The Advantages YouTube Ads Have Over Facebook Ads

Marketer John Crestani shares some of his favorite tactics for getting the word out on his products.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When considering the difference between using ads on Facebook versus on YouTube, it can be helpful to know what the benefits are of each right now.

Entrepreneur Network partner Eric Siu sits down with John Crestani of Welearn to talk about the nuances of the ad platforms. For one, YouTube ads are perceived to be more trusted, and Crestani considers YouTube as the venue that makes it easier to reach people. 

Facebook, on the other hand, is extremely saturated with both ads and content, which makes it difficult to reach potential customers and receptive people in general. Moreover, Crestani notes the company is known to change the format of its website constantly.  

Crestani describes to Siu how he considers direct response is the preferred form of marketing. He uses the majority of his budget on direct marketing. Another tactic that works for Crestani is recycling his content for other platforms and marketing arenas specifically for your business’s current audience.

Click the video to hear more from Siu and Crestani’s discussion. 

Related: 7 Marketing Hacks That Can Be Applied to a Business at Any Stage

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How to Use Social Media to Get Millennials to Buy From You

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to create a digital presence that captivates millennial consumers.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce sales in the United States are projected to surpass $504 billion by the end of this year — and millennials are historically a driving force in the ever-increasing growth of online shopping.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

What’s better, they are currently the most valuable target demographic for modern businesses.

But, with a plethora of digital marketing tactics, remarketing campaigns, email campaigns and more inundating consumers, how can brands capitalize on this digitally inclined demographic to boost their own bottom line?

Target them on social media, of course!

Young target audiences flock to social media in droves.

A study from the Pew Research Center examined U.S. adults’ use of social media. All in all, the overwhelming majority of Americans regularly use social media. In fact, a whopping 68 percent alone frequent Facebook.

However, it seems that the younger the user, the more prominent the social media use. The research found that 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 78 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds use at least one social media channel — which almost perfectly aligns with millennials’ age group of 22 to 37.

Related: 5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Studies show that social media platforms influence ecommerce shopping experiences with millennials.

My company conducted a study that analyzed 219 millennials’ ecommerce behaviors on social media platforms. We found:

  1. Thirty percent of millennials purchase products directly on Facebook.
  2. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest foster the most brand trust and help young adults find discover products they would actually use.
  3. Snapchat is irrelevant for ecommerce and branding — only 5 percent of millennials believe it creates the most trustworthy relationship.
  4. Sixty-one percent of millennials trust a friend’s endorsement the most, followed by their own experience with a brand (51 percent) and website reviews (48 percent).
  5. Thirty-one percent of respondents said social media influences their purchases. However, they complete the transaction elsewhere.

The survey’s key findings show that social media marketing has a direct effect on brand visibility, awareness and conversion rates. These results also reinforce the ideas that the best platforms are those that are robust, ever-evolving and user-centric — such as Facebook.

Here’s how to integrate your ecommerce and social media marketing strategy.

The findings of millennials’ social media shopping habits can be used to improve your own brand’s strategy.

After all, if brands were left to guess which platforms would appeal to a younger demographic, they might find themselves going all-in on Snapchat. However, despite boasting a hefty 300 million active users, Snapchat lacks the finesse, brand discoverability factor and website traffic capabilities to truly inspire meaningful purchases or build long-term brand growth.

Therefore, businesses shouldn’t leave themselves to guess which social media channels will inspire a millennial audience, but instead look at more specific insights when formulating a strategy.

Related: 10 Proven Ways to Make Millions on Social Media

Luckily, the survey’s findings outline a few simple fixes that can drastically improve ecommerce conversions through social media, including:

Invest in Facebook initiatives.

Millennials audiences (and, frankly, all demographics) overwhelmingly rely on Facebook for their social media needs. Luckily, there are plenty of tactics that can improve your brand identity, customer services and even direct purchases right on the platform. Try strategies such as:

  • Organic and sponsored posts
  • Retargeting advertisements
  • Advertisements targeting a custom audience
  • A fully functional ecommerce store, embedded directly into the social platform

There are several programs to help you achieve the latter. These include WooCommerce, WP-eCommerce and Ecwid. By creating a separate Facebook shop, you can target potential consumers with ads and products that might love and make it easier for them to complete a purchase, which increases conversion rates.

Utilize user-generated content.

A younger target audience trusts real people as opposed to influencers and celebrities (although influencers do historically perform better than traditional famous people). Therefore, whenever possible, humanize your brand by including user-generated content.

Repost real people’s photos on Instagram, ask for personal testimonials or even try a social media video featuring real consumers. This will foster an honest brand-to-consumer relationship that is proven to grow brands and increase revenue. Warby Parker, SoulCycle and Aerie, respectively, are all great examples of these user-generated content tactics in action.

Plus, don’t forget website reviews! Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website — and give them a few options for rating the product, such as star ratings, images, recommendations and paragraph descriptions. Not only will this build credibility with new customers, but it will make your returning consumers feel as though their voice is welcome and will be heard by your brand.

Related: 12 Social Media Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Build an authentic, well-branded online community.

Although integrated ecommerce shops and targeted advertisements are crucial for reaching millennials on social media platforms and transforming them into regular customers, taking the time to create a community that represents your brand will result in longevity. To achieve this:

  • Ensure you also publish non-paid social media posts.
  • Respond to comments and customer service requests.
  • Create campaigns that engage consumers.
  • Ensure your imagery and messaging.
  • Don’t just promote your products — add some informative posts and information to your social channels, too.

These strategies can still add business value by driving traffic to your website, showcasing your area of expertise or promoting your brand’s core values. However, going the extra mile and incorporating these tactics will cultivate a well-rounded and comprehensive social media presence that will appear genuine to consumers and add validity to those oh-so-important ads and ecommerce promotions.

Social media and ecommerce strategies can work together to grow your business.

It’s undeniable that social media marketing strategies directly influence conversions and revenue. However, it can be difficult to understand how to leverage social media platforms to ensure success.

By following the tips above, you’ll be sure to create a digital presence that captivates millennial consumers. This will empower you to transforms them into life-long users of your brand for decades to come, ensuring a long line of success for your business.

