Connecting you with global experts through LIVE webinars.

Author: Alexander Klenk

I recently helped a client generate leads for a festive gifting program by running a Facebook campaign.

The client is an organic grocery and snacks seller. I generated leads at around 47 INR for a INR 400-2500 product.

The webinar will be a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire campaign. I will discuss my thought process and approach in designing the campaign.

It will teach viewers how they can setup similar campaigns to find customers beyond their existing followers. Such campaigns can also be run to get more people to become your followers, which can then be nurtured over time and converted to customers through email or Messenger marketing.

Accounting is often taken for granted in small businesses and startups as not a necessary function. However, Accounting and finance can prove to be a maker or breaker in a business. A good accounting system helps to understand the revenue and expenses of a business in better ways and effectively analyze them. An effective analysis of revenue and expenses can help businesses and startup to achieve break-even points faster, achieve revenue growth, make future business plans, substantiate projections and valuations.
We will go over key aspects of good accounting system and how to acheive them with live questions and answers in this webinar.

The participants will learn how to adapt this Covid-19 situation which has effect jobs of millions of people. Shireen will tell the methods to bring the real CHANGE in their personal & professional life to turn their dreams into Reality.

Course Agenda is designed from an epic book “Agile Leadership with a GRIP” written by Dr.Frank Lee Harper.This book is included in MBA Course of Cambridge Corporate University, Switzerland. The participant will learn the ADKAR Model in relation to 21st Century Leadership Skills.

Course Outline:

What is C.H.A.N.G.E.?

PROSCI | The Global Leader in Change Management

The ADKAR Model

Waddup Legends!
Our mind can go places your body can't go. Mind can do things body can't do. Your physical senses can be blocked. Your eyes cannot see around a corner that danger is approaching.
Your ears cannot hear a business owner across town asking where they can find an employee with your skills. Nothing can block your mind... except you. If you are not using your mind to help you avoid danger and seize opportunities, then it is like not having a mind.You can also learn to develop your intuition. Learn the path to go beyond "the feeling" or "visions" and project your senses and mental faculties anywhere at any time to solve problems.

Your Best Friend
KHAN

More people are launching podcasts, but the time and cost of podcasts is not for every business. However, podcasters NEED good guests to interview - LIKE YOU! I have been podcasting for 7 years and am often approached by potential guests. Most don't get picked because their applications are so poor :(
In this webinar I will share top tips on how to be a great podcast guest who will be chosen by podcasters.So you will be able to have the benefits of being on a podcast.

We are about to start a new year - 2021, and this is the ideal chance to re-assess our attitude to opportunities presented to ourselves. It can be very easy to have a closed mindset to business openings: job offers or even starting new projects.
It can be so easy to say 'NO' to these potential experiences. Inspired by Shonda Rhimes book "A year of saying YES" I am going to challenge attendees to understand why they say "no" and to encourage them to change their mindset so they are open to new opportunities to move their businesses and careers forward. This is an interactive webinar with the chance for attendees to actively participate in the discussions.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make with branding is treating it as just a name, tagline or logo to identify their business. The second biggest mistake is to treat it as a luxury “image-building” exercise.

Branding is actually a powerful strategic business asset. People prefer to buy from those they like, trust and respect. So the more your business evokes these positive emotions, the more likely it leads to profitable growth.

Having a strategy to build your brand authority is key. But brand authority is not something you give yourself. It is the trust and reputation you earn from your market.

In this Masterclass, I show you how to start building your brand authority to stand out in the market.

Your social media content has the power to win you legions of fans who are ready to buy your product or service.

But it’s not enough to just push content on a social media platform. Only a solid social media content strategy can get you this kind of impact.

Do you want to get more engagement with your audiences?
Are you struggling with content creation?

In this Masterclass, I show you what works on social media and how you can develop a content strategy that attracts the audiences you want.

Waddup Legends!

