We Have More Farming Data Than Ever, But This Crucial Piece Is Missing

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Soil sensors. Pest management platforms. Irrigation monitors. Satellite imagery. Labor management. Yield forecasting tools. File sharing. And even social media management. As agtech has proliferated over the last decade, the tech stack on the modern farm has grown dizzying. For farmers tasked with growing crops and managing all this IT, that presents a mounting challenge.

These tools, by and large, don’t talk to one another. Platforms aren’t compatible, and information sits in silos. Indeed, one study found 86% of agtech platforms are failing to share and analyze the data obtained effectively.

Missing from all this is the ingredient that lets our phones function seamlessly. The same tool that turned from esoteric machines into devices anyone could use with a few clicks. In other words, desperately needs an operating system.

Industry analysts stopped trying to tally agtech tools for years, but suffice it to say the modern has thousands of technologies at their disposal. And, increasingly, these technologies are table stakes rather than bells and whistles.

Weather extremes are making farming less predictable and ever riskier. Input prices have skyrocketed with supply chain gaps and inflation. More than ever, growers must find efficiencies to stretch their resources and conserve time while meeting pressure from regulatory bodies and food retailers to justify their actions.

This is the promise of so much agtech today: to do more with less. But with so much on their plates, farmers need technology to be streamlined, user-friendly and integrated — and an operating system for the farm can help.

Related: What Matters Most While Opting for Smart Farming Technology

So what is an operating system (OS)?

In technical terms, an operating system is the that “schedules tasks, allocates storage, and presents a default interface to the user.” Familiar examples include Windows, Android and ‘s — without these technologies running in the background, other applications wouldn’t function.

But what we need for agriculture is more conceptual. We’re missing a central hub — a place where data is pooled and where digital tools are coordinated. This is what iOS does for users, after all. There are 3.6 million different apps that Apple users can use seamlessly on their phone, and it wouldn’t be possible without the iPhone’s operating system. iOS is the key intermediary between the user and the hardware, providing a common framework for communication and data sharing.

Consider the iPhone Health app: It can collect data from whichever apps a user chooses in order to track things like sleep quality, heart rate and the amount of miles walked in a day. It integrates that information and provides a streamlined interface, surfacing powerful new insights.

That kind of data sharing, usability and compatibility between software and hardware is thanks to the operating system — and it’s the kind of integration agtech desperately needs.

Related: Why Revolutionizing Farming Should Be the Next Space Race

What booting up a farm OS can look like

Right now, farmers are spoiled for choice with a variety of apps and devices. But to get these tools working at their full potential, there needs to be a foundation in place.

For users, an ideal farm OS would be a one-stop shop to gather and display the farm’s vital signs — from temperature to moisture levels and pest populations, and even labor and equipment availability. Equally important, an OS would help farmers triage decision-making, providing data-backed insights on what actions to take and when to take them.

Finally, a farm OS would offer a unified interface for farmers to deploy their technologies, from remote-activated irrigation and to autonomous tractors.

Under the hood, what makes this system so effective is the collection and sharing of data. A common OS on the farm would also enable more connectivity between data sources like labor, equipment and yield, and it would also accelerate the development of new applications.

In farming, data is power. But while there’s a ton of data being collected on farms every day, it’s often siloed within a particular app and isn’t integrated with other programs collecting complementary information.

A grower may capture data from their fields with a drone, for example, but there may be no bridge to translate the visual data into actionable advice for applications. It’s up to the farmer to do the analysis, draw insights and find solutions — adding work to their plate. An operating system for the farm would allow these technologies to work in tandem and communicate their data to give farmers the answers they need.

Related: Key Agritech Trends To Expect In 2022

So, how do we get there?

If the case for a centralized farm OS seems clear cut, the realities of building one are more complex.

For starters, we are beginning to see proprietary end-to-end crop and farm management platforms that strive to bring diverse farming technologies into one hub. The problem is exactly that, however: These platforms are proprietary. Often, they integrate only a narrow range of tech and tools. Deeper still, some proprietary platforms drive the sales of chemical inputs, rather than prioritizing farmers’ best interests.

A better approach is a farm OS purpose-built by an independent agtech company. The ideal platform is compatible with a full range of tools. It should provide cutting-edge analysis but offer farmers a neutral and unbiased space. Finally, a true farm OS needs to be robust enough to accommodate new technologies but simple enough for anyone to use.

Admittedly, this is easier said than done. But when done right, these systems become so invaluable as to be almost unnoticed.

What’s clear is this kind of approach has the potential to transform farming. In a time of so much uncertainty for farmers, an integrated operating system puts growers back in the driver’s seat and allows them to have better visibility and control of their outcomes.

A robust OS would usher in a new chapter for agriculture, bringing with it improved profitability for the farmer and sustainability for the environment. It’s time we build a foundation for agtech that puts the power back where it belongs — in the hands of the stewards of the land. That starts with a farm OS.

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Why Soft Skills Are More Important Than Hard Cash for Your Acquisition’s Long-Term Growth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In 2021, 21,107 mergers and acquisitions took place, with 676 of these businesses being valued at more than $1 billion dollars. I’ve worked with some founders to determine which will create the most impact when going through the acquisition process.

Mergers and acquisitions happen across all industries for various reasons, from horizontal scalability to inorganic growth. Whatever the rationale behind your M&A is, finding an acquisition company is difficult and takes talent, but soft skills close the deal and promote long-term growth.

