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ezIQ is a proud Silver Sponsor for Beyond Pink

We are so proud to be helping Charlie Brewer and Karla Thompson save lives by providing women grants for Thermography to help with early detection of breast cancer.

Their annual fashion show fundraiser last night was amazing - tens of thousands of dollars raised!

ezIQ is a Silver Sponsor of Beyond Pink and helps them stay organized and easily keep in touch with their grant recipients, so they can help more women get thermograms!

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work, and What to Do About It

Did you start a business because you're good at something, and now are struggling to run a business around that skill?

This is a common theme and Michael Gerber instructs thoes of us who have taken on that endeavor in his benchmark small-business book, The E-Myth.

Get it! Read it! It's a very easy read and it's life-changing if you own a business.

Are you following up correctly?

We've all seen the stats.

  • It takes 6 - 8 touchpoints to generate a viable leed
  • It takes 8  - 15 contacts before a sale is made
  • 44% of sales people give up after one 'no'
  • The average sales person only makes 2 attempts
  • etc.

I find those numbers interesting, but what they all fail to talk about is the quality of the follow up.

10 questions to help you create a vision.

A strong vision is arguably the most important thing needed to reach your goals and attain success, no matter what success means to you.

Stay in your Power Center

Control the controllables. Live as your best self in the present moment and circumstances will be nothing more than facts, others people's poor behavior will stop affecting you, the past will serve as a guide not a mandate, and the future is yours for the making.

16 Books for Entrepreneurs in 2016



16 Books That Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur for 2016

Want to become a better entrepreneur leader next year? Time to start reading.


By John Rampton


John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of online payment company Due. Best known as an entrepreneur and connector, Rampton was recently… Full bio


Entrepreneur and investor@johnrampton



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Finding the time to sit back and enjoy a book is almost impossible for entrepreneurs. But it's critical that you find the time to read. After all, reading can boost our brainpower, help us relax, and make us more empathetic. I personally find that when I read I am much more aware of good ideas, am able to set more goals, and become a better leader to those around me.

With the new year rapidly approaching, one of your goals should be to take the time to read in 2016. And, here 16 books to help you get started on achieving that goal. As a bonus, you now have an answer when someone asks you what you would like for the holidays!

1. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs, by David Kidder

Have you ever wondered how companies like LinkedIn, PayPal, and AOL got off the ground and became household names? David Kidder, a New York Times best-selling author and serial entrepreneur, sat down with 40 founders to get an inside look at how their businesses were able to succeed, as well as for advice on topics like leadership, how to inspire others, and persistence.

2. One Simple Idea, Revised and Expanded Edition: Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work, by Stephen Key

Throughout his career as an inventor, Stephen Key has licensed more than 20 simple ideas that have generated billions of dollars. Key has taken his experience and converted into this priceless book. Key takes readers through each step of launching a business, from an idea to cashing in on the idea, and presents it as a practical, real-world guide.

3. As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen

First published in 1902, this timeless masterpiece by British philosophical writer James Allen has inspired millions of people with pieces of wisdom like: "All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." Even if you're already read this book, it definitely deserves another reading.

4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh

How has Zappos been able to make more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales year after year? For starters, it is the shining example of how to do outstanding customer service. Zappos also prides itself on focusing on a company culture that embraces happiness. Thanks to CEO Tony Hsieh, Zappos has become one of the most beloved companies around, both for customers and employees. In his first book, Hsieh explains how he built a culture of passion and happiness through his life experiences.

5. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

As the co-founder and CEO of Pixar, Ed Catmull certainly knows a thing or two about innovation and creativity. Catmull shares how leaders can create, drive, and maintain a culture of innovation. This book is so valuable that Forbes has stated that it "just might be the best business book ever written."

6. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, the author behind excellent books like The Tipping Point and Outliers, strikes again with another intriguing and fascinating book. This time around Gladwell argues that those with disadvantages are actually stronger and more prone to success than those who don't have to face an uphill battle. Gladwell uses examples like Richard Branson and Charles Schwab battling dyslexia to back up his claim.

7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey

First published in 1989, this now-classic book examines how to succeed not only in business, but also as a leader and as a human being. Covey outlines a step-by-step guide in which you can learn how to become a better person both professionally and personally by solving problems.

8. Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

If you're looking to add balance to your hectic life as an entrepreneur, then this book, which is a collection of inspirational phrases from Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Aurelius, is essential. One of my favorites piece of advice is "You have power over your mind--not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

9. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), by Seth Godin

This is another winning text from Seth Godin, author or Purple Cow and Tribes, that is easy to consume, but packed with valuable insights, like the fact that winners know when to quit by cutting their losses, regrouping, and changing direction. It's a good companion book for entrepreneurs asking whether it's worth the fight or not.

10. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

While this isn't a business book, the inspiring true story of Louie Zamperini can help us all understand the importance of personal sacrifice and perseverance. If Zamperini could overcome the insurmountable challenges he faced during World War II, then you can overcome the barriers holding you back.

11. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

These two best-selling authors teamed up for a feel-good and visionary book that explores why the future is going to great thanks to technology. Diamandis and Kotler maintain that technology is going to solve some of the most pressing global concerns, such as food, overpopulation, and health care. This will present an opportunity for innovative leaders to start a profitable company that can also change the world.

12. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance

Journalist Ashlee Vance spent years with Elon Musk and interviewed more than 300 individuals to completely grasp the drive and vision of one of the most important entrepreneurs in recent history. The biography, which examines Musk's journey from South Africa to launching companies like PayPal and Tesla, also gives us a closer look at the hardships of entrepreneurship, such as Musk's meltdown in 2008.

13. The 7 Day Startup: You Don't Learn Until You Launch, by Dan Norris

If you're a first-time entrepreneur, then this book is a must-read, since it can be used as a guide if you're bootstrapping your startup. Written by Dan Norris, an entrepreneur who experienced failure for seven long years until he created WP Curve, this book can help you start bringing in cash in literally a week.

14. Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything, by Lior Zoref

After a decade at Microsoft as the VP or marketing for consumer and online services, Lior Zoref is now a crowd wisdom researcher. This book, his first, can assist us with learning how to use the power of crowds, such as connections on social media, to make smarter and more objective decisions.

15. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss

It doesn't seem possible, but serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Timothy Ferriss may have discovered a shortcut to entrepreneurship. Pick your niche; use your experience to your advantage; test to find out what your audience needs help with; and then release a product that solves that pain point. After that, you can enjoy your life by working less.

16. The Virgin Way: If It's Not Fun, It's Not Worth Doing, by Richard Branson

Like so many other entrepreneurs, I'm fascinated with Richard Branson. It's hard not to be drawn to his charisma, wisdom, and excitement. In his recent book, Branson describes why leaders should listen, be passionate, and have fun the "Virgin Way."

Special note: If you're like me and have a hard time finding time and focusing to read, download the audiobook and listen to it. I personally do this and listen while I go for walks and drive in my car. It helps me to learn while on the go.

What other books would you add to the reading list for 2016?

Supporting Customers in a Foreign Language

Supporting Customers in a Foreign Language


Even before you’re ready to offer international customer service, your website or product may attract customers who require support in their own languages.

How do you offer multilingual customer support when a customer initiates the conversation in Italian, which no one on your team speaks? How do you minimize the back-and-forth as you gradually ascertain that your text editor’s autosuggest is preventing people from typing in Japanese?

Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you scale toward international customer service. Gracias por leer!(Thanks for reading!)

1. Google Translate is your friend

Obviously. But don’t just plug in your usual reply and hit send! Reply in both languages, and manage expectations with the caveat that you’re using a translation tool.

*Google Translate is good, but not perfect. “Beacon code” should translate to “el código de Beacon,” for example, not “el código de baliza.” And “No hay Beacon” would make more sense than “Sin Beacon.” The rest comes across a bit robotic, but it’s understandable.*

2. Simplify your language

Most of us don’t think about how heavily idiomatic our native language use is, and we don’t adjust for that when communicating with a non-native speaker (or via a translation tool). “The first time I saw ‘how to MacGyver’ something,” says Help Scout’s Amanda Fong, for whom English is an additional language, “I had no idea what it meant.”

When using Google Translate or writing in your native language to a non-proficient speaker, drill down to the most basic, subject + verb + object phrasing you can.

Step-by-step instructions are great; acronyms and colloquialisms, not so much.

Instead of plugging heavily idiomatic language into your translation tool (“Yikes! Sorry to hear you're running into trouble — let me see what I can do to help!”), choose short, clear sentences (“I’m sorry. I am happy to help fix this problem.”). Otherwise, you run the risk of the translation turning into gibberish ("That's it! Sorry, that the problem goes — let's see what you can do to help!").

It’s OK to sacrifice style for clarity in these cases, Amanda says. “It makes the email more boring, but at least the point gets across.”

3. Level up your multilingual support with translation tools

Once you start handling a fair amount of foreign language conversations, Google Translate alone may not cut it.Trello recently began taking advantage of Zapier’s translator tool that automatically translates non-English Help Scout tickets to catch conversations that shouldn’t be routed to spam. That way, legitimate queries don’t fall through the cracks.

You might also explore some of the less-expensive-than-you-might-expect translation services out there, such asUnbabel and Gengo They provide human-corrected machine translations, which, according to Ben McCormack, head of support at Trello, is “a major step up from Google Translate, but still relatively inexpensive.”

4. Use visuals

Example of a gif explaining Help Scout's *Beacon*feature

A picture is worth a thousand words in any language. If you’re concerned about being misunderstood, take a screenshot or record a short video with a tool likeCloudApp, or create a quick gif With the right tools, adding inline visuals to your support emails doesn’t much additional investment, and it will save you and your customer from potential further confusion.

5. It doesn’t hurt to hire a polyglot!

Amanda is fluent in French, English, and two Chinese dialects. Her Spanish, Korean, Japanese and German aren’t too shabby either. That’s not why we hired her — she’s killer at customer support — but what a bonus to have someone on the team who can answer emails in multiple languages and maybe even hop on a call in French from time to time.

Thinking about growing your customer service team? Check out our free handbook Hiring Your Customer Support Dream Team It’s full of tips to help you find and grow an exceptional customer service team.

Should your business begin expanding globally, you may need to hire support professionals who speak other languages. Trello offers support for 20+ languages, and one of the ways they support those customers is to hire “team members who happen to speak other languages,” says McCormack. “This is mostly by accident, but it's a really nice accident.”

All the languages spoken on the Help Scout team

And as long as you’re not leaning on them too heavily, you might run translations past native speakers at your company. Keep a list of all the languages spoken by your team — someone on your engineering team may be able to save the day by helping a customer in Portuguese!