In this chaotic world and confusion, there is only one thing that can get us through life... That is endurance.

Bruce Lee once said "Dont pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one"... Life is not easy on anyone. There are somethings in our control and some that are not.

Join me in this webinar to learn how we can control the one thing that is with in our grasp... OUR MIND..

Your best friend

KHAN

Waddup Legends!

What do you think separates successful from the losers?

Any guesses? NO?

Its consistency...

How do we develop that?

Through Discipline!

Learn ho to develop discipline by signing up for this one hour webinar!

Your best Friend

KHAN!

Waddup Legends!

Is your mind filled with negative thoughts? Is there something in your past that is holding you back?

Do you want to overcome your limitations?

Sign up for this free webinar to learn more

Your best Friend
KHAN

Waddup Legends!
Are you stressed? Do you have so many questions unanswered about your life and its meaning and purpose?

In this webinar I will show you the path to reach Alpha Level and control your own mind... Remember, you have to control your brain and not viceversa.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up NOWWW!!!!

Your best friend

KHAN

Whether by our own volition or by forced hand , letting go is one of the hardest things to do in life. But it is also the most powerful catalyst for a change we never thought we needed.

In this session, I will share with you learnings I’ve gained first hand from decades of painful life experiences through self-reflection and pulling on expert research around the world in the areas of Positive Psychology, NeuroScience and Spirituality.

If you have experienced tough times in your business, lost your job due to the pandemic or have lost someone or something near and dear then this session is for you.

Whether by our own volition or by forced hand , letting go is one of the hardest things to do in life. But it is also the most powerful catalyst for a change we never thought we needed.

In this session, I will share with you learnings I’ve gained first hand from decades of painful life experiences through self-reflection and pulling on expert research around the world in the areas of Positive Psychology, NeuroScience and Spirituality.

If you have experienced tough times in your business, lost your job due to the pandemic or have lost someone or something near and dear then this session is for you.

Waddup Legends!

Compare the car or the phone of 1980s and of today, marked difference. However the education system has not yet evolved at that pace. We are expected to do so many things like read, write think and learn which are not taught. Hence we have so many college dropouts.

Join me in this webinar to learn how to survive your way through school/college/university and score awesome grades!

Do you love customer service? Do you have an eye for details? Do you want to make some money whilst helping your local businesses deliver exceptional Customer Experiences?? Let me take you through the steps to become a Mystery Shopper and earn addition income whilst shopping and doing something good for your local economy!

There are times when we feel nervous about asking: whether it is for help; advice; opportunities; for people to buy from us. The ‘little voice’ in our heads can often prevent us from progressing with expanding our businesses or careers.

In this interactive webinar – where I positively encourage people to discuss these issues and share ideas, we will explore what we could ask for; how to ask and when to ask.

The FUTURE of WORK is here, Covid has accelerated this!

Your superpower to succeed in this new world of work which is ‘RUPT’ – Rapid | Unpredictable | Paradoxical | Tangled is PERSONAL AGILITY.

💠 Personal Agility is a broad topic. In this interactive session, I will highlight WHAT I believe are it’s 3 critical dimensions and HOW you can PROACTIVELY build and/or continuously cultivate them ?

🔆 It’s important for ALL of us to succeed in the future work. Let’s not leave you behind.

Life Design and Goal setting have been very traditional overtime talking only about money and career. But human happiness lies somewhere else.
Re-Discover your life with this masterclass

I have been delivering this for the last 2 years, shared amazing concepts with 500+ participants one to one in over 7 countries. 21 people achieved 100+ goals in just 1 year.

#coaching #goals #growth #personaldevelopment

Life Design and Goal setting have been very traditional overtime talking only about money and career. But human happiness lies somewhere else.
Re-Discover your life with this webinar.

I have been delivering this for the last 2 years, shared amazing concepts with 500+ participants one to one in over 7 countries. 21 people achieved 100+ goals in just 1 year.

