NATSO to Testify on EPA’s 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations

NATSO member Beth Westemeyer, Director of Business Development for Anew Travel and Fuel Centers, the retail arm of Zeeland Farm Services in Zeeland, Mich., is scheduled to testify July 18 at the Environmental Protection Agency's public hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., regarding the agency's proposed renewable fuel standards for 2019 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2020.

Bwestemeyer.jpgDuring the hearing, Westemeyer will testify that Anew Travel and Fuel Centers has made substantial investments in biodiesel infrastructure in response to the incentives that Congress laid out in the Renewable Fuel Standard but that retroactive small refinery waivers have lowered demand for biofuels, thereby diminishing the value of the investments Anew and other fuel retailers have made in response to Congressional policy.



via Business Feeds

30 of the Funniest Tweets About Social Media We've Ever Seen

There are a lot of things to be negative about on the internet today.

And between cyberbullying on Twitter, fake news on Facebook, and too many weight loss tea ads on Instagram, it's easy to feel jaded about social media in particular.

In fact, we surveyed more than 3,000 people around the world, and one-third responded that they feel "awful" after browsing social media -- with Facebook taking the crown for most awful feelings induced.

So, in an effort to combat these feelings of awfulness, we've compiled 30 of the funniest tweets about social media we could find. And with a healthy mix of snark, mockery, and memes, we think they sum up what it's like to be a social media user -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

30 of the Funniest Tweets About Social Media We've Ever Seen

1) On Optimism

2) Life Imitates Twitter

3) Just Keep Mowing ...

4) Hot Dog Bae

5) Take the Good with the Bad

6) Social Media Gods Don't Give with Both Hands

7) You Had One Job

8) On Twitter Expanding its Character Limit

9) Seriously, Though

10) Time to Check-In on Facebook

11) Please, Don't Auto-Play Videos with Sound

12) Change Your Passwords, People

13) Personal Branding Is Everything

14) At Least They're Honest

15) Total Eclipse of the Tweet

16) We All Have One

17) It's Important to Keep Things in Perspective

18) Short, Sweet, and To the Point (1/47)

19) Seriously, Twitter Users Are Salty About This One

20) Caution: Parents on Facebook

21) Hindsight Is 20/20

22) When You Gotta Tweet, You Gotta Tweet

23) Life Comes At You Fast

24) In a World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind

25) You're Amazing. Yes, You.

26) I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

27) We All Have Guilty Pleasures

28) On Technical Difficulties

29) Because I Miss Vine and These Are Hysterical

30) See? I Told You

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via Business Feeds

9 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application

No one seems to agree on cover letters. How much time do you need to spend perfecting them? Do hiring managers even read them? Is it better to just send in your resume and call it a day?

I'm not in HR, but I've been approached by applicants who wondered whether their cover letter would actually be read. My answer is one not many of them wanted to hear: "sometimes." Sometimes it will be read. Other times, you can get away with just sending in your resume -- like when you network your way into applying for a position.

Use these free cover letter templates to save time.

The truth is, you can't really predict on a case-by-case basis -- and you're better safe than sorry. For the most part, having a cover letter will give you an upper hand in ways your resume doesn't. It allows you to show off your writing skills, provide details that you couldn't fit on your resume, demonstrate your passion, and show your willingness to put in as much time and effort as possible.

But if your cover letter is sloppy, you might as well have not applied at all. Grammatical errors could mean your application is thrown in the trash. Using a generic "one-size-fits-all" cover letter -- especially if you forgot to change the name of the company -- will definitely hurt your chances. So if you take the time to write a cover letter, take special care that it reflects you in the best possible light.

Let's take a look at an example cover letter template, what makes it effective, along with eight more cover letters you can download or draw inspiration from.

9 Free Cover Letter Templates for Your Next Job Application

Template 1: Basic

Basic cover letter template with 7 qualities to learn from

The example above is a basic (but great) cover letter. The numbered sections are explained in more detail below.

Why This Cover Letter Works

1. Header

The level of formality your header has will depend on the company to which you apply. If you're applying to a formal business, it's important to use a formal header to open your cover letter, like in the sample above. Put your address, the date, and the company's address. But if you're applying to a company that isn't as formal, you don't need to include yours and the company's addresses. You can still include the date, though.

