Posts tagged with "Business"

Money illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entrepreneur Skills You Need To Know

­ 5 Skills Every New Entrepreneur Needs (and How to Get Them)

Entrepreneurs of Success offers tips to help entrepreneurs be more successful

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the country. Many of them are started by entrepreneurs who have an idea or a dream but may not necessarily know what it takes to start or keep a business going. The good news is that the skills needed to do just that can be learned along the way. Taking the time to learn what they are and adopt them will help entrepreneurs to be more successful with their business ventures.

“Nobody knows everything right from the start, but if you are willing to learn along the way, then you will have no problem gaining the skills you need to be successful,” explains Sara Khoudary, founder of Entrepreneurs of Success and the Mentor Momentum Community. “Entrepreneurs are a special group of people who are usually willing to do what it takes to see their business through.”

Having the skills it takes to be successful can make running a business easier and keep it less stressful. It can also make it easier to find your way around challenges that arise, such as those we have had to deal with over the last year with the pandemic. Not having important skills can leave entrepreneurs feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and stuck where they are.

Here are 5 skills every new entrepreneur needs, as well as tips on how to get them:

  • Communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate is essential in every business, whether you are selling to the public or other businesses. Improve upon your business communication skills by reading books on the topic, taking an online class, or even joining a group such as your local Toastmasters.
  • Patience. Not everything is going to happen overnight. Even the most successful businesses take time to grow. Overnight successes usually have years under their foundation before they suddenly take off. Learn patience by being mindful and celebrating the small milestones. It’s important to realize that things take time, and to focus more on the progress being made along the way.
  • Stress management. Being an entrepreneur can be stressful. If you don’t do something to manage the stress, then you may quickly become burned out or it can lead to health issues. Do something regularly that helps you reduce stress, such as meditation, hiking, exercising, journaling, etc.
  • Networking abilities. When you have a solid network, you will be able to get advice from others. A mentor or group of people that you can turn to with questions, to vent to, or to hear advice from can be golden. Find a mentor or join at least one group, such as Entrepreneurs of Success, that will put you in touch with others who are successful. 
  • Hiring abilities. Many entrepreneurs need to hire people, but they are not familiar with such a task. Hiring the right people will make a huge difference in your business and can be the difference between thriving and diving. Learn hiring skills by reading books, discussing it with mentors, and attending conferences on the topic.

“Our mission is to help entrepreneurs be more successful,” added Khoudary. “When you have a support group that you can turn to, such as with our mentoring program, you will find that you get the answers you need to move forward, overcome challenges, and continue to grow.”

Entrepreneurs of Success offers a close-knit community for entrepreneurs. Members of the group are able to tap into unlimited support by a group of successful mentors, access special tools, collaborate, book club, network, and more. Memberships start at just $15 per month. The group also has a “Leaders of Impact” program that awards top mentors each year who are nominated by the community. To get more information or become a member, visit the Entrepreneurs of Success website.

Empowering women by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Women Face A Myriad Of Injustices; Can A Better World Emerge?

By Andi Simon, Ph.D.

 

What does it say about our culture when moms and their children are facing unbearable pain and trauma during the pandemic? This crisis has amplified the way women in the U.S. are undervalued, or not valued at all. While it is widely known that America lags far behind all other industrialized countries in paid maternity leave, appropriate childcare and suitable work/life balance for mothers, the challenges of the current public health crisis have brought to the fore front the severity of these issues. Why, we must ask, do mothers have to disproportionately bear the burden of household work and care for family members? To add to the unfair burden of labor, women still earn 18% less than men, often with little or no employer or spousal support.

 

How can this be? What are we missing in this story?

 

As a corporate anthropologist who worked from the time my daughters were three weeks old (having obtained no paid leave then either), I have gotten past the anger and frustration. Like many women, I have accepted this as just the way it is. But, does the workplace have to continue to operate with these unfair standards?

