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- 10/12/12--11:27: _14 Most Common Misc...
- 10/12/12--14:57: _One Way The UK Is T...
- 10/19/12--12:37: _INSTANT MBA: Becomi...
- 10/21/12--15:34: _MICKEY DREXLER: The...
- 10/24/12--07:44: _11 Tough Truths Tha...
- 11/01/12--08:17: _5 Leadership Lesson...
- 11/09/12--06:33: _When He Was 13, Spo...
- 11/12/12--12:06: _A Lot Can Go Wrong ...
- 11/13/12--05:00: _Don't Outsource The...
- 11/14/12--09:16: _6 Brilliant TED Tal...
- 11/14/12--10:05: _Being An Entreprene...
- 11/15/12--09:46: _Even Professors Are...
- 11/15/12--13:01: _INSTANT MBA: You Do...
- 11/20/12--08:17: _4 Ways To 'Win Frie...
- 11/20/12--10:38: _Publisher Tells Us ...
- 11/21/12--06:34: _How To Grow Your Co...
- 11/21/12--11:49: _There's Hope For Th...
- 11/22/12--10:53: _The Brilliant Pivot...
- 11/22/12--13:23: _America's Two Earli...
- 11/20/12--05:00: _Why Entrepreneur’s ...
- 10/12/12--11:27: 14 Most Common Misconceptions About Entrepreneurship
- 10/19/12--12:37: INSTANT MBA: Becoming An Entrepreneur Is A Family Decision
- 10/21/12--15:34: MICKEY DREXLER: The World Has Become 'Homogenized'
- 10/24/12--07:44: 11 Tough Truths That Every Great Leader Knows
- 11/01/12--08:17: 5 Leadership Lessons I Learned While Running A Marathon
Instead of trying to pack a years worth of sales results into the 4th quarter, focus on making progress when you don’t think you need it. Make a little progress each day.
The success of your team depends on you supporting them — pushing them to dig deeper, providing them the inspiration to keep moving, and encouraging them to make it to the finish line.
Business change is best done as a series of small deliberately-timed efforts. Changing anything important takes time. So let it take time. Be stronger at the finish than when you start out.
You will hurt your team if you push them too hard without enough training. They need time and encouragement and a good leader showing them the pace.
Nothing hard gets done without a lot of effort. If you aren’t willing to go the extra mile, you shouldn’t take the first step. And you shouldn’t demand it of anyone else around you.
- 11/12/12--12:06: A Lot Can Go Wrong If Your Startup's Not Prepared For Success
- 11/13/12--05:00: Don't Outsource The Work You Can Teach Yourself To Do
- 11/14/12--09:16: 6 Brilliant TED Talks That Every Business Leader Should Watch
- 11/14/12--10:05: Being An Entrepreneur Is Good For Your Health
- 11/15/12--13:01: INSTANT MBA: You Don't Really Know What Your Customers Want
- 11/20/12--08:17: 4 Ways To 'Win Friends And Influence People' In The Digital Age
- 11/21/12--06:34: How To Grow Your Company Like Zappos
- 11/21/12--11:49: There's Hope For The Lost Generation
- 11/20/12--05:00: Why Entrepreneur’s Need To Take Their Intuition Seriously
- Diversify your investments. Just as you would with your financial investments, you want a diverse support and advisory network as you build your business. Seek advice and feedback from multiple directions on the work that you are doing. No one individual will have everything you need, so rely on your head and heart to determine where you spend your time and money. And remember, you are often your greatest asset.
- Credibility matters. Ask to speak with references. Ask for specifics on education, training, real-world experience or anything else that matters to you. If someone you’re working or partnering with has what you’re looking for, they will be happy to share it with you. In the coaching world, the International Coach’s Federation (ICF) is the accrediting body for professional coaches worldwide. The ICF holds all of its members to specific levels of training, experience and continued education. While certifications such as these don’t guarantee results, they do demonstrate a professional commitment on the part of the individual.
- Trust yourself first. I believe that we thrive when we ask for help and collaborate with others. However, at the end of the day — this is your business. When your intuition alarms sound, it’s time to pay attention. Your initial read on your intuitive hit may not be correct, but the fact that it’s telling you something matters. As the CEO of a business, it’s important to hone and trust those internal cues so that you can be agile, flexible and resilient in your business decisions.
Thinking about starting your own business? Intrigued by the idea of being your own boss?
Check out these common misconceptions about entrepreneurship, from young professionals who are living the build-your-own-business dream. Via the Young Entrepreneur Council:
1. You need to be niche
“Entrepreneurs always worry about finding an incredible differentiation point so they can outwit and outsmart their competitors all the time. The fact is, a niche does not guarantee success and it won’t save your company from failure either. Businesses should be built if they will offer a valuable product or service at a reasonable price.”
2. You have to be a certain age
“Outside of Silicon Valley and a few other highly entrepreneurial areas, most people don’t believe that it’s possible to start a business at any age—whether it be an eBay selling business as a teen or a full blown startup during high school. With the Internet, anything is possible, no matter what age you are and no matter where you’re located in the world.”
3. You have unlimited confidence
“It’s natural to doubt when it comes to promoting your business, new programs or yourself as an expert. Entrepreneurship is about getting out there and doing it anyway, even if the fear, worry and doubts outweigh your confidence.”
4. You’re an overnight success
“A debilitating mindset I see is that overnight success is possible. These young entrepreneurs are inspired to start their own business by witnessing individuals that are currently successful. They study the success story instead of the origin of that success story, which often includes massive struggle prior to the breakthrough. Truth is, it takes ten years to become an overnight success.”
5. It’s all about the idea
“I regularly receive calls from friends who have the next “big idea.” But they call it quits when it comes time to really start building something. The truth is that entrepreneurship is 10 percent idea and 90 percent execution. Most entrepreneurs’ ideas change and evolve over time, but their success comes from being able to execute on their vision and make adjustments as necessary.”
