Maria Thomas

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10 Tips to Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>If the thought of public speaking makes you break into a cold sweat, you’re not alone.<p>Surveys show that the fear of public speaking ranks as one of the most common phobias. In fact, a pronounced fear of public speaking is even more common …

Public Speaking

Are You a Cook or a Baker? Know Your Entrepreneurial Style | Inc.com

I love to cook. What gets me is the self-expression on a plate, the creativity needed to improvise missing ingredients and, at least in my mind, the fluidity in the recipe itself--using a dash instead of a shake may open up an entirely new world. It's worth noting, though, that I don't <i>bake</i>. Baking …

Entrepreneurship

Make Yourself or Your Team More Creative in Just 15 Minutes | Inc.com

Manicures, groceries, lunch. On-demand services have shrunk our expectation for delivery of the things we desire to 15 minutes or less. Any longer and we're checking our watches and grousing about the service these days.<p>But what if you could get something more abstract--a quick hit of creative …

Design
Drums

4 Ways to Keep Your PowerPoint Presentation Off Life Support

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Recently, I attended a day-long conference featuring five local speakers. Most, if not all, of them chose to use a PowerPoint presentation, yet only one of them could hold my attention. It was because she had something interesting to say …

Public Speaking

7 Ways Persuasive Body Language Bolsters Business Presentations

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Whether outlining your business idea to investors or leading a routine sales meeting within your own organization, presentations are make-or-break moments in your professional career. The foundation of a great presentation is your …

Public Speaking

9 Overlooked Ways to Market Your Business

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Entrepreneurs typically operate with lean budgets and aggressive goals. So they should never pass up an opportunity to educate, build awareness or provide an offer to a potential customer. Sales should always be "up front and …

Marketing

Hack PR for Your Startup With These 5 Tools

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Apparently, you can hack anything these days. I just read an article that taught me <i>9 Hacks to Making a Sandwich Faster.</i> (Don’t ask why I read it, it just sucked me in. Plus, who doesn’t want to eat anything sooner?)<p>Press is cool because …

Startups

5 Ways to Put Your Customers First

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>You finished what you think is the hard part of establishing yourself in the startup community: you launched your company. Now, you believe you’re ready to write “entrepreneur” on forms that ask for your occupation. But before you call it …

Customers

Don't Make These 6 Business Plan Mistakes

Your business plan is a roadmap. Use it to steer your business away from the inevitable potholes and dead-ends.<p><b>1.</b> <b>You are only thinking of the present.</b> Get as detailed as you can with your forecasting. For instance, by looking ahead, you might find that your margins will shrink to a level with which …

Small Business

7 Things You Need to Know About SEO to Remain Relevant in 2015

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Keeping up with the ever-evolving SEO industry can seem like a pain, but it’s a requirement for anyone that wants to stay relevant in this digital age.<p>If you ignore these concepts, you risk finding yourself plagued with penalties and poor …

Return on Investment

9 Ways to Meet and Understand Your Audience

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>“Know your customer” is a tenet of Business 101, but I’m often surprised at how many business owners and brand managers don’t follow it. The best consumer research is that which allows you to understand who your customer is as a full …

Marketing

How to Give a Killer Presentation

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from …

How You Define Marketing Will Define Your Marketing Success | Inc.com

Every so often, a discussion erupts through email that makes me really happy about my job. I have the privilege of working with, interviewing, and connecting with some really smart people. Recently, I started emailing with Steven McConnell, the head of digital marketing for Arielle Careers, an …

Marketing

These Startups Are Trying to Save the Music Business by Disrupting it | Inc.com

With the backing of music industry executives whose clients include bands like Kings of Leon, it's not hard to imagine the eight music startup founders gathered for a New York City showcase rising to stardom.<p>At the closing event of accelerator Project Music's 14-week boot camp, the entrepreneurs …

Startups

Should a Startup Ever Splurge on Logo Design?

