May 2024

Is Costco Changing the Price of $1.50 Hotdog and Soda Deal?


As inflation continues to plague consumer prices, not all retailers are feeling the effects of changing consumer behavior.

Thanks to a slew of unique items, from outdoor swing sets to fancy cuts of meat, and standard inventory that has stayed true to low prices, Costco posted earnings for fiscal Q3 2024 on Thursday with revenue reaching $57.39 billion, a stellar 9.1% year-over-year increase.

“It’s a very healthy environment from what we see from our members right now,” said Costco CEO and President Ron Vachris on a call with investors.

Vachis noted that Wagyu beef, a $1,200 swingset, and other new offerings like the infamous gold bars have been boding well with customers and driving revenue up.

“We can’t get enough, they’re just blowing out,” he said of the swingsets. “But it’s, again, that continuous innovation of merchandise that is exciting our members and really driving some sales for us there … people are engaging at a much higher level.”

Related: Woman Goes Viral for Returning Costco Couch After 2 Years

A report last month showed that Costco’s one-ounce, 24-karat gold bars that debuted in October 2023 generate an estimated $100 to $200 million for the warehouse chain every month. It’s another innovative item that members come to the chain for, and the viral product sells out during nearly every restock.

Membership fee income was also an area of growth for Costco in Q3, with a total income of $1.123 billion, an increase of $79 million or 7.6% year over year.

Costco EVP and CFO Gary Millerchip noted that though the chain has historically sought to increase the membership fee every five years (the last hike was seven years ago), Costco is in no rush to do so — there doesn’t seem to be a problem with membership renewal or initiation.

“We feel really good about membership renewal rates,” Millerchip said on the call. “We look at what’s happened in the marketplace over the last few years and when we were seeing high inflation and the risk and concern around recession … we’re still evaluating those considerations to determine what the right timing is and when we reach that point where we feel it is the right time, of course, we’ll be very open and direct and communicating that.”

And for those worried that inflation may be coming for Costco’s beloved $1.50 hot dog and soda combo — fear not.

Related: Exclusive $1900 Costco Item Is Flying Off Shelves

“To clear up some recent media speculation, I also want to confirm the $1.50 hotdog price is safe,” Millerchip said cheekily.

Costco was up 58% year over year as of Friday afternoon.



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Get an iPad Air, Beats Headphones, and More for Just $120


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

Every entrepreneur should be prepared to work on the go. Whether you travel a lot for business or you like to be productive while commuting on public transit, the right tools can help you reach peak efficiency. So, if you don’t have a tablet, now is an excellent time to get one because we’re offering a great deal during our Memorial Day sale. Through May 31, you can get a refurbished Apple iPad Air, Beats Flex headphones, and accessories for just $119.97.

This 2013 iPad Air model offers a beautiful 9.7″ Retina display and runs on an Apple A7 chip that allows you to effectively multitask when you’re in transit or just lounging around the office. It has 32GB of SSD and can connect to Wi-Fi to let you work online for up to ten hours on a single charge. You can take calls thanks to the 1.2MP FaceTime camera and dual microphones.

The Beats Flex headphones are 2020 models, built with convenience in mind. They have magnetic earbuds that automatically turn on when you put them in your ears and pause when you attach them and wrap them around your neck. They’re tangle-free and utilize Class 1 Bluetooth and an Apple W1 chip to work seamlessly with your iPad and deliver powerful dual-chamber acoustics.

Both items have received grade-A refurbished ratings, meaning they’re in like-new condition. Plus, you’ll also get a case, screen protector, stylus, charging block, and charging cable for your iPad.

Gear up for the remote working world this summer.

Now through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a refurbished Apple iPad Air, Beats Flex headphones, and accessories for just $119.97(reg. $159).

StackSocial prices subject to change.



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Gensler Exec Diane Hoskins: Multiple Career Changes Pays Off


Diane Hoskins has co-led Gensler, the largest architectural firm in the world, for 20 years as co-CEO and co-global chair — but she would describe her career path as anything but predictable.