2. Greeting

Using "To Whom It May Concern" is okay, but you may want to take the time to research the name of the recruiter or hiring manager online. If you do your research and aren't confident you found the right name, then you should definitely use the generic greeting -- but if you are sure, then it shows you put in the effort to find their name and it will catch the recruiter's eye.

If you have the recruiter's name, do you greet them by their full name, or by their courtesy title (i.e. Mr., Ms., or Mrs.)? Similar to the header, it depends on the company's level of formality. If you're applying to a corporate business, you may want to consider using "Mr. Snaper" instead of "Jon Snaper." If you're applying to a start-up or a business with a more casual culture, you can use "Jon Snaper," as shown in the example.

3. Introduction

Your opening paragraph should, in 1-3 sentences, state why you're excited to apply and what makes you the perfect candidate. Get right to the point, and don't worry about explaining where you found the posting or who you know at the company. This isn't a place to go into detail about why you're a great candidate -- that's for the second paragraph. Here, simply list a few key reasons in one sentence to set up the rest of your letter. Keep in mind that the recruiter may cross-reference your cover letter with your resume, so make sure the two sync up.

4. Paragraph 2: Why You're a Great Fit for the Job

Next, sell yourself and your experience by choosing one or two concrete examples that show why you're a great fit for the position. What did you do at a previous company that gave you relevant experience? Which projects have you worked on that would benefit the new company? How will your prior experience help this company grow? Stay humble in your explanation of credentials while still showing that you would be an asset to the team. Use this paragraph to show you're genuinely excited and interested in the position.

5. Third Paragraph: Why the Company Is a Great Fit for You

While it's certainly important you're a good fit for the job, it's also important that the company is a good fit for you. "A cover letter typically describes why you're great for a company -- but how will you benefit from getting hired?" asks Emily MacIntyre, a Team Development Manager at HubSpot. "We want to know why our company appeals to you, and how it will be a mutually beneficial working relationship."

In the third paragraph, show you're serious about growing and developing your career at this new company. What impresses and excites you about the company? Is there something that you feel strongly about that aligns with the company's goals? For example, the candidate in the sample letter used this space to show his personal commitment to environmental causes aligns with the company's green initiatives.

6. Strong Closer and Signature

Don't get lazy in the final few sentences of your cover letter -- it's important to finish strong. Be straightforward about your interest and enthusiasm about the new position, and tell them you're available to talk about the opportunity at any time. Be sure to include your phone number and email address. At this point, the ball is (rightly) in the recruiter's court to decide how to follow up.

Last but certainly not least, thank them for their time and consideration. Use a formal sign-off like "Best," "All the best," or "Sincerely," and finish by typing out your full name. You don't need to sign it with a pen.

Template 2. Straight-to-the-Point Cover Letter

Get it here.

Straight-to-the-point cover letter template

Harvard Business Review contributor David Silverman hailed the above cover letter example as "The Best Cover Letter I Ever Received." For context, Silverman believes there are only a handful of times when writing a cover letter is actually necessary:

  1. When you know the name of the hiring manager.
  2. When you know something about what the job requires.
  3. When you've been referred to the job personally.

Under those three circumstances, a straight-to-the-point cover letter like the one above could be your best bet. Because it's so concise, however, make a point to add your own letterhead above the message itself. It might be easy for a recruiter to sift through a short and sweet cover letter like the one above, but it's just as easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of their application list without a unique design or format.

Template 3. Referral Cover Letter

Get it here.

Referral cover letter template

Just because a friend or colleague recommended you for a job doesn't mean the company is all set to hire you. Therefore, the cover letter template above is written specifically for referrals. We made this one here at HubSpot. Download it here (it comes with four other cover letter templates, too).

As you can see in the picture above, the first paragraph of the cover letter is dedicated entirely to acknowledging the circumstances of your applying: You know someone who works there -- no harm in that. But there might be harm in not mentioning it to the hiring manager. Telling the reader about your connection at the company shows you're aware and confident of the actions you take to get the opportunities you're interested it.

Ultimately, it's better than the recruiter hearing about your employee connection from somebody else.

As for the rest of the cover letter, treat your message the same way you would if you had applied with no connection from within. Your skills and successes are no less important because of your internal referral.