 

Before the pandemic, women made up more than half the work force at 58%. This was the highest percentage of woman in the workplace than what had been observed for a long time. Yet 40% of children are born to single mothers. At the same time as the role of men as fathers and co-caregivers has shifted, so had the role of single mothers in the workplace. Only 69.6% of men are employed full-time, and 6.3% are unemployed (5.9 million), as of February 2021. The academic dropout rate for men is 20% higher than for women: 6.2% of men don’t complete high school and 58% who start college don’t complete a four-year program (48% at private institutions).

 

During the pandemic, 10 million jobs have been lost. Over half these positions were held by women, often women of color. In December 2020 alone, 140,000 jobs were eliminated– all of which had been held by women.

 

Women, on the other hand, have generated most of the new jobs since the 2008 recession.

 

Before the pandemic, women owned and ran 40% of the businesses in the U.S. Many of these businesses were second incomes. Others were necessity businesses–from hair salons to “solopreneurs”–trying to thrive in a gig economy that, since 2019, has grown to encompass one third of the workforce.

 

To add one more injustice, our healthcare system is among the world’s worst for women.

 

US women have the highest maternal mortality rate among 11 developed countries. Women in the US also have one of the highest rates of c-sections. US women also face the greatest burden of illness, highest rates of skipping needed healthcare because of cost, most difficulty affording healthcare, and report the least satisfaction with their quality of care. One in three women in the US report having emotional distress. Clearly, we need to transform the US healthcare experience quickly into one that cares about womens health.

 

When will men, who have the power to change our society, recognize the pain they are creating for women?

 

When you add it all up, women seem like superheroes. They attempt to achieve work-life balance. They worry about childcare and parent care. They try to build careers and grow businesses, often with family and friends as the major source of funding. They strive to provide healthy, safe environments for their families, sometimes with little or no help. Is this as good as it gets for women?

 

I venture to guess that no, it can get better. It will get better. It must get better. How? By all of us–women and men­–fighting for a new, improved normal. By refusing to accept defeat, women can make a change.

 

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D, author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is an international leader in the emerging field of corporate anthropology and founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy, Simon has conducted over 400 workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts for entrepreneurs. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Children traveling illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Luxury Travel Safety Study

MEDJET AND WORTH MEDIA RELEASE RESULTS OF LUXURY TRAVEL SAFETY STUDY

Poll Reveals “Massive Misconceptions Among Business and Leisure Travelers of All Ages as to: If, When and How They’re Protected.”

A new study from Medjet, the industry leader in air medical transport and travel security memberships for travelers, and WORTH Media, a leading financial, wealth management and lifestyle media company, finds that a major segment of today’s luxury travel market – both business and leisure – continues to be ill-informed about travel insurance, medical evacuation and personal protection.

The most recent Medjet/WORTH Media poll, which builds on a study originally conducted pre-COVID-19 in fall 2019, was completed in early 2021 to more accurately gauge travelers’ sentiments after such a tumultuous year for the global travel industry. Both times, the results illustrated a significant lack of awareness in regard to travel insurance and medical evacuation coverage, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new poll results show that very few travelers plan on sitting this year out; when asked when they would feel ready to travel again, travelers’ responses were as follows:

  • 17.5% are already traveling
  • 15.83% plan on traveling within the next three months
  • 54.17% plan on traveling between 4-12 months from now
  • 12.5% plan on traveling 1+ year from now/are not sure

“The results of both polls are very much in line with what we’ve found in our own anecdotal research and decades of experience as leaders in the field of air medical transport and crisis response,” says Mike Hallman, President & CEO of Medjet, “that there are massive misconceptions among business and leisure travelers of all ages as to: If, when and how they are protected.”

In 2020, 85% of respondents felt they knew about the “same or less” about medevac coverage due to the pandemic. 64% of travelers felt they should know more.

The fall 2019 poll results, even without the threat of COVID-19, showed overwhelmingly that illness was a top traveler concern, and if hospitalized overseas, people would prefer to get home to their own hospital for treatment and recovery. Therefore, continuing to educate people as to the where travel insurance’s medevac coverage leaves off, and transport memberships like Medjet pick up, remain important. 