In a commencement speech at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning on Thursday Hoskins told the graduating masters and doctoral students about her “off track” career. After graduating from the school in 1979 with a degree in architecture, she dabbled in several areas, from architecture to design to business to real estate — before circling back to architecture.

This “off-track” journey led her to become co-CEO of Gensler from 2005 to 2023 and the current global co-chair. She oversees Gensler’s global platform and day-to-day operations, with 6,000 people across 55 offices in more than 100 countries.

Diane Hoskins. Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“There was probably no point in my career when someone would have said that I was on track or that I was on a predictable career path,” Hoskins said in the speech. “It was totally off track most of the time.”

Related: This Young Professional Left Her Job in Finance After Her Remote Side Hustle Took Off and Made $76,000

Hoskins first worked at a boutique architecture firm in New York after graduating from undergrad, in what should have been a “dream job.”

The problem was, she didn’t like it.

“I found myself unsatisfied and unfulfilled,” Hoskins said.

She moved back in with her parents and took a job at a department store perfume counter during the holiday season. A college classmate saw her working and told her about a big architectural firm that was hiring.

Hoskins applied and got the job.

Related: I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here’s How It Works

After subsequently working at architectural firms in Los Angeles and New York, Hoskins decided to transition into interior design. She later went to business school at UCLA, where she became interested in real estate. Hoskins worked at a real estate company for three years after getting her MBA, and then moved back into architecture and eventually joined Gensler.

“It was pretty high risk going from architecture to design to business to real estate and back to architecture,” Hoskins said.

She gained an advantage due to her self-described “unconventional, off-track” career: “I became an integrator of ideas,” Hoskins noted.

Hoskins said her experience let her see how design and architecture connect to the real world, and that’s the reason she ultimately became CEO of Gensler.

Related: This Former Tesla Employee Started a Side Hustle to Save Gen Z Time

Hoskins urged MIT graduates to “build a career of impact” over worrying about being “on track.”



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Ticketmaster Hack Affects Over 560 Million Customers


In a massive security breach, Ticketmaster was allegedly hacked, and 560 million customers have reportedly been affected. It is not yet clear when the alleged crime occurred.

The hacking group ShinyHunters claims that they stole personal information including names, addresses, credit card numbers, and customer phone numbers — and the team is willing to sell the entire data set for $500,000.

Though Ticketmaster has not publicly addressed the hack, according to HackRead.com, ShinyHunters says they have attempted to contact Ticketmaster to get a response.

The breach mainly affected customers in Australia though Ticketmaster is based in Los Angeles. It’s estimated that Ticketmaster has an average of 113.6 million monthly average users globally.

“The Australian Government is aware of a cyber incident impacting Ticketmaster,” a spokesperson for the Australia Home Affairs Department told CBS News in a statement. “The National Office of Cyber Security is engaging with Ticketmaster to understand the incident.”

Related: Justice Department continues suit against Live Nation-Ticketmaster

A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia said that the FBI is offering to help the Australian government with the investigation, per CBS.

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation in the Southern District of New York accusing the company of illegally monopolizing the ticket vendor and entertainment industry and preventing fair competition.

Related: How a Ticket Reselling Side Hustle Brings in $30K a Month

This was, in part, brought on by the 2022 ticket fiasco during sales for Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” — public sales were suddenly canceled for certain shows, presale codes didn’t work, and technical difficulties and high wait times in the virtual waiting rooms plagued the experience.

In January 2023, Ticketmaster said the issue was scalper and bot-related.



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Why Your Company Needs to Rethink Its Purpose to Acquire Loyal Customers — And Drive More Sales.


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Becoming an entrepreneur and creating a company that creates positive change is a dream that has driven ambitious people since the beginning of the modern economy.

But where do you start? How will you create a meaningful product or service that stands out amid the noise of today’s highly competitive and saturated marketplace? The traditional path of finding a niche and competing on quality or price is no longer enough.