The integration of an acquisition company’s personnel is a delicate situation. You want to retain key employees to keep operations flowing smoothly but also successfully combine the two companies to avoid operational silos, calling on the need to take a strategic approach to company culture, pay and through the deploying of soft skills — all while planning on surprises throughout the process.

Corporate culture

Every company retains a culture. It’s how you do what you do within the workplace. From formal and informal systems to behaviors and values, your acquisition company is bound to have a specific company culture flowing through the work process.

You must determine which company cultures to keep, modify or eliminate. Improper attention placed on culture may land you discrimination lawsuits, poor productivity and high employee turnover. The Society for Human Resource (SHRM) outlines three broad culture categories to pay close attention to:

  1. Social culture: This category refers to the roles and responsibilities within the organization, including power distinctions.

  2. Material culture: This category includes everything and anything that people in the group make, develop or achieve, and how the employees function and support each other.

  3. Ideological culture: This category focuses on the values, ideals and beliefs of the group and highlights the emotional and intellectual guidelines employees follow.

Uncovering similarities and differences in these cultural categories is critical when acquiring a company. Similar traits between the acquiree and acquirer should be communicated to intertwine company culture. However, when changes are unavoidable, convene employees from both companies, and have a clear and open discussion on the expectations going forward.

Related: Cultural Fit Can Make or Break an M&A Deal

Employee pay

M&A comes with a large upfront monetary burden post-purchase. Day 1 of merging companies shouldn’t come with cutting pay or terminating employees. Keep everyone’s pay consistent for a few months to evaluate who key personnel is and where changes may be needed.

I’ve seen too many founders focus on the bottom line and neglect to look at the value that key employees in the acquiring company provide. This is detrimental to the long-term growth and integration of the acquisition company.

There’s no doubt that some positions will become redundant when you merge with a company in the same industry. In fact, a study by found that nearly 30% of positions can be eliminated. When terminations are unavoidable, be sure you are giving adequate time for employees to find new jobs.

We’ve all seen the power of social media when layoffs occur. Take Better.com for example. The CEO fired over 900 employees over a Zoom call right before the holidays, which negatively impacted brand image before their IPO.

Every employee in the acquisition company will need to have their pay, benefits and status reconsidered. The amount of hard cash you come to the table with determines how long you can keep redundant positions, how the pay will change and what benefits to offer. The benefits and pay in your company should not vastly differ from the acquisition company.

Related: Why Integration is Key for Seamless Transition in a M&A Deal

Work environment

You care about your team, and you like to show it. So, what work environment will you instill throughout operations and your employees? You want to avoid the “my way or the highway” approach and implement a team approach on all issues. A Gallup poll found that employees who are engaged lead to a 17% increase in productivity, boosting your profit. SHRM outlines six steps to promote inclusivity within the workplace:

  1. Educate leaders.

  2. Create an inclusion council.

  3. Commemorate employee differences.

  4. Listen to your employees.

  5. Hold effective meetings.

  6. Clearly communicate goals, and consistently review progress.

These steps must be present in both your current company and your acquisition. The work environment should be uniform throughout your entire company to see the most success.

Expect surprises

The M&A process isn’t going to be smooth . No one willingly airs out their dirty laundry, making it important to expect surprises. Extensive and clear terms can help avoid costly surprises; however, you still may find yourself facing the following unpleasant surprises:

  • Cross-border implications: This occurs when you underestimate the impact of purchasing a company with a different home location. Language barriers, time-zone differences and currency risk are all prevalent.

  • Compensation agreements: Companies generally have agreements in place for highly compensated executives that span multiple years. You may be required to uphold these agreements when you acquire a company, eating into profitability.

  • Due diligence inadequacies: Due diligence becomes more difficult when travel is involved. Reports might not be up to date, employee counts may be wrong, and operational deficiencies may exist.

Utilizing hard cash and soft skills can combat these surprises, allowing your acquisition company to begin operating at the level you expect.

Related: Successful M&A Strategies for Startups

Avoid failures

Would you be surprised to know that 70% to 90% of acquisitions fail, according to a Harvard study? People aren’t boxes. You can’t expect an acquisition company and its employees to operate exactly how you want from day 1. Acquisition failure leads to lost investor confidence, lower market share, unprofitable segments and declining brand image.

Having onsite advisors and completing extensive due diligence before the purchase boosts your chance of a successful acquisition. You want full transparency into what you are signing up for. In addition, don’t focus solely on the bottom line. Soft skills carry more weight when looking at the long-term success of your acquisition company.

Mergers and acquisitions come with many working parts, from figuring out the hard cash needed up front to how you will deploy soft skills to effectively manage your new team. I assure you that the growth and merger of your acquisition company requires these resources.

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The 6-Step Plan for Growing a Successful Coaching Business

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re thinking about starting a coaching business, it’s an intelligent choice. Many people have felt the need to help others, especially during a pandemic filled with isolation and uncertainty — and the numbers show this industry’s potential.

Coach Foundation shared that the estimated market value of the U.S. coaching industry increased from $707 million in 2011 to $1.34 billion in 2022. That’s an astronomical increase over eleven years. There’s no doubt that the market is rising rapidly.

But the real question is, how do you scale your business to stand out from the competition? Scalability comes with patience, careful planning, measurement and adjustment. I’ve laid out six steps you can use to scale your coaching business effectively:

Related: 4 Steps for Growing Your Coaching Business to $1 Million a Year

1. Pick a coaching model and style

Picking a coaching model will help you focus on what coaching style, pricing and you’re going for. Models include:

  • Private coaching: Also known as one-on-one coaching, private coaching usually entails one client attending weekly or bi-weekly sessions with a coach.