Both studies targeted professionals across the country whose household’s net worth was valued at $1,000,000 and above. The original Medjet/WORTH poll assessed travelers’ understanding of their health, travel or business insurance coverages, and credit card travel program benefits, finding that nearly two-thirds of respondents who reported being “concerned about their health while traveling” were unaware of the inclusions (and perhaps more importantly exclusions) in their plans or benefits packages. Some of the study’s major findings include:

  • Only 35% of travelers who reported being concerned about their health and well-being while traveling were aware that their health, travel or business insurance, or credit card travel benefits, could ONLY get them to the “nearest acceptable facility.” 65% mistakenly believed their coverage would automatically get them all the way to a hospital at home, or were not sure.
  • While illness and injury were top concerns for travelers, only 34% of business travelers concerned about their health had ever looked into the conditions of their company’s travel and medical evacuation policies.
  • Of those with corporate coverage, one in three respondents (33%) expected that, one way or another, their company would get them home if they became ill or were hospitalized while traveling. “For many companies, that means footing a $30,000 – $180,000 out-of-pocket bill, or potentially falling short on employee ‘duty of care’ expectations,” noted Hallman, “which can present a significant financial and legal risk to an organization.”
  • Of those who reported being self-employed and traveling for business frequently, 77% reported never purchasing travel insurance.
  • Younger respondents proved even less knowledgeable about what their health and travel insurance, or credit card travel benefits would do for them if they needed a medical evacuation; 86% believed it would transport them back to their hospital at home or were unsure.

“The greatest misconception among high-net-worth travelers is that, in the unforeseen event they were to end up hospitalized while out of town – be it in Peoria or Paraguay – they believe their basic travel coverage through a company plan, travel insurance or credit card would get them home,” said Hallman. “More often than not, that is not the case, which is why we see so many stories in the news about travelers stuck abroad, and why so many individuals, families, corporations and organizations (like the NFL) enroll in our membership program.”

“On the bright side,” said Hallman, “we found that 86% of business travelers were interested in purchasing additional medical evacuation coverage that got them all the way home, and 68% of business travelers were interested in purchasing travel security coverage in addition to the coverage offered by their company. So, it looks like there’s plenty of continued growth to look forward to here at Medjet!”

For more information about Medjet, please visit the Medjet website.

Boutique illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Boutique Customer Service Tips

Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try

By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!

Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.

Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?

Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.

Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.

Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?

Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.

As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.

Offering better customer service skills often doesn’t cost a dime, but it can make a world of a difference for your profits. Studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Plus, the success rate of marketing to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while it’s only 5-20% when marketing to a new customer. 

If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that. 

Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.

(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)

Top 25 Customer Service Tips

Focus on the customer in front of you

As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.

Be empathetic

Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.

Make an extra effort

Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.

Improve systems

Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.

Identify their needs

There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.

Use their name

Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.

Smile

Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.

Be generous

If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.

Don’t say “I don’t know”

Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.

Celebrate birthdays

Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.

Be clear about your policies

Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!

Honor your promises

Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!

Acknowledge frequent customers…

Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.

But make sure new customers feel the love, too!

It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.

Be transparent

Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.

Sincerely apologize

We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)

Make it easy to get in touch

Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)

Offer self-help customer service

If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.

Plan for the holidays

Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.

Respond quickly

Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)

Hire the right people

If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.

Be polite

Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.

Set clear expectations

Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.

Be human

There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!

Offer suggestions

Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.

Create Your Free Wholesale Account Today

Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!
business illustration by Rita Azar for use by 360 Magazine

3 Tips For Leaders To Steady The Ship When Employees Lose Their Balance

Company leaders and managers have a big responsibility in overseeing employees. But they can’t see everything, and sometimes there’s more going on in a worker’s life than meets the eye.

Employee disengagement or burnout isn’t always apparent, and some employers may be in for a surprise if and when the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. One study shows that 57 percent of U.S. employees say they are burnt out, with many likely to leave their job after the pandemic is over. And a Gallup survey reveals that the percentage of engaged employees – those enthusiastic about their workplace – is under 40 percent.

What the numbers mean is leaders need to learn how to spot and help out-of-balance employees, says Mark McClain, CEO and co-founder of SailPoint and the ForbesBooks author of “Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People).”