Today, if you want truly enduring and evangelical customer loyalty, you must deliver an authentic product or service that resonates with customers on an emotional level. It is important to connect them to other people, making them sincerely feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. In short, you need to start a movement.

For hundreds of years, social movements have been catalysts for transformative, impactful and historic change.

Throughout history, they have served as catalysts for profound and transformative change. Dr. Martin Luther King marched on Washington with tens of thousands of supporters as part of the Civil Rights movement. Nelson Mandela’s raised fist upon being released from prison after 27 years became a powerful symbol in the movement that crushed apartheid in South Africa. The women’s suffrage movement fought for a century to get voting rights for women in America. Each one of those historic, world-changing movements was anchored in one unifying and all-encompassing force: purpose.

Related: Looking For A Business Idea? Start With Your Purpose

You may be thinking that those historic movements were important, but what does that have to do with business success? What does purpose have to do with business? Study after study shows that you can’t even think about starting a business in today’s economy unless it is driven by a clearly defined, tangible and unique purpose. In doing so, you and your team members will be much happier in the process, as supported by Harvard Business Review and other reporting.

Purpose is the equivalent of “why”? The “why” encompasses a company’s contributions and impact on the world. It is the company’s reason for existing and the reason they are in business in the first place. Purpose is an enabler, a conduit and a vehicle, fueling the innovation of the world’s economy. Blackrock’s CEO, Larry Fink, says, “Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.”

Some of the most successful companies have embraced this ethos and are fully rooted in purpose. When we look at Tesla, we may think its purpose is to sell cars, which is part of it. But its stated true purpose “is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” That purpose is what drove the EV car revolution — a global movement that powered EV car sales from 0.4% of the light-duty vehicle marketplace in 2004 to 15.8% in 2023. And while it sparked the EV movement, Tesla continues to be its leader. In 2023, it held 19.9% of the global EV market and is the most valuable car company in the world.

The highly profitable clothing company Patagonia is another example of a company that started a movement based on its purpose. In 2022, the company, long known for its environmental activism, doubled down on its purpose, which is updated to “In business to save the planet.”

But it was more than just a statement. With its purpose well defined, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard announced the transfer of company ownership ($3 billion in global assets and $100 million in annual profits) to a trust fund, with its dividends going to environmental advocacy organizations. With this bold support of her own movement, Chouinard declared, “Earth is our only shareholder.”

In today’s purpose-driven economy, identifying that unifying purpose for your company — your north star — is the most critical aspect of starting any business or social enterprise. Purpose-driven companies make more money, have more engaged employees and more loyal customers and are even better at innovation and transformational change.

Consumers are increasingly supporting businesses that stand on principle. According to Accenture, 62% of consumers want companies to take a stand on important societal issues such as sustainability, transparency and fair employment practices. The demand for authentic and purpose-driven companies is strongest among the younger generations. According to Deloitte, “millennials are driving this societal trend, with 40% of those polled believing the goal of businesses should be to ‘improve society.'” Those who ignore the intersection of business and purpose do so at their own peril, as millennials (those aged 28-43) account for $15 trillion in global purchasing power.

Related: This CEO Says Prioritizing Purpose Over Profit Is Key to Consistent Growth and Sustainable Profit — Here’s Why.

As a powerhouse financial company, Deloitte is probably not the first company that comes to mind in thinking of a firm driven by purpose. Yet, it is a strong proponent of the belief that exceptional organizations are led by a purpose. To amplify and advance Deloitte’s purpose, it named its first-ever chief purpose officer and established a Purpose Office. Its goals are to consistently embed purpose in the organization’s strategy and deepen the impact and positive change they are making for clients, people, and communities.

Trust in a company has long-term benefits by creating brand loyalty and turning customers into advocates for your product. According to Edelman, “trust drives growth. When consumers trust a brand, they are more likely to purchase its products (59%) and stay loyal to and advocate for the brand (67%).”

