14 Entrepreneurs Discuss How Entrepreneurship Academic Programs Will Look Like in the Future

The landscape of entrepreneurship programs is rapidly changing and giving special emphasis to hands-on experience. Obtaining an academic program is important in validating your business concept but many will argue that is no longer the case. The future of entrepreneurship academic programs remains dynamic and there’s need for aspiring entrepreneurs to adapt to the changing environment.

Here what entrepreneurship academic programs will look like in the future according to entrepreneurs and business owners.

#1- With actionable learning

Photo Credit: Reb Risty

The future of entrepreneurship academic programs has been evolving exponentially over the last few years with access to a plethora of low cost and no-cost training online. Entrepreneurs are moving faster than ever, and they want practical advice and training from people who have been there. Going to a 4-year university is not how the modern entrepreneur educates themselves today. They want actionable learning that they can use on the job.

Thanks to Reb Risty, REBL Marketing!

Originally Published at CBNation

Build A Trusted Brand Through Video Testimonials

Customer testimonials are a valuable way to build trust in your brand. To a potential customer, a testimonial is similar to a personal recommendation for a product or service. Videos are also an important tool in your marketing funnel. They are entertaining, engaging and easy to digest. Putting the two together creates a powerful marketing tool to create sincere and entertaining recommendations from existing customers. 

Why do video testimonials make great marketing tools?

The power of a video testimonial goes beyond the idea of combining one effective marketing technique with another. When a video testimonial includes the right content, it is the act of one customer sharing the most important details of a product or service with another customer. A potential customer viewing a video testimonial should feel like an impartial bystander is offering them a helping hand. Consider these five reasons to add video testimonials to your marketing plan.

1. Video testimonials build trust.

A written testimonial provides a thought-out opinion of a product or service. Video allows your customers to see and hear a reaction, which makes it more credible, engaging and authentic. Consider conversations in your personal or business life that seem too important to take place over the phone, text or email. You prefer these conversations be carried out face to face so you can see and hear the other person’s reaction. A video testimonial provides the same type of visual confirmation.

2. Video has a higher retention rate.

While a long written review may contain more information, your potential customers might not finish reading it. Even worse, they may only remember a small percentage of what they read. Videos provide an entirely different experience. Viewers are not only more likely to watch a complete video, but they also reportedly retain 95% of a message viewed in a video, compared to 10% when reading text. 

3. Video is preferred.

Video is the preferred form of content by most viewers. YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the internet with over two billion users. A video engages viewers with a real person to whom they can relate. Then, it uses the powerful tool of storytelling to show your potential customers why your product or service is worthy.

4. Videos get shared.

Since videos are enjoyable to watch, consumers love sharing them. When video sharing extends to user testimonials, your loyal customers naturally become brand ambassadors.

5. Video testimonials convert.

Conversion is one of the most important parts of your marketing process. It’s that magical moment that turns your potential customers into paying customers. When a potential customer is faced with a decision, they have to find a person they can trust. Customers are more likely to trust one another than an advertisement designed to promote your brand simply because it’s a person to whom they can relate. This relatability is only increased when your viewers see and hear a story similar to their own.

How do you make a good testimonial video?

The purpose of a testimonial video is not the same as that of a polished commercial that features professional actors. Your potential customers want to see the sincere opinions of ordinary customers to whom they can relate. Use these tips to teach your customers to make video testimonials.

• Give direction instead of providing a script. Customers reading from a script don’t provide authentic experiences or genuine emotions. Instead, have a conversation about the customer journey and how your product or service resolved the issue. 

• Keep it short. In my experience, the optimal length for a video testimonial is around 90 to 120 seconds. Use the time wisely to give specific details.

• Avoid yes-no questions. When using an interview format, ask questions that evoke emotions and lead to descriptions of how the product solves problems.

• Ask for a testimonial as soon as a project/service is complete. Your happy customers are most likely to create compelling video testimonials when they’re excited about the results of your product or the service you provided.

• Suggest customers compare you to the competition. How do you measure up? Often, before finding a solution to a problem, consumers struggle with disappointments. Your potential customers may be comparing your service to others before making a purchase.

Use these four key areas to create an effective video testimonial.

Providing consumers with guidelines can help them become more confident in creating video testimonials about your product or service. Suggest your customers talk about these four key points.

• Themselves: Your customers want to be able to relate to the person in the video they’re watching. Real people have backgrounds. Your customer should provide a bit of relevant information that makes them relatable (such as age, career or parental status).

• Their challenge: What problem led them to seek your products or service? When the viewer is having a similar problem, they instantly connect with the person sharing the video.

• Why they chose you: Were there other products or services that didn’t measure up to your brand? Did the customer try other potential solutions without success?