6. Foreign-language issues are often keyboard- or search-related

Sound familiar? You’ve gone around and around with a customer experiencing some difficult-to-reproduce “bug,” only to finally discover that some U.S. keyboard shortcut conflicts with how a special “S” character is typed in Polish.

Or due to the tokenization of search terms — the way you extract searchable chunks from text — a German-speaking customer searching for the term “Rinder” (“cattle”) can’t find it on your site, even though it’s more or less there, buried in the word “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz” (which is the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef, if you’re curious).

While many sites can detect language and apply different rules accordingly, your customers may still run up against problems caused by diacritical marks as 丸 or Ç) or non-ASCII People using your product in another language with their team may encounter issues with keyboard shortcuts and tokenization more often. Once you bear that in mind, you can skip a lot of the back-and-forth and find a solution more quickly.

7. Pace multilingual support according to your company’s growth strategy

It’s great to translate your knowledge base into multiple languages, but perhaps not before your website and tool are available in those same languages.

Pull demographic data on your customer base to find where the majority of your international customers already are, and focus on expansion and training in one or two languages at first, so you can reach the greatest number of customers with less effort. Make sure support has a seat at the table when it comes to developing an international growth strategy so that you can scale the level of your support accordingly.

About the author: Emily Triplett Lentz is on the marketing team at Help Scout, the invisible help desk software. Learn how Help Scout takes the headache out of email support.


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Support Customer Perception Can Make or Break Your Support

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Product Release Notes: May


Support The 7 Best Ways to Gather Customer Feedback

Culture How Music Affects Your Productivity

Support How to Handle 8 Challenging Customer Service Scenarios

Support 15 Customer Service Skills that Every Employee Needs


Why Help Scout? Us Resources



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The One Thing Warren Buffet Says You Should Do to Be Successful

Every entrepreneur wants to know how to succeed in business. Fortunately, luminaries like Warren Buffett , Michael Bloomberg, and Jack Dorsey are here to help.

Speaking at the 20th graduation ofGoldman Sachs's 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College on Tuesday, the billionaire businessmen discussed a variety of issues, including regulation, talent acquisition, and cybersecurity. But perhaps the most useful bit of advice--particularly among the program's 33 new entrepreneurial graduates--had to do with where they think the business magic happens.

For his part, Warren Buffett, the 85-year-old Berkshire Hathaway CEO, doesn't think you should just satisfy your customers; he wants you to delight them.

"Tomorrow morning, when you look in the mirror, write--or just put it in lipstick or whatever you want--'delight my customer,' not satisfy my customer," said Buffett.

"I don't remember how much I paid for my last car, but I remember the experience," Buffett continued, explaining that any business that delights customers can count them as an unpaid sales force. They'll be back to buy your product, and they'll talk about it with other people, he says.

The billionaire investor also pointed to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the "classic example" of someone who knows how to delight his customers. "Here's a guy who 20 years ago had a very, very small business," Buffett said. "But he set out every day to delight his customer by fast delivery, by lower prices, whatever it took. And, today, he is still thinking about how to delight his customer. He never quits."

Michael Bloomberg, the founder and CEO of the eponymous financial software company, agreed with Buffett: "Customers are everything." But, he added, employees are a company's greatest asset.

"You should be sitting in the middle of your employees; get rid of any offices," the former New York City mayor advised. "Rip down the walls; make an open plan ... I've done it in the company and it's gone from one person to 20,000, and I think that's one of the big reasons."


With that in mind, you need to constantly encourage your team, suggests Jack Dorsey, who founded Twitter and Square. "Attracting great people means you have to keep an understanding of what your purpose is," Dorsey says.

You also need to be able to clearly articulate your company's purpose, and identify alignments and misalignments. To suss this out, the tech founder will often ask job candidates one question: Why are you here? "If I see passion for our purpose, I know that any skill can be taught," added Dorsey.

2 Simple Investing Tips That Helped Make Warren Buffett a Billionaire

Ryan Hinkle, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, describes the advice he's learned from business magnate Warren Buffett when it comes to investing for the first time.

How To Use MailChimp to Grow Your Brand

By Regina Anaejionu

When you woke up this morning I know what you were saying to yourself: “Hey you devilishly attractive person you, I wonder if there are 11 features of MailChimp that can help you build your brand?” This was followed by: “I wonder if Regina will be so kind as to talk about them on her blog today and discuss how to use MailChimp as a blog or brand owner.”

Well guess what? I will be so kind.

I’ve fallen in love with 11 uses/features of MailChimp and the 700,000 benefits they offer to brands . . . and I want to talk about them today . . . as well as give away a little sumthin’ sumthin’. (I hope someone started singing Maxwell in their head just now.)

Some of the features below come with the forever free account (for under 2,000 subscribers) and some are features of a paid account. I’ll mark which is which below. But, two things to keep in mind here: (1) Paid accounts start at only $10/month, (P.S. this is not an ad or a sponsored post) and (2) Stay tuned for a Regina-sponsored giveaway–as in, I love it so much I’m paying for it out of my own pocket, and (3) I can’t count, get over it: Some of these paid features are SO helpful for building your brand that the monthly fee will really be an investment in your business if you decide to go for it.

11 Crazy Amazing Features and Benefits of MailChimp
I’m not gonna bore you with details such as the awesome themes that you can start with (if you’re not super into design) or how you can make templates of your own out of your designs to save you time when you send out emails, I’m gonna tell you about the crazy useful features I don’t think people use enough. What am I basing these thoughts on? Intuition and a few conversations. I have no idea if that’s reliable enough for you or not, but please check out these cool features and ideas on how to use MailChimp anyways.