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How This Brand Is Making Cannabis Feel Like a Luxury

Plastic baggies? Forget it! Canndescent is selling its product in high-end packaging that consumers will be proud of.

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2017, when Adrian Sedlin launched a line of cannabis flowers called Canndescent, he thought a lot about how most consumers had previously purchased cannabis. It likely came in clear plastic baggies, with its origins and potency unknown — hardly what someone would pay a premium for. He wanted to make a clear and unambiguous break with that past, and court a consumer who’s willing to pay for quality. His solution: Create packaging that evokes luxury brands. Here’s how his team designed Canndescent in the least-baggie way possible.


Name and number

Canndescent’s flowers are named for their intended effect — Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge. But each name is also followed by a three-digit number: “Calm no. 102,” for example, or “Create no. 301.” What does it mean? The numbers are supposed to “evoke the class of a BMW,” said Sedlin. Just like BMW has a 1, a 5, and a 7 series, Canndescent identifies its strains and effects by numbers (100s are calm, 300s are creative, etc.).

Related: Is Canndescent Paving the Way For the Future of the Cannabis Industry?


Canndescent’s products arrive in a burnt-orange box, a nod to the French luxury brand Hermès as well as the “soft, warm glow” of a light bulb filament. The company went through hundreds of orange samples to find one that would pop on shelves without reminding customers of Home Depot. 

Related: LucidMood’s Great Trick: Selling Cannabis to People Who Don’t Like Feeling High


Like many luxury brands’ logos, from Louis Vuitton’s to Fendi’s, Canndescent’s was built off the first letter (or letters) in its name. The Canndescent logo arranges the letter C into what Sedlin calls a “bloom-like” pattern: “It felt like it was clean and bold, and represented the effort and intricacy that goes into producing our flower.”

Related: Marketers Are Overcoming Unique Challenges to Build Campaigns for the Nascent Cannabis Industry


Premium food, beverage, healthcare, and personal-care products tend to come in glass — a signifier that what’s inside is worth handling with care. Sedlin wanted his branding to appear at the top of the jar, so as to not obscure the flower inside. That way, it showed that Canndescent isn’t hiding anything about its product. “We wanted to establish trust with our consumers,” he said. 

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How Millennials are Marketing to Gen Z

Traditional marketing is useless.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although millennials are continually classified as being between the ages of 18-34, the reality is, they are likely older than that. Millennials are more accurately those between the ages of 26-42, making them the largest percentage of working age adults. In the United States, 2010/16 statistics counted the number of millennials as being well over 70 million people, preparing to surpass the total number of the baby boomers.

If the majority of working adults can be classified as millennials — and they are often described as being able to think outside of the box — how are they marketing their businesses to the next generation? Those born after 1995, known as Gen Z, have grown up completely surrounded by technology, making traditional marketing efforts relatively useless. In order to capture the attention of the next generation, you have to be creative.

Related: 4 Unconventional Ways to Better Market to Generation Z

Here are a few examples of the ways millennial business owners are capturing the attention of today’s young adults:

1. Building cult brands.

One similarity between millennials and Gen Z is that they believe in brand loyalty. If a company is able to push beyond brand loyalty into cult brand territory, there’s no stopping them.

Apple is an example of a brand that has managed to do this. They have gained the ability to create a “need” for what’s coming next. The Apple Watch, for example, is very popular with Gen Z, and has not once been truly marketed as a timepiece. It is obvious that you can check time on your phone, so Apple had to find a way to appeal to trendy and tech savvy individuals by creating a convenient smart watch.

Creating cult loyalty to a brand means your customers will care more about your brand than they do about most other things. To get there, you must build a solid relationship with your audience, paired with excellent tracking, to meet and anticipate the needs of your buyers. If you are able to give them what they want, you can bet they will return to you in the future.

2. Social media ads and influencer marketing.

If you are trying to get the attention of Gen Z, stop focusing your efforts on television and magazine ads. This generation does not consume media in this way. They live online, and that’s exactly how we grew a 7-figure business.

If you can build a creative ad that pops up in their social media feeds and captures their attention in a split second, you might secure a few purchases. If you can have an “influencer” prove your product’s worth to thousands of followers, you might just find yourself a goldmine.

Related: 4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

Influencer marketing involves using an individual who has gained a cult following due to their job, posts and infectious personality. These individuals share content, potentially including your product, service or business, with their thousands — sometimes millions — of followers, influencing the purchases these followers make.

Because influencers are not necessarily Hollywood celebrities with millions of followers and dollars, Gen Z feels they can relate with these real people and aspire to be them. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use the products they use. A good influencer will not make it feel like an advertisement, instead, they will create something more like a sneak peek.

3. If it’s not fast, it’s broken.

Ask a Gen Z what DSL is and you might get a blank stare in return. Devices continue to evolve into faster machines and the minds of Gen Zers are moving just as fast. If a page takes more than a few second to load, chances are that the young viewer has moved on to something else.

Millennial business owners are creating new products and adapting old ones to make them faster and more attractive to younger audiences. It’s not just about how you are marketing to the younger generation, it is about creating a product and brand that they can love and grow with.

Many businesses are still targeting youth by promoting their products on mediums that don’t even reach this audience. Marketers who treat their audience like they still have the values they did in the 90s and early 2000s, will do little more than waste money and ideas.

Related: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Are Amazing. Let’s Support Them!

Millennials grew up when the internet and its related technologies were beginning to boom, so they have a profound understanding of it. They know the appeal of the digital age to Gen Z, and they know how to quickly adapt their efforts to reach this growing generation.

In order to reach a younger generation, you need to think like one. One of the best ways to do this is to employ some of these methods that have been successfully adopted by millennial marketers.

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This Simple Change Can Make More Prospects Say “Yes” to Your Offers

Give your potential clients and customers something easy to agree on first, then work from there.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of my friends has a business that is all about healthy living and whole food nutrition. She has a number of different products — all based on science and plant-based foods — that people can easily take and get on the road to better health.

In an effort to simplify the process, someone recommended that she should “lead” with their high-end program. Not because it was the highest-dollar amount (the integrity of the people who work for this company is awesome, so it’s not a money issue at all), but because it was actually the biggest bang for people’s buck.