• The results: Use these queries to prompt specific experiences. “Are you happy with the product or services provided? Please share specific details about how the product worked to solve the initial problem. Finish with the reason you recommend the product to other customers.”

Video testimonials combine a variety of powerful tactics to promote your brand to potential customers. Videos are an immensely popular medium that provides engaging stories to sell your products or services. Additionally, sincere customers who provide genuine reactions naturally build trust in your brand — and every business wants that.

Article originally posted on Forbes.com

Meet Reb Risty of REBL Marketing in Downtown San Diego


Today we’d like to introduce you to Reb Risty.

Reb, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

I think most of my past employers would say Reb is the ideal employee. I always arrive early, stay late when needed, and do what I say I will do, self-motivated, positive and a good team member. When I pursued my MBA in 2005, is when I realized I had an entrepreneurial spirit. Although the professors and curriculum were very good, it was my fellow classmates that I learned the most from. I majored in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at SDSU. I took a class with Giles Bateman, former CFO for Price Club, which became Costco. He was the professor that challenged me to think like an entrepreneur instead of an employee. It was my fellow classmates, Jennifer, Mark and Erik whom I competed with in a Business Plan Competition and showed me I could start a Company of my own.

In 2008, when the economy crashed, I was laid off from the marketing agency where I had been working for the previous 2 years. At that point I did what any sensible unemployed person does, I started a consulting business, and RebL Marketing was born. Fortunately enough, I found a full time position within a few months, and RebL took a backseat. It was in 2016, when the RebL voice in my head began getting louder.

I was working as a marketing director for an aviation company that I really liked, but the work was not satisfying. When I started in aviation, I was constantly being asked for my advice, recommendations, reviews, and even job offers. I realized there is a real need for someone with my background and outsider knowledge. I did have a consulting client, Pro Back Office that I had worked with for year and saw how successful they had been providing outsourced Accounting and Finance services.

I thought, why I can’t do the same with Marketing and Communications services? With the encouragement of my client and good friend, Jennifer Barnes, I started to focus RebL Marketing on Outsourced Marketing Teams and Services. As I quickly found out, there is a demand for growing companies that are in need of experienced marketing professionals, just not necessarily on a full-time basis. So, I quit my full-time job and jumped in.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

One of the biggest struggles I had to get over first was the decision to actually go out on my own and start RebL Marketing full-time. I had been consulting on the side for years and that was my comfort zone. I wish I could say there is a right time and you know it, but it wasn’t that oblivious. From the time I decided I wanted to run RebL full time to when I actually quit my job was just under a year. There were a number of reason, my employer at the time convinced me to stay longer and give them a chance to provide me with a better work situation. It was like trying to break up with a boyfriend, they kept saying things would get better, but it didn’t. Anyway, the time finally came that made me take the leap of faith and start RebL full time.

The other challenge I’ve had is growth and managing my team. I’ve grown quickly over the last few months and managing projects as well as growing and training my team has been a huge time struggle. Unfortunately I had to let a team member go this week. They just weren’t performing and causing more work for the rest of the team. The person is a nice person, but just couldn’t see what they were doing wrong or couldn’t admit it. This has been tough, but I know it won’t be the last time.

RebL Marketing – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?

With RebL Marketing the client gets a whole team or marketing department vs. one full-time employee. We can provide full marketing management at a fraction of the cost, on-site, remote, and when needed.

Unlike more traditional marketing firms that are good on a project basis RebL stays with the client to execute for a long team. This is where the RebL team really shines. We know how to develop, execute, evaluate and adjust. Our goal is to be the client’s marketing team that is proactive verses just doing the marketing.

I’ve been on the agency side and client side. I understand the frustration of being a client, paying a significant amount to the agency to end up doing half of the work or just can’t get what is needed out of the agency. I also understand that clients don’t always understand what marketing can really do. The best approach is to work together as a team, learning and willingness to be flexible on both sides.

I’m most proud of my long-term clients that I’ve been able to grow with and be a part of their success. One client, Pro Back Office, has grown significantly over the last 5 years. Winning SDBJ Fastest Growing award two years in a row and listed on the Inc. 5000. I’ve been with them since they started out of Jennifer Barnes back room office. We’ve also become good friends.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?

Happiness. When you can wake up ready to start your day and your work, that’s success to me.

Contact Info:

Source – sdvoyager.com

Reb Risty – Marketing in the Virtual Universe: 5 Reasons Every Business Should Use Video Testimonials

Reb Risty, Head and CEO of REBL Marketing, is a marketing expert with useful information for communicating with your customers in these unique times. After starting her company in 2008, her mission has been to help her clients clearly communicate their value propositions and boost engagement. The marketplace has rapidly shifted from a digital world to a virtual universe, so online presence is more important than ever before, and video testimonials are a great place to start. As we begin to reopen, Reb has tips for marketing in a cognizant manner.