1. RSS to Email
Totally FREE, my friends.
So, it’s not a new concept to offer readers the option to subscribe to get all your blog posts via email, however, some software makes it difficult to set up, and some software delivers the emails in a less-than-attractive way. Booooo, I say unto you other software programs.

I started my RSS-to-email list after a lovely friend+reader asked for a way to get my posts via email. She doesn’t use Feedly or Bloglovin’, and she was so sweet to say she wanted to make sure not to miss a post. Instead of trying to add her to my old, ugly system, I decided to see if MailChimp had an option. Here’s allz ya have to do:

  1. Create a new list (ex: Posts via Email).
  2. Click “Create Campaign” from the Dashboard.
  3. Choose “RSS-Driven Campaign.” As in the image below.
  4. Put in your RSS feed URL. If you want to combine multiple RSS feeds into your emails (as in: you have more than one blog), combine your feeds with ChimpFeedr. P.S. Most WordPress blogs have a feed URL of
  5. Select the frequency you want your emails to send (daily/weekly/monthly), the days of the week you want them to go out on, and the time of day you want them to send.
  6. Choose the list you created (on the next screen) as the list your blog posts will be sent to.
  7. Name your campaign (internally–only you will see this), then decide the “Email subject” your recipients will see, along with other details such as your “from name.”
  8. Choose a MailChimp theme, select a template, go with a basic layout, or code your own design to control how the RSS emails will appear.
  9. Design your email as normal, but make sure to include the “RSS Items” block in your email so that your most recent posts will be placed in the email. As in the second image below.
  10. Preview your email and launch your campaign

2. Chimpadeedoo
Another FREE feature, friends.
So yeah, this is a super cool app for your Android or Apple tablet that lets you collect email addresses for your list even when you’re not online–they’ll simply be imported when you’re back online. The app is super, duper handy for those of us with physical locations to use in store/coffee shop/boutique/office, but it’s also handy for those of us who host workshops, classes, and other events where people may want to sign up for our lists.


You can even customize the appearance of the signup screen. “Use one of our custom background themes, or add your own background and logo. Pick your font and button style, write your own copy, and connect the form to any MailChimp list.” –Thus sayeth MailChimp

So, whether at a workshop or at your store, if you want to offer people a discount or some cool content for signing up for your very attractive, custom-designed list, you can capture the signups on-site and hand over the discount/item immediately. Hello, awesome.

3. Geolocation
More FREE features, y’all.
When your subscribers open your emails, MailChimp tracks their geographic location. So not only can you check out your lists and see how many people are reading your emails from France or from California, but you can also target specific locations with certain emails or offers. When it comes time for you to host your first seminar in your city or state, you’ll be able to just email a segment of your email list that is in the same city/state (and surrounding states if you wish). Or when you want to talk news or coupons that only relate to a certain location of your store, you can email only those people. Tres tres easy, y’all. (Imagine that in a French Texan accent. Thanks.)


4. Delivery by Time Zone
Available with a paid account.
Soooo, when I send out an email at 11 a.m. Austin, Texas time, my friend Jessica (@JessicaSays__) gets it at 5 p.m. in London, and my other crazy+cool friend Jess (@JustJessMay) gets the email at 1 a.m. in her local time (as in: the next day) in Western Australia. This is not optimal, eh? Instead, I can create my email and select to send it at 8 a.m. in every single time zone. Jessica opens it at 8:01 a.m. in London, and the other Jessica opens it at 8:01 a.m. in Bunbury. Win-win-win.


You can also choose to do “send time optimization,” which allows MailChimp to select the best time (based on locations + habits) to deliver your email. This my friends is brilliant–well, full disclosure, I’ve never used send time optimization, but thought it was worth a mention.

5. Design for Really Smart People Who are Design Challenged
Le FREE; naturally.
A picture is worth a whole lotta words. I think that’s the phrase. But I’m gonna say words anyway, to accompany my picture below. You can add images, buttons, social media links, custom code, and cool dividers to your emails with just a click, drag + drop.



6. Collabable (as in Collaboration or Client Management is Possible)
This is FREE as well; are you getting tired of hearing that?
So you want to manage social media and emails for clients? Well, set yourself up as an admin and give them management, authorship, or viewer access so they can see what you create before it’s sent. Or have them set up the account and add in access for you so you can create cool designs and fancy wording before the campaign goes live.


Or, or, here’s a good one . . . use collaboration to work with other people in your own small business and split some of the email duties. Get crazy with it. I won’t tell anyone.

7. Automation
Available with a paid account. My FAVORITE feature ever.
I’m about to make you a star. Get your spirit fingers ready, or your jazz hands, whatever movie reference works best for you right now.


Sooooo many options to make you a star, by the way. Let’s see. Do you want to automatically send an amazing email and coupon out to your customers+friends on their birthdays? Or perhaps an email on the anniversary of them joining your list? You can set these automatic emails up quite easily my friends. Not your cup of tea? Okay, moving on.

Do you want to sell or offer a free email course that is automatically delivered on a schedule you set? Or a series of emails that is scheduled based on when your recipient opened the last email in the series or clicked on a certain link? Please say you’re catching the vision with me. No? I’ve got more.