“One challenge leaders and managers routinely face is to recognize when the people around them – peers, colleagues, but especially subordinates – are out of balance or are heading in the wrong direction,” McClain says. “Beyond the potential impacts on their personal lives, you want to try to head off the negative effects such imbalances can have on their roles in the company.

“This may seem imposing, but you have to pay attention as a leader. No employee can run at a crazy pace forever, yet some companies let people run themselves right out of the building. Other workers who are disengaged can be harder to spot initially.”

McClain offers these tips for leaders to spot, address, and help out-of-balance employees:

  • Make work-life balance part of your culture. “You can expect much from your employees, but you don’t want them to fry themselves,” McClain says. “You don’t want them to harm their health, their family, or their relationships. If you have good people, ideally you’ll grow them and help them work toward their vision of a healthy work-life balance. The sooner leaders confront imbalance in the equation, the more meat they put on the bones of company culture.”
  • Screen out for potential burnout. Some companies hire knowing they will overwork people or take advantage of their ambition to work extra hard and advance up the corporate ladder, McClain says. But that approach can lead to burnout and departure, which costs companies in terms of replacing them. “There are always going to be ultra-motivated climbers,” McClain says. “But exploiting them is beyond bad. Those who can’t stand it get out, and the HR departments plan on the fact that every four or five years, only 15 to 20 percent of those hires will be able to move up the ranks. These types of organizations instead should invest in pre-hiring assessments to screen out those who value a life outside of work. Doing so would save the companies money and turnover.”
  • Be a counselor. It’s not an invasion of privacy for a manager to show concern in an employee, McClain says, and probing is necessary to help the employee. “Like it or not,” he says, “being a counselor of sorts is part of managing people. Getting to know them as people, and their work styles, is what makes spotting imbalances possible. It’s why good managers pull employees aside and say, ‘Hey, you’re here, but you’re not engaged. Is something going on?’ Managers who take that step are able to uncover issues and steer their employees to the help they need.”

“Many companies talk about caring for workers until they’re blue in the face,” McClain says. “But when you put in place the pieces to help them succeed, leaders walk the walk – and everybody wins.”

About Mark McClain

Mark McClain, ForbesBooks author of “Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People)”, is CEO of SailPoint, a leader in the enterprise identity management market. McClain has led the company from its beginnings in 2005, when it started as a three-person team, to today where SailPoint has grown to more than 1,200 employees who serve customers in 35 countries.

CBD Health illustration for 360 Magazine

How to Become a New CBD Oil Distributor in the UK

Ever taken a look at the burgeoning CBD market in the UK and wanted to see if it was possible to become a distributor? It’s now possible to sell the best CBD oils in the UK.

CBD oils in the UK have blossomed in the last decade, with more and more people making and selling them. But how difficult is it to get started in the industry? How does someone become a new distributor?

First Steps to Becoming a CBD Oil Distributor: Legality

The first–and frankly the most important–thing a new CBD oil distributor needs to know is the local laws regarding the sale and possession of CBD oil. While most people are familiar with the legally permissible quantity of THC in CBD oil products, those planning to become a distributor need to know a whole lot more.

For instance, CBD oil distributors are likely going to want to advertise their services somehow, mostly through internet ads. Unlike many other industries, the sale of CBD oil is heavily restricted when it comes to advertisements.

Prospective distributors can’t ever claim specific medical benefits surrounding CBD oil, nor can they hope to get away with making statements that cannot be substantiated with scholarly evidence.

In advertising and selling, CBD products are held to a much stricter standard than most products. Ensure that you have a complete understanding of the laws surrounding advertisements and storage of CBD products.

Building a Brand: How to Become Recognized & Known in the CBD Community

While CBD oil products used to be a pretty rare sight in the UK, there are now more brands than one could have imagined.

This is great for the consumer but is actually a big issue for new distributors, as it means that there is a tremendous amount of competition. Not only is there plenty of competition, but many of the most successful brands have existed for years now. This means that they are recognized and expected to be of consistently high quality.

As a new CBD oil distributor, the way to overcome this is with diverse, innovative packaging and strong brand awareness.

