July 11, 2015

The online shoe retailer Zappos has always set out to be an innovative employer as well as a successful business. Along with quality benefits and perks, CEO Tony Hsieh grants his staff the freedom to do their jobs according to their terms. In fact, recently the Zappos boss put a radical new corporate structure into place that eliminates all traditional managers or job titles. Instead of a traditional hierarchy, employees now work in “circles” that encourage more collaboration and agility. Continue reading

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June 17, 2015

In the 1960s Northeast Italy’s artisans banded together to form small family-owned businesses that depended closely on one other. Each company manufactured a single part of a finished product that held the entire town’s attention. For instance, the tiny burg of Montebelluna specialized in making ski boots, with dozens of companies contributing parts like buckles and foam linings. The town eventually became famous for its high quality footwear, producing about three-quarters of the world’s ski boots at its height. One Continue reading

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June 13, 2015

While nonprofit organizations do the world an immeasurable amount of good, their restrictive structure can prove frustrating for some entrepreneurs. After all in order to stay afloat, many nonprofits depend on the generosity of donors, a source of capital that could suddenly dry up at anytime. That’s why a few startups are combining the social drive of nonprofits with sustainable business models to form benefit corporations, or “B-corps” for short.

On the surface these companies seem like normal firms: they Continue reading

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February 18, 2015

For many entrepreneurs, great ideas can come along when least expected. In the case of Dori Roberts, her job as a high school engineering teacher laid the foundation for her million-dollar concept. Over the course of her 11 years in teaching, Roberts noticed that many of her students discovered a love for engineering late in their school careers. She then made it her mission to introduce engineering to kids at a younger age, starting out with an after school bridge-building Continue reading

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December 10, 2014

When Michael Garrity founded CommunityLend in 2010, he thought his company was in a perfect position to capture an untapped market. After all, the 2008 financial crisis made many banks wary of lending too much cash, presenting a golden opportunity to non-traditional operations like CommunityLend. Plus, the company’s peer-to-peer model was the first of its kind in Garrity’s home country of Canada, marking a major advantage for the startup.

Despite these benefits, though, CommunityLend had trouble finding qualified borrowers for Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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October 19, 2014

 

Even in this increasingly Internet-enabled world, the old maxim “Location, location, location” rings as true as ever. After all, a strong Web presence can only do so much for service companies like restaurants and auto shops. In order for a business to operate at its full potential, the company needs to be located in a place that is not only easily accessible to its target market, but also free of too many direct competitors.

As many frustrated businesspeople can Continue reading

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October 2, 2014

 

Passion and confidence are essential traits for any entrepreneur, but these same qualities can also lead aspiring business owners to ruin. If entrepreneurs are too assured and optimistic, they risk losing sight of the enormity of the task they have undertaken. For instance, passionate people can believe so deeply in their business idea that they become blinded to its actual market viability. They are driven by the notion that since they would love to buy this particular product or Continue reading

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September 6, 2014

Nobody likes to wait in line for the bathroom, but sometimes that’s just the way things are at big, busy venues like stadiums and airports. Entrepreneur Allen Klevens couldn’t accept this fact of life, however, and set out to fix it with his new product Tooshlights. These small beacons rest at the top of a bathroom stall door and glow red if the space is occupied or green if it’s free. Klevens hopes this clever stop-and-go system will drastically speed Continue reading

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August 23, 2014

 

caregivingIn order to turn a successful business into a successful franchise, an entrepreneur needs a strong concept along with good people to implement it. That’s exactly what Allen Hager set out to do when he launched his home health care company, Right at Home, as a franchise nearly 20 years ago. By expanding the business plan and setting strict hiring policies, Right at Home has grown into a company with nearly 400 locations across the world and $265 million Continue reading

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