  • Group coaching: This is where you coach people in groups. It is more scalable than private coaching, as more revenue is generated for that single-hour session.

  • Business coaching: This is where you are brought into a business, and your job is to help coach employees for specifics, like leadership coaching.

  • Online coaching: This is one of the most popular ways to coach today. Simply sign up for an online course platform, and coach people via live stream.

  • In-person workshops: This is where coaches speak at conferences or host coaching workshops.

  • Hybrid coaching model: A popular choice. Coaches use two different coaching model types together. It’s quite common for coaches to use online coaching and workshops as their hybrid coaching model.

  • Selling products: Coaches create products and sell them via the web. This can be anything from an on-demand coaching course to a whitepaper, book or guide.

2. Find your niche and make this your focal point

Harvard Business Review shared an interesting note on coaching. It’s the bridge between consulting and therapy. Coaching is about focusing on the future, improving performance, achieving goals and helping people discover their path and purpose.

Because coaching has so much to do with personal and/or business goals, it’s important to share what coaching niche you want to fall under. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when trying to establish your niche:

  • What is your passion?

  • Have you gone through an experience that you think others will relate to?

  • What are you good at?

  • What problem are you attempting to solve?

  • What do your friends and family think you’re good at?

  • What do you love doing?

  • What do you think people will pay for?

Related: How to Create an Endless Stream of Clients for Your Coaching Business

3. Find your target audience

Your niche will determine who your target audience is. It’s an important step to identify your target audience, because it will show you what type of messaging you should use to speak to this group of people.

People like . They want to be spoken to as individuals and interact with coaches with relatable experiences and stories. Your target audience should be identified according to criteria such as demographics, experiences, hobbies, interests, goals, etc.

4. Craft your offering and sales funnel

You want your audience to visit your and understand who you are, what you offer and how much it costs. You can achieve a tidy and streamlined sales funnel by using landing pages on your website. Each landing page should share information about a particular service, so your audience doesn’t get distracted. Users should be able to sign up then and there.

Related: 4 Steps to Building a Successful Coaching Business

5. Advertise

This is where scalability can start getting expensive. But you need to drive traffic to your dedicated sales funnel landing pages. You can do this by using any of the following proven methods:

  • Facebook and Instagram ads: Use this affordable way to start growing an audience on social media as well as driving traffic to your website. It’s a great way of getting your brand and name out to the masses.

  • Google AdWords: This is a suitable pay-per-click advertising method if you’re targeting specific keywords. For example, “interview coaching” or “spiritual life coaching courses,” etc.

  • Email marketing: Once you build a client database, it’s a good idea to send out regular emails about your business. Try to use email as a tool to upsell, promote your blog and share more about yourself.

6. Automate as much as possible

The last step is about investing in a high-quality online coaching platform that will allow you to automate many of your tasks. Some of this automation occurs by using:

  • An automated email sequence to new clients

  • Calendars to book your appointments, which are embedded in your online coaching platform

  • Online coaching software that is already integrated with Zoom

  • Integrated ecommerce capabilities within the coaching platform, so all your merchandise and shipping information is in one space

  • Automated reports on a weekly or monthly basis

Coaching is an industry that has so much potential, and the best part is that anyone can do it. If you’re looking to scale up quickly and efficiently, follow the steps above, and remember to invest much time in planning.

Like many other projects we have in life, if you plan and stay ahead of the game, you’ll attract the right type of clients and stay relevant. So, look at your resources, invest in automation, and take the time to be as niche as possible. People love personalization and interacting with coaches who make an effort to stand out — it’s time to push the boundaries.

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Storytelling Can Change Your Brand Recognition. Here’s How.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mention storytelling, and the image in your mind is of a group of children sitting on a floor listening to someone read from a book or telling a story from memory. Where is the connection to digital marketing? It is a simple connection. Picture the children’s faces: they are spellbound and entirely focused on the story being told. Storytelling can help digital marketers engage with customers in an equally powerful way.

Related: The 5 Elements of Storytelling Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

The psychology of storytelling

Storytelling has a tradition that reaches back thousands of years but has not lost any of its strength. Human psychology researchers have found that people find it easier to relate to anything they hear through a narrative. While they may eventually remember a ‘s slogan or the tagline of an advert, a story creates an emotional connection.

That emotional connection runs more profound than a simple value proposition or a list of product features. that harness customer emotions find that customers engage with their messages more efficiently and remain engaged throughout. Humans find it far easier to tune out simple brand messages than well-told tales.

Consider social media channels, for example. Humans are drawn to other people’s stories. Many find it near-impossible to resist scrolling through a compelling life story and react to the sub-stories that constitute the overall narrative.

It may be hard to determine how much more engaged consumers are with brands that have mastered storytelling. But psychologists agree that a compelling narrative beats even the most customized tagline.

Related: Tap Into Customer Emotions For Marketing Success

How to use storytelling for your brand

How can brands tell a good story? Great stories harness the natural curiosity of humans. A mesmerizing story draws people in and keeps their attention. It is far more memorable and relatable than a list of product features.

Brands utilizing storytelling utilize this natural human curiosity to connect to potential customers. Potential customers want to know more about the company than the item they purchase, especially if it is highly valued. They want to know their chosen brand’s values and find out what motivates the team behind a brand name.

