Thinking Internationally to Build Wealth

Some entrepreneurs set out to corner a market in certain regions or areas of a country, while others set their eyes on a bigger prize — the international market. In the digital age, providing valuable products and services to overseas locations is no longer the enormous hurdle that it once was.

Michael Chasen originally co-founded the education software provider Blackboard Inc. back in 1997. Ingenuity and critical planning helped Blackboard survive the recent recession when many of its competitors burst alongside the tech bubble. Part of Blackboard’s survival has been contributed to the company’s subscription model, which functions on an annual basis.

But, is there really any room left in the digital and software education front in the United States? For new and innovative products, of course there is, but for existing ones, there may be little more than wiggle room. With a solid percentage of the market in the United States squared away, Blackboard has turned its sight overseas to previously untouched markets.

Schools are using Blackboard’s software in thousands of places, like the Middle East and China. With a less-saturated market in some overseas areas, the company plans to move forward on a more international-oriented scale. Global opportunities are at the fingertips of not just a privileged few but to anyone who is able to foresee what the international market has to offer in the world of online startups.

The 3 Types of Purpose Every Business Needs

Entrepreneurs who strike out on their own usually do so to fulfill their own purposes in life. Businesses that are purpose-driven tend to be more focused, successful and long-living than businesses without any clear purpose other than turning a profit.

While a business owner’s personal purpose is without a doubt one of the most valuable keys to success, it is far from being the only purpose that a successful business needs. Here are the three types of purpose that every business should have.

Personal Purpose

This is the founder and owner’s purpose that ultimately helps guide and lead the business’s path to success. Far from being profit focused, most personal purposes can, instead, be redefined as that person’s greater purpose in life or what he or she is most meant to do.


Customer Purpose

Want to draw in customers who have similar values and a focus on doing well? Most consumers choose to spend their money wisely, and products that are purpose-driven tend to top their lists. Make it obvious what benefits your products provide and customers may find their own purposes fulfilled.



Employee Purpose

Virtually no one likes working at a job where they feel as though they are doing little more than bringing home a paycheck. Like most consumers, employees typically like to clock out of work with a feeling that they have made a difference. Employee purpose should be communicated as clearly and concisely as possible, and when done correctly, everyone at the business will probably aim toward the same goal.

The purpose does not have to stop there. Is the local community an active area of a business? Be sure to include a purpose for it and for any other entities that can benefit from the guidance of a truly fulfilling purpose.

How to Build a Business That Lasts

No matter the construction project, when building something to last, a strong and secure foundation is often key to longevity. The same holds true in the world of business. The foundation of a business should be strong and provide firm footing for it to grow, expand and thrive.

When stacked on a faulty or weak foundation, a business does not stand much of a fighting chance against unexpected adversities, such as a dip in the economy or an issue with product suppliers. Even minor bumps in the road can be enough to bring the whole thing tumbling down.

A strong foundation can protect businesses from these types of disasters by helping them weather through the ups and downs of the economy and the troubles that come with it.

So what does a strong business foundation actually look like?

It’s realistic. The foundation of a business should be structured on the owner’s capabilities, market information, available capital and all available resources.

It’s goal oriented. Foundations are for more than just the startup phase of a business. When laying the foundation of a business, entrepreneurs understand and anticipate future goals and what their needs might be.

It’s malleable. Life is far from fixed, and unexpected changes means that the foundation must be able to move and grow with a business, even in difficult times. Want to succeed in the world of online business for the long haul? Even though a business or startup might not have a brick and mortar location, a solid foundation remains an uncompromising necessity for entrepreneuers.

4 Tips to Stay Fit When Working at Home

Starting a business is far from an easy or laidback venture and, at the end of the day, most entrepreneurs probably feel as though they’ve thoroughly exhausted themselves. In reality, a sense of physical exhaustion after sitting in front of the computer all day can be misleading, and it is not uncommon to pack on a few extra pounds when making a transition to a home office or workplace.

Luckily, staying healthy and fit while operating a business from a home office is not as difficult as most people might think. Follow these steps to keep your health in check no matter where you are working.

Schedule breaks. Long gone are the days of a boss or manager reminding you to step away from the computer for a few minutes, and in all likelihood, there are no nearby colleagues to chat with while stretching your legs. Set an alarm three to four times a day as a reminder to stretch your legs and maybe grab another glass of water.


Take a walk. Make a quick loop around the street on one of your breaks. Sunshine is great for Vitamin D production, and the act of just strolling around outside can do wonders for both physical and mental health.


Put on real clothes. Okay, so one of the undeniable perks of working from a home office is the ability to wear pretty much what you would like. However, are you really going to be more productive if you lounge around in your pajamas all day? Getting dressed in the morning can provide a barrier between home and work time and can give a little extra boost of motivation. Plus, do you really want to sport your fuzzy slippers on your walk?

Use wearable tech devices. Doubling as watches, wearable healthcare tech devices are all the rage right now. Use one to set goals or to track the number of steps you take in each day to get a baseline for how active you really are.


Mental health is undoubtedly a critical aspect of successful business ownership, but entrepreneurs also need to make their own physical health and wellbeing a priority. Far from being a costly time commitment, little changes throughout the day can be all that is needed to make a true difference.

Negative Nancy Probably Never Found Her Purpose

Still convinced that you will never truly find your purpose? Well, with that attitude, you probably won’t. Admittedly, it can be disheartening to watch friends and loved ones succeed and truly live their passion while still struggling to find your own, but there may be few things in life that can mask a person’s purpose better than the fear that he or she simply does not have one.

Ready to flip the switch on your attitude and discover the purpose for which you should be living? Here are a few tips to get started.