6. You make your own hours
I’ve lost count of the number of times people have told me how great it must be for me because, as the owner, I get to make my own hours. What they don’t realize is that since it’s your business, it’s incredibly difficult to ever turn it off—something I’m personally trying to work on. You are thinking about a thousand different things and are therefore always working.” - Justin Beegel | Founder, Infographic World, Inc.
7. You’re sexy, rich and taking over the world
“Entrepreneurship is not always sexy, entrepreneurs aren’t instantly rich and they aren’t always in it to take over the world. Sometimes they go from meeting with a client to cleaning the bathroom because it’s ALL their responsibility. Sometimes they don’t take paychecks for years and sometimes, they don’t want to change the whole world—just improve their industry or make their mark.”
8. You’ve gotta risk it all
“Many people think starting a business is extremely risky. It doesn’t have to be. The best entrepreneurs I know are extremely risk averse, testing everything to make sure they’re making the best decisions. It’s much more risky to be dependent on one company to give you a “corporate allowance” each month, which can end at any moment. That’s risky.”
9. You work all the time
“There are two types of entrepreneurs. There are the hard-working founders that live to work and work to live. They are constantly at the office changing the world. That’s great, but it doesn’t apply to all entrepreneurs. Others start businesses to experience the opposite effect. They want more freedom and want to work less. This type of person has been called a “lifestyle entrepreneur.”"
10. You’re the next Zuckerberg
“Mainstream people think that entrepreneurs are like Mark Zuckerburg, Steve Jobs or other tech giants. In reality, the vast majority of entrepreneurs went to college, got started later in life and are not geniuses. They come in all shapes and sizes, just like their businesses do.”
11. Debt is absolutely necessary
“I’m tired of seeing entrepreneurs preach that you’re not passionate about your idea unless you’re willing to give up everything for it. Plenty of people start successful business without ever going into debt. We’ve always run our business as a blend between consulting and software. The consulting made us profitable from day one, which has given us the resources and time to build out the software.”
12. You’re gonna make it on your own
“Starting a business by yourself is a recipe for failure. Too many cooks in the kitchen is no good, but you have to find that a partner in whom you believe. Your partner will help you fight those inevitable fires, help you celebrate the little “wins” and generally keep you sane. A partner will also make sure that the company thrives if you ever need to take a day—or even just a few hours—off.”
13. You can still separate personal from professional
“When you become an entrepreneur, your business and success become an obsession. You can’t just turn off your brain when you come home from work, an idea that requires quick action can happen at any time (while sleeping, in the shower). There is no wall separating your personal life and work. But don’t worry, it’s still fun!”
14. You’re born with it
“Many people believe that you are a born entrepreneur, which is true for many people, but that does not discount those who were not born with the business skills or desires. Great entrepreneurs are made through nurture, not through nature. If you are passionate and have a great idea, you too can become an entrepreneur as long as you never quit and see your idea through to the end.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Get our best career advice delivered to your inbox. Sign up today!
Read more posts on Brazen Life »
The UK youth unemployment crisis is staggering, with 1.1 million 16- to 24-year-olds out of work.
Outrage from young people only grew when the government froze the minimum wage for workers under 21 earlier this year.
While lawmakers have been taking steps toward solving the problem, groups in the UK like the Work and Pensions Select Committee do not believe it's been enough.
Maybe that's why the government — and Prime Minister David Cameron — decided to back Youth Enterprise Live 2012, a huge event this weekend that will connect young people to entrepreneurs, industry professionals and employment experts. We briefly caught up with the event's co-founder, Stephen Farrow, who says 7,000 youth are registered to attend.
Farrow told us that he founded the event after seeing firsthand how young people are stereotyped in the workforce. "I worked on a huge show in the UK, a business startup show that has been running for 12 years," he says, "but we alienated young people, which stopped them from coming to the event. One of my roles was literally to speak to colleges and universities and tell them that their students couldn't register for the event. In hindsight that was a pretty bad thing because realistically, there are a strong amount of young entrepreneurs going into business in the UK."
While this event is a great move on the government's part, it's just one step toward resolving the crisis.
“It’s a family decision when you decide to become an entrepreneur. So you need to make sure that you have a family decision when you’re coming into this, because when you start a company and you’re bringing other people into the fold, other people’s livelihoods are on the line because of you.”
Becoming an entrepreneur can be a great decision, but it’s not just your decision, says Brooks. It’s crucial to be aware of the needs of those who depend on you. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always lead to success, and it can be time-intensive.
Be sure to talk to your family and friends about any concerns they may have about how the decision could affect your relationships. Talking openly as you’re initially getting your endeavor off the ground will help ensure their support of your decision.
“It’s important to understand that responsibility and make sure that you’re stacking your deck for success.”
Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to email@example.com. Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.
J. Crew CEO and former Gap chief Mickey Drexler spoke at a Makers of American Fashion event hosted by Martha Stewart at Grand Central Terminal in New York City recently, report Lisa Lockwood and Jean E. Palmieri at Women's Wear Daily.
He had just come back from an overseas trip, and had something important to say about the state of brands around the world.
"My personal opinion about the world is that it's homogenized," said Drexler.
Now that products are so ubiquitous — as Drexler said, he saw the "same look, the same goods and the same brands all over the place — nothing's all that special anymore.
"Today, there's no aspiration because every high school kid has it," he said.
What's the mean for entrepreneurs?
Drexler believes that customers love scarcity, and to stand out in a world of sameness you have to be a "contrarian." To do that, entrepreneurs have to stay focused and stick to their vision.
One of the greatest traits in leaders is that they are able to handle being at the top so effortlessly that you wonder if they ever doubted themselves.
According to Deirdre Maloney, a speaker and author, these people do struggle, but they've also mastered how they're viewed by others.