Template 4. Photo Letterhead Cover Letter

Get it here.

Photo letterhead cover letter by Microsoft Office

The cover letter template above was designed by Microsoft Office, and as comprehensive as it looks, it's completely free to download and modify.

As it looks right now, this cover letter contains about half photo, half text. Feel free to shrink (and change) the image to give yourself more room to tell your story. Of course, a nice washed-out image that expresses who you are can be part of that story ...

Template 5. Social Media Cover Letter

Get it here.

Social media cover letter template

This fourth template gets even more specific within the marketing industry: It's a cover letter just for social media professionals.

As you personalize this letter with your own experience, make note of the social networks and industry software included in this template. You'll see that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are all mentioned the letter for your reference, making it easy to write about your focus and expertise in each one.

The fourth paragraph in the above template allows you to express the value that your social media expertise delivers to the larger organization: "It's the key to developing relationships with consumers." Businesses use social media in diverse ways, and remarks like the one above help your potential employer imagine how you'll benefit their marketing campaigns.

Template 6. Marketing-Specific Cover Letter

Get it here.

Marketing-specific cover letter template

Our fourth cover letter comes from Monster.com. This cover letter, shown above, is focused specifically on a marketing role.

Notice how the writer includes references to important marketing metrics and terminology. If you're applying to a data-driven role, you might not want to fill the page with a story of your experience in paragraph form, like Template 1 does at the beginning of this article. Instead, consider highlighting three (or four, or five) of your successes that you believe the hiring manager would resonate most with, in bulleted form.

As a marketing professional, breaking up your letter with bulleted details like the ones above shows a respect for the hiring manager's limited time -- a mentality that all marketers must understand when communicating with a brand's audience.

Template 7: Career Day Follow-Up Cover Letter

Get it here.

Career day follow-up cover letter template

This is a unique kind of cover letter from Princeton University.

CareerBuilder, Monster, and Indeed might take the lion's share of your job searches online, but still some employment opportunities come out of a trade show, job fair, or similar networking event. For those occurrences, you have the follow-up cover letter template above.

This cover letter has everything you need to help an employer recall a conversation you had with him/her at a career fair. As you can see in the second paragraph, the letter is particularly useful to people who are about to graduate college.

Template 8. Logo and Watermarked Cover Letter

Get it here.

Logo and watermarked cover letter template by Microsoft Office

Here's another cover letter template from Microsoft Office. This one has a light touch of color in the design just above the letterhead, but make no mistake -- the template caters to any professional looking to make a good first impression on their future employer.

Don't let the logo space on the top-right of the page confuse you. This can be the logo of the company to which you're applying -- to quickly get the attention of the recruiter -- or your own logo. Perhaps you freelance on the side or simply like branding yourself. This cover letter template is meant for customization.

Writing a cover letter is easier said than done. Don't hesitate to spend a lot of time writing and editing it. Or, ask a friend or family member to read it over and give you feedback. If the recruiter does end up reading it, you'll be thankful you did.

Free Template Social Media Content Calendar

Cover Letter Templates


via Business Feeds

6 Business Challenges Every Small Business Struggles With (And How to Fix Them)

In the first few years of business, small companies come up against a lot of different challenges. Some are harder than others to overcome -- and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of small businesses fail by the end of their first year. By the end of their fifth year, 50% go under; and by the tenth year, that number rises to 80%.

With survival rates like that, it's easy to understand why folks face the first few years of business with trepidation. But in fact, many common business problems and challenges are actually fixable, from difficulty finding customers, generating leads, and building an email list, all the way to hiring the right people and balancing quality and growth. Many times, you'll find you need to take a step back, take the time to understand the pain points you're feeling, and re-think your strategy.

Here are six challenges every small business faces, along with some tactical advice about how to fix them. (And if one of the challenges you're facing is growing your email lists and generating leads, then be sure to watch our workshop on how to do just that.)

6 Small Business Problems & How to Fix Them

1) Finding Customers

This first one isn't just a small business problem. The marketers at well-known companies like Apple and Toyota and McDonald's don't just sit around waiting for the leads to come in: Even the biggest, most successful companies have people working hard every single day to find new customers.

But for small businesses that aren't a household name, finding customers can be particularly difficult. For example, there seem to be so many channels you can choose to focus on ... how do you know what to prioritize and where to allocate resources?