In other words, for folks who were really serious about moving forward with their health goals, this high-end program was the fastest way to get there.

But, it was a little on the expensive side, and some people simply didn’t have the money. As a result, my friend found herself getting a lot of prospects telling her, “This is great, but I can’t afford it.”

“No problem,” she thought. “If they say that, I’ll just provide some less-expensive options — let people know they can start with some of my more basic packages.”

I asked her how much money her products were selling for.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Good Customer Service Is Your Most Important Metric

“Well, the high end package is around $225 per month for four months,” she said, “and the basic package is $40, again in four monthly installments,” she responded.

“Wow!” I said. “That’s a big difference.”

The high-end package includes shakes, nutritional bars, four kinds of capsules … the works. It was made for someone who is really serious about their health goals.

The frustrating part is that the company has three products, and if someone can’t afford the high end package, there are options that can totally work. But, after customers initially say “no,” it’s almost impossible getting them back on the phone.

My friend spent a lot of time trying to get people off of “no” and into “yes,” as opposed to just giving them an option where they can say “yes” right away.

Related: Steal These 4 Proven Customer-Retention Strategies

She led with her high-end product, and while I totally understand that it’s a good deal, from a financial standpoint, it just might not work for some peoples’ budgets. So when they say ‘no’, you try to move to a different, less-expensive package in an effort to get a “yes.” And that’s fine.

But, in customer’s mind, they’ve already said no” to the entire idea, rather than just a version of that idea. Getting them to say “yes” right after that has obviously been very difficult.

By adding a medium option and presenting all three at the same time, she could give people an option to say “yes” at the level they’re most comfortable with, rather than just what she thought would provide the fastest results.

And by getting people into “yes” right away, she can always talk with them a month or two later to see how things are going and if they’d like to upgrade their order. That way, she doesn’t spend a bunch of energy trying to get people to undo their initial decision.

Related: 25 Tips for Earning Customer Loyalty

I see this in other businesses all the time. We go into the sales process with one offer … what we think will work for someone else’s situation. Even if we’re right, it doesn’t mean the prospective client recognizes it.

In those situations, you’re working uphill getting to yes. Instead, try providing some options where they can say yes — even if it’s not ideal from your perspective. You can then work with them as a client in the months ahead to help them see the value of what you were initially saying.

Or to put it another way: Get people to “yes” first, provide excellent service and move up from there.

Not only is it easier and more appealing, but you’re giving more people more opportunities to work with you and your business … and what could be more rewarding than that?

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20+ Gifts for the Entrepreneur in Your Life

gifts for entrepreneurs

The holidays are almost upon us—do you have all of your gifts ready?

I’ll admit, I only just finished ordering presents for everyone on my list (and I’m crossing my fingers that they all get here on time!).

But maybe you’re still feeling at a loss for what to get the entrepreneur on your list. After all, they’re starting a business (or maybe running one); they need something that will make their life easier.

Or, maybe you’re the entrepreneur—feel free to share a link to this post with your friends and family (hint hint). We won’t judge.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who need to keep track of great ideas

1. Moleskine notebooks

A classic, and a favorite around our office, these sleek, handy little notepads were suggested multiple times!

They come in multiple sizes and colors, both lined and unlined, to suite a variety of note-taking styles.

2. A Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

Taking the beloved Moleskine one step further is their partnership with Evernote, which allows you to digitize your notes.

Essentially, Moleskine has created a line of notebooks with specially lined pages that, when photographed with the Evernote app, become searchable, digital versions of your handwritten notes. A must for entrepreneurs who like to keep things old school, but would also like to integrate Evernote’s great technology into pen-and-paper notes.

3. A whiteboard with markers

For entrepreneurs who love a good brainstorming session, why not a nice big whiteboard?

With to-do lists a mile long, a whiteboard is something any budding entrepreneur would appreciate.

4. Some great pens

These Sharpie Fine Point Pens are a favorite around the office, and they would make a great gift for any entrepreneur—maybe with a few Moleskines? Just don’t use them on that whiteboard!

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who want to learn more

5. A great book (or several) on entrepreneurship

Where do we even start? We’re huge fans of Lean Planning here at Palo Alto Software, so “The Lean Startup” is definitely a good place to start, as is “The Art of the Start.” A few other great reads: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, and Rand Fishkin’s “Lost and Founder.”

6. A Kindle

With so many great books on entrepreneurship, a Kindle or other e-reader might be the perfect gift for an entrepreneur. With a seemingly endless amount of ebooks, they’ll be able to enjoy your gift over and over again.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who are ready to start and run their businesses

7. An annual LivePlan subscription

We’d be remiss in not recommending our own business planning software here; a subscription to LivePlan would make a great gift for the entrepreneur who needs to write a plan to seek a loan or investment.

But, one of LivePlan’s superpowers is actually in better business management. Connecting LivePlan to Quickbooks Online or Xero puts mere mortals in the driver’s seat with an easy to use business dashboard at their fingertips. It’s the gift of no more spreadsheets.  

Between December 3rd and 19th, 2018, we’re offering a LivePlan gift card option, perfect for the holidays. Click here to check out.

8. A Square card reader

If you know that your favorite entrepreneur is planning on accepting card payments and needs a small, convenient mobile payment processor, why not look into giving them a Square card reader?

The process of accepting payments can be a hassle, so anything that solves this problem is bound to make a fantastic holiday gift.

If you’re not sure Square will fit their needs, you can read more about our favorite payment processors here: The Best Mobile Payment Processor.

9. A subscription to Evernote Premium

Evernote’s free service is great, but a budding entrepreneur (or even a more seasoned one) would likely appreciate the increased functionality of Evernote’s premium edition, which lets users turn their notes into presentations, sync across their devices, access notes even when offline, and more.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who need a boost to take on the day

10. A great coffee-making set up

Late nights and early mornings are inevitable for entrepreneurs. How about making that process easier with some great coffee? An Aeropress coffee maker, the ever-fancy Chemex, or my personal favorite pour over method all make great cups of coffee. Pick up some beans from your favorite local roaster, and you’re in business.