#coaching #goals #growth #personaldevelopmen

Time and stress are important parameters that must be understood properly for postgraduate students to conduct their research effectively and to finish on time. Learning these skills will enable the best use of energy for academic and non-academic activities.

If you are a copywriter or content creator, you’ve probably often seen viral content and wondered how others did it. Chances are, you want your content to go viral too. Who doesn’t want thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people to see and appreciate the content you worked so hard on?

Here’s the reality – viral content is rare. Most content gets very few shares, even for giant viral sites like Buzzfeed.

But if you know how to activate people’s psychological triggers, you can greatly boost your chances of getting massive traffic and engagement for your content.

In this Masterclass, I show you how I did it and how you can do the same too.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
~ Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

If you Google your name, what comes up?

You are already leaving digital footprints everywhere, which is building up an image of who you are! If you think you don’t need to do any personal branding, you may be very mistaken! In a sense, you already have a personal brand. It’s a matter of whether you are chancing it or you are crafting it.

In this Masterclass, I share with you how to build a powerful personal brand and why it could be the best thing for you, whether you are an employee or in business for yourself.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make with branding is treating it as just a name, tagline or logo to identify their business. The second biggest mistake is to treat it as a luxury “image-building” exercise.

Branding is actually a powerful strategic business asset. People won’t buy if they don’t know, like or trust you. So the more your brand evokes positive emotions, the more likely it leads to customer loyalty and preference.

Building your brand authority is key. But brand authority is not something you give yourself. It is the trust and reputation you earn from your market.

In this Masterclass, I show you how to nurture trust, affinity and preference for profitable growth.

If you are a copywriter or content creator, you’ve probably often seen viral content and wondered how others did it. Chances are, you want your content to go viral too. Who doesn’t want thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people to see and appreciate the content you worked so hard on?

Here’s the reality – viral content is rare. Most content gets very few shares, even for giant viral sites like Buzzfeed.

But if you know how to activate people’s psychological triggers, you can greatly boost your chances of getting massive traffic and engagement for your content.

In this Masterclass, I show you how I did it and how you can do the same too.

Waddup Legends! Welcome to the Webinar Session…

Do you have a huge stack of books that you plan to read someday? Do you find it hard to read through your coursebooks taught at school? Have you ever started reading a book and found yourself leaving it half way? If all of this applies to you, there is a problem. But the good news is, it can be fixed!

We are taught everything in school but the basic skills like how to read, comprehend, memorize etc are left for us to figure out ourselves.

Join this Awesome webinar and in one hour you will see how your learning speed increases two fold.

Sign up now!

Self-image is the mental picture of ourselves, the voices and feelings we create by the use of our imagination.

The image of ourselves is our personal concept of “the kind of person I am”, which is constructed by our beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs we have unconsciously formed based on our past experiences, our successes, our failures, our observations of others, in childhood, in relationships, and comments made by others.

How we see ourselves is our mental blueprint of ourselves and we do not pay enough attention to it consciously to help us build a healthier self-image so that we can be successful in the things we do.

Self-image is the mental picture of ourselves, the voices and feelings we create by the use of our imagination.

This self-image, is our personal concept of “the kind of person I am”, which is constructed by our beliefs about ourselves. These beliefs we have unconsciously formed based on our past experiences, our successes, our failures, our observations of others, in childhood, in relationships, and comments made by others.

How we see ourselves is our mental blueprint of ourselves and we do not pay enough attention to it consciously to help us build a healthier self-image so that we can be successful in the things we do.

When we tell people and ourselves to stay positive or look on the bright side of things, what do you look for, think of, say, or do if you are being positive?

Come and discover one hundred characteristics that can help face challenges, transform negativity, and with these characteristics, you are in control to lead your life by your highest standards.

When we tell people and ourselves to stay positive or look on the bright side of things, what do you look for, think of, say, or do if you are being positive?