"Great leaders know that every step they take, every decision they make, matters in the end," she wrote in her book "Tough Truths."
"They know they must strategize carefully, then act aggressively. They know they must think ahead — not just to their next step — but to the many steps after it. They know they must always be on the look-out for opportunities, and for others who will fight them for the same."
In her book, Maloney shared 11 tough leadership lessons that aren't usually discussed by those on top.
Everything is politics
This is not about the politicians, but about the politics that we have to face every day, because "we interact with people who have what we want, and who want what we have to give."
This is not a bad thing.
"Whether we want our boss to give us a raise, our child to stop squirming on the airplane, or the department store to take back our purchase when we don't have a receipt, every single interaction involves influencing and persuading others in order to get what we want.
And great leaders understand that this persuasion is everywhere and that not only do you have to have great work ethic, you also have to have the "ability to have relatable, effective and influential relationships."
Even when you don't think that someone you meet can do something for you at the moment, you know that they could be a significant factor in the future.
Source: Tough Truths
Success makes you unpopular
When you're a leader-in-progress, you will have people supporting you whether that's your boss or colleagues. However, once you start achieving the expectations that these people have, you'll become less-liked by them.
Your success has made you unpopular.
Maloney said that to be a great leader, you need to have a "strong will and an even stronger stomach." At the end of the day, you need to remind yourself that your job isn't to make everyone happy, but rather to improve the organization as a whole.
Source: Tough Truths
You aren't really that interesting
Everyone thinks that they're interesting, but great leaders know that their stories aren't as interesting to other people as it is to themselves. So they keep the focus on the other person.
"They keep their stories short, their complaints even shorter. They don't send long emails or memos that go on for pages. They leave the other person wanting more."
Instead, when you turn the attention on the other person, they will inevitably share more about themselves with you, and when this happens, a bond is formed and that's how you get people to trust you.
During these conversations, those great leaders never get your name wrong and they're fully focused on what you're saying.
Source: Tough Truths
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
One mile. Six minutes and fifty seconds.
Twenty-six times in a row.
That’s the run rate for finishing a marathon in under three hours. And that’s what I started out the day Saturday morning thinking about. Running my first marathon in under three hours.
Officially I had never run a marathon. Several ultra-marathons. But not an official twenty six miler.
So I wanted to make sure my first one was solid.
But when I got to the starting line with more than five hundred other runners I changed my mind. See I’m kind of a lunatic. Most smart runners measure heart rate and and do speed work-outs. I just go run until it hurts and then try to keep running until I see the finish line.
I don’t pace myself. I just run until I can’t. And then I still do.
But that’s a pretty stupid way to do things.
I’ll be the first to tell you. It hurts.
So when I saw the pacers at the starting line I decided to try something new. To pace myself. Actually — to let someone else pace me.
When the rock-and-roll started, I scooted up to the pacer running a three hour, ten minute marathon and stuck with him. There were about about twenty of us in the race pack.
By the second mile there were about fifty runners ahead of us. I was tempted to break away and enter the ranks of the top ten. But I didn’t.
I started talking and laughing with the rest of the runners. I met “Minnesota” who also runs ultra-marathons and “Hebrew Tattoo” who was trying to set a personal record. And as we talked and ran, we forgot that running was supposed to be painful.
And we started passing those fifty runners ahead us.
Ten miles. Then fourteen. And a new pacer took over — leading us back to the finish line. And I felt good.
I was more than halfway finished and I felt fast. So did three of the other runners. And so we broke way from the pack. The four of us all pushing each other mile after mile.
At the mile twenty-two aid station we lost one of the runners in our pack. And at mile twenty-four, I decided to step it up a little — quickly pushing ahead of the other two in our group. Over the next mile I could feel the other two runners behind me breathing down my neck.
That pushed me to keep the race fast. But it wasn’t easy. The last mile was straight up hill — all the way to the finish line.
And somehow I found the “legs” to push the pace even faster.
Crossing the finish line in three hours and six minutes.
(and something like forty three seconds)
And I had more. I think I could have run even faster. But I paced myself and had more fun than any other race I have ever competed in.
Next time, I might run faster but this time I learned some valuable business lessons:
You can run hard. Or you can run hard long.
No one at the finish line remembers how you got started. No one cares what you thought you could do.
What’s memorable is how you cross the tape. And how many of your team cross the tape ahead of you.
Leaderships isn’t always about getting a trophy. Sometimes it means you smile as you watch a well-deserving team member stand on the podium instead of you.
Run hard. Finish. Make it worth it.
Lead. Love. Challenge.
But pace yourself.
Daniel Ek has always been an entrepreneur. When he was 13, he started making big bucks out of his parents' house.
In an interview with PandoDaily's Sarah Lacy, Ek said he started a web development company for friends and family.
He charged his first client $100 and built them a homepage. He doubled the price for his second client to $200. Soon, he upped his price to $5,000 per website.
Ek was building websites all the time, and he trained bright classmates to help him write lines of code. He paid them in video games. Eventually he started bribing them to take his tests too, so he could focus on the business.
At one point, Ek's web business was so successful, he was raking in $50,000 per month. His parents noticed when big, expensive TVs started infiltrating their home.
By age 18, Ek was managing a team of 25 employees.
Eventually he realized he wanted to create a company he was passionate about. That's when Spotify came along.
In the very busy field of startup advice, something that often gets missed is what to do once things really start to take off.
According to Verne Harnish, the founder and CEO of strategic planning and executive education company Gazelles, that's one of the scariest parts for founders, where they run into serious roadblocks.
"As they tend to grow these companies," Harnish said, "the weight of adding employees and customers almost starts to weigh them down the point where they want to throw it all [away] and just go back to the point where it was just them and their assistant working out of a garage."
This is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
So in a way, what makes these guys so successful leads them to roadblocks?