A company’s purpose must start at the top. Whether it’s a small business run by a sole proprietor or a major corporation led by a CEO, the leader sets the tone and must lead by example. Employees need to see the commitment to purpose reflected in the actions of leadership; otherwise, the stated purpose becomes nothing more than a catchy slogan that fails to resonate with consumers.

Infusing purpose into your new venture is not merely a trend but a necessity to compete and thrive in the modern economy. To stand out, foster trust and create lasting connections with consumers — in other words, to build a movement — today’s companies and organizations need to find their purpose and adopt it fully until it permeates every part of their operation.

By defining and articulating your purpose, you are laying the groundwork to start a business and, perhaps, even a movement. If you do it right, both can build value and help change the world.



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Taking Breaks Doesn’t Make You Lazy — Here Are 4 Ways It Actually Makes You More Productive


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Taking breaks has long been (unfairly) associated with unproductivity, so much so that it can feel like a disadvantage in this fast-paced, highly competitive world.

However, seasoned entrepreneurs understand the importance of scheduling breaks, not only for physical and mental health care but also for business sustainability. Strategically scheduling them into a work calendar can be effective and make getting to the next phase more enjoyable. Here’s how.

1. Prevents burnout

Entrepreneurs are known for stretching themselves thin as they build their brands and businesses. This constant need to hustle comes from feeling the need to fill every moment of the day with something productive.

However, this round-the-clock working mentality usually leads to burnout, which can be difficult to bounce back from. Burnout causes problems for a person’s physical and mental health. Also, pushing too hard often leads to being unfulfilled no matter how much is accomplished.

Scheduling time for breaks goes hand-in-hand with setting boundaries. Without anyone overseeing your schedule or telling you when to start or stop working, it’s up to you to know your limits. Working in blocks of time with breaks for exercise, entertainment or even taking a quick nap are important parts of the day.

Related: How to Achieve A CEO Level of Focus by Breaking Habits and Taking Breaks

2. Gives fresh eyes to a problem

Entrepreneurs are known for multi-tasking, wearing all the business hats at once. This overstimulation can make solving relatively easy tasks more difficult than they need to be. It prevents being able to focus fully on one thing.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in a siloed vision of how things should be done. Sometimes stepping away from a problem can free up the mind to look at it with a fresh perspective.

Take time to collaborate with and gain inspiration from others, or focus on other activities and hobbies that aren’t associated with work. The time away, no matter how brief, can re-solidify the goal(s) you want to achieve and create a more straightforward path to it.

3. Improves your mood

Similar to burnout, working too many hours can lead to mood changes, which can affect both business and personal relationships. Whether in an email, meeting or other interaction, you may not realize how much being overworked can alter the course of your day-to-day life.

When you notice your patience stretched thin, take a break outside to enjoy the fresh air. Take a nature walk, read in a park or eat lunch al fresco — you may be surprised how much sunshine on your face can boost your mood and increase productivity versus staying holed up in your own office space.

Related: Use a Clinical Psychologist’s Break-Taking Brain Hacks to Be More Productive Than Ever

4. Makes you more disciplined

It may sound counterintuitive, but taking breaks can increase discipline and productivity. That’s because the time you’re scheduled to get things done is within a set time block.

Think about when you have eight hours to get a project done. Do you work on it the entire time or do you find your mind wandering to your emails, social media or the million other things that need to be attended to in life? Compared to when you cut that time in half without distraction, consider how much more you’re able to accomplish.

Figure out which blocks of time work better for you. For some, it may be two or three hours in the morning with a long break in the afternoon with more work blocks in the evening. For others, it may be shorter blocks throughout the day. The good news is it’s your schedule, so you set the parameters.

Making the most of downtime

Though there’s no “right” way to take a break, there are some helpful tips to keep in mind, especially if the idea of slowing down makes you feel uneasy.

Always keep in mind the point of taking a break is for the greater good of your health and business. When you’re constantly in a state of playing catchup, it can decrease your morale and make it harder to see just how well you’re doing.