How to Fix It:

Finding customers starts with figuring how who your ideal customer actually is. Spraying and praying doesn't work for anybody -- you need to make sure you're spreading the word to the right people.

Craft an idea of what your target customers look like, what they do, where they spend time online by building your buyer personas. (Here are some free buyer persona templates to get you started.) Creating very specific ones can dramatically improve your business results. Once you've built your buyer personas, you can start creating content and getting in front of your target customers in the places they spend time online and with the messages that they care about.

2) Hiring Talented People

Hiring is often one of the biggest challenges for small businesses, especially since small business executives tend to feel under-resourced to begin with. Hiring new employees is a big deal and a complex process, and the cost of onboarding is an average of over $4,000 per new employee for most companies. And if you don't hire well, employee turnover can be very, very expensive.

But, as CEO of 2020 On-site Optometry Howard Bernstein said in our panel on how to start a business, it's impossible to know everything yourself. That's why finding and hiring the right people -- and the people who are really excited about what you're doing -- matters.

How to Fix It:

It’s easy to hire with a short-term mindset: send out a job description, screen applicants, and make a decision. But because of the high costs of hiring right, it's important to invest a significant amount of time in the hiring process. Don’t settle for good employees when you can find great ones, even if it takes longer. It's the great employees that will help your company get to the next level.

Just like you create buyer personas for your customers, create candidate personas for your job candidates. Your personas should be different for each new role that you’re hiring for, but will share some underlying traits around company culture.

Next, take ownership of attracting candidates to your company's brand and make them interested in learning more. This will help you build a recruiting pipeline that will give hiring the same predictability as sales. Then, turn those leads into applicants.

3) Spreading Brand Awareness

It can sometimes seem like today's biggest brands seemed to have popped up out of nowhere. How did they become a household name? How did they grow that quickly? Can your business grow like that, too?

Of course, most of these companies' hard work, failures, and rejections happened behind the scenes. But there are strategies for spreading the word about your brand and building a great reputation that you can start right away.

How to Fix It:

There are many ways to spread brand awareness, but the three I'll touch on here are PR, co-marketing, and blogging.

  • PR: Public relations is less about paying for a spot in a news blog, and more about focusing your voice and finding your place in the market. I recommend reading this great post from FirstRound Capital on what startups and small businesses often get wrong about PR, which also includes some great, tactical tips on how to figure out who's covering your industry, building relationships, and working with reporters. You can also download our free public relations kit to learn how to maximize your public relations efforts with inbound marketing and social media.
  • Co-marketing: Partnering with another brand will help you inherit some of their image and reputation and create brand evangelists outside your circle. It's a fantastic way to gain a large volume of new contacts alongside your organic marketing efforts. You can read our ebook on how to get started with co-marketing for more helpful information.
  • Blogging: Running a consistently high-quality blog will also help you build brand awareness. Not only does a blog help drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic into leads, but it also helps you establish authority in your industry and trust among your prospects. Many people find out about HubSpot because of our blog posts. It'll also help you build an email list, which brings us to our next point ...

4) Building an Email List

As if it isn't hard enough to build an email list, did you know your email marketing database degrades by about 22.5% every year? That means you have to increase your email list by almost a quarter to just maintain it, never mind grow it. It's the marketing team's job to find ways to constantly add fresh, new email contacts to your lists.

But what many people call "building an email list" is actually buying an email list -- and buying an email list is never a good idea. I repeat: Never a good idea. Not only will your email deliverability and IP reputation be harmed, but it's also a waste of money. If your current strategy is to buy or rent email lists, then it's time to regroup and find better places to put those resources.

How to Fix It:

Instead of buying or renting lists, build opt-in email lists. An opt-in email list is made up of subscribers who voluntarily give you their email address so you can send them emails. One great way to build an opt-in list is by creating great blog content and making it easy for people to subscribe -- which, at the same time, will help you increase your online presence, build up search authority, and create evangelists from your content.

blog-subscription-CTA.png

[Example of a subscribe CTA on Help Scout's blog.]

You can also revive older lists that you think are mostly decayed by creating an engaging opt-in message and sending it to your old list encouraging contacts who wish to re-opt-in and promising to remove all contacts who don't respond.