It does. The big roadblock is about 50-70 employees. It's that day they walk in and there's this employee whose name they don't know. It's like "Who's that?" All of a sudden their small company has grown beyond their ability to kind of control it and they need to start to have to put some systems in place. ...At about 50-60 employees you have to keep everybody headed the same direction on the same page, but they don't have the page to put everybody on.
What's the biggest misconception you correct?
With those that are in the one percent, and anybody over a million dollars in revenue is in a very elite group of companies, I think the big misconception is that they will know how to manage that, that the company, when it gets big, will be the same as when its small, and that's just not the case.
You run into three roadblocks. The first is their own ability to be able to let go and let other people start to do things. Most of these entrepreneurs, they're really good at a lot of things and its hard for them to let go. And if they don't, as they grow it just buries them. The second one is, they need to get some systems in place that they didn't need when they were small. It starts out with accounting systems. Later on its big CRM systems and integrating all of their operations, getting all of those things in place in order to manage the chaos that starts to exponentially increase as you add people to the process. And the third one, up to about $10 million in revenue, you're in your own way and you have to figure out how to get out of it. Above $10 million, you're starting to mess with big company's market spaces, and you've got big enough contracts with customers that they start to put price pressure on you. So you're getting squeezed by customers for discounts, you've got competitors starting to come into your market because, $10 million, it's worth going after, and a whole bunch of external competitive pressures that you have to deal with. So up to $10 million, it's internal, over $10 million its external and you still have the internal stuff, so we try to help them through that.
What's the hardest habit for entrepreneurs to adopt?
Usually when you say "routines or habits" to these guys they almost start to get the shakes, they start to get a little twitch. Inevitably, they like to see themselves as kind of free form and unencumbered. In a way they pride themselves a little bit in being, not undisciplined, but as having escaped the corporate bureaucracies that many of us abhor.
But, what they quickly discover and we teach them is that there are a couple of routines and habits that are necessary if they want to keep this beast that they're growing under control, and to your point the toughest is an effective meeting rhythm.
Because most people can't stand meetings, especially entrepreneurs unless its with a customer and they kind of try to ind of grout grow things free form, and they find very quickly that the minute you get a second employee, ...your first issue becomes communications. If you don't get some effective approaches in place to deal with these kind of communications challenges, you might be able to hold it together up to a dozen or so employees, but again at 40, 50, 60 you start to lose control. So the first thing we put in place is kind of an effective daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly meeting rhythm, this heart beat of the business so you have effective communication and thus alignment happening inside the organization. We teach them how a quick 15 minute daily will save everyone an hour to an hour and a half so they can get on this other side of eating up their entire week just managing the place.
There is no possible way to be prepared for every aspect of running your own business. It’s impossible, and recognizing that fact alone will probably be one of the biggest stepping stones to growing your business. For example, though I feel my education in psychology has helped to prepare me for running a business, dealing with people and marketing like a champion, I still didn’t know anything about packaging engineering three years ago.
That’s when I hired a marketing consultant. And while outside consultants can be irreplaceable to a business, they can also be a disaster waiting to happen — not to mention a big waste of money, which you hardly have to waste.
In our first year of business, my partner and I decided to hire an outside marketing consultant to help us get the Ooh La La Candy brand off the ground. After working with Fortune 100 consumer packaged goods companies, my hired consultant had a vast amount of resources and connections with other professionals in the packaging world. To our great excitement, our consultant reached out to a subcontractor to help us package our newest product. Being an extremely difficult and eccentric product, we knew the engineering needed a professional’s eye — or so we thought.
Through our consultant, we hired this product packaging engineer. We created an entire assessment of what the job would require, including what was to be accomplished week by week. According to the agreed schedule, my business partner and I would meet with our marketing consultant and our subcontractor to visit some of the co-packing facilities to see the final packaging results — the work we were paying her to do.
Eight weeks later, I was ready to be blown away. But after spending several hours together, we discovered that she had yet to visit any of these facilities in person, let alone see the final product with her own eyes. As the big day continued, things only got weirder and we realized that over the past eight weeks, absolutely no work had been done. No packaging concepts had been created and no facility visits had been made — even though we were billed for said visits, including gas!
Afterwards, I was able to really digest the day’s events, along with the many invoices and emails that had been sent prior to that meeting, and it just became very clear to me that we had just been scammed by a professional. This woman had scammed a small, mother-daughter startup out of thousands and thousands of dollars. I privately confronted my consultant and she too was completely shocked.
Riled up and full of emotions, I couldn’t sleep. I knew had to take this product and packaging into my own hands, and I was not going to let this woman — or anything else, for that matter — get in the way of bringing this product to life and fulfilling our dreams.
After many hours of reading different articles and studies, and researching a variety of consumer goods packaging companies, I taught myself the basics of packaging engineering. We then met with a packaging manufacturer sales representative, who then delivered my sketches to his team overseas and produced the final product we have now. Although this whole situation held up our product launch by six months, it did not slow our company, or us, down.
While I try to not sound cynical, I know know that my big mistake was failing to critically watch over every detail of my business when my startup was in its beginning stages. Micromanaging is not something you can do forever; as your business grows, it will become more difficult to micromanage every single detail. But initially, it is so imperative that you do so. Once you have in-house employees, people you’ve thoroughly trained and grown to trust, you can take a step back and not micromanage every detail. Until then, you are better off doing the mission-critical tasks yourself from the beginning, rather than working backwards and learning the hard way that no one will ever care about your business as much as you do.
My experience with this consultant was a good one, for the most part, as I was given the invaluable belief that we could make it in the business world and that we could create the company and brand we were envisioning. On the other side of the coin, we learned a lot of lessons, for better or for worse. I wouldn’t change any part of this experience, because the lessons learned were invaluable for my journey as an entrepreneur.