This is the kind of thing that requires a considerable amount of research and effort to get right. Any new entrant into this industry requires super strong branding and in-depth knowledge of social media.

Consider launching a variety of social media platforms, as well as hiring someone to manage them for the company.

It can be especially difficult to run a distribution company while also managing a social media presence, so hiring someone to take care of that for the company could be a big help.

Furthermore, try and build up the brand’s image any way possible; if customers don’t recognize the brand, then they won’t be likely to buy from it, no matter what it is selling.

Perhaps the Most Important: Only Sell Great Products

The most crucial part of becoming a new CBD oil distributor, and indeed starting any business in any industry, is to sell only high-quality products.

There are all sorts of lower quality, cheaper alternatives out there for CBD products, but they won’t help you build an exciting and successful brand.

After all, studies have shown that stronger and better quality CBD oil products tend to offer a much better effect. This is well-known to consumers, and so people won’t be inclined to come back to a CBD oil brand if they don’t feel like they can trust what’s being sold.

There is a lot to learn and understand about building a brand, the legal issues of cannabinoids, and the logistics of CBD in the UK. However, it all comes secondary to the quality of the products being offered.

If a new CBD oil distribution brand doesn’t offer great stuff, then people won’t be inclined to try it, nor will they come back after giving it a chance.

It can be really difficult. In fact, it seems almost impossible, but becoming a CBD oil distributor in the UK is certainly possible if the brand focuses on selling only the best stuff they can find.

 

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Education Tips For Children

7 Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Good Education

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, offers tips to help your child be successful in school

Over the last year, during the pandemic, there have been many kids who have struggled academically. This is in part due to the millions who have had to do online learning and find the setup difficult. Whether children are learning online, in person, via classroom, or through a combination of the three, there are things that parents can do to help them be more successful. Knowing what to do can help make a world a difference and reduce the struggling.

“Many parents are aware of the way their kids are struggling with school over this school year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “Rather than let them fall behind, it’s a good idea to take action and do what you can to help them keep up and even pull ahead.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school-age children report that their kids have engaged in some sort of distance learning during the pandemic. They also report that the vast shift in the way kids are learning has also caused digital inequality because some kids don’t have access to computers and/or the Internet. Whether students are learning online or in class, there are things parents can do to help them get a good education.

Here 7 ways to help ensure your child gets a good education:

  1. Sleep. It’s crucial for a child to get enough sleep each night, which will help them to be more focused, as well as improve their behavior, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children ages 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Teach value. It usually starts at home whether or not a child values an education. Parents who want their kids to get a good education should instill a love of learning in their children and teach them to value the education they are getting.
  3. Get them help. If your child is struggling, you may be able to help them, but there also comes a time when kids need a tutor to step in. A good tutor can make a world of difference in ensuring that a child gets a good education. They can help ensure that students will not fall behind and that they will get the foundation they need to move on in a subject.
  4. Show them how. Oftentimes, kids don’t know how to effectively study for a test or to take notes when they are in class. Take the time to show them how to do it effectively, as well as how to stay organized with their schooling. When students are organized, they are more likely to succeed.
  5. Ask them questions. Be sure to ask your kids how it is going, if they got their homework done, if they need any help, or if there’s anything they need to be more successful. They like to know that you are interested in how they are doing, so it’s good to show an active interest.
  6. Get involved. It’s always a good idea if you can get involved with the school and have good communication with the teacher. That way you will be aware of what is going on and know how to help your child more. Teachers love it when parents take an active interest in their child’s education.
  7. Praise your kids. Help kids to know what they are doing is right or what they are doing is wrong. Praising and encouraging the kids builds their confidence and helps them to succeed as they grow.

“Just about every parent has the ability to help kids succeed with their academics, even if it’s ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” added Florence. “We help parents be successful, even those who don’t have the funds to pay for a tutor. Our mission is to help as many students to achieve as we can.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. They offer online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Their tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Instructors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many of them having a master’s degree, Ph.D., and at least four years of teaching experience. The Oxford Method works with their nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving them 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of their instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the website.