To learn more strategies and tips, watch our live workshop here on growing your email subscribers.

5) Lead Generation

Another problem most small businesses share is lead generation -- specifically, generating enough leads to keep the sales team happy. If that sounds like you, you're not alone: Only 1 in 10 marketers feel their lead generation campaigns are effective.

But generating leads that are both high quantity and high quality is a marketing team's most important objective. A successful lead generation engine is what turns website visitors into prospective customers and keeps the funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep.

convert-inbound-methodology.png

[Lead generation is part of the "convert" stage of the inbound methodology.]

How to Fix It:

To make the lead generation process work for your business, you need to first optimize your existing website for leads. Your website is the most important tool you have for turning prospects into customers. Look through your website and ask yourself:

  • Do each of your webpages clearly guide visitors to take action, or do they leave them wondering what to do next?
  • Do you use a tool that automatically pulls the submissions from your forms and puts them into your contact database, like HubSpot's free lead generation tool?
  • Are you creating custom landing pages for every single campaign that you run?
  • Do you have lead generation CTAs on each of your blog posts? (Do you have a blog at all?)

Prioritize the most popular pages on your website first. Most businesses have a few, specific pages that bring in the majority of their traffic -- often the homepage, "About" page, "Contact Us" page, and maybe one or two of your most popular blog posts. Read this blog post to learn how to figure out which pages to prioritize, and how to optimize them.

Finally, be sure to take advantage of free lead management software and apps for startups. Affording marketing in general is a big challenge in and of itself, so finding and implementing the most robust free marketing tools can be a game changer. HubSpot's free marketing tools, for example, has features like a form-scraping tool that scrapes any pre-existing forms you have on your website and adds those contacts to your existing contact database. It also lets you new pop-ups, hello bars, or slide-ins -- called "lead flows" -- that'll help you turn website visitors into leads immediately.

6) Balancing Quality and Growth

"There's this mix of building scalability early, versus doing what you have to do to get it all done," Nick Rellas, co-founder and CEO of Drizly, told our panel of startup executives about starting his own business.

This is a tricky one, especially since every situation is different. You'll see this problem arise in all areas of business: in product development, in marketing and content creation, in hiring, and so on. For example, many business executives will push growth at all costs. But if you grow your company too quickly, you'll find yourself having to hire quickly. This can overwhelm your experienced team members because it takes a while to train people. And if you don't train people well, it can end up backfiring.

How to Fix It:

Unfortunately, there's no perfect answer here. "Depending where you are in your business' lifecycle," says Rellas, "the scale will tip one way or the other, but I do think you need both at different times."

What it comes down to is not obsessing over every detail, but obsessing over the right details. Obsessing over product perfection, for example, might not be as important as obsessing over customer service. It's better to put your fears aside and launch a product that isn't perfect because you can always update and improve it. After all, once your products are in the hands of your customers, you can learn much more quickly what's working and what isn't.

Obsessing over customer service, however, is worth the extra effort. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos puts it well in his 2016 letter to shareholders: "There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality." ("Day 1" is what he refers to as a period of growth and innovation, whereas "Day 2" is stasis, irrelevance, and slow demise.)

While these are just a few of the many business challenges facing small businesses every day, there are many others out there. Are there other challenges your small business is facing that you want to bring up? Share with us in the comments below -- and don't forget to share your ideas for solutions, too!

email-subscriber-live-workshop



via Business Feeds

Deciding Whether to Mix Personal and Business Brands Doesn’t have to be Hard, Read This

Should You Mix Personal and Business Branding?

For both businesses and individuals, a consistent online brand is essential for attracting the right audience and establishing expertise in their industries. Corporate brands and personal brands are often distinct, but when you are the face of your business, as many entrepreneurs are, you’ll have to decide how you want to integrate the two – or if you want to integrate them at all.

In order to get some perspective on the issue, a group of Young Entrepreneur Council members were asked the following question:

“Branding is an exercise most of us engage in, both in our businesses and in our personal lives. How does your personal brand intersect with your company brand online, if at all? If the two don’t intersect, why don’t they?”

Should You Mix Personal and Business Branding?