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>How much should you spend on a logo?<p>I recently asked a friend that owns a branding agency this very question, just to gauge a reaction, and his response was, "how much does it cost to build a house?" Clearly there's a bit of "wise guy" in …

Startups

Make a Great Online Marketing Video With These 5 Tips

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Marketing professionals, journalists and content curators are, once again, turning to the value of online video. In reality, we probably never left. Rather, other trends in online communications have flared up and faded away while online …

Marketing

Conquer Your Nerves Before Your Presentation

You know the feeling: You’re about to give a big presentation (maybe it’s not even that big), and your nerves set in. You feel pressure in your chest. Your breathing gets shallow. Your blood pressure increases. And suddenly it seems inevitable that you’re going to mess this up — and everyone will …

Self-help

6 Ways to Overcome Your Reluctance to Sell

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Entrepreneurs have to close deals to have a successful business, yet sales often intimidate even the most seasoned among us.<p>Why are so many people afraid to ask for the sale? It’s the fear of rejection that holds us back. Take the selling …

Selling

How Groundbreaking Thinkers Come Up With New Ideas

What do Steve Jobs, Vincent Van Gogh, and Albert Einstein have in common? They all followed this process.<p>There are plenty of stories out there about the unusual places business leaders find creativity. Take Steve Jobs. Didn't you know he once took a course in calligraphy?<p>I wouldn't blame you if you …

Creativity

7 Tips for Getting Your Team to Think More Creatively

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of <i>Entrepreneur</i>. Subscribe »<p>Creative thinking is a tough act to pinpoint—it is, at the same time, highly specific and wonderfully simple. Which is to say that it can be hard to practice and engineer. All companies try, of course. Some succeed only to the …

Creativity

12 Ways to Find Inspiration

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>Running a company is time consuming: Success largely depends on perspiration and effort. But inspiration -- that sudden, visceral jolt that occurs when an idea, seemingly out of nowhere, clicks into place -- also plays a role. …

Creativity

Does Email Marketing Still Work? 10 Ways to Make It Work for You | Inc.com

According to a new survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers are still using email marketing via eNewsletters to reach their target audience. Tried and true methods never fail, right? Maybe not. Of that 83%, only 58% are finding these methods to be effective. And while …

Marketing

Elon Musk Explains the Genius of Kanye West | Inc.com

Not only was Kanye West just named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, he also appears on one of five covers of the annual issue.<p>Bradley Cooper, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Misty Copeland, and Jorge Ramos are the magazine's other cover stars.<p>For each of the 100 people on the list, a …

Time I

100-Plus Awesome Free Things for Salespeople and Marketers | Inc.com

One of Guy Kawasaki's "reality checks" for entrepreneurs is the question "What can we beg, borrow, or lease that we are buying?" However, as evidenced by Kawasaki's own new product Canva, the Web has lots of entirely free and free-to-try resources.<p>I built this list specifically for salespeople and …

Project Management
Creativity
Leadership

5 Findings About Idea Generation for Content Marketing

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>How do marketers come up with ideas for content? How many ideas do they invest in achieving their marketing goals? And what are the processes B2B marketers use (or don't use) to siphon ideas into creative pipelines?<p>In an original research …

Marketing

5 Ways to Get Free Trial Users to Become Paying Subscribers

Opinions expressed by <i>Entrepreneur</i> contributors are their own.<p>There’s always a push to close new deals from trial subscriptions faster and with greater conversion rates. This is especially true at the end of every month and fiscal quarter, when sales reports are run.<p>I and my team at NoteVault, a …

Investing

From Bedtime to the Boardroom: Why Storytelling Matters in Business

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of <i>Entrepreneur</i>. Subscribe »<p>It’s one of the biggest buzzwords in business—<b>storytelling</b>—and it’s how savvy companies are satisfying the public’s never-ending hunger for content. With compelling characters, relatable plots and, most important, authenticity, …

Human Rights