Maybe you want to send an amazing email with certain resources right after someone signs up for your list? Or, maybe you are feeling the option to send a follow-up email to someone who opens an email from you and clicks through to a specific URL on your site (like a sales page, or a particular blog post). All of these things are possible with Automation.


8. A/B Testing
FREEsy peasy, yo. People say that, right?. I think it’s cool.
So you’re torn between two subject lines for your email, or you’re not sure whether people will want to see your name or your shop name in the “from:” field . . . or you want to figure out whether people like getting your emails in the morning or during the afternoon sleepy hours to help reinvigorate them . . . well, do an A/B Test.


You can send your two options to 40% of your total audience (20% and 20%) and then, based on which email performs better, MailChimp will deliver that email to the rest of your list (the other 60%). Did you hear me? Is that not brills? It’s also completely free. Let’s do better about testing our options, yo. This was made for you commitmentphobes out there.

9. Social Pro
This is a PAID add-on, starting at $1/month, for brands with paid accounts.
Find out which subscribers are on which social networks with Social Pro. Want to target just people who are on Twitter with a special offer or request? Only want to email your Facebook users with your 30 best Facebook tips?


You can even figure out who your most active email friends are on social media and just target them. There’s lots to do, depending on how specific you want to get.

10. Amazing Amount of Guidance
More FREE stuff for the people.
MailChimp has an abnormally large amount of DIY, tutorial, and help files available. I’m serious. They have several free eBooks to make you epic at email, then they have a whole “design reference” library to make you awesome at design concepts within email, and you can also easily find tons of tutorial videos and independent bloggers who show you how to do cool stuff with MailChimp. Srrrsly. Just Google it.


11. Inbox Inspection
Available with a paid account.
Different email clients and apps (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, Android, Apple Mail, Thunderbird) interpret the code of your fancy HTML emails differently. This means your email may look extra wonky to some of your recipients. With Inbox Inspection, MailChimp takes your readers’ 10 most popular clients and allows you to preview exactly how your email will look.


BUT, that’s not the end of the coolness. Inbox Inspection helps you cover your gluteus minimus and maximus by also checking for any words or phrases that are likely to trigger spam filters. MailChimp identifies the exact places that make you look spammy and gives you the option to change your email before sending it out and possibly being rejected by inboxes everywhere

Original Post: Regina

31 Experts Give Their Best Small Business Tips for Standing Out on Social Media

By Aaron Lee

Trying to get noticed on Facebook?

I won't sugarcoat it -- standing out on social media is tough!

So today, rather than offering you my own social media tips, I reached out to some of the top people across dozens of industries.

I asked these powerful influencers how they've managed to stand out so strongly in social media.

I've compiled their best tips below.

Enjoy! :)

Small Business Tips for Standing Out on Social Media

1. Adam Braun, Pencils Of Promise

>> Click to Tweet

People that are successful with social media use a mass platform to build unique, personal relationships. I DM people every day if I like their comment, I ask questions to every reader who posts about the #PoPbook on Instagram, and I send personalized messages to people all the time. Your following might be massive, but it's their authentic connection to you and your connection to them that matters.

2. Neil Patel, Kissmetrics

>> Click to Tweet

If you are looking to stand out in the social media world, you don’t have to come up with something unique or creative. You just have to be willing to put in the time. The simplest way to stand out is to respond to people and help them out. Most people are too lazy to respond to a tweet… by doing simple things like this, you will stand out.

3. Kim Garst,

>> Click to Tweet

To truly stand out on social media, you have to be authentically passionate about what you do and who you serve. True passion is contagious, especially when expressed on social media. That is why marketers who are passionate about their product, business, and about the community they serve are far more likely to be successful.

Genuine enthusiasm spreads organically, and inspires and influences those around you. In the words of author Simon Sinek, "People don't buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it". If you do what you love, this passion will be evident in everything you do; and there's no one more magnetic than someone who truly loves what they do. It's a great way to stand out on social media.

4. Stacey Miller, Vocus

>> Click to Tweet

When individuals or businesses want to stand out on social media, they should think visually! Images catch our attention, keep our attention, and are digested faster than text. Add hi-res images to social media profiles and posts, and install free features like Twitter cards on your web properties so that anyone who posts your content also shares the visual love.

5. Julia Rosien,

>> Click to Tweet

Authentic is probably the most over-used word in social media – but it’s also the secret to standing out in a crowd. No one thinks exactly like you and if you’re willing to share your thoughts and dreams with the world, you’re putting something out there that wasn’t there before. In a world of people trying to one-up the next person to get ahead, someone that’s unique and honest and just themselves – that’s intoxicating. If you can be you on social media, I want to get to know you better!

6. Jeff Bullas,

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Standing out on a crowded web on social media is a challenge with nearly 1 billion websites and over 1.3 billion people on Facebook. What it requires at a very simple level are the following. A memorable brand either personal or corporate, great content (both written and visual), a large and engaged tribe of followers, persistence and continuous promotion.

7. Neal Schaffer, Maximize Your Social

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The best way for individuals or businesses to stand out on social media is to take a visual approach. Visuals appear prominently in news feeds of social networks, so take a visual approach to not only posting information but to communicating as well. Combine this with your own unique branding and perspective, and you're bound to stand out in this noisy social media world of ours.

8. John Haydon,

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The simplest way to stand out on social media is to pay attention to your community. Always reply to comments, seeking to create value that goes beyond their expectation. One of the best examples of this approach is the Post Planner Experts group.