Stop fearing judgment.

Judgment is one thing that most people will never truly escape. Love your new shoes? Well, the lady on the bus thinks they look awful. Ready for that new haircut? Your boss might not like it. And you know what? That is okay! Living your purpose means living for your own sense of self-worth, so go ahead and get those bangs.

Stop living cautiously.

A quick aside, please continue to stop at red lights and look both ways before crossing the road. After all, you know it can be somewhat difficult to start taking new chances if you are not around anymore to take them. Instead of always avoiding risk taking, push forward in life and dare to take new chances! Accept a new job offer or finally get the process rolling for that business you have been dreaming about for years.


Stop doubting yourself.

Remember the first day before starting a new school or job? Chances are you were probably fraught with nerves the night, or even hours, before stepping foot inside. Thoughts of “What if no one likes me?” or “What if I’m not good enough?” might have been bouncing around in your head. There is no guarantee that those worries will ever vanish, but to truly succeed at finding your purpose, you will have to learn how to have enough confidence to do new things and engage in new experiences.

An attitude change might not happen over night, but with some time and dedication, the right attitude can reveal a purpose that has been right there all along.

How to Grow Wealth With Different Price Ranges

Is your business steady with a core group of customers and a solid inflow of cash? Great, here’s where the real fun can start.

Most businesses start out small with one, maybe two, products. With so few products there is really only room for a single price range, and the only way to ever earn more or build any type of real, sustainable wealth is to continually grow the customer base. Of course, bringing in new customers at a steady rate is often part of the business plan, but can it really make up for no variety in pricing?

Not convinced? Let’s take a look at three common price ranges that every business should be using.

1.The Low Range: Keep in mind that low ≠ cheap. What kind of products should be listed in the low price range? Consider these the kind of products that can be manufactured or created at relatively low costs that customers need or want, but might not be willing to invest too much to purchase them. The final goal of a low price range product should always be to encourage your customers to consider making future purchases.

2.The Medium Range: Customers expect more from products in this category, so make sure the value is appropriate. Personalized services — including web content or an online course — tend to fit well here.

3.The High Range: High range products and services are not just tossed in as a way to make a quick buck. These types of products should have real, substantial value that is unique and difficult to find elsewhere. Some business owners use their high price range to offer customizable products to customers, while others reserve this area of their market for personal service.

Products in the high price range might be out of reach for some individuals in a customer base, but it is important to understand that this is normal. It can be tempting to simply lower the price of products to rake in a few extra sales, but there is little to be gained from giving away something of true worth and value.

As business owners expand their companies and begin to incorporate new products and lines, the real value of each product and how each product contributes to the company and benefits the customers should be carefully evaluated.

Build Your Brand With 3 Easy Steps

A solid, well-established brand is perhaps the most under-utilized asset when it comes to marketing for small businesses and startups. A business’s brand should be immediately recognizable and understood and should conjure certain attitudes and feelings with customers. Much more than a single logo, mission statement or piece of copy, a brand can encompass all of these and combine them beautifully to portray what a business actually is.

Not sure how to shape up a brand for the business? Take these first three steps to set the process on the right path.

1.Decide how customers should view the business. Is the company all about sports, fitness and nutrition? Or maybe products are geared more toward relaxation and having a good time. A good brand should give the target market the feeling of what products are offered without ever actually showing a single one.

2.Start the design process. No, the business statement is not the brand and, contrary to popular belief, neither is the slogan. Hold on, do not toss them out just yet. These are examples of marketing and branding tools that help support a company’s brand. The copy on the website, any blogs and all marketing efforts should be carried out to help support the brand.

3.Make sure customers experience the brand on a personal level. Ever visited a Starbucks and been given the wrong drink? Was the whip left off or decaf added by mistake? A quick stop at the company’s website reveals an important part of their brand. “Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.” Remember that wrong drink? Next time, let the barista know, and he or she will promptly remake the drink on the house.

All of the marketing and branding in the world is not enough to convince customers that a business stands for one thing if they refuse to act on it. Want customers to believe your brand? Make sure they feel and experience it during every interaction.

Of course there is more to brands than this. Truly successful brands require updates from time to time and should be monitored for consumer reactions. As businesses bend and adapt with the times, brands should be flexible enough to change with them too.

First Impressions Count

In the age of Google and Facebook reviews, businesses can no longer rely on outdated and poorly built websites to meet the needs of the average consumer. As a consumer myself, I frequently visit websites simply to get additional information about an exciting new product or service, only to be discouraged from actually initiating a transaction because the site is slow, confusing or lacks basic information. Marketing experts would agree that first impressions are paramount to building and sustaining a thriving online business, making website design a critical component to your success.

If your site is outdated, tired or only marginally acceptable, consider some of the following elements as possible additions:

  • Video backgrounds: These can be a great way to capture the attention and imagination of your customer. Video backgrounds can add an element of excitement to an otherwise straightforward website.
  • Large images or fonts: It is vital to capture a customer’s attention within the first few seconds of arriving at a site. Using large fonts can draw the eyes to critical information that needs to be communicated quickly, such as “SALE” or “Now offering new services!”
  • Updated information: When sites are not updated and improved on a frequent basis, potential customers will notice. Keeping websites as up-to-date as possible is critical for practical purposes, but also communicates a sense of pride, urgency and excitement to those visiting the site.

webMany business owners do not have the skills needed to professionally update a site’s design and function. However, that is something that we do at Virtue Marketing. Members of our team are uniquely skilled in providing the services needed in order to improve a site, update the design and make it more navigable for customers. First impressions count, more than ever before in the business world, so it is vital that a business’s site makes a strong opening statement.