11. A Hydroflask

To keep their coffee or tea toasty, a Hydroflask is a great gift. These vacuum-sealed wonders keep hot things hot and cold things cold, and won’t spill in a bag or backpack, which is great for entrepreneurs on the go.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who need to stay connected

12. A portable wallet charger

I am notorious for being suddenly unreachable due to a dead phone, and this can be a real issue for someone starting or running a new business. This thin, portable charger fits easily into a wallet, making it possible to stay connected at all times.

13. A backup phone battery charger

On that note, any type of backup phone battery is a solid bet. If you’re running a business or in the process of starting one, it could mean more than a small hassle if your phone is constantly dying. Check out Digital Trends’ list of the best portable phone chargers.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who like to take chances

14. An executive decision maker paperweight

In the same vein as the magic eight balls we all remember from childhood, this amusing paperweight will make any tough decision for you. (We at Palo Alto Software take no responsibility for any negative fallout that may result from leaving important business decisions up to a paperweight, however.)

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs that need to relax

15. HeadSpace or Calm App subscription

A meditation app can be just enough of a reminder to take time out and breathe in the new year. Too much stress can lead to burnout and can make the challenges of growing a business seem insurmountable. Just a few moments of calm each day can really help.

16. A miniature zen garden

A fun addition to any entrepreneur’s desk, this mini zen garden is a cute way to take a break from a busy day. Give this to your favorite stressed-out entrepreneur—they may roll their eyes at you, but they’ll secretly get a kick out of it.

17. A yoga class pass

Another fantastic way to help your favorite entrepreneur relax is the gift of yoga. Simply head over to your local yoga studio (preferably one close to their place of work or home) and pick up a pass or a gift card!

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who have it all (or who don’t like clutter)

18. Something intangible

Celeste Peterson, our director of people development, says maybe a thing isn’t the right choice. “Some business owners don’t want more stuff to clutter their busy lives,” she says.

“Get that person a gift card, subscription or membership for something they need, and save them some money and time. An Audible membership so they can listen to books on the way to the office, or a gift certificate to their favorite lunch cafe might be perfect.”

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs ready to establish a social presence

19. A decent camera

While potentially one of the more costly presents, a camera will greatly help any entrepreneur who is looking to improve their social presence, allowing them to take great shots for their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds, or upload Youtube videos. To get started, check out this list of the top cameras for bloggers and small businesses.

20. An octopus tripod

Another great addition to any entrepreneur’s social media arsenal is this flexible, light tripod, which works both on flat surfaces and oddly shaped ones. It works with both a traditional camera and includes a cell phone mount, making it easy to take anything from product pictures, to marketing videos on the go and from any angle.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who need to tune out

21. A pair of noise-canceling headphones

Whether it’s a busy office or a noisy coffee shop, to get work done sometimes you need to block out the noise around you. Some noise canceling headphones are a huge asset when it comes to working distraction-free.

Bose is considered by many to be the gold standard, but there are plenty of options. There are even those that aren’t necessarily billed as noise canceling but still do a pretty nice job, like my personal favorite Sony MDRXB950AP/H Extra Bass Smartphone Headset (I’m wearing them as I write, and I’m a frequent busy coffee shop-worker).

gifts for entrepreneurs

For accident-prone entrepreneurs

22. A washable keyboard

Accidents happen, but for an entrepreneur in the throes of planning or running their business, they can be hugely inconvenient. Spilled a cup of coffee? Little one knocks over their juice? This washable keyboard will be a lifesaver.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs whose offices could use a little help

23. A Bluetooth speaker

To help liven up a new home office, a Bluetooth speaker like this one from Bose is a great bet. Larger versions would also make a great gift for an entrepreneur who is opening up a small shop and needs help setting the mood.

24. A dose of (non-cheesy) motivation

Whenever I need great prints, I turn to Etsy. Some of my favorites, which are sure to brighten up any new office and inspire greatness? This sweet floral-themed print, this bold, awesome statement, and one of my personal favorite quotes on a mug, courtesy of Ron Swanson.

25. Something fun and playful (and, yes, a little nerdy)

Check out sites like ThinkGeek and UncommonGoods for cute, unique gifts that would brighten up any workspace. My favorites? This BB-8 desk lamp, or this set of mini Harry Potter characters, which would look awfully cute on a desk.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who have an exercise habit (or would like to build one)

26. A GPS watch or other activity tracker

If your favorite entrepreneur is a budding fitness enthusiast, they might appreciate an activity tracker like those made by Fitbit, or a GPS running watch if they’re a runner. I personally use a Garmin GPS watch and a Fitbit Flex 2 and love them both.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs on the go

27. A nice laptop bag

Making travel to and from work and meetings easy, a sturdy, professional looking laptop bag is a must-have. Timbuk2 messenger bags are always classic and sporty, and I’m a big fan of this canvas and leather messenger or this felt one.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who need to look sharp

28. Design-it-yourself button-down shirts

I’ve never seen anything quite like OriginalStitch, which allows you to customize shirts to create seemingly endless combinations. Does your favorite entrepreneur have lots of meetings, presentations, and networking opportunities coming up? This could be a great, unique gift.

gifts for entrepreneurs

For entrepreneurs who never stop planning—even in the shower

29. Aqua Notes waterproof notepad

I’m not sure what it is about a good shower, but sometimes the best ideas come at the strangest times. This cute waterproof notepad means ideas won’t ever go forgotten because they couldn’t be written down.

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Briana Morgaine
Briana Morgaine

Briana is the content marketing specialist for Bplans. She enjoys discussing marketing, social media, and the pros and cons of the Oxford comma. Bri is a resident of Portland, Oregon, and can be found working remotely from a variety of local coffee shops. She can also be found, infrequently, on Twitter.

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How to Create a Unique Value Proposition

what is a unique value proposition

This article is part of our Business Startup Guide—a curated list of our articles that will get you up and running in no time!

If you’re starting your own business you’re probably already thinking about what sets you apart from competitors in your space. Coming up with your unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP) creates a strong foundation for all your marketing messages and strategies for engaging new customers.

This article is a handy guide that will define what a UVP is, and help you write your own.