9. Jason Keath, Social Fresh

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Social media plays by the same rules as life. Want to stand out? Be remembered? Rise above your competitors? The answer is simply to help your audience. Teach them with 'how to' content. Introduce them to experts and peers that can improve their business. Help them get a new job or a new customer. Invite them to events they will love. Improve someone's life in a meaningful way, and they will remember you. In social media or otherwise.

10. Glen Gilmore,

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Be committed to excellence: sweat to find content that inspires and informs your target community. Listen and respond better than anyone else. Aim to earn trust, not 'followers.'

11. Blake Jamieson, PoolSupplyWorld

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This will probably sound cliche or obvious, but the best way to stand out is invent your own best practices. Too many people just copy what another 'expert' says is the best. For example, I modified my pictures on Tinder to say 'Match of the Day.' I had no idea if it would work, because it was not a proven best practice. But because I was first to try it, and it worked really well, it was covered by major media including AdWeek, MSN, Business Insider and more.

12. Britt Michaelian, Soluma Productions LLC

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People are humans and they have lives online and off. If you want to stand out on social media, remember that people want to be appreciated online and off. Treat your friends and followers with kindness and gratitude and show them you care about who they are. Do this consistently and you will not only stand out, but you will feel great.

13. Marsha Collier, The Collier Company, Inc

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Standing out in a crowd of millions of tweets is never easy. Sharing good content is a given, but that is not enough. Show your personality in your posts, don't just quote titles, add interest!

Real standouts respond and connect with their community. Congratulate people on their successes and offer helpful suggestions when you can. Acknowledging those who RT you is always a nice idea - take if a step further by sharing content from those who share unique and interesting posts. Look to their Twitter stream, find something that they have shared that resonates with your own messaging and RT. Remember, social media is a two-way street.

14. Diana Adams, Adams Consulting Group

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I think the '80/20 Rule' applies to social media just like everything else in life. 80% of people don't take the time to share quality content, they don't engage with their followers, and they aren't positive and upbeat. 20% of people do those things, and they are the ones who stand out, they keep social media interesting, and they raise the bar for all of us.

15. Zach Kitschke, Canva

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Many brands spend time thinking about their content strategy, yet many forget to think about their visual brand. The best brands have a strong visual identity on social media. Every time you post, you need to differentiate your content from the flood of updates that fill people's social feed. It's been proven that images result in more retweets, Likes and comments.

When it comes to visuals, make sure you're consistent in what you post. Use consistent colors, fonts, photo filters and icons or logos. People will begin to recognize your visual style and will look out for your posts.

16. John Lusher, John Lusher Consulting

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Individuals: Be yourself! Follow your passions and interests on Twitter just as you do in life. For example, if you love baseball, follow teams, other fans or discussions surrounding the sport. Engage with others through hashtag discussions or Twitter chats on specific topics about baseball.

Businesses: Be consistent with your company message while being human. Businesses should make sure that what they tweet is consistent with their overall brand message and marketing. Businesses should be human; profiles of key personnel, behind the scenes, spotlighting company culture while not taking themselves too seriously.


17. John Aguiar,

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The best way to stand out in social media is to do what other people are not willing to do. Start by being real, being available, and being helpful. Combine all that with making sure your branding from your blog or business follows you onto every social media site you are active on. If you do all that it will be easy for you to be seen, heard and followed on social media.

18. Marty McPadden,

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The best way I’ve found to truly stand out on social media is to be yourself. So many times I see people hiding behind fake avatars and creating a false profile because they feel inadequate. Your uniqueness is your greatest asset. Everyone has something to contribute. Stop worrying about what other people think and put the real you out there. You’ll create more productive and lasting relationships and build trust at the same time.

19. John Davies, John Davies Consulting

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Care more. People matter. Engage earnestly with your digital neighbor. Prosper first with your community and the rest will come in due course. This is my ‘digital handshake’, as it truly is a pleasure and honor to meet you.

20. Jason Eng, IBM

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Social media is supposed to be social, so individuals and businesses can stand out on social media by making it about relationships. Spend time understanding people and make it a two-way street, and you'll stand out.

21. Jason Cruz,

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When deciding which social platform to be on, consider just two things: where your consumers currently are, and the next place they could potentially be. Then work more on the 'next place' -- and stay ahead.

22. Konrad Sanders, The Creative Copywriter

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Shamelessly unleash your personality. Be bold. Be brazen. Treat people like they're your closest mates. All the hot shots on this list are just regular people like you. So make 'em laugh. Comment on their comments. Offer your unique insights. Challenge them. Flirt with them. You're an expert at something -- so share your expertise with the world, and people will appreciate your angle. Social media offers you the unique opportunity to reach out and chat with anyone. So reach out and chat confidently to the big cheeses in your industry. Show 'em what you're made of. You're just as awesome as them!

Get a unique, memorable, branded profile pic. Because social media users – especially the big influencers – see thousands of tiny gravatars and profile pics every week. If you're attacking the web with wisdom, humor, charm, confidence and valuable content, AND you have a distinct, stand-out profile pic – then you'll get noticed and remembered by influencers and users alike.

23. Thomas Marzano, Philips

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  • Be true to yourself not your self
  • Lend an ear, a hand, even a shoulder
  • Be visual, coherent and simple
  • Be thoughtful, meaningful and relevant
  • Be timely and responsive
  • Be first and ahead of the pack
  • Be mindful of the impact you have and its consequences.

