Gartner, AI usage grew 270% over the last 4 years tripled in the last year alone. Why? Because current data demonstrates the real value and benefits of these tools. Among early AI adopters, 83% achieved substantial or moderate economic benefits according to a study by Deloitte. While this is exciting data, how can entrepreneurs leverage AI and machine learning (ML) to benefit startups and smaller companies?

Lead Generation and Sales

AI-driven lead intelligence software systems can deliver significant value for any size business. As reported in the Harvard Business Review, companies using AI for sales increased their leads by more than 50%, reduced call time by over 60% and realized cost reductions between 40 to 60%. There are many options on the market that allow small businesses to reap these benefits.

OptinMonster is a great lead generation resource that delivers a full range of AI marketing and sales tools that’s priced for small businesses. SalesForce offers great AI customer relationship management (CRM) and has specific products and pricing for small businesses. Using these or other AI software products, you can personalize engagement, anticipate needs and improve lead quality.

Data Collection and Analysis

Innovations in AI data collection and analysis can provide small companies with the same critical decision-making information as to their larger counterparts. These systems use internal data as well as collect it from various sources to present a complete view of the business and opportunities in the marketplace.

One of the best and most comprehensive data analytics AI systems on the market is IBM Cognos. Its user-structured dashboards give you the visual representations and actionable reports based on your data. The intuitive dashboards provide a variety of options so you can view your data by date, geographic location, product line, and more. Reports are easy to create and distribute, and your data is protected. IBM has pricing levels to make this product available the entire range of organizations, from small businesses to global enterprises.

Human Resources

Human resource activities can be transformed through AI. Today, HR delivers a complex array of services including recruitment, engagement, benefits management, and continuing education. Balancing these activities is challenging but AI can streamline many of these functions.

There are several AI recruitment companies that can meet a variety of small business needs at an affordable price. For example, TextRecruit is a great option for hiring hourly workers while Arya is a good choice when for finding someone with specific talents and skills. Another alternative. RampUp provides recruitment in specific industries.

Beyond recruiting, AI tools can help to simplify and manage day-to-day HR responsibilities. Zenefits is one affordable option for small businesses that streamlines and automates many HR functions and provides ongoing data to keep things running smoothly. Payroll, benefits, time and attendance and performance management are integrated within the cloud-based system, so company leaders can access key reports from anywhere at any time.

Competitor Analysis

When running a small business, it’s challenging to keep track of your own activities so paying close attention to what your competition is doing can feel like an impossible task. Using AI, companies such as Crayon can track competitors across most digital channels, including social media, to gather a variety of information their users apply to adjust pricing, marketing language, and more. In addition, this system can identify and analyze market trends to deliver actionable intelligence for strategic planning and marketing. For small businesses operating in a highly competitive market, this AI application is a must.

Customized Options

Sometimes an off-the-shelf AI product doesn’t offer the features you need or at a price that fits your budget. Designing your own AI is expensive and the growing shortage of AI talent, as discussed in a recent PwC report, makes this option out of reach for most small businesses. However, there are many free and open-source AI software systems that can be used to perform the required tasks. Some of these will require the services of a programmer, but others can be used by almost anyone who has decent computer skills.

IBM Watson is the best known free, open-source AI software, and is used by many companies. You can build your own models from scratch or use pre-built enterprise apps that meet your needs. RPA by WorkFusion offers a free non-code system for customized AI automation options, include chatbots. Matomo delivers a complex business data analytics system that is free if you install it on your own computer, though some plugins must be purchased. Their cloud-based system offers affordable pricing for small and growing companies.

Bottom Line

There are many free and low-cost AI options that support small business success. Start using them today to increase your responsiveness to today’s market conditions and anticipate tomorrow’s trends.

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The Standing Desk Solution You Can Actually Afford

Another day, another headline about whether standing desks for the office are healthy or just hype.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

There’s research showing that standing desks improve employee health — including this recent study, which found that they can reduce absenteeism and help companies save money which would have otherwise been spent on employee medical bills. But other evidence shows these desks can actually be harmful and slow down cognitive functions.

One thing about standing desks is certain: they can be really expensive. So, until there’s conclusive evidence that outfitting employees with standing desks is a worthy investment, the WOM Height Adjustable Tabletop Standing Desk Converter might be a good compromise.

Designed to fit on top of an employee’s current workspace, this product raises the desk surface straight up and down in a smooth and fluid motion. That way, if an employee decides that they actually don’t like standing while they work, they have the freedom to easily switch between sitting and standing several times a day if needed.

Plus, it’s sturdy, can accommodate two monitors (up to 33 pounds), comes in black or white, and right now it’s on sale for $115 — that’s significantly less than a full standing desk, which scientists could determine ineffective by this time tomorrow.