Come and discover one hundred characteristics that can help face challenges, transform negativity, and with these characteristics, you are in control to lead your life by your highest standards.

Have you found that using the conventional approach for self-development is not :
(a) improving your quality of life OR
(b) you are still not engaged in your job ?

I have found through my personal experience that the Strenghts focussed Self-Development approach enabled me to unlock my limitless potential. Gallup Research has also concluded that you will be 3x as likely to have an excellent quality of life and 6x as likely to be engaged in your job if you invest in your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

What are you waiting for? Invest 60 mins of your time by joining me on this webinar to begin this journey.

This webinar is designed to equip you with simple tools that will help you coach others to achieve their personal and professional goals.
A Coaching Leader continuously inspires team members to take ownership and be accountable for their action. They continue to unleash the potentials of their team members while developing their competencies. This results in emotions that provide intrinsic motivation to perform better. Respect and trust levels increase in Organisations that promote a coaching culture among their leaders and followers. A Coaching Leader inspires a solution focus mind-set. We will share case studies and proven techniques to coach effectively as a leader.

All companies work together with vendors. Vendors influence your company's performance, whether you like it or not. Large corporations have complete departments working with their partners to get the most out of the relationship to their benefit.

I will share how you can leverage your supply chain as a strategic advantage towards your clients. You will learn to spend the resources where it matters. By having your procurement department focus on the right suppliers, you will get a much higher value. This value will translate into
- higher customer satisfaction
- your products being upgraded
- new offerings to your market

Get started immediately with my practical tips.

Leaders have ambitious goals for their organisation. Studies show that only 10-15% of strategic initiatives deliver on time and target. Common reasons for companies missing their objectives are:
1) people are too busy with the daily work
2) too many priorities
3) employees do not know or understand the strategic targets
4) staff is not engaged

In this webinar, Michel Goedegebuure will share 4 simple steps to increase employee engagement and grow your business on target and on time.

Want to know more? Register for the webinar!

There are times when we feel nervous about asking: whether it is for help; advice; opportunities; for people to buy from us. The 'little voice' in our heads can often prevent us from progressing with expanding our businesses or careers.

In this interactive webinar - where I positively encourage people to discuss these issues and share ideas, we will explore what we could ask for; how to ask and when to ask.

There are occasions where we say "NO" to opportunities when we should really be saying "Yes". And it could be that you are missing out on possible opportunities for your business, career or personal development.
I am a great fan of "Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes: it is an empowering and inspirational book where she spends a year saying yes to opportunities rather than hiding behind her fear.
In this webinar - which is interactive, we discover that facing our fears we could actually create more opportunities for our businesses by saying YES!

Time is our most precious resource and everyone has exactly the same amount of time. Successful people manage their time better to get more done while experiencing less stress.
Many experts say that implementing a to-do list is a way to manage stress and tasks, and it is. Most people will have a to-do list yet feel out of control. Feeling out of control is a negative cycle that hurts your effectiveness which in turn makes you feel less in control.

There are a few simple tricks to regain control and use your time efficiently and effectively, I will share these with you in the webinar.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Know the brand and build it confidently. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 600 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, one lucky winner will receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Know the brand and build it confidently. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 600 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Know the brand and build it confidently. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 600 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, one lucky winner will receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Know the brand and build it confidently. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 600 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

Successful leaders are leaders who consider themselves as individuals who are selected and entrusted to serve others so that they achieve their purpose and the organisations purpose. Leaders inspire and influence their flowers to be their best in contributing their talents. Leaders unleash the potential of their followers and continuously develop their leadership competencies. They create an environment where change is embraced and the focus is on solutions rather than problems. Leaders build communities by encouraging Cohesiveness, Communication, Cooperation and Innovation. Leaders are continuously building trust and respect throughout their leadership voyage

In this session, the Seven C's which includes; Clarity of Purpose, Congruence, Compassion, Courage, Creative & Innovative, Coach and Community Builder, will be elaborated.