Of course, most businesses exist to create profits, but some of the most successful companies also have a bigger purpose. Take cosmetics company Dove, for example. For several years, the brand’s campaign for natural beauty has told a story of diverse female beauty and body positivity. Few, if any, of the brand messages focus on product features.

Online shopping behemoth is another example of storytelling to build a brand. Whether they love or loathe founder Jeff Bezos and the company he has made, most Amazon customers know Bezos’s “rags-to-riches” story. Today’s Amazon started as an internet book store, shipping orders from a garage.

How to tell a great brand story

Great stories come in different formats, but most have a standard structure, including a beginning, a crisis and a resolution. Brand teams can draw on this classic format to tell their story.

An idea is often all it takes to begin building a brand. Most startups are built on the premise of recognizing a problem and offering a new solution to the problem. Brand storytelling does not need a crisis as such. However, sharing some of the more challenging times of building a can render a brand approachable and draw an emotional reaction from consumers.

Emotions are a vital part of generating engagement. People buy from people rather than faceless corporations because they feel a connection and form a relationship. For many brands, working with brand ambassadors has become essential. Telling the ambassadors’ story interwoven with the brand’s own story builds a compelling narrative.

The resolution part of storytelling is when the brand becomes the solution to the problem that marked the story’s beginning. This is when professional marketers need to be careful not to present a sales pitch but to encourage genuine interactions between the audience and the brand.

How storytelling supports customer retention

Storytelling creates positive emotional connections between brands and consumers. As long as that connection exists, consumers stay loyal to the brand. Even though competitors may launch similar or superior products, the emotional connection tends to beat pure product features. Storytelling fosters loyalty more than other types of marketing can.

Once the initial brand story has been established, marketers can branch out and add new facets to the story. A simple way to imagine those extensions is to think of them as new chapters or sequels even.

For storytelling to succeed and result in long-term customer retention, the brand story must be consistent across different channels. This is true for the initial story as well as its sequels. Even if a brand changes direction, it is essential for the brand team to develop a connection from one part of the story to the next. Authenticity and consistency help with that.

Consistency in storytelling should never be underestimated. Most consumers interact with brands across several touchpoints. Potential customers soon notice a lack of authenticity in the brand voice without consistency. If that happens, the brand story can quickly appear fabricated. Once that happens, consumers may lose trust in the brand and desert it. Telling a real, consistent story helps avoid this from the beginning.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful tool for brand teams. Leading brands tell stories visually, verbally and through audio. Authentic stories connect with their audience emotionally and intensely. They engage consumers and support long-term customer retention better than most other marketing strategies.

Related: Why Storytelling Is a Skill that Every Entrepreneur Should Practice

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The Sales Game Has Changed. Here’s How to Keep Up.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

products and services to customers is the lifeblood of any organization. This is especially critical for small businesses and new entrepreneurs. Without a constant inflow of new customers, many businesses risk losing their source of revenue and profit. But has it changed? Yes, it has.

The challenge is that the traditional model has become mostly irrelevant. In the past, a salesperson would engage customers early in the process and help them identify and understand their problems. In today’s digital world, customers have numerous resources available to them to troubleshoot their challenges and find their own solutions. In many cases, customers have already decided on their desired solution and even the vendor they intend to use before a salesperson is even engaged.

To make matters worse, surveys have found that salespeople only spend a small percentage of their time (approximately 35 percent) on selling activities. Most of these inefficiencies are a result of poorly maintained customer databases and ineffective screening of leads by the department.

Entrepreneurs need to take a new approach to improve their sales efforts. The game has changed. The modern sales process begins with new marketing strategies that can help develop leads before your gets involved. Leveraging simple strategies can significantly improve the results of your sales activities.

1. Focus on nurturing leads

The sales process today takes significantly longer than it did in the past. One study found that most B2B sales take at least four months. This requires companies to spend more time and effort on building trust and maintaining relationships. An effective strategy is to proactively use targeted content. This will help demonstrate that your company is the expert and guide them to potential solutions. Your ultimate goal is to prepare them for the sales process.

  • Informational content: There is a wide range of options when it comes to providing customers with content, including email distribution lists, blog posts, instructional videos and podcasts.
  • Multi-channel marketing: Since the sales process is longer, nurturing relationships with customers requires more interactions. Most customers require a minimum of 10 touches before they decide to purchase a product or service. Bombarding them on a single platform can be overwhelming. Instead, targeting them across multiple channels can improve the quality of these interactions.
  • Personalization: Generic cold call scripts and sales letters are no longer effective. Customers want to feel special and not just another number in the sales cycle. Being able to personalize communications and content can improve their experience with your company.
  • Engaging sales team earlier: Marketing has taken the front seat in building customer relationships early in the process. But you still want your customers to be engaged by a real person. The earlier you do this, the more influence you will have on their decision-making.

Related: 7 Strategies for Winning Back Customers Post-Covid

2. Create a lead scoring system

Unfortunately, too many companies focus on demographic criteria to help qualify leads for their sales team. This often leads to poor quality leads that consume a substantial amount of your sales team’s precious time. Having your sales team focus on buyers who aren’t quite ready or poorly researched leads who aren’t decision-makers can come with significant costs.

Instead, businesses should develop a scoring system that allows the sales team to focus on buyers who have the highest potential to convert. For example, you can assign points to leads based on their activity, such as accessing certain pages on your website, downloading free information or signing up for email lists.

Related: How Do Your Sales Leads Measure Up?