Here are things to consider when planning your breaks:

  • Vary times. Create at least one 15-minute break and one that’s at least 30 minutes or longer. The shorter break can be used to stretch your legs, make a snack or take a quick nap. The longer breaks can be used to catch up with a loved one, read a few chapters of a favorite book or exercise. Give yourself the benefit of a full break without checking emails or social media.
  • Put them on your calendar. Book appointments with yourself. Add it as a calendar entry to rest, relax and recharge. Block the time as you look at each week’s planning so that when you get to your to-dos for the day, the breaks are already baked into your workflow.
  • Schedule quarterly “retreats.” A relaxation retreat doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. It simply means scheduling a day or at least part of one to do something enjoyable. For most entrepreneurs, one of the ultimate goals is to free up time for more fun in life, but it’s easy to get caught up in busy schedules without taking time to enjoy the fruits of your labor; make time for it.

Related: 3 Proven Strategies on Taking Breaks That Will Help You Become More Productive

Taking breaks has gotten a better rap over the past few years as people have begun to see the ramifications when they’re ignored. Consider them a business investment rather than a schedule setback. The more you find a balance between work and real life, the more the two will start to organically intertwine until you find your scheduling sweet spot.



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10 TV Shows Every Entrepreneur Should Watch on Netflix


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs are often looking for ways to keep their creativity flowing. Sometimes, the best way to get new ideas is to indulge in some self-care by binge-watching Netflix.

Related: 7 Movies on Netflix All Entrepreneurs Should Watch

If you pick the right shows, you’ll not only find some much-needed escapism; you might also get a boost of inspiration to help you see things from a different perspective. So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for relaxation and motivation, here are 10 must-see shows about business and leadership to add to your Netflix list.

This brilliant and scathing documentary series is sure to leave you feeling fired up, pissed off and unable to stop watching.

Why watch it? Dirty Money takes a deep dive into corporate fraud and greed through in-depth looks at a few scandals you’ve probably heard about (but may have forgotten) or never fully understood to begin with.

What you’ll get out of it: Every episode covers a case that involves some form of greed and corruption. From crippling payday loans to emissions-cheating car manufacturers to money laundering for cartels, the series takes you on an enthralling journey through cons and corporate malfeasance.

Set in a fictional law firm in New York City, Suits follows a talented college dropout who works as a law associate despite never having attended law school. The show’s two main characters, Harvey and Mike, provide lessons in confidence and bravado, and demonstrate how far you can go if someone just believes in you.

Why watch it? Over the course of seven seasons, Suits uses quick-witted workplace humor to depict how characters deal with tough situations – and always come out on top.

What you’ll get out of it: The show champions perseverance, the importance of sticking to one’s ethics and the need for strong communication. It’s a great way to learn about negotiation and navigating complex corporate situations and dynamics.

This truth-telling comedy for working parents finds humor amid the stress of trying to maintain a work-life balance. Workin’ Moms depicts a group of friends coping with the challenges of being working mothers and dealing with difficult situations in fast-paced and competitive workplaces.

Why watch it? The series pushes past the stereotypical one-dimensional portraits of parents we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on many sitcoms. This show feels genuine in how it portrays people trying to balance home life, parenting and professional goals – it’s also funny.

What you’ll get out of it: The show isn’t afraid to depict the less-than-idyllic reality of what working mothers face — but it does so in a relatable way that finds the humor in everyday life. So, if you’re navigating being a tough-as-nails entrepreneur while caring for a tiny human or two, and are also trying to maintain some semblance of a relationship, this show will be relatable for you.

The human mind is often regarded as a great mystery; but scientists have done a lot of work to uncover the enigma of how our brain works.

Why watch it? The Mind, Explained is a Netflix docuseries featuring the inner workings of our brains. It takes you through five of the most intriguing parts of the human mind, covering memory, dreams, anxiety, mindfulness and psychedelics.

What you’ll get out of it: As an entrepreneur, the more you can unravel the mysteries of the mind, understand how people think and what makes them tick, the better you can incorporate this knowledge into your own marketing and business strategies.