Rebecca Zorowitz is a multi-talented entrepreneur who found a way to turn her passions into a successful business. As the co-founder of Ooh La La Candy, Rebecca has turned a startup business into a multi-national player in the field of gourmet (or couture) candy.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched#StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Read more posts on Young Entrepreneur Council »
TED.com is just about the best place to hang out online if you have a few minutes to kill.
That's because it offers free recorded lectures given by brilliant people doing amazing things in areas including technology, entertainment, design, business, science, and global issues.
And what's cool about it is the talks are tagged so if you're in the mood for something inspiring or funny, for example, you can get just the kinds of videos to do the trick.
Here are a handful of insightful TED talks posted this year that every entrepreneur should check out.
Shawn Achor explains how to change your perception of reality to produce better work.
Psychologist Shawn Achor doubles as a comedian in this talk, during which he says the lens through which your brain views the world shapes your reality.
"And if we can change the lens not only can we change your happiness, but we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time," he says in this highly entertaining video.
Drew Curtis discusses how he defended his business from a patent troll.
When Fark.com was sued by a patent troll "...for the creation and distribution of news releases via email" alongside companies such as Yahoo, MSN, Reddit, AOL, and TechCrunch, the eight-person company stood its ground.
"I had hoped to team up with some of these larger companies and defend against this lawsuit but one by one they settled out of the case even though not one of these companies infringed on the patent," says Drew Curtis, founder of Fark.
The reason? The average troll defense costs $2 million and takes 18 months if you win. He proves that little guys don't have to let themselves get bullied with frivolous lawsuits.
Julia Burstein gives 4 lessons in creativity.
In this inspiring talk, radio host and book author Julie Burstein gives voice to several interviews with remarkably talented people who found that creativity grows when you pay attention to the world around you, learn from challenges, push against the limits of what you can do as well as the hardest thing of all—embrace loss."
"We have to stand in that space between what we see in the world and what we hope for, looking squarely at rejection, at heartbreak, at war, at death," she says.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Add better health to the list of benefits of running your own business, new research shows.
A study by Gallup discovered that U.S. entrepreneurs are less likely than other workers to have ever been diagnosed with chronic health problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
A contributing factor to the improved health is the exercise and eating habits of entrepreneurs, which the research believes stems from the discipline and energy needed to start and run a business.
Specifically, the study found that those who own their own business are more likely than other employed adults to exercise frequently and eat fruits and vegetables regularly.
Since self-employed adults have the ability to set their own schedules, the research concludes that they may have more flexibility to exercise and plan healthy meals than those who work for an employer.
The study discovered that business owners are healthier overall despite sometimes lacking basic health-care necessities. One in four entrepreneurs don't have health insurance, compared with just 10 percent of other workers. In addition, they are more likely than other employed adults to have had times in the past year when they did not have enough money to pay for the health care or medicine that they or their families needed.
While the reason for the difference in health-care access is not clear, Gallup researchers said it could either reflect the high cost of health insurance for individuals and small business owners, or a greater willingness on the part of entrepreneurs to accept the risks inherent in not having health insurance.
The research, part of the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index, was based on surveys of 273,175 adults, of which nearly 7,000 were defined as entrepreneurs.
Yet the value of an entrepreneurship degree isn’t quite as clear-cut as, say, an accounting degree. Think of all the different variations on how an entrepreneur can found a business—how much of that do you think is possible to pack into a four-year degree?
Before you take out those student loans, you need to know what you’re paying for. That’s even a bigger issue if you may need a business loan to put your knowledge to use.
Placing a Value on an Entrepreneurship Degree
The value of an accounting degree is clear: you can earn $45,000 a year straight out of college at one of the big accounting firms, and there are plenty of job titles in the field with average incomes of over $70,000 a year. But putting a dollar amount on entrepreneurship isn’t nearly as simple. During the first year of operations, many companies are lucky just to break even, while some startups get multimillion dollar exits. Calculating an average doesn’t tell us anything.
The value has to be a question of whether or not the degree helps a brand-new entrepreneur start her first business—and if it improves her chances of creating a business that either lasts or has a successful exit. Of course, with brand-new degree programs, there are no statistics on success rates of alums. Articles promoting entrepreneurship degrees routinely rely on broad statistics about how many new businesses were established in the U.S. during the last year, not how many of those business owners have entrepreneurship degrees.
But there is one basis of value we can judge on: the impressions the professors teaching those classes have of what they’re offering students. And therein lies something concerning. I heard a professor (who happened to be in charge of teaching entrepreneurship at the university I was then attending) tell a class full of students that they need to go out and actually build a business to get a full education in entrepreneurship.
An entrepreneurship degree is essentially a regular business degree with some warnings tacked on about what has gone wrong in other new businesses. There isn’t an effective way to teach much more than that, because each new business is different. Even individual franchises face different problems than their parent companies. I’ve started several business of my own at this point (including one during college that blew up spectacularly), and I still run into problems I don’t foresee with each new venture. Furthermore, some of the professors teaching these classes haven’t ever started businesses of their own.
But does that mean an entrepreneurship degree is worthless?
Value Beyond the Academic
The major value behind a degree in entrepreneurship is the value of any college degree: you’ve got four years to try out a bunch of different things, access to a huge number of resources and connections to a wide variety of people. If you go to a school with an entrepreneurship program, odds are good that you’ll get chances to network with successful entrepreneurs—the guest speakers brought in for classes, the industry connections of the professors you’re learning from and even the alumni who graduated from your school.
Think about how many businesses have been founded in dorm rooms already. If those student entrepreneurs can do so when many aren’t even taking business classes, think what a dedicated individual willing to make the most of the resources in front of her might accomplish.
Any college degree is worth only what you make of it. An entrepreneurship degree might not have the intrinsic ability to help you found a successful company that much faster than you could figure out on your own. But a university is full of resources that are harder to access without a student ID.