3. Automate the marketing process

Only a small percentage of customers who view your marketing content or visit your website will eventually convert into real sales. Automating marketing tools and processes allows low-quality leads to naturally be filtered out of the process. Leveraging tools such as social media scheduling, sales funnels and automated email campaigns can increase your effectiveness. It also helps you scale your marketing to interact with thousands of potential customers simultaneously.

Related: 5 Marketing Strategies Business Owners Should Start in 2022

4. Get the sales and marketing team aligned

Oftentimes, poor leads and ineffective sales processes are a result of the marketing and sales teams working toward different objectives. By aligning your sales and marketing efforts, you can create a comprehensive strategy that leverages the strength and expertise of both teams.

The sales team can help the marketing team better define their customer persona to improve the search for quality leads. At the same time, the marketing team can help the sales team better understand their market research to understand which levers work the best with certain customers.

In summary, marketing is forever changing and so should you as an entrepreneur. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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How to Buy Digital Real Estate in the Metaverse

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Those who are interested in the metaverse know it provides a to live, work and play with others. But even those who haven’t fully dived into the pace are scooping up the opportunity to invest and turn a profit in the metaverse by virtual real estate properties.



Meta Residence

Yes, you heard that right, you can buy real estate and leverage it just as you could in real life by populating it with interactive experiences like events, concerts, 3D objects, games and a marketplace to sell assets such as your own NFT creations.

But that’s not all — in some cases, metaverse real estate and physical real estate have started to converge. The MetaReal mansion is a real-life home with an identical virtual mansion in the metaverse that will be listed for auction in early 2023. That means the purchaser of the home will also acquire rights to the NFT asset. This very well could be the tipping point for adopting NFTs in the real world.

Related: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying NFTs

What is a metaverse real estate NFT?

In real life, we use deeds and titles to prove ownership of the land we own. In the metaverse, we use blockchain technology (ledger) to keep track of ownership records in the form of an NFT, or non-fungible token. This refers to an asset that has a unique code and metadata with no other asset holding equal value. Assets are bought and sold with cryptocurrencies using blockchain technology, ensuring the transaction is incredibly secure and ownership cannot be counterfeited.

By purchasing a metaverse real estate NFT plot, you are purchasing a one-of-a-kind asset that is unique to you and you alone. Unlike cookie-cutter homes that exist in every neighborhood, your metaverse plot is unlike any other. This allows you to develop and use the plot as you please and is only limited by your imagination.

Related: How NFTs Drive Brand Engagement and Opportunity

What are the metaverse real estate marketplaces?

The main places available today are Deceltraland, CryptoVoxels (now called Voxels), Worldwide Webb, Treeverse and The Sandbox. But those platforms are not the only places to purchase plots, and as more people realize the power of buying in the metaverse, more platforms will likely come available.

Because most land is sold on the secondary market or via third-party marketplaces at this time, it can be easier for new buyers to purchase real estate, because purchases can be made using Ethereum. Some marketplaces use their own for purchases on their platform. For example, The Sandbox uses SAND and Decentraland uses MANA, but it’s not difficult to swap for different coins if needed.

Image credit: Meta Residence

Just as you would look at a city map or real estate broker website to compare prices, information and the exact location of the plot of land you are interested in purchasing, you should do the exact same thing in the metaverse. Real estate marketplaces provide the same comparative information for each plot, which allows you to make informed purchasing decisions.

Metaverse real estate plots also provide something no real-life plot offers: Friends, family, coworkers, associates, customers and even celebrities can visit and interact by simply logging into their computer. No travel time, plane rides or traffic. No matter where you are in the world, you and your networking circle can access your metaverse properties 24/7.

Related: 3 Compelling NFT Projects Your Company Can Learn From

Why use NFTs for real estate?

It’s exciting to think that by the end of 2022 metaverse real estate is estimated to do $1 billion in transactions, but don’t let (fear of missing out) force you to make a snap decision. This space is not regulated like normal banking and investing — some people even compare it to the wild west. Like any other investment you make, do your research before diving in.

There has been an increase in entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their portfolios into assets that have the potential to yield a passive income. Many are considering the options available through metaverse real estate such as renting, flipping, selling their own creations and hosting events.

But it’s not just entrepreneurs who are investing in metaverse real estate. Due to the unique purchasing options, NFT real estate is available to anyone looking for a unique way to create passive income, host events and sell merchandise, including businesses, corporations, gamers, investors, athletes and the average Joe.

Related: 3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Expand Their Financial Portfolio Using NFTs

How do real estate NFTs work?

Real estate NFTs work just like any other NFT.

The buyer purchases the NFT with the cryptocurrency the seller requests. Once the purchase is made, the NFT is transferred to the buyer’s virtual wallet, which gives them complete rights to the plot of virtual land. The new owner can keep it and use it as they wish or flip it for a potential profit.

The difference between real estate NFTs and other NFTs is the option to develop and change the plot. Just like when purchasing a physical plot in real life, an NFT plot allows you to develop the land, rent it out or resell it. The only difference is that in the metaverse, real estate is 3D blocks, not a physical piece of land.

But don’t think that 3D blocks limit the potential for a metaverse plot — you have the power to use your plot as you wish, which includes inviting clients or customers to virtual events, developing the land, opening a marketplace and so much more.

Related: Why Intellectual Property Will Dominate NFTs

How do NFTs work in physical real estate?