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Keep Them Separate

“I keep my personal brand separate from my company brand because of the fact that I operate more than one business and brand. It would get too confusing to audiences if I blended them all together. Also, not every audience member is interested in my personal or company brand.” ~ John RamptonCalendar

2. Core Values Are the Only Intersection

“The only way my personal brand intersects with my company brand is through the core values. There is no other intersection; I’d like my personal brand to stay focused on my personal lifestyle and who I am as a person. At the end of the day, people don’t buy your product, they buy from the people they like. It is an emotional buy. When people know me, they are far more enticed to buy my services.” ~ Sweta PatelSilicon Valley Startup Marketing

3. Personal and Professional Brands ‘Seed’ Each Other

“We believe strongly in the integrity of our businesses brand, it’s a reflection of us as people. For us, it all has to be related. There cannot be a separation between business brand and personal, the personal has seeded the brand and then as the business grows and hires, the brand “seeds” the personal brand of everyone it employs.” ~ Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

4. A Personal Brand That Reflects Professional Expertise Drives Business

“A lot of my personal posts are related to the field of startups or tech, which has helped both myself and my business. When I have a tech company, many people remember this because it’s the topic of discussion that I’m continually bringing up in my personal social media pages. This has led to investments, sales and a plurality of other beneficial deals just from people connecting the dots.” ~ Andy KaruzaFenSens

5. Remember: Everything Can Potentially Become Public

“In theory, you and your business are separate entities, but in today’s interconnected world, it’s getting harder and harder to separate them. Everything you do, either as a person or a business, reflects on your reputation. That’s why I keep in mind (and remind my employees) that everything we say and do can potentially be public knowledge, so awareness and integrity are more important than ever.” ~ Kalin KassabovProTexting

6. Brand from the Top Down

“It’s important to have your personal values carry over into the workplace. A workplace should have respect, honesty and commitment. A business with no values will not be able to keep up with a business with values especially if the leaders are not following them. Values work from the top down.” ~ Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

7. Use Personal Social Media as an Extension of Company Accounts

“As the CEO and founder of my company, my personal and professional brands intersect regularly on social media. My personal accounts are primarily a behind-the-scenes look at projects my company is involved with. On both Facebook and Instagram, my personal accounts are an extension of our company accounts.” ~ Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

8. Put Your Personal Brand First

“Over the years, I made the mistake of focusing on building my company’s brand before mine. What I’ve learned after 20 years in the digital space is that you create companies, sell them, move to others, run multiple simultaneously. The only constant is you. Therefore, your personal brand should always come first, and be a unifying factor between your company brands.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance

9. Maintain Integrity in Life and Business

“As the face of my business, I believe my personal integrity feeds into the brand integrity of the business. In my industry, I do my best to make my name, and my company name, synonymous with integrity and doing business the right way. This applies to the way we treat our clients, our vendors, our employees and our lending partners. When you’re known for your integrity, you’ll attract the like.” ~ Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

10. Your Personal Brand Supports Your Business

“I look at personal branding and thought leadership as a valuable marketing tool for my business. Besides, my business is such an integral part of my life, I can’t help but write and speak about topics relevant to our audience. I use my personal brand to express my own voice and as a way to build relationships and get to the point where they inevitably ask, “So what do you do?”” ~ Robby BerthumeBull & Beard

11. Be Modest in Your Personal Brand, But Let Them Overlap

“In this day and age where competition is high, it’s probably a risk not to intersect your personal and business brand. These days, consumers want to know a bit more about your company, and that there’s an actual human being running it. It can be done in a modest fashion for those who might not be that comfortable doing so, and you should see some tangible benefits.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

12. Keep It Real in Both Your Personal and Professional Lives

“Sincerity, humility and authenticity are all keys to successful longevity. If you keep real with yourself throughout your journey, both as an individual and a business, you make your marketing efforts much easier. For example, as an industrial designer, much of my work entails product development. Translating that into content becomes an extension of my company’s branding and vice versa.” ~ Andrew NammingaAndesign

13. Merge Personal and Professional to Boost Community Engagement

“I’ve had a company brand for the past 5 years, and 1.5 years ago, I launched a personal brand. All of my social media is now branded under my name, Jean Ginzburg. I, as the person, speak at events, appear on podcasts as a guest and write articles for publications. From the results I see, my community is more likely to engage with me because I am a person, versus engaging with a company.” ~ Jean Ginzburg, Ginball Digital Marketing

14. Create Content That Combines Your Personal and Professional Image

“For me, it’s important for my personal brand and business brand to intersect, and you can do this in several different ways. The best way I’ve found to do this is by becoming a contributor to content sites that you feel fit both your personal and professional image. You can then write pieces that intertwine the two, for example running a remote team and being a digital nomad.” ~ Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Deciding Whether to Mix Personal and Business Brands Doesn’t have to be Hard, Read This" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Deciding Whether to Mix Personal and Business Brands Doesn’t have to be Hard, Read This

Should You Mix Personal and Business Branding?