It’s a big financial bet; don’t get me wrong. If you’re confident in your abilities and you’ve got a great idea for a business, it may work out better to just found your first business as many experienced entrepreneurs suggest, rather than racking up student loans that very well may force you to take a job and wait on your dream of entrepreneurship. It’s a tough decision. Yet if you’re clear on what you want to get out of the deal, that will certainly make the decision easier.
Thursday Bram is the editor of 21times.org, a daily newsletter for developers.
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Today’s advice comes from our interview with Nathan Hanks,co-founder and president of the online marketing company for local businesses ReachLocal:
“It really is good to have a vision, but you increment your way toward that vision. I’ve mentored a lot of entrepreneurs, and I’ve always told them, you shouldn’t even take the risk of putting all your money into your business on day one. You build it piece by piece, and you reinvest in it as it gets bigger and stronger."
Building your vision too big too quickly is a sure way to creating something more likely to collapse later on, says Hanks. You could be wasting time, energy and money building a product that won't be successful.
Instead, Hanks suggests building your business in stages. Put only as much money as you need to get your business off the ground, and as you raise the funds to make it bigger and learn what the customer is looking for, then continue to add onto it and make it bigger.
“The lesson from Silicon Valley is, as much as you think you know what your customer wants, you don’t really. You have to constantly and rapidly iterate. So making this big investment is just silly, putting all your money into the Taj Mahal, because sometimes you find out that your customer doesn’t want the Taj Mahal. Maybe they want the Empire State Building.”
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The digital age has made it easier to connect with a mass audience, but it’s also more of a challenge to truly persuade people to believe in your mission.
For example, how do you influence your employees and promote enthusiasm throughout the company when you don’t have as much direct contact with individuals because of technology?
Dale Carnegie Training has trained presidents, leaders and business executives—including Warren Buffett and Lee Iacocca—in the past 100 years, but the company’s most recently published book "How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age" focuses on leadership in the current time.
“We live in a driven, digital world where the full value of human communication is often traded for transactional proficiency,” the associates at Dale Carnegie say in the book. But “by relying so heavily on digital communication,” you lose out on influencing people in the most effective way.
According to the program at Dale Carnegie Training, the highest level of influence is reached through trust. Below are some tips from the book on how to win that trust from your employees:
1. Avoid arguments. In order to truly influence people, you need to learn how to persuade them — not argue with them. How will they trust you if you’re constantly provoking them?
“Arguing with another person will rarely get you anywhere; they usually end with each person more firmly convinced of his rightness. You may be right, dead right, but arguing is just as futile as if you were dead wrong,” the book says.
So how do you deal with others who disagree with your vision? Leaders need to learn how to “prevent a tactful discussion from becoming an aggressive argument.”
“In the end you must value interdependence higher than independence and understand that deferential negotiation is more effective in the long run than a noncompliant crusade.”
Even when you absolutely know that the other person is wrong, you need to refrain from saying it aloud.
2. Admit your faults quickly. Most of us have a hard time admitting when we’re wrong—this is especially true if you’re a manager or in a senior position at your company. But if you can readily admit when you’re wrong, you are communicating to your team that you care about them and that you understand how your behavior affects everyone in the organization.
“Negative news spreads faster than ever. If you’ve made a mistake, it is far better that you control the news being spread. Come clean quickly and convincingly,” the authors write.
3. Give others the credit. You want others to know that you’re a great leader, so it can become a habit to claim all the credit for yourself, but doing so will never win you any friends, or faithful employees.
“What is the worst quality in a leader? Ask the followers and they would tell you it is the quality of taking credit when things go well and dishing out blame when things go wrong…few messages send people scurrying in the other direction faster.”
Surrendering this credit shows your team that you’re grateful for them and will encourage them to work harder for you, hence, you will achieve even greater success in the long run.
4. Be personable. It may be intimidating to share your personal story with others, but in order to gain the highest trust, make others feel like they know you even if you don’t interact with them often.
Allow people to connect with you.
“Our digital age provides so many opportunities to give people an authentic view of who you are or what your company strives to be, thus creating points of commonality that draw you into closer friendship with others.”
Basically, “when your journey is our journey, we are both compelled to see where it goes.”
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Bob Guccione, Jr. was born into the publishing industry — his father was founder of legendary Penthouse magazine.
"It's always hard for anyone to work in the family business,"Guccione told us. "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have worked with him for as long as I did."
At the age of 18, Guccione branched out on his own to start his own publishing empire. He launched Spin magazine in 1985 and Gear magazine in 1988. In 2005, he purchased Discover magazine from Disney.
In this interview, Guccione tells us about business lessons he's learned from his father, the biggest career mistakes he's ever made and if he would start off in the family "Penthouse" business if he could do it all over again.
Watch the interview below:
Produced by Business Insider Video
When Tony Hsieh first got involved at Zappos.com in 1999, it was as an investor and advisor.
He had already sold a company—Internet advertiser LinkExchange—to Microsoft for $265 million because it was not a fun place to work anymore.
Since he didn't want to repeat that mistake and always wanted Zappos.com to remain a fun place to work, he made his No. 1 priority at Zappos.com getting the culture right from the start.
His rationale isn't just touchy-feely.
In a panel about growth strategies at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, Hsieh referenced a key finding of Jim Collins's leadership book Good to Great: What separates great companies from mediocre ones in terms of long-term financial performance, Hsieh recalled from the book, is the great ones have strong cultures—as well as a higher purpose beyond profits that ultimately also enables them to generate significantly more profits.
How do you do the same? Here are seven recommendations from Hsieh:
1. Build a company—not necessarily a product—you're passionate about.
"I've never been interested in shoes," said Hsieh. "My passion has always been customer service, company culture, and community."
Don't sway from that passion, even if an opportunity arises that seems like it presents an immediate financial return.
2. Want to motivate? Inspire first.
"While there are lots of ways to motivate employees—fear, recognition, incentives ("If you do 'x,' I'll give you 'y'), what we stumbled into and figured out over the years is there's a huge difference between motivation and inspiration," said Hsieh.