NFTs are making the jump from the digital world to the physical world. Kevin O’Leary has been very vocal about using the technology of the unique code and metadata to authenticate ownership of physical products like luxury watches. Watchmakers listened and began implementing this technology just in the past year. Forgery is unfortunately a massive global , and it happens all too easily by simply replicating the certificate of authenticity. That can’t happen with an NFT due to blockchain technology that offers a level of security unavailable until now.

This technology has the potential to change how all goods are protected from fraud and forgery — including the real estate market — as owner authenticity is unable to be duplicated, which makes your purchase highly unique and secure.

With high-end retailers such as Rolex testing the waters by implementing NFT technology to verify authenticity, numerous other industries, including real estate, could eventually begin using it as well. It’s only a matter of time before using NFTs for authentification becomes the norm, and growth is only dependent on how fast industries can adapt and adopt the hack-proof technology to prevent fraudulent activities.

The 4 steps to buying real estate in the metaverse

To purchase metaverse real estate, you need to follow these four steps.

1. Open an exchange

Open an exchange to deposit your local funds and buy crypto. Exchanges provide tutorials and step-by-step instructions on how to fund your exchange, so don’t feel intimidated if this is your first time using one. Binance, Gemini, Kucoin and Coinbase are all trusted exchanges.

Tip: It is best to create and use an encrypted email specifically for anything you do in crypto land including setting up your exchange. Proton Mail is an option.

Tip: Always send small test transfers first! In many cases, the first coin you choose to purchase is ETH (Ethereum). Depending on the real-estate platform you choose to use, you might need to swap your ETH for whichever coin the platform uses.

2. Create a digital wallet

Create a wallet for your crypto that will allow you to purchase the real estate you are interested in. The most popular is MetaMask for the Chrome browser however you can look into Coinbase Wallet or Fortmatic.

Tip: Keep and save your wallet’s secret keys and passwords in a safe place and NEVER share them with anyone. There are many scams that lead you to believe you need to share them — don’t!

Tip: Now you can send your crypto from your exchange to your wallet. Always do small test transfers first. Most exchanges have great tutorials and step-by-step instructions on how to transfer your crypto.

3. Research land

Decide which platform you want to use to purchase real estate, and create an account by connecting your wallet. Right now a popular platform is The Sandbox where brands, businesses and celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton have their land however, Decentraland, Voxels, Worldwide Webb and Treeverse are other options.

Tip: Most of these platforms are geared towards gamers, but you don’t have to play games to invest.

4. Create a marketplace account to buy NFTs

In many cases, you will have to purchase land on the secondary market. It’s a good idea to create an OpenSea.io account to do so by connecting your Chrome browser wallet before you go shopping.

Tip: You need to make sure you have enough of the required crypto coin in your wallet for the purchase of the land and gas fees (transaction fee). ETH (Ethereum) is typically used on the secondary market.

Now you’re ready to go real estate shopping. Here’s what that might look like. I’ll use The Sandbox for this example of buying land.

  1. Go to www.sandbox.game and click “Sign in.”
  2. Connect your wallet — it recommends MetaMask.
  3. Click the “Buy Land” button on the homepage.
  4. This will take you to the OpenSea.io marketplace.
  5. Filter land from low to high prices.
  6. Choose the land you want it’s an orange box in the image. You can view it on The Sandbox map for a better idea of location by clicking the arrow in a box on the upper right corner of OpenSea.
  7. Make sure your wallet has enough of the coin required to purchase the land, plus enough for the gas fees.
  8. Click “Buy Now” or make an offer.
  9. Click “Complete Checkout.”
  10. Your wallet will open in your browser and show you the total amount including the gas fees.
  11. Approve the purchase.
  12. Now you’ll see the land in your Opensea account as an NFT and in your Sandbox account ready for you to build on.

Don’t let the FOMO get to you and force you to make purchases without researching first and or find a trusted crypto expert like Dan Hollings. But once you invest in NFT real estate, you likely won’t want to stop.

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End of the Stock Market Rally or Pause for a Breather?

The S&P 500 (SPY) rally has taken a breather after hitting the 200 day moving average. It’s certainly possible that we have topped and are immediately headed lower, it’s possible that this dip will resolve higher, and/or we could chop around in a range for some period of time. Given the market’s momentum and our above-average cash position, I’m comfortable with our current holdings and allocations as long as we stay above 4,200. Therefore in today’s commentary, I want to just share some brief comments on the market, then I want to dive into some of the various sectors that we have discussed in the past – auto parts, energy, biotechs, and travel – and provide some updates. Read on below to find out more….



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(Please enjoy this updated version of my weekly commentary published August 18th, 2022 from the POWR Stocks Under $10 newsletter).

Over the last week, the S&P 500 (SPY) is up a little more than 1%. Although prices are higher, there are some subtle changes under the surface.

Market breadth has been quite weak on the move higher, and leading sectors have pulled back sharply.

Still, the broader market remains firmly in a pattern of higher highs and higher lows. To be frank, I don’t have a particular bias about the market’s near-term direction.

As noted in the intro, I’m willing to stick to our current positions and allocations above 4,200 but would definitely do some profit-taking if we dip below those levels.

Now let’s look at various market topics…

Auto Parts

One silver lining is that auto production is back to full capacity. This has multiple benefits including a boost to economic activity and relief on the inflation front as vehicles make up about 11% of CPI.

In our portfolio, we have targeted auto parts stocks and are up 30%+ on 2 positions. And, this tailwind to earnings should persist for multiple quarters given that cars were underbuilt for so long.