Based on reporter Mike Isaac’s nonfiction book of the same title, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber recounts the meteoric rise and stunning fall of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. His disruptive business plan and questionable ethics made Uber successful, but at what cost?

Why watch it? The show may shift your perspective on the rideshare industry and its broader ideology. For entrepreneurs, however, the show presents a case study of leadership gone wrong: how greed can be a corrupting force, and what a win-at-all-cost ethos leaves in its wake.

What you’ll get out of it: The series, which was renewed for a second season, gives viewers insight into the inner workings of Uber’s business model and how it established its presence across America – skirting local laws in the process. Super Pumped also shows the cutthroat (and often toxic) battles that play out in Silicon Valley boardrooms every day.

Broken is made up of standalone investigative episodes that explore the manufacturing processes and cultural forces behind the demand for different products, including makeup, e-cigarettes, furniture and plastic. Each episode reveals the corrupt and dysfunctional underbelly of these industries.

Why watch it? This documentary series will make you wiser as a business owner and consumer. Episodes examine how influencer hype and scarcity marketing create conditions where counterfeit makeup thrives, teens become addicted to vaping, disposable furniture kills and corporations use single-use plastic.

What you’ll get out of it: The series offers a terrifying yet enthralling view of the all-powerful influences of globalism, consumer culture, brand hype and mass production that shape the marketing world. The show reinforces the crucial lesson that deceptive marketing and business practices are always wrong.

If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad, then watching this prequel is a no-brainer. (If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, it might be time to jump on that bandwagon. It’s about a high school chemistry teacher who decides to leverage his talents to become a drug lord.)

Why watch it? Like its predecessor, Better Call Saul is a captivating, dark-humor drama chock-full of cliff-hangers that keep you watching.

What you’ll get out of it: The spin-off tells the origin story of crooked attorney Saul Goodman. Saul offers many important lessons for entrepreneurs, such as learning when to take risks in growing your business and embodying a “fake it till you make it” attitude. Of course, his successes are overshadowed by the immoral and controversial ways he achieves them. But there are lessons to be learned from his unscrupulous behavior.

This was a popular docuseries for good reason. Bill Gates, the software magnate, has largely been a mystery to the world, but this series gives viewers a glimpse into who he is at his core.

Why watch it? This three-part documentary series from Netflix offers an unadulterated view of the Microsoft co-founder’s human side.

What you’ll get out of it: It’s rare that we get such intimate access to someone like Gates, and this series does an incredible job of pinpointing what makes his mind different and the characteristics that made him one of the world’s richest men. The series includes stories from his two sisters, then-wife Melinda Gates, current and former co-workers, friends and the voice of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

In conversations with five highly successful professional sports coaches, The Playbook digs into the psychology of winning and what it takes to get there. They discuss setbacks and recount compelling anecdotes from their tenures. Coaches include: Doc Rivers (NBA), Patrick Mouratoglou (Serena Williams’ coach), Jill Ellis (U.S. Women’s Soccer), Dawn Staley (NCAA basketball) and José Mourinho (soccer).

Why watch it? If you want to understand what it takes to be the very best at something, The Playbook is, well, kind of a playbook for that. These coaches have won at the highest levels (national championships, NBA titles, World Cups) and know how to get the very best out of their players.

What you’ll get out of it: The five-episode series will shape how you look at leadership, motivation and dedication. Just listen to Dawn Staley tell her personal journey with self-confidence, and you’ll be ready to run through a wall — and urge more from your own team in business.

This series is based on the autobiography of the girl boss herself, Sophia Amoruso, the CEO and founder of Nasty Gal and an inspiring entrepreneur. Although this show only lasted one season, it did a great job of exemplifying what it takes to make it in business – particularly as a female founder. Based on the book with the same name, Girlboss is essentially Amoruso’s personal story, with a bit more drama added in.

Why watch it? The series depicts Amoruso’s struggles to overcome roadblocks on her journey to success with her Nasty Gal vintage fashion brand.