24. Adam Connell, Blogging Wizard

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One thing in particular that has worked best for me has been simply to go out of my way to help someone. For just a moment, forget your business goals or trying to get anything out of the situation for myself. (the gains come later) Just be helpful and don’t ask for anything in return. Use your expertise to help people solve their problems and you’re not just standing out, you’re wowing the people you help and becoming memorable

In the short term you will earn more followers that are more engaged, and that’s great. But the real magic happens in the long term. The gains come later when the people you have helped need a service your business offers or a product that you sell.

25. Igi Fischer,

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Use Facebook fan page posts ... as your extended website e.g. to provide FAQs, customer service, contact info and other important notifications that people might need on the go.

Facebook fan page posts are fully responsive, which means that they load fast and adapt their entire functioning to any mobile or tablet device, as well as desktop computers. Since those posts are public and do not require a Facebook account, they can be just seen as regular public multimedia landing pages to be shared and distributed cross media, either by Twitter, WhatsApp, SMS, QR codes, email or any other (social/mobile) media that can carry links.

26. Amy Vernon, Amy Vernon, LLC

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Be yourself. Really, that's it. Of course, it reminds me of the old Bill Cosby joke, 'what if you're an a-hole?' That's a whole 'nother something and let's, for the sake of this post, assume you're a perfectly lovely human being.

Be yourself. You will attract the people who like you and are interested in what you have to say. You will not attract the people who don't like you and are not interested in what you have to say. That's fine. Why do you need to attract people who aren't interested in what you have to say? You don't. And that holds true whether you're simply a person hanging out on social media sites or a business -- if people aren't interested in what you have to offer, you shouldn't have to waste time trying to get them interested.

27. Amy Howell, Howell Marketing Strategies, LLC

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Standing apart for a brand or business means having valuable information that is relevant, timely, interesting and helpful. Being real (not automated) and engaging with others is also critical in my opinion.

28. Jenny Brennan, Virtual Office Worx

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Standing out on social media as a small business or an individual can be challenging. The key to your success lies on your ability to treat each relationship with tender loving care.

Make sure you respond to every comment, tweet and interaction. It is also important to do your research. Find out more about the person who has taken the time to reach out. Check out their website and connect with them on their social media accounts. This has made a huge difference to me in building strong relationships with my best clients.

29. Collin C. Cottrell, Maxima Media

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You want to stand out in your social media marketing efforts? Put more effort into creating killer 'value first' content! If you truly take the time and put your efforts into coming up with a variety of content that gives your fans and followers value before you ever try to sell them your product or service, you will separate yourself from the majority of today's social media posts.

How often do you see posts that say 'buy this', 'click on this link', 'view my amazing new product'? I see them all the time. In fact, I would say that the majority of the posts I see are posts asking their fans or followers to do something first and in return they will get something back (... maybe). I usually scroll right past these posts. If you really want to stand out, give your fans or followers something upfront - do it over and over several times. Then, hit them with a rare 'asking post' and you will be surprised at how much more response you get.

30. Michelle Mangen,

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If you want to have a deeper connection with your fans/followers on social media, do what you can to genuinely get to know them. For example, ask a question about something in their Twitter bio and try to always use their first name when chatting. Those 'small' efforts can have a huge payoff and true friendships will start to evolve as a result.

31. Mark Ivey, Ivy's Garden Foods

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My tips for standing out on social media are pretty basic:

  • Know your audience: Our core audience are people who can’t or won’t eat gluten, and are constantly hunting for good gluten free dishes. So a large part of our content revolves around delicious gluten free recipes (example: Lemongrass curry with coconut ginger prawns, yumm!).
  • Go beyond the expected and deliver something of true value: We also write about gluten free news and trends that give insight into important issues that strike close to home. This is where we go beyond the norm, while also playing to my personal strengths (I’m a former journalist).
  • Tie it to news and trending topics: Look out for relevant news or trending topics. In our case, Jimmy Kimmel was making fun of gluten free people and it was going viral, so we wove that into the title and first part of the post, with our own twist (What Jimmy Kimmel Didn’t Know... )


I was so honored to have these experts share their tips!

And in fact, I learned a lot by just engaging with them. :)

So please share this post or forward it to a friend in need. I’m sure you know someone who could benefit from these small business tips.

And now let me ask you: What's your best advice for standing out on social media?

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Top 15 Young Female Entrepreneurs

Today we are looking at 15 young women who are building and running some of the next great companies. These women who range in age from 15-29 are running multi-million dollar business in a diverse set of industries. Check out these women and the companies they are building…

Sarah Prevette


Age: 28

Sarah Prevette wanted to find a better way to get answers to her pressing business questions so she started an online community for it called Sprouter. Sprouter is a fast paced environment that focuses on connecting entrepreneurs to socialize and share tips. Sarah has grown Sprouter to 10’s of thousands of users and is backed by angel investors. The community has been featured in numerous publications and is posed to grow as we continue to see growth of online communities and networking.

Ashley Qualls


Age: 20

Ashley started back in 2004 at only 14 years old and has been working with websites since the age of 9. The site was meant to provide free Myspace layouts and HTML tutorials for her age group. Now she has turned down offers to buy the company for as much as 1.5 million. According to the site the company receives anywhere from 130,000 – 360,000 daily visitors.

Catherine Cook


Age: 22

Catherine founded with her brother David Cook and has grown it into the most popular teen site in the world and a top 30 website overall. The site boasts over 25 million members since it was founded in 2005 and has revenue of over 24 million. With over $17 million in funding and a passionate user base the two founders look to keep building the platform to serve their community.