Energy

Energy has been interesting, and the market has had considerable divergence.

But, the major headlines is oil below $90 which seemed inconceivable a couple of months ago. In fact, many commodities are now below pre-Russian invasion prices.

The major factors are that Russian oil is being bought into the market, Chinese demand is down, and the SPR release. Another potential bearish catalyst would be an agreement with Iran.

On the bullish side, the long-term tightness in the oil market still remains especially if Chinese demand picks up as it should at some point.

European prices for electricity and natural gas continue to rise and could cause a crisis in the case of an extreme winter.

Finally, it seems unlikely that energy prices won’t start rising if the recovery continues. And at some point, higher energy prices could lead the Fed to short-circuit the recovery as it was the crux of the inflation problem.

Biotechs

The biotech ETF, IBB, was up nearly 30% until early this week. Since then, prices have pulled back along with other growth stocks.

Although, some near-term consolidation is likely, this sector remains my pick for outperformance in the next bull market (regardless if its started already or we have to wait a few more months).

In fact, it reminds me of energy stocks in the spring of 2020 which is a sector that no one was really interested in and was being ignored by institutions.

Biotechs are in a similar place and offer tremendous value, while all the longer-term growth catalysts remain intact.

Travel

Another part of the market that I continue to like is the travel sector. Travel is booming which is clear from the earnings reports of hotels and online booking sites or for anyone who has traveled recently.

In fact, the strength in the sector adds credence to the “soft landing’ case as it’s hard to imagine a brutal recession if one part of the economy is booming.

Not to mention that there is more potential for growth as the sector remains about a million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.

Summary

The stock market (SPY) is at an interesting inflection point. This is not a time to take big swings.

Instead, we will ride the rally if it keeps going higher but are prepared to lighten up if we break our pattern of higher highs and higher lows.

What To Do Next?

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All the Best!

Jaimini Desai
Chief Growth Strategist, StockNews
Editor, POWR Stocks Under $10 Newsletter


SPY shares . Year-to-date, SPY has declined -9.24%, versus a % rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Jaimini Desai

Jaimini Desai has been a financial writer and reporter for nearly a decade. His goal is to help readers identify risks and opportunities in the markets. He is the Chief Growth Strategist for StockNews.com and the editor of the POWR Growth and POWR Stocks Under $10 newsletters. Learn more about Jaimini’s background, along with links to his most recent articles.

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The post End of the Stock Market Rally or Pause for a Breather? appeared first on StockNews.com

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Is Sanofi A Buy, Despite Recent Stumbles?

Pharmaceutical stocks are frequently subject to whiplash trade, and that’s evident now with sharp moves lower in names such as Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY), GSK (NYSE: GSK), and Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TEVA).



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Price swings in that industry are often determined by the results of clinical trials or other studies. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Sanofi, which offers a lesson in the risks inherent in pharma stocks, even among well-established large caps.

Sanofi shares gapped down 5.87% Wednesday, closing at $42.18, on news that the company would end two studies of potential breast cancer treatment amcenestrant. The studies were halted following an interim analysis indicating that the drug, used in tandem with Pfizer’s (NYSE: PFE) breast cancer drug Ibrance, “did not meet the prespecified boundary for continuation in comparison with the control arm,” according to a Sanofi news release.

“While we are disappointed by this outcome, our research will further the scientific understanding of endocrine therapies in people with breast cancer,” said Sanofi’s global head of research and development, John Reed, in the release.

Does Sanofi Still Seem Promising?

Not all analysts believe the stock is doomed, however. For example, Morningstar’s Damien Conover wrote, “[D]rug development is risky, and failures are common. We do not see these pipeline setbacks as overly concerning, and we continue to believe Sanofi will be able to develop the next generation of drugs to offset eventual patent losses, which is a key factor supporting its wide moat. Also, the limited patent losses over the next several years also provide time for Sanofi to refill its late-stage pipeline with several early-stage drugs that look encouraging.”

MarketBeat analyst ratings show the consensus on Sanofi remains a “moderate buy.”

Wednesday’s gap-down came just one week after the stock plummeted 7.11% in advance of a trial surrounding heartburn treatment Zantac. Sanofi, along with Pfizer and GSK and others, sold the drug for periods of time before the FDA ordered Zantac pulled from the market in April 2020.

The stock is down 16.44% in the past month and 12.94% year-to-date.

Sanofi shares opened lower on Thursday.

GSK shares were also hammered on the Zantac news. The stock fell 4.32% on August 10 and another 6.71% the next day.

Plaintiffs have brought thousands of suits against drug companies that sold Zantac, claiming various types of cancer resulted from taking the medication. In the first trial, which was scheduled to begin in Illinois next week, the plaintiff dropped his case, saying he was too ill to proceed. However, he has the right to refile his case within the next year.
Is Sanofi A Buy, Despite Recent Stumbles?

Lagging Broader Healthcare Sector

Like Sanofi, GSK was already tumbling ahead of the Zantac news. Shares are down 16.41% year-to-date.

Both Sanofi and GSK are based outside the U.S., meaning they are not tracked by the S&P 500. However, because the S&P large-cap healthcare sector is where they would otherwise be indexed, if they were domestic companies, it’s a valid comparison.

The healthcare sector is down just 4.94% year-to-date. That much better sector performance is driven by big components like UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), both of which boast strong 2022 gains.

Meanwhile, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, which, at $11.54 billion is on the lower end of the large-cap classification, shed 10.63% this week, but still boasts a year-to-date gain of 24.97%.