For both businesses and individuals, a consistent online brand is essential for attracting the right audience and establishing expertise in their industries. Corporate brands and personal brands are often distinct, but when you are the face of your business, as many entrepreneurs are, you’ll have to decide how you want to integrate the two – or if you want to integrate them at all.

In order to get some perspective on the issue, a group of Young Entrepreneur Council members were asked the following question:

“Branding is an exercise most of us engage in, both in our businesses and in our personal lives. How does your personal brand intersect with your company brand online, if at all? If the two don’t intersect, why don’t they?”

Should You Mix Personal and Business Branding?

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Keep Them Separate

“I keep my personal brand separate from my company brand because of the fact that I operate more than one business and brand. It would get too confusing to audiences if I blended them all together. Also, not every audience member is interested in my personal or company brand.” ~ John RamptonCalendar

2. Core Values Are the Only Intersection

“The only way my personal brand intersects with my company brand is through the core values. There is no other intersection; I’d like my personal brand to stay focused on my personal lifestyle and who I am as a person. At the end of the day, people don’t buy your product, they buy from the people they like. It is an emotional buy. When people know me, they are far more enticed to buy my services.” ~ Sweta PatelSilicon Valley Startup Marketing

3. Personal and Professional Brands ‘Seed’ Each Other

“We believe strongly in the integrity of our businesses brand, it’s a reflection of us as people. For us, it all has to be related. There cannot be a separation between business brand and personal, the personal has seeded the brand and then as the business grows and hires, the brand “seeds” the personal brand of everyone it employs.” ~ Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

4. A Personal Brand That Reflects Professional Expertise Drives Business

“A lot of my personal posts are related to the field of startups or tech, which has helped both myself and my business. When I have a tech company, many people remember this because it’s the topic of discussion that I’m continually bringing up in my personal social media pages. This has led to investments, sales and a plurality of other beneficial deals just from people connecting the dots.” ~ Andy KaruzaFenSens

5. Remember: Everything Can Potentially Become Public

“In theory, you and your business are separate entities, but in today’s interconnected world, it’s getting harder and harder to separate them. Everything you do, either as a person or a business, reflects on your reputation. That’s why I keep in mind (and remind my employees) that everything we say and do can potentially be public knowledge, so awareness and integrity are more important than ever.” ~ Kalin KassabovProTexting

6. Brand from the Top Down

“It’s important to have your personal values carry over into the workplace. A workplace should have respect, honesty and commitment. A business with no values will not be able to keep up with a business with values especially if the leaders are not following them. Values work from the top down.” ~ Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

7. Use Personal Social Media as an Extension of Company Accounts

“As the CEO and founder of my company, my personal and professional brands intersect regularly on social media. My personal accounts are primarily a behind-the-scenes look at projects my company is involved with. On both Facebook and Instagram, my personal accounts are an extension of our company accounts.” ~ Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

8. Put Your Personal Brand First

“Over the years, I made the mistake of focusing on building my company’s brand before mine. What I’ve learned after 20 years in the digital space is that you create companies, sell them, move to others, run multiple simultaneously. The only constant is you. Therefore, your personal brand should always come first, and be a unifying factor between your company brands.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance

9. Maintain Integrity in Life and Business

“As the face of my business, I believe my personal integrity feeds into the brand integrity of the business. In my industry, I do my best to make my name, and my company name, synonymous with integrity and doing business the right way. This applies to the way we treat our clients, our vendors, our employees and our lending partners. When you’re known for your integrity, you’ll attract the like.” ~ Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