We will come to cross-roads in life, where we have to make a choice:
Stay, or move on?
If you have made up your mind to move on, this webinar is for you.

In this one hour webinar, I will coach you through:
1) resume building
2) how to be seen as a thought leader on social media, and increase your circle of influence
3) making the right connections on LinkedIn and Facebook

Do you love customer service? Do you have an eye for details? Do you want to make some money whilst helping your local businesses deliver exceptional Customer Experiences?? Let me take you through the steps to become a Mystery Shopper and earn addition income whilst shopping and doing something good for your local economy!

Emotional Intelligence: the ability to recognise and manage our emotions and those of others.
Learning how to become an emotionally intelligent individual will enable you to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Your customers are the most important piece of your business. No customer means no business. The more loyal the customers feel to your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you, return to you and recommend you.
Let me share with you the secret to increasing customer loyalty therefore the lifetime value of the customer, ultimately your business growth.

In this webinar I'll cover aspects of Design Thinking to unleash true innovation by thinking and acting like a designer and developing digital products and services of the future. Topics that I'll cover are,

1. What is Design Thinking and how you can use it to do ground breaking innovations in the Digital world?
2. What is the different between creativity and innovation and how can we embrace both?
3. Stories of successful innovations over the last few decades
4. Tips to start thinking like a designer and building great digital products/services

Faizal is the Managing Director of Klenk Consulting. In today's conversation, we will be discussing about the pro's and con's of building your personal brand online, how to get started, how it can backfire you or how it can grow your business exponentially.

Klenk Consulting provides Personal Branding coaching to corporate and professionals. Feel free to ask questions about Personal Branding. By attending this webinar, you'll be receiving additional USD 20 credit which can be offset off coaching calls, workshops and short courses.

We are excited to have a chat with Gladys Tan, a mompreneur and a Virtues Project Facilitator. She will be sharing with us how she balance her time with work and motherhood, and some tips and guidance on how to parent better using virtues based strategies. Join in to ask her questions.

You will earn USD 50 credit this November 1st, into your e-wallet account with Spendless Academy.

In this 1 hour free webinar, the participants would know as a foreigner, how you can break into 1.4 billion China business market by Chinese social media marketing.
The Chinese social media will cover in this webinar included :
1. RED
2. ZhiHu
3. Wechat
4. Douyin
5. LinkedIn

In this 1 hour free webinar, the participants would know as a foreigner, how you can break into 1.4 billion China business market by Chinese social media marketing.
The Chinese social media will cover in this webinar included :
1. RED
2. ZhiHu
3. Wechat
4. Douyin
5. LinkedIn

Faizal is the Managing Director of Klenk Consulting. In today's conversation, we will be discussing about the pro's and con's of building your personal brand online, how to get started, how it can backfire you or how it can grow your business exponentially.

Klenk Consulting provides Personal Branding coaching to corporate and professionals. Feel free to ask questions about Personal Branding. By attending this webinar, you'll be receiving additional USD 20 credit which can be offset off coaching calls, workshops and short courses.

In order to create a masterpiece, you need to master the pieces. In this session, participants will learn how to put their ideas, stories, thoughts and inspirations into excellent impactful speeches through a systematic step-by-step approach and guide.

Puja has had over a decade of rich and accomplished experience in Human Resources in the varied sectors globally. She has been recognised, by her clients for her out of box thinking and Result based approach. Her coachees views her as a change agent who helps them to be the best version of themselves that they are, can be and should be. She is an internationally certified Life and Executive coach. She is frequently invited to contribute and share her perspective in conferences, magazine articles and podcast.

She is on a bold mission on creating communities of courageous, authentic leaders who are inspiring and can ignite hope and create more leaders around. She is also a mother of two.

The Lion Within You is a 6-week transformational program catered for each individual and at the end of it, this program not only will help you gain a new perspective and clarity in your life but also see a transformation in yourself, gaining the tools of personal branding, uncovering the Lion within you which this program is all about.