In essence, Hsieh said there's a much bigger financial payoff if you inspire employees with your mission—in Zappos.com's case: customer service, company culture, and community—than using other techniques.
"If you can inspire employees through a higher purpose beyond profits, that you're doing something that can help change the world," said Hsieh, "you can accomplish so much more."
3. Be the architect of the greenhouse.
If you think of your company as a greenhouse with a lot of plants, many think the CEO is the tallest, strongest plant all others aspire to be, said Hsieh.
"I view my role as the architect of the greenhouse," and try to foster "what's already natural among the empoyees so they flourish."
4. Encourage "collisions."
Hsieh is moving Zappos.com headquarters from suburban Henderson, Nevada, to downtown Las Vegas, and—through his Downtown Project—helping make it possible for employees to live downtown, too, by buying and constructing residential buildings.
Hsieh wants to increase employee productivity as Zappos.com continues to grow. When cities double in size, Hsieh said, productivity increases 15 percent. But when companies double in size, productivity declines. So to avoid that fate, his theory is that a hybrid operation between a company, community, and city will help different forces come together and "accelerate serendipitous innovation."
"Most innovation comes from outside your industry applied to your own," said Hsieh.
He is also setting up his new offices to encourage interaction. The reality is, he pointed out, if employees sit twice as far away from each other, they see each other "half as often squared, not half as often—because of the inverse-square law."
He's shutting down a sky bridge connecting buildings to force employees out on the street.
5. Make your company values flexible enough to adapt in China—or Kentucky.
Zappos.com has an office in China and ran a warehouse in Kentucky that until recently had several thousand employes. It also, of course, has departments that run the spectrum from accounting to a call center. To get people behaving in all these places with the same attitudes, he set out to create a list of 10 core values that are flexible enough they can be effective regardless of an employee's job function or geography—and evolve over time.
6. Make sure your employees are learning—all the time.
Hsieh teaches his employees classes on Good to Great as well as the book Tribal Leadership, by David Logan.
This week, he's hosting a speakers' series in downtown Vegas.
7. Offer a clear career path.
If employees join at entry level, make it possible to get to a senior level within a certain number of years. "Set expectations on both sides," Hsieh said.
This post originally appeared at Inc.
The parking lot at the library was much like the Christmas season mayhem at the mall.
The desperate search for power after Sandy kicked us in the teeth.
The lot was a battle for real estate, the library itself teeming with people.
This of course, was enough to bring out my inner curmudgeon.
What were all these kids doing here? Hey you kids, get off my lawn!
As I found a space, plugged in my gadgets and started to work, I took a moment to look around. Most of my fellow library nomads were between fifteen and twenty-five years of age.
As I relished the silence of the room I observed something that was worth noting.
These “kids” were here to work. Sure, some were playing games on their laptops or futzing around on Facebook, but most were working. There was no school that week, no assignments due tomorrow.
I suddenly had a Grinch That Stole Christmas moment. The kids were the Who’s in Whoville holding hands around the tree singing. The melody was the clicking of keyboards. They are the do it yourself (DIY) generation.
Many years ago when I bought my first iPod, I was incredulous when I had to download the newest software when I plugged in the device. Why did I have to update their product when I just purchased it a half an hour ago? Now I see that was the beginning of the DIY generation.
Younger people have been raised to do these things by themselves. Need a restaurant? Find the hottest one online. Where was Teddy Roosevelt born? Don’t ask me, look it up. I know that all of this data was available when I was their age. It was in the library that I was sitting in that day.
This isn’t about data or its availability. It’s about an attitude. This generation is expected to find things out for themselves. A lot of it has been thrust upon them, but this is where they are. They find a way.
Much has been written about the perils of the online world. No one talks anymore. These kids have their heads buried in their devices. I have teenagers myself, and I’ve driven as the girls texted each other while sitting side by side rather than talking.
That this generation is different there is no doubt. However, different isn’t always bad. They know how to work. Most know by now that there isn’t the lifelong corporate job waiting for them. No watch at the retirement party after thirty years of service. They know those days are over. If they want to find a path, they will have to chop some brush to clear it. There is an entrepreneurial spirit about them. A spirit I admire.
Where will all of this lead? This generation will be running things soon. Many of them are now. What kind of country will we have?
As I look at the current state of our country, with what we did with it. I believe that things will be different in their hands, they will be better.
My heart didn’t grow three times that day sitting in the silence of the library, but I did feel something I haven’t felt in a long cold powerless week. I felt optimism.
John Nuckel is a financial advisor and writer.
His novel The Vig is available on amazon.com and kindle.
One of the biggest new players in the market is New York startup NewsCred.
The company takes content from media outlets like Bloomberg, The Economist, and The Guardian, and brings it to third parties, taking care of all of the licensing and legal issues along the way.
At first their business was primarily with publishers, but increasingly, the company's focus is on putting together customized content for huge brands like Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson, and Orange Telecom.
Pepsi, for example, uses entertainment and music content on its consumer facing home page.
NewsCred's CEO and founder Shafqat Islam has huge hopes for that business, telling Business Insider that "every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be, and we want to be in every single brand."
Even though their focus is changing, Islam told us how being in the wrong business at first helped the company build content and technology that make it dominant in a space that didn't exist a few years ago.
"It's interesting, we were actually a consumer-facing news site, this was back in the day when Digg and Reddit were really popular. We thought we could take our own angle on this by focusing on quality and not popularity, giving users a tool to vote, to rate, comment on the quality of news so we could focus on high quality journalism.
We very quickly realized that that wasn't really a business, it was really a project or a non-profit. But while doing that, we had built out some pretty interesting technology for our site. When we tried to license content, it was a very painful experience. It was either very expensive or when people would deliver content to us, they'd FCP us 5,000 articles and expect us to kind of trawl through it and figure out what to publish.