What is a unique value proposition (UVP)?

Your UVP (also called a unique selling proposition, or USP) describes what separates your business from your competitors. It should explain how your solution solves your customers’ problem, the specific benefits, and why your target customers should choose you over the competition.

In a nutshell, your UVP covers: how your product or service works, what makes it valuable, and why it’s better than the rest.

Your UVP should be front and center on your website, and it should be completely free of jargon—it’s like a very short elevator pitch that someone who has never heard of your company before would understand immediately.

Your UVP is what makes you competitive

Every competitor in your field is vying for attention. From marketing plans to advertisements, consumers hear a lot of noise.

To cut through this clutter and turn your target audience into loyal customers, you need a value proposition that mere mortals can understand easily—and remember. You want your customers to hear your name and think, “oh, that’s the company that does (your unique solution).”

How do you create a unique value proposition?

Finding a value proposition takes some time and legwork. A real UVP is more than a clever tagline. For it to be meaningful, you have to know your customer and your business. Plus, you have to understand how your product or service fits into our consumer-driven world.

So while your UVP is probably always in the back of your mind, don’t write it based on what you think is true about your solution and your customers. Do some research and testing so that you are sure.

And for that matter, keep testing. Once you’ve come up with your UVP and put it all over your marketing materials and website’s landing pages, it might be tempting to set it and forget it. Keep testing it over time—the more your business grows, the more you’ll know about your customer’s pain points and how your solution helps them.

4 questions to help you create your value proposition

1. Who are your customers—your target market?

First, you need to figure out who your customers are. Who will buy (or is buying) your product or service? A lot of first-time business owners want everyone to be a customer; this is a rookie mistake. Marketing to everyone is the opposite of marketing to your target market. If you try to appeal to everyone, your business and product will get lost in the noise. An example of this kind of mistake is a shoe company trying to market to everyone with feet! You’ll waste a lot of time and money that way.

Instead, hone in on exactly who your audience is. Do some market research—both based on your existing customers (if you have them) and other populations you think might be good potential customers. You want to know and understand their pain points—the problems they have that you might be able to solve.

But you’re also interested in their demographic information, income statistics, and family makeup. How old is your target audience? Are they male or female? What kind of income does your target audience have? Get specific. What does your target audience do on the weekend? What kind of music do they listen to?

You might think these last questions are a bit far-fetched, but you want to create a buyer or user persona of your target audience. A buyer or user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer—but it’s a very useful tool to help you hone your messaging and who you consider to be a part of your target market.

You can’t create a unique value proposition alone in your basement, either. You have to test it. Run it by a small group of customers, or people you think are in your target market to ensure your it resonates with customers you’re trying to reach.

2. Why should customers buy from you instead of a competitor?

To separate yourself from your competitors, you have to know who they are and what they stand for. Research your competitors inside and out, from their mission statement to the types of employees they have. You can only set yourself apart if you know what’s already been done.

Putting together a competitive matrix can be a helpful way to visualize how you stack up against them. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t have any competition. Every business has competition, even if you’re in a brand new industry. When you’re writing your UVP, see if you can articulate why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitors in ten words or less. If you can’t, keep revising.

3. What need or pain point does your product or service solve?

Write down how your business or product solves a problem or alleviates a pain point for customers. Can your product do something that other products can’t? Does it save time? Is it more affordable than other products? What about your product or service makes it must-have for customers—why can’t they live without it?

Take that list and cross off any need pain point that your competitors can claim to address too. Your competitive matrix might be helpful here. Below is an example of how a competitive matrix should look, and we’ve also discussed how to create a competitive matrix in more detail in this article.

competitive matrix

This exercise is meant to help you find areas where your business is different than others. Simply having the best product or the best customer service in the market isn’t enough differentiation.

Remember, every business thinks they have the best product. Take some time to figure out how your product meets the needs of your target audience in a way that others can’t.

4. What’s your mission? What do you stand for?

What does your business stand for? It’s a big question, one that takes some time to figure out. Once you have a solid and clear answer, see if your mission overlaps or coincides with the list of things that sets your business apart. Now you’re starting to hone in on your value proposition.

Once you’ve done your digging, write down a few different possible value propositions that fit your business. Again, this isn’t going to be something you whip up in 20 minutes. Write a few down, stew on them for a bit, and refine them. Ask yourself if someone could read your UVP and think it’s talking about another company. If the answer is yes, you have a selling or value proposition, but it’s not unique yet.

Rework it until you have one succinct sentence that makes you stand out from your competitors. What do you want your customers to remember about you when they hear your brand or product name?

4 examples of great value propositions

One of the best ways to learn is by example, so let’s take a look at a few businesses that have created unmistakably unique selling propositions.

The Mast Brothers Chocolate

This duo of bearded, lanky brothers creates chocolate bars by hand. Their dedication to their craft alone is unique, but the brothers have infused their love of old-time traditions into their business.

When they need to purchase more cocoa beans, they charter a wooden sailboat to stay true to their pioneer-like roots. Now that’s a unique position you can market.

Dollar Shave Club

This online business sells and ships razors and blades to its audience for a buck. They poke fun at the fancy, vibrating 10-blade razors that are on the market today and encourage men to go back to basics.

But, don’t think that means they’re selling an inferior product. Their slogan is: “Our blades are f***ing great,” a tagline that points to (but isn’t the same as) their selling proposition. Remember, if other companies can also say their product is “great,” you have a catchy tagline, not something that sets you apart from the competition.  


Here’s a business that created a value proposition by catering to a very specific audience. Ellusionist is an online store that sells playing cards to magicians.

Some of the decks are marked, others have a vintage appearance, but the variations are meant to build showmanship for its unique target audience.

Palo Alto Software

Shortly after publishing this article, one of our readers asked if we could share our own USP. Bplans is a resource offered by Palo Alto Software, so here’s what Noah Parsons, our chief operating officer, has to say about our UVP:

For Palo Alto Software, our goal is to provide entrepreneurs with the tools, knowledge, and know-how to help them grow faster and better than their competition.

We’re not just in it to make a buck—we actually want to help people succeed in business as much as possible. Our commitment to entrepreneurs is shown in our thousands of pages of free content that helps demystify the complexities of starting and running a business.