Sceenic illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Sports Innovation Lab × Sceenic

Sceenic, a leading software solutions provider for real-time experiences, has been named a Game Changer in the growing Co-Watch trend in the latest Sports Innovation Lab Power Play Index.

Sports Innovation Lab’s Power Play Index for the Fluid Fan Behavior of Co-Watch identifies those companies that are best positioned to create immersive viewing experiences for fans at home. Sceenic is the only Game Changer in the index, which charts the top 10 technology providers that offer co-watch solutions in the market.

The Power Play Index ranks companies in two categories: 

  • Technology Alignment: determined through a company’s signal score as it relates to watch parties, video chat, and voice chat.
  • Market Validation: determined through a company’s signal score as it relates to leagues, venues, people, and partners.

“When we publish a Power Play Index, we let the data do the talking. Our methodology identifies companies with both the market validation and technology depth that allows them to enable the Fluid Fan,” said Josh Walker, Co-founder and President of Sports Innovation Lab. “Sceenic is our Co-Watching Game Changer for 2020, proving that powerful co-watching technology isn’t the future, but the present.”

Sceenic is identified as the highest-ranking company for each measure due to the seamless turnkey nature of its offering for video, OTT, IPTV or STB providers, and the ease of integration for the Sceenic Watch Together SDKs and APIs into existing platforms with customization. The report also noted Sceenic’s partners and the experiences that they power in the market for clients such as BT Sport (UK), NPO (NL), ScreenHits TV (EU and US), LaLiga (ES), among others.

Key facts:

  • Sports Innovation Lab focused their recent fan behavior research on “Co-watch” presented in the Power Play Index. Getting fans to watch sports content – a live game, a recorded stream, or highlights – is simply getting them to show up. To keep Fluid Fans hooked, to get them coming back more frequently, and for longer periods of time, sports organizations must enable them to learn more about the sport and the athletes. When fans learn, they dive deeper into storylines, get invested in matchups, and come back again and again because they have a greater appreciation for the sport. When fans watch more, revenue opportunities from sponsorships, as well as ancillary behaviors like shopping merchandise or betting, increase
  • Sceenic is a leader in proving co-watch solutions to enhance the fan experience inside their clients’ platforms. Sceenic created the Watch Together software solution in 2013 to provide Broadcast, Telcos and Media companies with an engaging experience inside their platforms. The technology is available to be quickly deployed for video, OTT, IPTV or STB providers to integrate into their existing platforms
  • Sceenic was the first company, in 2019, to showcase and offer the Watch Together software solution on 5G
  • EE (the UK Telco) launched Matchday Experience on the BT Sport app in October 2020, with all BT Sport customers able to access the service from January 2021
  • BT Sport’s Watch Together is available on all broadcast content, 24/7 and on all devices (mobile, tablets, TV)
  • Powered by Sceenic during the 2020 Tour de France, NPO, the Netherlands Public Broadcaster enabled their users to meet the former cyclist Michael Boogerd inside their NPO Start web platform to share insights, answer questions and take online selfies with fans. 

“Seven years in development and refinement, our Watch Together technology stack is proving its worth in large scale deployments with BT Sport, T-Mobile Germany, NPO – Tour de France and others,” said Paul Bojarski, CEO, Sceenic. “What is now exciting is seeing how Watch Together actively supports our customers’ business objectives: the organic multiplier effect it brings to subscriber acquisition and retention, the powerful compliment of C2C word of mouth recommendations to machine learning, and the emergence of wholly original in-room interactive marketing/advertising opportunities.”

About Sceenic

Sceenic is an innovator and leader in understanding today’s customer behaviors and their expectations. In 2013, the company created the Watch Together software solution, adding value to fan-engagement and keeping the conversation within their clients’ platforms: BT Sport, T-Mobile Germany (Deutsche Telekom), NPO, ScreenHits TV, LaLiga, Virgin Connect, WeLoveGaming eSports, FIFAe, among others. You can read more about Sceenic here.