Also, the content in itself wasn't that interesting, there was not that much diversity in terms of what our options were for licensing, so we said, why don't we just solve the problem and really innovate and kind of disrupt this syndication space? That's kind of how we got into this current business. Initially we were selling mainly to publishers, and then over the last year, year and half we realized the brand space has really taken off, and that's when we really started focusing more and more on brands."
Islam didn't give up when it became clear his first idea wouldn't work. Instead, he saw a new problem and changed the company to address it. Even their second focus, selling to publishers, wasn't quite right. "It's really hard, and it's really slow, and it's hard to extract kind of a lot of dollars because newsroom budgets are shrinking," Islam says.
But by building a massive library of content, a tough task that took years, the company put itself in the right place at exactly the right time to take advantage of brand's adoption of content and disrupt both the syndication and content marketing industries.
Ask any successful entrepreneur or investor what attributes are critical to building a successful business, and it's a safe bet that "perseverance" will be near the top of the list.
And there's no better illustration of this than the stories of two of the country's original successful startups -- the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.
In those days, of course, "surviving" as a startup meant something different than it means today.
In those days, surviving meant, well, surviving.
The Jamestown settlement was sponsored by venture capitalists of the Virginia Company of London, who were hoping to cash in on the presumed riches of the new world (the dotcom bubble of the day).
Jamestown launched in 1607, after several other US colonization ventures had failed. After two years of investment, the colony had grown to 214 "employees," but had yet to export any commercial products.
Then came the winter of 1609-1610, in which a combination of drought, the delayed arrival of a convoy of supply ships, and a breakdown in trade negotiations with the Indians devastated the colony. That winter, 164 of the 214 colonists died.
This setback was so severe that in the early summer of 1610, the remaining colonists decided to abandon Jamestown and actually boarded ships for home. It was only an encounter with a new convoy of supply ships a short ways downriver--along with new senior management--that persuaded them to return to Jamestown and continue the project.
In 1612, five years after the colony's founding, Jamestown finally figured out a business model, when a colonist named John Rolfe farmed and exported tobacco. In 1619, a dozen years after the colony was founded, the first shipload of women arrived. And then the colonists discovered slave labor, which had a beneficial impact on the bottom line.
(Not that it was smooth sailing from there. In 1622, Indians killed 347 colonists and kidnapped others. In 1644, Indians killed 500 colonists. In the next 50 years, Jamestown's statehouse burned to the ground 4 times. For more on Jamestown, see A History Of The Jamestown Settlement).
And then there was Plymouth.
Before the Pilgrims arrived in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, the area had been the thriving home of ~2,000 Wampanoag Indians. But a few years before the Pilgrims got there, thanks to bubonic plague imported by European fishermen, 90% of Plymouth's Wampanoag inhabitants died. This made room for the Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims had intended to go to Virginia, but ended up in Massachusetts. At the end of November, 1620, they anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor on Cape Cod, where they stole corn from some Indians and debated where to establish their colony. A month later, on December 20th, they arrived in Plymouth and began to build a settlement.
The first winter was, to put it mildly, rough. There were the Indians. There was the lack of food. There was disease. There was the lack of manpower. There were the constant arguments about priorities, leadership, and rules. And there was, above all, death.
As Nathaniel Philbrick describes it in Mayflower:
"Tensions among the Pilgrims remained high. With two, sometimes three people dying a day throughout the months of February and March, there might not be a plantation left to defend by the arrival of spring. Almost everyone had lost a loved one. Christopher Martin, the Mayflower's governor, had died in early January, soon to be followed by his wife, Mary. Three other families--the Rigsdales, Tinkers, and Turners--were entirely wiped out, with more to follow. Thirteen year-old Mary Chilton, whose father had died back in Provincetown Harbor, became an orphan when her mother passed away that winter... By the middle of March, there were four widowers... With the death of her husband, William, Susanna White...became the plantation's only surviving widow. By the spring, 52 of the 102 who had originally arrived at Provincetown were dead."
In other words, six months after the launch of the Plymouth startup, half of the original employees had died.
Plymouth struggled for the next several decades, and it never made a profit for its original investors. But unlike many other early settlements (and other startups), it survived.
I also get an equally powerful flutter in my chest when something is going well. I may know these things about myself now, but in my first year of business, I discounted my intuition in a big way.
Even though I spent several years in the first part of my career working to shape microbusinesses in developing countries, I decided I needed a business advisor to help guide me from the moment I called myself an entrepreneur. On the recommendation of several people I trusted, I invested heavily in programs, business coaching and a mastermind group with a single advisor.
At first, things went smoothly. She spoke my language as a coach and she seemed to know the ins and outs of online marketing. But something was always amiss: missed appointments that her virtual assistant had “failed” to reschedule, critical resources that were months behind the agreed timeline, and constant changes in the curriculum.
Any one of these details would be excusable, but over time, they had me questioning whether she was the real deal. The answer was in my trailing bottom line and my failure to grow my business in any significant way over the course of nine months.
Needless to say, she vanished in month ten. Poof. Gone. It was an expensive lesson that cost me both time and money. I take responsibility for my results, and I expect my clients to do the same.
My great mistake was not paying closer attention to what my intuition was telling me and not trusting the years of experience, knowledge and skills that I had behind me. As I picked up the pieces of my business, I returned to my own strength and power — and turned up the volume on my intuition.
Since I work as a strategist and coach to help young women launch social change careers and businesses, I am always cognizant of my rocky entrepreneurial start. I am careful to design experiences and agreements that help them move forward in the right direction — for them.
From this experience alone, there are three lessons that I readily share with my clients and peers:
As with all failures, I’m a better business owner because of them. I feel fortunate that I lost and found my way so early. While I know that there are more mistakes in front of me, I’m confident that it won’t be because I ignored my intuition.
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