Shares fell 9.25% Wednesday, closing at $10.01, following the company’s voluntary recall of two lots of hypertension medication Matzim LA. Testing revealed that the tablets were not dissolving properly.

More Companies Involved With Zantac

Teva is also connected to the Zantac case. According to Bloomberg reports this week, Teva and other generic drug makers, including Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO) and Dr. Reddy’s (NYSE: RDY) agreed to a combined settlement totaling $500,000.

Perrigo and Dr. Reddy’s are both trading lower this week.

As you can see from all the recent news-driven declines in pharma stocks, the entire industry is particularly susceptible to developments surrounding clinical trials, lawsuits and other events. It’s always incumbent upon investors to understand the industry risks inherent in any stock, but that’s especially true when it comes to pharma, when big news could break at any time that could send your stock tumbling.

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Tesla’s Cybertruck Will Cost More and Launch Later

Consumers will have to continue to wait for Tesla’s electric pickup truck, known as the Cybertruck.

At a shareholder meeting in early August, Elon Musk announced the Cybertruck would be more expensive than the originally-announced $39,900, according to The Verge. He also said in July the car would not come until 2023, another delay.

“I hate to give a little bit of bad news,” he said at the meeting.

The major factor driving a potential price increase, Musk said, is inflation. The product was first announced in 2019.

“It was unveiled in 2019… a lot has changed since then,” Musk said at the meeting, according to IFL Science. “So the specs and the pricing will be different… but there’s no way to sort of have anticipated quite the inflation that we’ve seen and the various issues.”

This is another delay in an ongoing series of delays.

According to Tesla’s website, the Cybertruck design will be blocky and angular, “with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton.” It also has “vault-like” storage.

The company is currently not taking reservations for the car but a crowdsourced report from Wedbush put the number at over 650,000 in June 2020, per Electrek. As The Verge noted, Rivian and Ford, Tesla competitors, are hard at work at bringing their electric trucks, the F-150 Lightning and the R1T truck, respectively, to market.

You can put in a reservation for an R1T truck, but deliveries aren’t expected to begin until late 2023, per Rivian’s website. You cannot purchase a F-150 Lightning retail but can contact a local dealer.

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How Venture Capital Can Help Young People Make an Impact

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Gen Z and millennials are more impact-minded than any previous generation. Growing up as digital natives, they’ve been exposed to the challenges facing our world in real time and are highly aware of the need to make a difference.

Constant headlines remind them of the mounting urgency to take action on climate change, social injustice and income inequality. They see firsthand how tech can be used to create solutions to these pressing problems. And they’re not content to wait for someone else to fix things. They want to be the ones making an impact.

They’re also well-positioned to drive change. As Deloitte reports, 71% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z report feeling “financially secure,” and this isn’t without reason: Millennials have higher inflation-adjusted incomes, higher net worths and more savings than previous generations at the same age.

Young people are also more educated than ever before, with 69% of millennials having some education beyond high school, compared to just 54% of boomers. With all of this knowledge and opportunity at their disposal, it’s no wonder that young people are focused on making a difference.

Related: Why Millennials and Generation Z Love Impact Investing

Venture capital as the outlet for change

Venture capitalists have always been interested in making , of course, but there’s a growing recognition that VC can also be a force for good. As more young people enter the workforce with the desire to make an impact, VCs are increasingly looking for ways to invest in companies that are solving social and environmental problems.

One way VCs are doing this is by investing in sustainable enterprises, or businesses that combine a profit motive with a social or environmental mission. A recent Bain survey highlights that 70% of limited partners (LPs) include an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach to investing, and 85% of those LPs have an ESG policy fully or partially implemented in .

VCs are also investing in companies that are using technology to solve problems in areas like healthcare, education and energy. These are the kinds of companies that can have a real impact on people’s lives, and young people are increasingly interested in working for them.

The trend towards impact-focused investing is only going to continue as more young people enter the workforce with a desire to make a difference. VCs who want to stay ahead of the curve should start looking for ways to invest in companies that are making an impact. It’s not just good for the world; it’s good for .

Related: Why Startups Focused on Solving Social Problems Are Attracting Investors

Barriers in the way

Venture capital investing, however, is not well-known for its inclusivity. High capital requirements, network-based dealmaking and lack of transparency can all act as barriers to entry for young people who want to get involved in the industry.

In lieu of opportunities to invest in private companies, many young people are turning to the public markets to make their impact. But while investing in publicly-traded companies can be a way to make a difference, it’s not the same as investing in a company from the ground up.

Not just that, but public markets are failing to provide the kinds of returns that young people need to make a real impact. For example, the S&P 500 has only returned an average 11% internal rate of return (IRR), according to Cambridge Associates, while the average VC fund generates a 19% IRR.

With inflation eating into returns and consistently low bond yields, economists are forecasting “dismal returns” for the next generation of investors. In light of this, young people need to be thinking about how they can get involved in the venture capital industry if they want to make a real difference with their money.

While VC has long been the domain of the wealthy and well-connected, there are signs that this is changing. Platforms like Gridline, an alternative investment platform, are opening up access to the industry by enabling individuals to invest in a curated selection of professionally managed alternative investment funds.

Also, the SEC has recently relaxed the definition of an accredited investor, which opens up opportunities for a wider pool of people to get involved in VC. With more people than ever before looking to get into the industry, there has never been a better time to be a young person in venture capital.

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