About Sports Innovation Lab 

Sports Innovation Lab is leading a sports research revolution. Sports Innovation Lab exists to educate clients on the technological possibilities for their brand and how to ultimately drive value to the end consumer: The Fluid Fans. Sports Innovation Lab inspires brands to create breakthrough fan experiences through data-driven technology insights and industry-leading research. You can learn more about Sports Innovation Lab here.

Computer illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

VC Pitch Deck Advice

­­14 words to take out of your VC pitch deck

By: May Habib

170 seconds. Weeks or even months of working on your pitch deck could come down to the 170 seconds (on average) that investors spend looking at your deck. “Investors see a lot of pitches. In a single year, the classic general partner in a venture firm is exposed to around 5,000 pitches…and ends up doing between zero and two deals,” writes VC and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

With all that pressure to make an impact quickly, founders spend an incredible amount of time on the design of their slides. Less consideration, however, is usually spent on the words on the slide. That’s a mistake, especially when you only have 170 seconds. When not used intentionally, the words in your deck can be distracting or downright off-putting. We used what we know about language and healthy communication from the millions of documents we’ve processed at Writer to come up with 14 words and phrases to remove from your VC pitch deck:

Negative Association

Runway”

  • Pitching VCs is a balancing act: you want to position your idea in the best light, but also show that you’ve thought things through. However, volunteering for certain types of information can have the opposite effect. Don’t write: I’m seeking $X in funding to provide Y months of runway. You certainly need to show how you’re going to use the funding you’re asking for, but you don’t want to frame things in terms of runway in a pitch deck. The word is associated with a looming cash-out date, which can put an investor in a negative state of mind.

Exit strategy”

  • Don’t write: Our exit strategy is…Yes, thinking through your business means knowing how you’ll handle worst-case and best-case scenarios. But putting exit strategy in your deck can only get investors thinking about the inherent risks. You want them focused on the opportunity. You need to know what to say when the topic comes up — just don’t volunteer the information on a slide.

Cliches

Just one percent”

  • A pitch deck is a tool to show VCs why your idea merits an investment. Using cliches can work against that goal. Don’t write: If we could capture X% of the market… It’s not only a cliche but also wishful thinking rather than a plan. Keep the text on your slides grounded in relevant facts and figures. Other cliches to cut include: the Amazon of X, imagine a future, and moving Y to the blockchain.

 Absolutes

Everyone”, “always”, “never”, “no one”

  • A great pitch requires nuance. Using absolutes to talk about your idea fails on that count. And, if you look closer, chances are there will be exceptions to the absolute that’s being set up. When discussing your TAM, target customer, or product value, your words need to reflect a thoughtful and measured approach. Using absolutes, such as everyone likes X falls short of that goal and casts doubts about the validity of your plan.

 Imprecise Language

Unique”

  • Precise communication makes it easier to bet that a business has the potential to succeed. But imprecise language is one of the top no-no’s we see in pitch decks. Take the word It may seem like an ideal word to show differentiation, but it’s imprecise as to the nature of the uniqueness. Just describe the uniqueness directly, or better yet, the plan to execute on the uniqueness. Ideas are important — but the plan is what gets companies funded.

“Intend”

  • Good intentions aren’t the same as a plan. Using the word intend in your pitch deck makes the discussion conceptual and somewhat nebulous. An intention is easier to reject than a plan backed up by compelling storytelling.

No competition”

  • Don’t write no competition anywhere in your deck. Like, anywhere. At best, it will be seen as an exaggeration: if there isn’t direct competition, there may be indirect competition to consider. And, at worst, it could make investors think that you haven’t fully explored the market, meaning your entire premise could be flawed.

“Good”

  • Investors don’t want good ideas; they want the best Using the word good to describe any part of your plan (for example, good growth) lacks specificity and lowers your pitch’s believability.

Qualifiers a.k.a Intensifiers

“Very”, “so”, “quite”

  • Brevity is key when you’re working with a visual format, like a pitch deck. Qualifiers not only clutter your slides with unnecessary text, but they’re also less precise. Don’t write: very, so, and quite. Ask yourself one question: What does very fast growth look like? Your answer would likely be different than someone else’s. Instead, you might say the growth of X% a year so there isn’t confusion. Again, you want to be as precise and fact-based as possible.