Justine Ezarik

Company: iJustine

Age: 26

Justine Ezarik is the definition of internet celebrity. Justine has over 1.2million Twitter followers, 400,000+ Facebook fans and almost 1 million subscribers to her YouTube channel all from creating viral comic videos online. In 2009 it was estimated her videos had been viewed over 64 million times and she makes over $75,000/year just from YouTube. This celebrity status has also led her to numerous appearances in movies, tv shows, and commercials all while she keeps producing her own videos that brought her to this fame.

Lauren Bush

Company: FEED

Age: 26

FEED is non-profit organization that in only a few years has had a major impact on the world by providing over 50 million meals worldwide. The idea is simple, FEED manufactures and sells reusable bags that resemble feed bags with half of the proceeds going towards feeding the hungry.

Lauren co-founded the company with Ellen Gustafson in 2007 and with a partnership from the United Nations World Food Program is pushing forward by producing more unique bags for people to buy. You can also now buy a variety of other items like bracelets, backpacks, t-shirts and other things at the online store.

Alexa von Tobel

Company: LearnVest

Age: 26

Alexa started her career at Morgan Stanley but left the job and invested $75,000 into her company LearnVest. LearnVest quickly recruited advisors like the former CEO of the Huffington Post and former COO of DailyCandy. After securing $1.1million in funding in 2009 the site launched and has signed up over 100,000 members.

LearnVest focuses on helping young women develop good financial habits early on in life. Today the company has raised over $5.5million in funding and with an experienced team behind it they are poised for growth.

Jennifer Hyman & Jenny Fleiss

Company: Rent the Runway

Age: 29 & 26

Ever dream of always having access to the latest fashion and hottest trends? Rent the Runway lets you rent dresses and accessories from over 100 designers and brands. The company has over 500,000 members to its member only platform and sees 20,000 more join each week.

With over $15million in funding and being called the Netflix of fashion the sky is the limit for these two ambitious young women.

Kyle Smitley

Company: Barley & Birch

Age: 25

Barley & Birch is an organic clothing line for kids founded by Kyle Smitley in 2008. The clothing line was quickly picked up by mommy bloggers and outlets that focused on eco-friendly products.

In 2009 Kyle led the company to over $400,000 in revenue and to the shelves of 25 stores.

Maddie Bradshaw

Company: M3 Girl Designs

Age: 15

Maddie Bradshaw is the founder of the $1.6million a year company, M3 Girl Designs. What started as simple locker decorations has turned into a thriving company for young girls.  The companies necklaces and designs are sold throughout the U.S. and they sell over 50,000 necklaces a month.

Maddie has plans to expand the company into other accessories beyond just necklaces in the near future.

Danielle Snyder and Jodie Snyder

Company: Dannijo

Age: 25 & 28

These two sisters have always had a thing for fashion and designing jewelery. Even in high school friends took note of their creativity which led them to open their first store in Jacksonville, FL.  Even though they ended up closing that store as they went off to college the two reunited in NYC a few years later to revisit their passion.

They launched Dannijo in 2008 and it quickly grew as their jewelry was worn by celebrities like Beyonce and has been seen at New York’s fashion week, in shows like Gossip Girl and the Today Show. Today the company boasts over $1 million in revenue and has been seen on numerous celebrities and fashion magazines.

Rachel Hollis

Company: Chic Events

Age: 27

Rachel Hollis founded Chic Events in her basement back in 2004. Her passion for throwing parties and putting some of the best events together has grown the company into a team of 4 and revenue close to a million dollars.

The company is based in L.A. and focuses on high end events like movie premiers, destination weddings and just plain awesome parties!

Alexa Hirschfeld

Company: Paperless post

Age: 26

Paperless Post was founded in 2009 by Alexa and her brother on the idea that people would use the internet to send wedding invites. So far that hunch has been a solid one as they have secured the company $6.3 million in funding and brought it to profitability in 2010.

Today the company is continuing to grow as they bring the formal and personalized feel of offline communication to people with the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the online world.

Prerna Gupta

Company: Khush

Age: 28

Prerna had her “dream job” after college where she worked long days dealing with high end corporate clients and power-point slides.  Realizing that she should not be dreading work at such a young age she set out to find something different where she could be happier.

Prerna left her corporate ties behind to jump into entrepreneurship where she created a social networking site that grew to over 2 million users. While that venture did not work out in the end it was the jump start she needed to launch Khush in 2009 that produced an iPhone music App that has grown to one of the top 20 paid apps.

Jill Donenfeld

Company: The Dish’s Dish

Age: 26

The Dish’s Dish is a customizable and healthy home chef service. Jill recognized that people are very busy and she wanted to create something that would help them eat healthier. The service works around a weekly visit where a trained chef prepares a series of meals that you chose for the entire week.

Currently The Dish’s Dish serves NYC, the Hamptons, Los Angeles and Malibu. The company has also launched a video series to help people plan, shop and cook like their chefs and hopes to be expanding to more cities in the US soon.

Juliette Brindak


Age: 21

Meet Juliette who released her first book at the age of 16 which has gone on to sell over 100,000 copies. Juliette came up with the idea for Miss O and Friends at the age of 10 and by 19 the company was worth over 15 million.

The company focuses on the “tween” market and prides itself on being for girls built by girls. Juliette prides the company on helping build self-esteem in young girls and developing who they are.


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