If you are stuck or unsure of what tools or applications can help you build your brand or what applications can help you to create an engaging video? This session will give you a glimpse of some of the tools and videos I made. Join me in this session and discover ways to save you time and money to accelerate your business or brand transformation.

The Lion Within You is a 6-week transformational program catered for each individual and at the end of it, this program not only will help you gain a new perspective and clarity in your life but also see a transformation in yourself, gaining the tools of personal branding, uncovering the Lion within you which this program is all about.

If you are stuck or unsure of what tools or applications can help you build your brand or what applications can help you to create an engaging video, this session will give you a glimpse of some of the tools and videos I used and created. Join me in this session and discover ways to save you time and money to accelerate your business or brand transformation.

Do you want to reinvent your career?

Do you want to thrive in the new normal?

Do you want to learn 3 steps to a successful career shift?

The pandemic triggered millions of job losses and is placing millions of jobs at risk across
industries.

If you currently lost your job or at the risk of losing it, this free webinar is for you because it can help you rethink and get clear on your next career move.

Are you stressed? Are you burned out? Do you want to discover simple and powerful ways to overcome stress? Do you want to discover how you can use your stress to get more clarity, courage and confidence everyday?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, this webinar is for you because this webinar can help you move from burnout to bliss using a simple 3 step process.

Do you know anyone struggling with stress? Forward this free webinar now to help a family or a friend move from burnout to bliss.

Carrie is training and coaching 60-100+ network marketers every week. She is helping them effectively to build the teams. Apart from the network marketing business, most team leaders are successful entrepreneurs, most of them have 15-22 years experience in network marketing; 4 of them made USD 1 million in this industry, 1 of them has 1.2 million downlines and this is a national record holder, and 1 of them USD 4.6 million in 4 years.

As a sought-after trainer for the big game players in business, Carrie will share how to build a solid foundation and success fast in this network marketing industry.

Carrie is training and coaching 60-100+ network marketers every week. She is helping them effectively to build the teams. Apart from the network marketing business, most team leaders are successful entrepreneurs, most of them have 15-22 years experience in network marketing; 4 of them made USD 1 million in this industry, 1 of them has 1.2 million downlines and this is a national record holder, and 1 of them USD 4.6 million in 4 years.

As a sought-after trainer for the big game players in business, Carrie will share how to build a solid foundation and success fast in this network marketing industry.

At 34, at the peak of my career as Audit Manager, Wandalyn experienced burnout.
I reinvented my career to align with my soul’s purpose and family’s needs. I now focus on helping working moms breakthrough from burnout and build a purpose driven career & living.
Through a 3 step framework, I help in career planning & transitions to a new job or entrepreneurship in 3 months or less using NLP.
My ultimate goal is to help working moms experience a happier life at work & at home because I know a happy wife is a happy life and a happy mom can raise happy kids.

'If you win the morning, you win the day" ~ Tim Ferris

Do you what is the secret of successful people to be more effective and productive.
Its their morning rituals.
Do you what make them less stressed, sail through the day without taking toll over their health and sleep?
Their time to work on their mind, body, soul and their priorities.

In this webinar, learn
- What are those morning routines one can adapt to achieve productivity, success and happiness.
- How can one plan their morning routine?
- How to form habits?
- Benefits of having morning rituals

Stress is one of the leading cause of many ailments like hypertension, heart attack, diabetes, Migraine, obesity etc.

In this competitive world , one can not avoid the stress but one need to manage the stress effectively to bring good health, maintain relationships, find success and happiness.

In this webinar, you learn
- What is stress?
- What are consequences of stress?
- Physiology of stress
- How it affects our life?
- Tips and tools to manage and reduce stress
- Some practical demo tips

"A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others." John C. Maxwell

what makes a successful and a great school leader?