We also provide simple yet powerful tools for entrepreneurs so they can focus more on doing what they love and less on trying to build and understand complex reports and spreadsheets.

Get your free business plan quote today!

3 tips for creating your UVP

Julie Cottineau, the former vice president of brand for Virgin and current owner of a brand consultancy BrandTwist, offers a few parting tips to remember.

1. Don’t try to please everyone

You want a well-defined audience. “Don’t be afraid to alienate a few people along the way. Brands that target everyone, connect with no one,” she says.

“The biggest mistake businesses make is casting too wide a net, for fear of leaving anyone out. Women 25 to 54 is not a valid target segment, it’s a census box.”

2. Differentiate yourself from the pack

“In my practice, I think of a USP as a twist. Something unique, unexpected, and meaningful that can set you apart from the pack,” she explains. “A USP is any aspect of your brand or business that is different from the competition and can be communicated to your audience to encourage people to try your brand or switch from another brand.”

Whatever your value proposition is, it has to be something that the competition can’t claim, or at the very least something they don’t use as a marketing tool.

3. Make a connection

One of the best ways to create a successful selling proposition is to make a connection with your audience that pushes them to act.

“It’s not about shouting louder. It’s about marketing smarter. Creating compelling messages that connect with consumers, engage their hearts (not just their minds), and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors who will help you get the word out and build your brand,” says Cottineau.

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Lisa Furgison
Lisa Furgison

Lisa Furgison is a journalist with a decade of experience in all facets of media.

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How to Start a Nonprofit

starting a nonprofit business

The Palo Alto Software team, volunteering with local nonprofit Mackenzie River Trust.

This article is part of both our Nonprofit Business Startup Guide and our Business Startup Guide—curated lists of great articles that will get you up and running in no time!

Starting a nonprofit is one of the most rewarding ways a person can spend their time— and it also requires thorough planning and solid dedication.

When you first have that great idea for a charitable organization that could really make a difference, you are likely full of enthusiasm and energy—and it’s key to channel that energy into practical action, so you can move full steam ahead to make your vision a reality.

In this guide to starting a nonprofit, we’ll give you the tools you need to learn how to get up and running.

1. Conduct a needs analysis

First, do some legwork. There are already more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone, so the first thing you should do is verify that some other organization isn’t already serving the need you’ve identified. The process of verifying that there’s a market or demand for your organization’s mission is called a needs analysis.

You’re looking to answer the following questions:

  • Is any other nonprofit organization already serving your target audience?
  • How many people actually need the service you plan to provide?
  • Who is your target demographic—who needs what you’re offering? What do they really need or want?
  • Is a 501(c)3 the best way to meet the need?

SWOT analysis: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

One way to get started is to do a SWOT analysis—(Strengths Weaknesses Opportunity Threats). Here’s a free SWOT template you can download. If possible, ask other people for their input—potential board members, other people in your network who have started nonprofits.

Market research: Find out if there’s a real need for your service

In addition to doing your SWOT analysis, this is a good time to do some market research, both on your target population (the people you think need what you’re offering) and potential donors.

Until you’ve actually spoken with (or surveyed) those audiences, you haven’t validated that there’s truly a need for what you’re offering. Your goal in this process is to discover what’s really there—you may find that the need in your target population is different than what you thought it was.

Or you might discover that the need actually exists within a different demographic. The point here isn’t to simply prove your assumptions—it’s ok if you find that you need to make some adjustments to your plans.

Read up on IRS nonprofit compliance

This is also a good time to understand what it means to have nonprofit 501c)3 status in the eyes of the federal government’s internal revenue service. The IRS publishes a nonprofit compliance guide that’s worth reviewing early on, so you’re clear on what’s required of that type of organization.

2. Decide on a name and write your mission statement

Deciding on your charitable startup’s name is an important initial step. You’ll need it to be finalized prior to incorporating your nonprofit or filing any other official paperwork.

Do some research to make sure no other charitable organizations or for-profit businesses are using the name you’d like to use. At the very least it will be a hassle if you’re constantly competing with another organization for brand visibility—or answering messages from confused donors or clients.

Rogaski says developing a name and logo that you are happy with is time well spent because of the pride it instills when promoting your organization. You want to be able to hand someone your card or refer them to your website with confidence that they will like what they see.

Now that you’ve verified that your organization’s services and mission are truly needed by your target audience, and decided on a name, it’s time to write your mission statement.

Keep your mission statement short, and make sure it holds up when you ask:

  • Does it distinguish you from all other nonprofits?
  • Read your mission statement and three other examples (in your niche) to an employee, board member, or someone receiving your services. See if they can identify which one is yours. If not, go back to the drawing board.

3. Build your board of trustees

If you don’t yet have any staff or volunteers, your first board of directors or trustees will play an important role in helping you get your nonprofit off the ground. Your trustees may be able to help you take some of the initial steps toward making your status as a nonprofit organization more official.

Every U.S. state requires that a nonprofit forms a board of directors, who assume governing responsibilities and liability for the organization. For most states, a single person is considered the minimum requirement for a board, but in some states as many as three people are necessary.

The National Council of Nonprofits has a great guide on reasonable responsibilities and expectations you might have of your board members. They also make some solid recommendations on putting together an orientation for new board members to set the stage for their role with your organization.

4. Write your nonprofit business plan

Nonprofits need a good business plan just as much as for-profit companies—maybe even more. Here’s a guide to writing a business plan for a nonprofit, and a free downloadable business plan template that can help you get started. The process of writing your plan (sometimes called a strategic plan) will help you think through all the different aspects of your organization. Plus, if you’re planning to seek a business loan for larger capital expenses, like building or remodeling, every bank will expect to see your business plan.

Lorrie Lynn King, founder of the international women’s health nonprofit 50 Cents. Period., says, “In fact, you are starting a small business. Nonprofit administration and programming require business acumen, financial planning, strategic planning, and people management skills—sometimes all at once.”

But it’s not just about getting a bank loan. Business planning is about making sure you know where your organization is going and how you’ll get there. “It is absolutely crucial to have three-year plans for both the program and administrative sides to your organization, with measurable outcomes,” King says. “Know where you want to go, then create the map for getting there and make adjustments along the way.”