What you’ll get out of it: Much like Silicon Valley’s classic tale of starting a business from a garage, Amoruso started Nasty Gal from her bedroom at the age of 22. You see her hitting rock bottom and then starting over and finding her way to success. The series is an inspiring display of an entrepreneur with a passion for what she does and her willingness to give it her all.

Related: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From These 6 Movies With Horrible Bosses



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These Website Mistakes Could Be Costing You Thousands. Here’s How to Maximize Your Return and Drive More Sales.


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re losing thousands of dollars on your website and might not even know it. You have a site and a marketing team, and traffic is flowing in. But your site — and business — may fail because you’re losing customers and conversions.

How?

Leads fail to convert because of poor user interface, slow speeds and bad design practices. If your site isn’t optimized for SEO, it gets even worse: leads will never land on the site in the first place.

How much does a website cost?

Small websites cost $500 to $5,000. Your costs will vary depending on whether you use a template, hire a developer and the complexity of the site. Sites with hundreds of pages, expert optimization and design can cost $10,000 to $20,000. Your initial investment can’t be recuperated if your site isn’t optimized properly or set up to convert leads into sales.

Site visitors have higher expectations, and there is a growing list of requirements that sites must meet. You need a snappy site, and it must be accessible. However, you also need to capture the right data from your forms, continually optimize your site and fill in the leaks that are causing you to lose money.

Related: 3 Powerful SEO Techniques That Will Boost Your Website’s Search Engine Ranking

Is your website investment worth it?

Small business owners lose customers, even with a well-functioning website, because they don’t know how to utilize the data available to them. So, after all, is your website investment worth it, and if yes, how can you make sure you get an ROI?

Nobody tells you that web forms can cost you a lot of money

Forms are boring input fields to failing site owners and a goldmine to successful ones. What are leads doing when they enter data into the form? Are errors causing potential customers or clients to leave the site? According to WP Forms, more than 67% of site visitors will abandon your form forever if they encounter any complications; only 20% will follow up with the company in some way. Analyzing how users interact with forms is especially critical for small businesses, which may not have as many opportunities as larger corporations. They can identify common issues such as broken forms, confusing fields or errors. This insight allows small businesses to simplify and optimize the form-filling process, improving the overall user experience and significantly increasing the chances of conversion. Thankfully, you can use a form tracking system that will help to pinpoint problems with data entry and missed opportunities, ensuring that small businesses are not carelessly losing leads.

Testing your forms and sales funnel regularly can save you a lot of money if you fix issues that are found in the test phase.

Data is the king of website optimization

Analytic data is king of website optimization, but you need to know what to look for and how to make changes. For example, if you have a high bounce rate, your site may look like it was designed in 1999, or it takes 15 seconds to load.

Bounce rate means users are leaving the site on the page of entry, and you have multiple areas of potential improvement.

Review your site speed and follow PageSpeed Insights’ recommendations to optimize your site. Try to bring loading time down to two to three seconds at most. Complex navigation and poor-quality landing pages can also cost you sales. Work with a copywriter to optimize your sales funnel copy.

Data will help businesses to pinpoint exactly where users engage most frequently and where they face obstacles. With careful analysis of this data, companies can optimize every aspect of their website, from navigation to content.

Important aspects of a high-converting website

High-converting websites have a lot in common:

Content

Expertly written content, with the help of a copywriter, will allow you to hit on the pain points of leads and close more sales. Hooks and storytelling from an experienced copywriter can help you turn a low-performing sales funnel into one that exceeds sales forecasts.

Design

Poor design practices cause sites to fail. Yahoo! is a prime example. The site was once Google’s biggest competitor, but with the bland and outdated design, the bounce rate was high, and people flocked to Google.

Work with a design team to create a functional, feature-rich site that appeals to your target demographic.

Lead capture forms

High-converting sites use lead capture forms to collect basic information about visitors, such as their email or phone number.

In exchange for providing information, leads receive something valuable in return, such as a discount or free eBook.

Once a user provides their email address or phone number, you can start nurturing them and eventually convert them into a customer. It’s important to note again that receiving instant notifications about broken forms and issues is a solution to avoid losing potential customers.