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Learn a New Language in 30 Days With This App

The Babbel Language Learning program will have you speaking like a native in no time.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Encountering a new business connection who speaks a different language can knock the wind out of your sails, but you can meet them on common ground if you learn the language first. Babbel Language Learning is a top-reviewed app that will help you become semi-fluent in just 30 days.

More than 100 expert linguists came together to create Babbel. You’ll choose from the app’s 14 languages, then practice for 10-15 minute daily sessions that you can easily fit into your schedule. The lessons cover practical topics, like travel, family, business, and food — there’s not an irrelevant flashcard in sight.

Speech recognition technology and personalized review sessions will keep your pronunciation on point and your progress on track. Your progress will synchronize across your devices, and you can even practice without WiFi thanks to Babbel’s offline mode.

Learning a new language is tough, but Babbel has your back. The reviews speak for themselves. Nearly 40,000 reviewers gave Babbel a 4.5-star rating in the Google Play Store and 4.6 stars from 43,000 reviewers in Apple’s App Store clinched the app’s title as the best bet for language learners.

Babbel’s Language Learning app comes with three subscription options. You can pick the one-year option for just $69, go on a two-year language voyage for only $99 or get serious with a lifetime subscription for $149.

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How to Use Podcasting to Help Your Brand

The ubiquitous multimedia platform can broaden your reach and grow your bottom line.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

More than half of all Americans over the age of 12 have listened to at least one podcast, with virtually a third downloading or streaming a minimum of one per month (up from one in four people two years prior). That dwarfs the number of nationwide active users on Twitter. And if most forward-thinking companies wouldn’t dream of ignoring a major social-media platform when designing their marketing strategy, why overlook developing a podcast? 

Brands that aren’t already investigating potential podcasting strategies need to get started. With podcast advertisers having spent nearly $500 million to reach audiences in 2018, the competition for effective partnerships is already getting fierce. Like any other marketing outlet, podcast advertising has its quirks and specificities, but savvy companies can capitalize in numerous ways on the medium’s wide appeal. To that end, here are some tips for effectively boosting your brand through strategic podcast partnerships.

Related: 5 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Should Download Today

Let Hosts Take Hold Of Your Ads

Podcast listeners tend to describe a surprisingly personal relationship with the hosts of their favorite shows, who often lean into the social element of the medium by embracing a conversational tone and listener participation. That unique emotional engagement goes a long way toward explaining why 51 percent of regular podcast listeners follow their favorite hosts on social media. Similar surveys have shown that more than half of listeners prefer hosts read podcasts ads themselves, and that more than one-third of listeners have made a purchase after being introduced to it via a podcast ad. Just as most people would rather take recommendations from friends and family than from strangers, listeners respond to ads read by hosts they know far more intimately than random voice actors. Furthermore, host-read ads don’t snap listeners out of the overall experience the way ads might when interrupting a television or radio program. Listeners continue paying attention to host-read ads during breaks because they’re engaged with the hosts themselves.

Measure ROI and Target Audiences

A standard critique of podcast advertising is that, while TV has Nielsen ratings and Instagram has a host of engagement and impression metrics, there’s no way to know how many people actually hear podcast ads. Certainly, every medium has ROI-measurement challenges, but Marketing Dive explains how promo codes (checkout coupons that vary for each podcast), vanity URLs (given out by podcast hosts to measure how many visitors they refer) and checkout surveys all help advertisers gauge conversion. Furthermore, advertisers can maximize their ROI by working with podcasts to obtain detailed listener- demographic information. Sites such as Podsurvey help podcasts and brands understand who listens to what shows so they can target their advertisements appropriately.

Related: How to Start a Podcast With Almost No Money

Get Creative With Partnerships

The DIY nature of podcasting opens up some unique opportunities for brand-podcast partnerships, i.e. the standard rules of marketing via TV or influencers don’t necessarily apply. For example, Chicago-based bar Elephant and Castle struck a simple but effective deal with the podcast Mind Gap, exchanging regular recording space at the venue for weekly ads. Other partnerships make unique use of the podcast’s go-to material. Cable network TNT struck an exclusive deal with crime-comedy megahit Last Podcast on the Left to produce a sponsored episode covering the Thames Torso Murders, attaching the brand to bonus content that provided fans with more of the podcast they loved while introducing them to TNT’s miniseries The Alienist.

Make the Most of Going Live

One of the first podcast phenomenons was Serial, Sarah Koenig’s true-crime hit for NPR that, with its deliberately journalistic tone, would have been difficult to translate to live performance. But times have changed, and while Serial-like productions still thrive, they’ve been joined by more casual and improvisation-friendly formats that adapt beautifully to airing in real-time. The result has been a boom in live podcast productions that regularly sell out performance venues because of the emotional attachment fans have to the hosts and each other. The social community surrounding these podcasts is almost as important as the podcast itself. Attendees of sold-out My Favorite Murder performances, for example, often identify as “Murderinos,” exemplifying the bonds formed around their fandom.