A nonprofit business plan outline

A nonprofit business plan will include many of the same sections of a standard business plan:

Executive summary

Make sure your executive summary includes your mission statement. You will want to have a written overview of what your vision is for your organization.

Products and services

Are you making a life-changing product at little to no cost for a population in need? Are you providing an essential service to your community? Your products and services are what you’re delivering to meet a need.

Market analysis

Doing a market analysis will help you better understand the population you intend to serve, as well as your donor base. Doing this type of research should also give you a good handle on competition, both as far as who else is offering what you’re offering, but also in terms of who you’re asking for philanthropic support.

Management team

Who is going to be on your management or leadership team and your board of directors? What are their duties, and what do they bring to the table?

Annie Rogaski, founder of the Silicon Valley nonprofit The Club offers this tip: “Form a strong board that works well together but brings different perspectives and creates an environment that encourages discussion of those different viewpoints, to arrive at the best decision.”

Financial plan

Your nonprofit’s financial plan is essential. Just because you’re not focused on generating a profit doesn’t mean it isn’t critical to put together a plan for how you’ll sustain your organization, deal with cash flow, and even grow in the future.  

King advises: “Start a funding and a savings reserve for your organization the minute donations start rolling in. Create a system of paper trails and transparency.”

Beyond setting an initial plan for bringing in funds, you’ll want to set up and monitor a few key financials on a regular basis. It might make sense to run your financials on Excel spreadsheets for a while, but think about your long-term plans for accounting. Using a cloud accounting system like Quickbooks Online or Xero can help you stay organized. Plus, if you connect it to a business dashboard solution like LivePlan, it becomes much less time consuming to put together financial reports for your board meetings.

As you get the ball rolling on your new nonprofit, it can be helpful to check out completed nonprofit business plan examples for reference while you build your own.

Your nonprofit business plan will act as your guide, allowing you to make strong decisions with measurable outcomes. Business planning is one of the foremost tools for building and growing a successful nonprofit.

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5. Complete your bylaws, file incorporation paperwork and for 501(c)3 status

In the United States, nonprofits have to meet regulations and requirements at both the state and federal levels. When it comes to how to start a nonprofit, this may be one of the more complicated steps.

While there are 29 different categories of 501(c) organizations, the most commonly created is a 501(c)(3) organization, which is defined by the IRS as “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, or preventing cruelty to children or animals.”

The majority of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. will fall into the category of a 501(c)(3) organization, which makes them exempt from federal income taxes. (It is important to note that employees of these organizations are still required to pay income taxes.)

It’s best to get a jump on filing for tax exemption early, as this process can take up to a year.

“There is a way to get expedited review if there is an urgent need that your nonprofit fills,” Rogaski says. “Don’t feel limited by the particular categories they identify—if you can communicate to the IRS the urgency for your nonprofit, you may be pleasantly surprised by the response.”

In addition to filing for tax exemption, you will need to register or reserve the intended name of your organization, and file articles of incorporation as a nonprofit. The specifics of this process will vary from state to state. Every state has a State Charitable Official from the national association that you can contact for more detailed information about what you will need to prepare.

It’s always a good idea to retain the services of a lawyer familiar with the nonprofit creation process, too. Knowledgeable advisors will be invaluable as you prepare your filings at both the state and federal levels.

6. Create a fundraising plan and get to know your donor base

Every organization has to keep the lights on, and nonprofits are no exception. Your organization will require a minimum amount of money just for operations on a regular basis, not to speak of special projects or unforeseen growth or expenses.

Typically, nonprofits rely largely on donations for this money and having a committed donor base is going to be essential to your organization. Ask yourself if you really know whether there is financial and community support for your proposed nonprofit. Who is the person that becomes a member of your organization, or that donates their money? Developing a user persona can be a helpful tool here.

If this is the first time you’ve ever done fundraising or nonprofit development work, consider doing some online courses on how to build a fundraising plan. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is a good place to start, though there is a cost to join. Also, you might seek a board member with experience with fundraising to help guide your initial efforts.

A key factor will be branding and marketing. Part of instilling confidence in your organization will come from choosing a good name and logo. You’ll also need to consider how you’ll reach your donors and explain the importance of your message.

How will social media, websites, videos, and so help potential donors and your target population understand what makes your organization great, and worthy of their money?

Rogaski has some words of advice on branding your new venture. From her experience, it takes time to get it right. “It took us about three months of meeting regularly, brainstorming names, to decide on our name (which stands for Connect Lead Unite Build) and to have the logo designed,” she recalls.

Of course, a strong social media presence is essential to gaining media recognition. “I cannot stress the power of networking and social media enough,” King says, noting that her active Twitter feed has landed her interviews with CNN and her local NPR station. She also makes good use of her business cards: “I never leave home without a stack of my cards, even if I’m just in yoga pants and running to the store.”

But remember to start your branding and fundraising plans with some research—understand who your prospective donors are. Talk to them, if you can, and understand what drives them so you can put together a campaign that resonates with them. And keep in mind that many donors will want assurance that you have been granted your 501(c)3 status so they can write off their donation on their taxes.

You may also want to look into grants. GrantSpace has some great resources on how to find grants for your organization. Keep in mind that grant applications take time to write. They usually come with reporting requirements, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the same grant next year. Also, check out Foundation Center for lots of information on grants and fundraising in general.

7. Hire your first staff or find volunteers

Really, your board of trustees are your first volunteers. From there, you’ll probably find that there are still skill gaps within your organization, or that you just can’t get everything done yourself. Maybe it’s time to find a volunteer to help out.

Start with putting together a brief description of the role you need to fill and how much time per week you think it might take. Then get the word out. Depending on the type of volunteer work you’re offering, you might use a service like to list your opportunity. Or you might put it on craigslist, or advertise in a high school or college newspaper.

A word of caution: if your need is fairly involved or requires a specific skill set, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask a potential volunteer to do an initial project before you commit them to a longer-term project, just to see how it goes.