In her interview, Reb discusses the importance of continuing communication with your customers. She dives deep on the importance of having not just testimonials, but video testimonials from clients. Reb shares some of the reasons video testimonials are so successful and how you can easily start generating your own. It is essential to adapt to the changing marketplace, use Reb’s tips to thrive in the virtual space.

Listen Here

How to create a desktop video with Loom

You can make quick How-To or Instructional videos using software to record your desktop. These types of videos are great to explain how to do something by showing your desktop. We use Loom because it’s easy to use, has a free version and analytics. Using quick desktop videos are also helpful in your sales and proposal process. You can quickly give a review or show an example of how you can help a customer through a Loom video. Send a Loom video gets you twice the engagement and follow up then just a written email.

Use Loom to:

How-To Videos

Instructional Videos

Training videos

Sales and Prospecting videos


How to communicate with employees about the Coronavirus/Covid-19

As a business owner and communications specialist, I’m helping many of our clients and partners craft a message to their employees about the current situation with the Coronavirus/Covid-19. Here are the top three things to do when communicating with your team during uncertain times like this.

1. Craft your message from a place of understanding

The people on your team are scared and looking for direction from their leadership team that will calm their fears. Everyone has different experiences that are affecting their reaction to all the information and misinformation being promoted on social media and in the news. You may not completely agree with everyone’s position, but if you come from a place of understanding and openness and are willing to listen to their concerns, this will build trust and understanding with your employees.

Start your message with, “I understand…. Or “The management team wants to address everyone’s concerns…” Invite employees to provide their questions and suggestions on how the company should deal with the current situation. This can be in a public or private manner.

If you haven’t already done so, schedule open office hours for employees to speak with upper management.

2. Stick with the facts

There is a lot of misinformation about the Coronavirus and how it will affect people. Encourage your team to seek out reputable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/. If your employees have health concerns, they should speak with their family physician or nurse to seek medical advice.

Never provide your employees with your opinion or judgment on what they should do in regard to medical concerns.

Never make assumptions about the current Coronavirus situation. Refer to reputable sources such as the CDC. It’s ok to provide statics in your communications but leave it at that.

3. Address your team’s concerns with a plan

If team members are asking for remote work options or calling in sick, be sure you have clearly defined processes and procedures for these types of requests. You should be working with your HR department or an HR professional to ensure these processes are up to date and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to open your business up to legal issues nor do you want to leave the employee unprotected by not following the right government guidelines.

The better you set expectations and provide direction on what team members can and can’t do, the smoother you will work through this unexpected situation. Clearly define the process such as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc.

Make sure team members know who they should speak to and how to document these requests. Everything should be in writing. I can’t stress this enough, be sure you are working with your HR team or an HR consultant to make sure you are following the correct state and government guidelines.


Remember, people are looking to you for guidance and reassurance that the team will get through this together. They want to know that you care and that there is a plan to deal with the current situation that will result in everyone’s safety and success. If you include these top three essentials messages in your company communications, you will provide the guidance and trust needed for everyone in the company to get through the Coronavirus situation.

If you are still not sure what to communicate or you would like input and the review of your communications plan, please reach out to REBL Marketing. We sincerely want to help you get through this so we can all get back to building our businesses together.

Call us to review your communications plan at 858.848.7325 or reb@reblmarketing.com

When is your business ready for PR Program?

Reb Risty: If a client wants to, a prospective client, wants to start PR where do they begin and what should they be looking for?

Michelle Stansbury: That’s yes that’s a great question because at the end of the day PR still remains a mystery to a lot of people. And I think it really works better to describe a PR approach based on someone’s specific business because it can be very custom-tailored. But in general, what we start by doing is sitting down and figuring out, you know, is period right for them at this time? For example, you know a company doesn’t have a website yet, probably should hold on the PR yet because it won’t really have a place to direct them to. So, to make sure that PR strategy would be right for them and help them accomplish their goals, and then after we start working together we sit down and we really get in deep with a strategy session of what are the goals and what are the opportunities. Some people think of PR in terms of press releases and I try to avoid using that term at all costs because so many people mean so many different things when they say press release it’s a business owner’s favorite term. I like to throw that out the window. Let’s talk about what we actually mean. So when we put together a calendar we’re gonna look at a few things we’re going to look at: do we have any actual real company news happening over the next six months? Maybe a new product launch? Maybe a big conference that’s coming up? What’s actually happening? Those are going to be things that we’re going to want to put a big push behind. But we don’t just wait for something big to happen to do PR. We’re going to look at the industry and seeing what’s trending what’s happening in the industry and can we pitch out those stories to reporters with the client as the expert or the thought leader in that to get reporters to write stories about something happening in the industry quoting or using as a source, our clients so that their business gets a mention and they get positioned as an expert. So, filling in pitches about the company and then also about industry trends and sometimes even guest articles. We do a lot of that with Forbes for example. There’s a lot of articles in Forbes that we would consider thought leadership.