Other things to keep in mind:

Readability

  • In an analysis of successful decks, we found an average readability level of Grade 10 or 11. For unsuccessful decks, that number was higher — Grade 12 or college. Never use jargon, keep your sentences simple, and include a maximum of 1-2 sentences per paragraph. To analyze your own deck’s language, try out Writer’s readability

Humor: Just don’t

  • Cracking a joke on a slide can easily backfire. The last thing you want is to have a failed joke make your pitch awkward or throw you off. That could derail the entire process. So, it’s best to skip the deck humor and get to what really matters: your plan.
Empowered Women Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

CÎROC × COMBS ENTERPRISES EMPOWERED WOMEN

The first cohort of the 2021 Empowered Women honorees, including Iman, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, and Fadia Kader, are announced in celebration of International Women’s Day.

 

Ciroc and Combs Enterprises are proud to announce the continuation of its Empowered Women platform. Empowered Women, first launched in 2016 by Combs Enterprises women-led executive team, uplifts, spotlights, and honors an eclectic and dynamic group of entrepreneurs, creatives, and businesswomen.

This year, Ciroc and Combs Enterprises partnered with Culture Creators, a cultural connectivity organization that aims to spotlight the contributions of individuals who have shaped the global view of Black culture. To further amplify the initiative, fittingly launched during Women’s History Month, Empowered Women will honor 50 successful women and share the narratives that formed them. Championing discussions around the value of mentorship, allyship, and leadership, Empowered Women highlights the importance of celebrating the current and uplifting the next generation of fearless leaders. Honorees represent five categories including social impact, technology, entertainment, art and style, and business.

Ciroc, Combs Enterprises, and Culture Creators will spotlight the honorees beginning in March and culminating this spring. The series will include custom digital content and exclusive honoree interviews shared via Culture Creators’ platforms, curated vodka cocktails, and an exclusive media partnership with women’s lifestyle publication, Elle Magazine.

It is an honor to continue to build and strengthen the Empowered Women platform alongside Culture Creators and Elle Magazine”, says Ingrid Best, Vice President of Global Marketing, Spirits, Combs Enterprises. “As a Black woman, it is my personal and professional mission to honor those who are breaking boundaries, while also providing a platform for us to continue to do the important work of mentoring and showing up for the next generation. We hope this program encourages young, budding professionals to push boundaries and redefine the status quo in their respective industries.”.

The first round of March 2021 honorees is below, representing the industry leaders paving the way for future generations.

 

Empowered Women Honorees – March:

  • Adrienne Lofton
  • Alencia Johnson
  • Brianna Agyemang
  • Caroline Yim
  • Dawn Dickson
  • Donna Stewart
  • Fadia Kadar
  • Heather Lowery
  • IMAN
  • Jamila Thomas
  • Morgan DeBaun
  • Sarah Jakes Roberts
  • Stephanie L. Young
  • Morgan Dixon
  • Valeshia Butterfield-Jones
  • Vanessa Garrison
  • Yvette Noel Schure

Joi Brown, Founder, and CEO of Culture Creators commented, “I started Culture Creators because I envisioned a platform that gives individuals who push the culture forward and strive for inclusion that flowers while they are still here while continuing to develop the next generation of leaders. Partnering with like-minded visionaries at Ciroc to bring Empowered Women to life marries the spirit of celebration and mentorship.”.

As part of its mission to propel Black culture, Culture Creators has consistently celebrated the accomplishments of key luminaries across a broad spectrum of industries, including entertainment, fashion, finance, technology, business, and more. The Innovators & Leaders Awards Brunch, Culture Creators’ annual signature event, exemplifies this mission and has previously honored Sylvia Rhone, Byron Allen, Marsai Martin, Jemele Hill, Kenya Barris, Charles D. King, and the late Andre Harrell, to name a few. In 2019, Culture Creators launched the first-ever C2 Summit, a platform that targets students of color across all universities and provides interactive educational experiences, employment opportunities, and creates access to leaders across various career paths. Today, Culture Creators further advances its mission with the launch of the Empowered Women platform.