Volunteers can be really helpful, and many nonprofits are primarily volunteer driven. But now or at some point in the future (when your finances allow) it might be appropriate to consider bringing on full or part-time paid staff. Here’s a guide to hiring your first employee.

8. Keep your eyes on your mission

As your charitable organization takes shape, make time to review both your mission statement and your business plan. Because you’ve been hard at work getting things up and running, it might seem like everyone around you should be able to recite your mission (and bring it to life) in their sleep. But it doesn’t hurt to keep your mission at the fore of every conversation you have around services, finances, and hiring. “Does your next move support our mission?” is a great question to ask frequently.

Review your business plan, especially the financials, regularly. Set milestones so you know you’re on track, and can recalibrate if you ever find that you’re not meeting your goals.

Keep in mind that your strategic plan is your roadmap to actualizing your mission out in the world. Use that plan as a tool to set you in the right direction and ensure that your nonprofit is sustainable well into the future.

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Angelique O'Rourke
Angelique O’Rourke

Artistic + intellectual pursuits. Social justice. Actress. Model. Musician. Eugene // Portland.

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This Shocking Mutual Fund Secret Increased My Sales. Here’s How.

If you’re basing your sales strategies on this principle, you might not get the desired results.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re like most people, you might have investments in a mutual fund. It could be a direct contribution or indirect like a 401(k).

But, here’s something you might not know: When mutual funds boast of “excellent returns” on investments, they don’t tell the whole story. When they tout how their funds are outperforming the market, they leave out certain facts.

Related: Lead a Winning Sales Team With Counterintuitive Thinking

For example, mutual funds often exclude their “deceased” funds. These are funds they started several years ago, but no longer exist. The attrition could be because of liquidation, mergers, poor investment strategy or management.

So, an investment company could have 100 mutual funds in a 10-year period, and after five years, only 40 of the funds exist. But, when the company touts its “excellent returns,” the data will exclude the 60 funds that did not survive.

In fact, one of the pioneers of the mutual fund industry, Vanguard, released a report that captured this reality. It found that for the five years ending on Dec. 31, 2011, 62 percent of surviving large-cap value funds outperformed their style benchmark. Here comes the shocking part: If you account for the deceased funds, that percentage dropped to 46 percent. This means that if you were an investor five years ago, you only had a 46 percent chance of picking a large-cap mutual fund winner.

But, this article is not about how to pick investments.

How to survive in sales

Here’s the point: This phenomenon of only calling out winners thrives on the survivorship bias. It’s the logical error of two things: One, we concentrate on the people or things that made it past some selection process. Two, we overlook those that don’t make it past the selection because of their lack of visibility. These two errors lead to false conclusions and opinions in several different ways. 

The problem is not only with mutual funds. We often find the same problem in B2B sales and prospecting.

Related: How This 4-Step Sales Process Has Earned Me $5 Million in the Last 18 Months

Let’s say I close a significant deal from a lead that visited my website from a Google ad. As a result, I conclude that paid search is the best channel for getting new business. In fact, one business owner told me recently, “I was able to connect with one CEO on LinkedIn. So, I want to focus on LinkedIn marketing.”

But, here’s the problem: This survivorship bias leads people to spend tons of money investing in those channels. And later, they start saying “This does not work.”

There’s nothing wrong with those channels. The only challenge is how they came to those conclusions. They’ve fallen victim to the survivorship bias.

The lessons I learned

We can avoid false, survivorship-bias-influenced decisions by understanding two factors: time and predictability. Let me explain.

First, let’s talk about time. By time, I mean how long it takes for you to use the strategy. Were you consistent? In B2B sales — especially complex deals — time is a significant factor.

The author of Fanatical Prospecting, Jeb Blount, talks about the 30-day rule. The rule states that the prospecting you do in a 30-day window will pay off in the next 90 days. If you’re looking for a quick fix for sales, by skipping the process, you will be disappointing yourself.

So, depending on how long it takes to close a deal, you need a fair amount of time to see if a channel or strategy is working. How long is enough time? Ninety to 150 days. This will be good enough time to execute and see if a strategy is worth it or only an outlier.

Related: 4 Strategies That Will Help You Land More Qualified Leads

The second factor is predictability. Here’s how I learned to define predictability: If someone else took the same steps I took or used the same strategy (after say, the 90-day period), will that person get the desired — if not same — results I had?

Predictability does not mean causation. But, at least it is the closest to a fair way of knowing what works, and what doesn’t.

I had the chance to work with one client who wanted to connect farmers in Iowa to an online solar energy marketplace. We launched the project in October. Soon, we realized that was a harvest season and all the farmers were not available to speak with us. If you picked up the same sales process we did and implemented it in say, February, you might get different results.

Predictability is vital for a sales manager with a team. If you’re hiring a new salesperson, ask yourself, “What’s the goal?” Do you know which channels or activities your new hire can take to achieve the success you desire? Or is your goal for the new hire to figure it out? Either way is fine — only make sure the expectations are clear on both sides.

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Creative Strategy: Using Strategic Intuition to Solve Complex Challenges Executive Program


Businesses are very invested in innovation and creativity, but these pursuits fail when they are isolated from traditional business analysis, strategy, and problem-solving. The pace of disruption today requires businesses to integrate creativity and strategy so that innovations are aligned with company core capabilities and strategies, so that the outcomes of innovation work move beyond the doors of the creativity playroom, and so that teams involved stop thinking of innovation as an extracurricular but not essential part of their work processes.

Led by Professor Bill Duggan and experienced Strategy & Director Amy Murphy, Creative Strategy: Strategic Intuition to Solve Complex Challenges brings you exclusive tools to enhance and systematize the idea generation process and develop powerful ideas that you can turn into growth strategies for your organization.

Over ten weeks, participants will learn the science and method of strategic intuition through more than 20 videos, facilitated online discussion boards, readings, projects, and more. Participants will interact with experienced strategy practitioners, course facilitators, and peers from around the world. All program content and materials will be available for two weeks following the program. The suggested time commitment for this program is approximately four hours per week.

“The Creative Strategy online program is dynamic, instructive, and informative. It provides clarity on how the human brain works and how we can use that ‘storehouse’ of history to define an innovative and prosperous future for ourselves and our organization.”