Michelle Stansbury: So that strategy session, out of that we create this six-month plan. And from that I start pitching reporters. Some of them I already have a good strong relationship with, but otherwise you know, we figure out who are the key media outlets and reporters and editors for the target audience for trying to reach. Then work to build good relationships with them by providing them with good content, a great source who’s an expert in the industry, and really collaborating with them on their articles, their reporting, and what they’re trying to do. Reb Risty: Yeah I think that’s a really good point about the collaboration. I think a lot of people do just think of PR as press releases. But there’s so much creativity and really relationship building that goes on behind it to make it successful and useful for the company.

Michelle Stansbury: Absolutely agree.

Reb Risty: Well thanks, Michelle. If you’re looking to integrate PR into your marketing program or just want to know more about how you can leverage PR, and if it is the right fit for you and your company at this time, give us a call and you can talk to Michelle or me and REBLutionize your marketing through PR.

PR Works Best as Part of an Integrated Marketing Program

Reb Risty: How else does PR work with marketing? You know, how does PR really as a part of an integrated program, help a client?

Michelle Stansbury: Yeah, PR’s a lot of fun but it’s really the most powerful when it is integrated into the other marketing elements. So, I mentioned social and newsletter. One of the most powerful things about PR is not just putting it out to everyone who is reading the newspaper on that day or watching the TV on that day or were tuned into the Forbes column but it’s really about sharing that with your network in hopes that they might bring you might stay top of mind and get a referral out of that, or stay top of mind with your audience and have them realize that you’re doing really cool things and that you know what you’re talking about. That’s some of the advantages. It also plays really well with SEO and people don’t often think of PR and SEO going hand-in-hand but it can be really powerful because one really good backlink in a PR article can have so much SEO juice because they’re coming from these very high credibility publications. So I’d like to work really hand-in-hand with the SEO team and on the flip side SEO so data-driven that by working again hand-in-hand with the SEO team I can learn a lot from their data-driven approach – what topics are trending, what are people searching for, what’s happening digitally that I can learn from to make my pitches more timely?

Reb Risty: I think that’s great and that’s one of the things that I’ve even learned you know, working with you is about how to look at the back end of just the articles that we’re writing and really understand what the key terms are that makes sense for the client. But also I think you’ve done such an amazing job with pitching out to the industry, their industry, and publications, getting them not only in the local industry but at national level coverage which makes them happy and feels good. We’ve seen you know, gotten clients tell us that they drive business that way too. It really helps them elevate their brand at a different level and the thought leadership piece comes into play. So it’s been amazing.

Reb Risty: Thanks, Michelle, and if you’re looking to integrate PR into your marketing program or just want to know more about how you can leverage PR, and if it is the right fit for you and your company at this time, give us a call and you can talk to Michelle or me and REBLutionize your marketing through PR.

Awards & Recognition Work for Businesses

Reb Risty: Yeah, we’ve had some really good success. I think you’ve come up with some really clever ideas for our clients, like Pawternity for example. You know, I think the media picked that up because it was a great topic and it was great for the client as they got some good coverage if I recall it was even syndicated out to LA from here.

Michelle Stansbury: That’s a great example. Yeah, so it was for a company we work with that does outsourced accounting and H.R. and we really wanted to get them on TV but TV really works best with things that are cute or fun or highly visual, that tug at the heartstrings, and that just doesn’t really work with accounting firm with and H.R. firms. So, I came up with this idea about a growing trend of Pawternity leave, so just like paternity leave except leaving to take care of a new puppy. Which of course has all the elements that TV loves and also ties back to positioning our clients as experts in the industry because they’re on top of these growing H.R. trends. How do you attract and retain top employees? What’s happening in the industry that their clients should be aware of? And as a result, of course, we got them some really great and fun segments on local TV. That was actually picked up by nationally syndicated show got them some great exposure and of course, at the end of the day some fun video content that they could continue to share with their clients around social media and newsletter.

Reb Risty: Yeah that was great. Really, I’ll always remember that one for sure, was a fun one. Thanks Michelle, and if you’re looking to integrate PR into your marketing program or just want to know more about how you can leverage PR, and if it is the right fit for you and your company at this time, give us a call and you can talk to Michelle or me, and REBLutionize your marketing through PR.

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