The popularity and intensity of live podcasts also provide some unique branding opportunities. Mattress company Casper, whose marketing strategy has leaned heavily on podcasts for years, created the cozy “Casper Podcasting Lounge” for the podcast-heavy 2016 Vulture Festival, typifying how podcasting can be a unique and powerful branding tool for companies that value effective, creative and innovative partnerships.

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How to Determine If a New IPO Is Worth the Risk

Phil Town advises to pump the breaks a bit before investing.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Phil Town explains the pros and cons of investing in an initial public offering (IPO). In order to determine if you should invest in an IPO, consider the following:

  1. Is it worth the price? 
  2. Will the price plummet? Uber and Lyft’s stock prices took extreme dips after they went public in 2019. 
  3. Are you prepared to bet on the unknown, considering there is no background information on the new company?

At the end of the day, Town says there is no harm in keeping a new IPO on your watchlist, but you should exercise logic and reason before you invest in it. 

Click the video to hear more. 

Related: Why Millionaires Don’t Invest in These Things

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YouTube Warns Its Copyright Changes Could Result in More Takedowns

Copyright holders can no longer seize revenue over short music clips, though.

3 min read

This story originally appeared on Engadget

YouTube will no longer allow copyright holders to seize a creator’s revenue over very brief or unintentional music clips that appears in videos, it said in a blog post. That means that if a five-second clip or the radio from a passing car appears in a video, labels won’t be able to make a “manual claim” and seize all the revenue. However, they’ll still be allowed to completely strike or demonetize videos with short clips, which “may result in more blocked content in the near-term,” YouTube admitted.

YouTube said it’s making the move to push back against music companies that are overzealous about enforcing copyright claims. “One concerning trend we’ve seen is aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos,” it wrote. “These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed.”

One concerning trend we’ve seen is aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos. These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed.

YouTube believes that by eliminating the money incentive, music owners will be less likely to go after the revenue of barely-infringing content. However, that remains to be seen — instead, labels could simply start to block more videos, which is what YouTube actually expects in the short term. To enforce the new system, it will remove the manual-claiming privileges of labels or other rights-holders that repeatedly break the new rules.

The changes will only affect manual claims and have no impact on music found automatically by YouTube’s Content ID system. That generates the vast majority of claims, and has paid rights-holders some $3 billion since it was implemented.

YouTube also changed the rules for manual claims last month, forcing copyright holders to provide exact timestamps for offending music. It also updated Creator Studio to allow YouTubers to use the timestamps to edit music out of disputed clips, a process that automatically restores monetization.

“As always, the best way to avoid these issues is to not use unlicensed content in your videos, even when it’s unintentional music playing in the background,” YouTube wrote. “Instead, choose content from trusted sources such as the YouTube Audio Library, which has new tracks added every month.”

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How To Become Marketing-savvy By Reading Internet Marketing News

One of the recent trends in entrepreneurship and business management is recognition of marketing importance. Nowadays, according to digital marketing news articles, this field is capable of driving business strategies and creating new touchpoints with customers in unprecedented ways. Therefore, for anyone even remotely related to the field, reading digital marketing news should become an obligatory daily routine for ultimate later success.

Whether you are working in the marketing department of a product or service company or trying to create a personal brand, there is no way you would want to miss the latest online marketing trends. These are comprised of many more aspects and categories like social media marketing news, trending SEO news and obviously everything new in digital marketing. Whatever seems closer to you, for ultimate understanding all are worth paying attention to.

Self-educating Strategies With Digital Advertising News

To begin with, the ability to self-educate oneself is one of the most valued skills nowadays. It is crucial for everyone professional in any of the industries to constantly keep updated on the recent trends and changes. From its inception, the Internet literally set advertising activities on their ears. Now, unless you understand top digital marketing trends 2019, no value can be added to the company’s activities.

To help you structure the learning process, we have gathered a few news categories obligatory for self-study and daily review:

  • brand marketing news: with both company and personal brands being often triggered for customer’s purchasing decisions, these have to be properly built and maintained. To this end, understanding of how the greatest market players achieve it is key to success;
  • social media news: with social media becoming the most important communication channel, their maintenance and management have never been so crucial. Again, by grasping the successful experiences of others and keeping track of the most efficient methods of communication through these channels, one can achieve unprecedented success;
  • digital marketing news: digital opens up countless opportunities for businesses and companies. To drive these and reap substantial benefits, being aware of the developments is the main strategy to do so.
  • google SEO news: given the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, the Internet becomes the main platform for buying and selling things. To make sure that your company, blog or any other activity is visible enough, SEO trends 2019 should be accounted for and implemented.

All in all, whether you are a professional advertising specialist or just a beginner, reading about digital advertising and news SEO will help you perform better and more consistently in the long run.