10. Your Personal Brand Supports Your Business

“I look at personal branding and thought leadership as a valuable marketing tool for my business. Besides, my business is such an integral part of my life, I can’t help but write and speak about topics relevant to our audience. I use my personal brand to express my own voice and as a way to build relationships and get to the point where they inevitably ask, “So what do you do?”” ~ Robby BerthumeBull & Beard

11. Be Modest in Your Personal Brand, But Let Them Overlap

“In this day and age where competition is high, it’s probably a risk not to intersect your personal and business brand. These days, consumers want to know a bit more about your company, and that there’s an actual human being running it. It can be done in a modest fashion for those who might not be that comfortable doing so, and you should see some tangible benefits.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

12. Keep It Real in Both Your Personal and Professional Lives

“Sincerity, humility and authenticity are all keys to successful longevity. If you keep real with yourself throughout your journey, both as an individual and a business, you make your marketing efforts much easier. For example, as an industrial designer, much of my work entails product development. Translating that into content becomes an extension of my company’s branding and vice versa.” ~ Andrew NammingaAndesign

13. Merge Personal and Professional to Boost Community Engagement

“I’ve had a company brand for the past 5 years, and 1.5 years ago, I launched a personal brand. All of my social media is now branded under my name, Jean Ginzburg. I, as the person, speak at events, appear on podcasts as a guest and write articles for publications. From the results I see, my community is more likely to engage with me because I am a person, versus engaging with a company.” ~ Jean Ginzburg, Ginball Digital Marketing

14. Create Content That Combines Your Personal and Professional Image

“For me, it’s important for my personal brand and business brand to intersect, and you can do this in several different ways. The best way I’ve found to do this is by becoming a contributor to content sites that you feel fit both your personal and professional image. You can then write pieces that intertwine the two, for example running a remote team and being a digital nomad.” ~ Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Deciding Whether to Mix Personal and Business Brands Doesn’t have to be Hard, Read This" was first published on Small Business Trends



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New MacBook Pro May Be Perfect for Small Businesses Seeking Speed and High Functionality

What's New in the 2018 MacBook Pro and Why Do You Need It?

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) just announced the availability of the new 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro line of laptops. And if you are in the market for a powerful laptop for your small business, make sure you at least take a look at them (even if you are not a Mac person).

The specs and the price will definitely get your attention, so it is fair to say this is not for everyone. But for those who demand this level of high-end hardware, the price may well be worth the efficiency it is designed to deliver.

After all, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Philip Schiller, said in the press release, “The latest generation MacBook Pro is the fastest and most powerful notebook we’ve ever made.”

The Specs of the 2018 MacBook Pro

15-Inch MacBook Pro

  • 6-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8 GHz
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory
  • Radeon Pro discrete graphics with 4GB of video memory
  • Up to 4TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Starts at $2,399 and can all the way up to $6,699 for the 4TB SSD version ($3,200 of it is for the storage).

13-Inch MacBook Pro

  • Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz and double the eDRAM
  • Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics 655 with 128MB of eDRAM
  • Up to 2TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Starts at $1,799

New Features

The new Intel processors will give you more speed, which according to Apple can be up to 70% faster on the 15″ and up to twice as fast on the 13″ compared to the previous generation.

And when you are ready to type, the third generation keyboard is supposed to be quieter, and Apple is really highlighting this development. This is because the company is currently facing lawsuits regarding the “butterfly switch” keyboards on MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

True Tone technology uses light sensors to adjust the color temperature on the display automatically to match the environment in which you are using the laptops. It adjusts the white balance and makes the color range warmer or cooler.

What's New in the 2018 MacBook Pro and Why Do You Need It?

A Small Business and the New MacBook Pro

So can your small business justify a starting price of $1,799 and $2,399 for a laptop? If you are in an industry Apple is marketing these laptops to the answer is yes.

If you are a creative who needs to hook up two 5K monitors to your laptop to edit videos, a scientist who needs to run complex simulations and manipulate data, or you happen to be a developer who needs to spin up multiple virtual machines and test environments, it will be worth the price.

What's New in the 2018 MacBook Pro and Why Do You Need It?

Having this type of capability on your laptop means you can work from anywhere without sacrificing performance, and for select small business owners that alone is worth the price.

The new 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro are now available

Images: Apple

This article, "New MacBook Pro May Be Perfect for Small Businesses Seeking Speed and High Functionality" was first published on Small Business Trends



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