Related: 9 SEO Tips to Help You Rank No. 1 on Google in 2024

Call-to-action: More than just a button

Call-to-actions (CTAs) tell visitors what to do next, such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase or scheduling a consultation. They play a crucial role in improving your site’s conversion rates.

Without them, visitors would leave your site without taking action, resulting in lost opportunities to convert leads.

To increase conversions, CTAs must be clear and concise and use action-oriented language, like “Buy now” or “Contact us.” Tell your visitors exactly what to do next so there’s no confusion and they feel confident taking the next step.

CTAs are highly effective at improving conversion rates, but visitor behavior can change over time. Testing and optimizing your site’s CTAs can help maximize your conversion rate and adapt and change as user behavior changes.

Make sure that you’re engaging in A/B testing to determine which CTA works best for your audience.

You must respond to leads right away

Research shows that 78% of customers purchase from the first responder. Surveys also show that the highest-ranking companies in lead response audit reports respond to leads in 30 minutes or less. The quicker you respond, the better. Conversion rates can be as much as eight times higher if you respond in the first five minutes.

Every minute that passes increases the chance that the lead will move on to a competitor.

How can you improve your lead response time? Start by automating your lead qualification process to identify and prioritize high-quality leads. Track the lead from start to finish and pinpoint the issues that leads are facing. Set response time goals, train your reps, and streamline your lead management processes to reach out to leads as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

You spend thousands of dollars on a website. To maximize your return, you must ensure that your site has all the right elements to increase conversion rates. Once you have these elements in place, you must respond to leads immediately to seal the deal.



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Why You Need a Customer Mission Statement


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Earlier this year, I attended a national marketing conference, where a bevy of speakers discussed methods for more effectively connecting, engaging and communicating with customers. While all of their presentations were informative, there was a singular, consistent theme throughout — it was all about us.

“Us” as companies, “us” as marketers, “us” as employees, with the challenge of satisfying the needs of our organization.

The true needs and perspectives of the customer weren’t part of the conversation. Never discussed were how to better address customers’ goals, identify unmet customer needs, or create added value for the customer. Rather, promotion and awareness building were the be-all and end-all.

Related: Tweak Your Company’s Mission Statement to Inspire Sustainability

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Turn Your Car into a Remote Workspace for Just $300, Now Through May 31


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Entrepreneurs actually value flexibility more than the potential to generate revenue. That naturally includes where they work, which for some people is anywhere they can drive their car. Now, you can easily transform your vehicle into a comfortable mobile living space with the CARSULE Pop-Up Cabin for Your Car. It’s available for $299.97, down from its usual $379 retail price, through May 31 for our Memorial Day promotion.

If your vehicle has a swinging tailgate, you need the Kickstarter-funded CARSULE. It’s not only for sleeping; it’s been uniquely designed to provide a comfy space for a wide variety of indoor uses. Whether you’re working, tailgating, or camping, expanding your vehicle’s internal size can extend its usefulness.

The standing height is a comfortable 6.5 feet. There is also integrated mosquito netting, two-layer multipurpose screen windows, and a UV protective coating to help keep you safe from the sun while parked in wide open spaces such as beaches or deserts. The flooring is robustly waterproof and complemented by a thick felt carpet.

The CARSULE’s magnet cord and adaptable seal are designed to attach to a wide range of vehicle models, and its space can be configured in a number of ways to suit your individual preferences. The diagonal ceiling tension lines not only prevent the structure’s deformation, but they also make it possible for you to hang accessories conveniently.

The pop-up assembly is simple, with easily connected frame joints and lightweight assembly rods. Along with the CARSULE, you’ll get ceiling tension ropes, guy ropes, screw-in pegs, and magnet cords.

Get the CARSULE Pop-Up Cabin for Your Car at the best-on-web price of $299.97, which is down from the regular $379 retail price, during our Memorial Day promotion through May 31, no coupon required.

StackSocial prices subject to change.



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