How do you become truly effective as a principal or in a leadership position?

What are the traits or skills required to become a great leader?

Good schools are driven by teachers, Principals and Heads of School who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of the children. However, the challenges of 21st Century global and technological advances have placed school leaders and teachers under more pressure than ever before.

This webinar is ideal for school Leaders, Principals, Admins, Interns, Educators, School Head or chairpersons.

What would happen if hospitals/malls/buildings do not have ramps?
Do you pre-plan to make content accessible to all the students of different abilities? or Do you go with the one size fits all plan?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can accommodate individual learning differences and
provides flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.

Universal design for learning (UDL) is a set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to learn.

This webinar is for educators and schools.

What would happen if hospitals/malls/buildings do not have ramps?
Do you pre-plan to make content accessible to all the students of different abilities? or Do you go with the one size fits all plan?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can accommodate individual learning differences and
provides flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn.

Universal design for learning (UDL) is a set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to learn.

This webinar is for educators and schools.

Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events.

These demands can come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.

Stress can be a motivator, and it can even be essential to survival. The body’s fight-or-flight mechanism tells a person when and how to respond to danger. However, when the body becomes triggered too easily, or there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful.

This webinar will help the participants to know and understand stress and ways to fight it.

Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events.

These demands can come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.

Stress can be a motivator, and it can even be essential to survival. The body’s fight-or-flight mechanism tells a person when and how to respond to danger. However, when the body becomes triggered too easily, or there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful.

This webinar will help the participants to know and understand stress and ways to fight it.

Once you know how to make an e-commerce website you can build any business you want.
This class will enable you to execute all our business idea so you can start your own business as soon as possible.

Now, making an e-commerce website is possible for everyone even without coding skills. I will show and guide you all to have an e-commerce business website with advanced features for you to start your own online business.

I am actively involved in startup programs and I can say that startup entrepreneurs should have a better understanding of how to have a proper entrepreneur mindset for the entrepreneur journey they would have.
It is the general approach every entrepreneur should have when starting a business when actually becoming an entrepreneur. So the class should help you to unfold your entrepreneurial personality, to understand what it is.
There is a common question that we use to have from the class if entrepreneurs are made or entrepreneurs are born.
In fact, entrepreneurs are made, when someone comes up and says “we should launch a business”, there will be a lot of questions, which might go through your mind

At 34, at the peak of my career as Audit Manager, Wandalyn experienced burnout.

I reinvented my career to align with my soul’s purpose and family's needs. I now focus on helping working moms breakthrough from burnout and build a purpose driven career & living.

Through a 3 step framework, I help in career planning & transitions to a new job or entrepreneurship in 3 months or less using NLP.
My ultimate goal is to help working moms experience a happier life at work & at home because I know a happy wife is a happy life and a happy mom can raise happy kids.

What does it take to create an exponential mindset? More importantly what are the benefits of an exponential mindset. Exponential mindset opens a whole new way of looking at things, a whole new set of opportunities that we do not have visibility of. This course will teach you how to find untapped potentials from within to create exponential results for yourself and the world around you.

Ron is the Founder and CEO of Momentum Mind Lab a Design Thinking Organisation.
He is infinitely passionate about creating value by designing extraordinary experiences. He does this by drawing on my practical business and academic knowledge.

Introverts often wonder if they are capable of building a strong personal brand. People who are introverted actually have more going for them than one might think. Learn to tap endless opportunities and build a massive network with your brand.

Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, I will share with you how an introverted individual like me leverage my personal brand to achieve my mission and purpose.

Personal branding is about self-focus, self-reflection, and self-actualization, and sending messages to the world to achieve a specific outcome. It is a combination of skills and personal life experiences that make you a unique individual, learn to tap endless opportunities and build a massive network with your brand.

Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, I will share with you how I leverage my personal brand to achieve my mission and purpose.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. Linkedin is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.
By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

This is module 1 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.

Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn how to be visionary, illustrate ideas into concrete business models, plan effective execution plans including funding stages, global expansion potential exit. The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 2 out of 4 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn the pros and cons of engaging freelancers, partners and employees – and when to use them in different stages of business growth.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 3 out of 4 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. Understanding the various marketing and branding strategies for different business models and industries.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive
changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 4 out of 4 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Understand the purpose of investments and why/how to raise the funds your business need. Learn the importance to why you need to evaluate your business accurately, sell less shares in early stages and bootstrap to win bigger in distant future.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 1 out of 4 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn how to be visionary, illustrate ideas into concrete business models, plan effective execution plans including funding stages, global expansion potential exit.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 2 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn the pros and cons of engaging freelancers, partners and employees – and when to use them in different stages of business growth.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 3 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. Understanding the various marketing and branding strategies for different business models and industries.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive
changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 4 out of 4 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Understand the purpose of investments and why/how to raise the funds your business need. Learn the importance to why you need to evaluate your business accurately, sell less shares in early stages and bootstrap to win bigger in distant future.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business – and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

Do you want to be noticed; to make an impact when you are contributing in business meetings? Do you want to raise your profile either as an entrepreneur or dynamic employee of a company? Or are you working in a large company and have ambitions to progress to a senior role? The Be Seen; Be Heard, Make an Impact Course is for you!
Susan Heaton-Wright has created a course to empower you to be an excellent spoken communicator. The principles are applied to all business conversations: pitching, public speaking, presenting, client and internal meetings.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

How to escape from the predestination Web of struggling between suffering and success?
"The part that makes us amazing success is also the part that makes us stumble and tragic fall."
Only when we can bridge the mindset gap between wealth, success, intimacy, parent-child relationship, holistic health, the fearlessness of aging and death, we are free.
We teach you how to merge all into one like below but not limited to: abundance mindset, business expansion, business transformations, coaching, collaboration, connect; influence, creative, entrepreneurship, health, wellness, leadership, learning, and development, mompreneur, negotiation, personal branding, personal development, personal mastery, training, development, self-empowerment, self-help, presentation skills, relationship building, spiritual growth, sale, marketing, media fear, etc.

It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Your customers are the most important piece of your business. No customer means no business. The more loyal the customers feel to your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you, return to you and recommend you.
Let me share with you the secret to increasing customer loyalty therefore the lifetime value of the customer, ultimately your business growth.

Are you an Solopreneur, a Coach, Entrepreneur or running a small business??
This pandemic has certainly given businesses some painful moments but there are still people who need you out there and building a healthy client list can seem like an overwhelming task.
Let me share with you the secrets of attracting new clients and of course attaining their custom.

"A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others." John C. Maxwell

what makes a successful and a great school leader?

How do you become truly effective as a principal or in a leadership position?

What are the traits or skills required to become a great leader?

Good schools are driven by teachers, Principals and Heads of School who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of the children. However, the challenges of 21st Century global and technological advances have placed school leaders and teachers under more pressure than ever before.

This webinar is ideal for school Leaders, Principals, Admins, Interns, Educators, School Head or chairpersons.

Do you want to be noticed; to make an impact when you are contributing in business meetings? Do you want to raise your profile either as an entrepreneur or dynamic employee of a company? Or are you working in a large company and have ambitions to progress to a senior role? The Be Seen; Be Heard, Make an Impact Course is for you!
Susan Heaton-Wright has created a course to empower you to be an excellent spoken communicator. The principles are applied to all business conversations: pitching, public speaking, presenting, client and internal meetings.

Jody Foo is the founder of Stink Out (StinkO). Stink Out Re-odourising granules is an all-natural way to manage odour in your surroundings. The granules are made from natural materials, are fully biodegradable and non-toxic to kids and pets.

She is also a mom of two, currently based in Perth. She shares with us her journey of building her business online while juggling motherhood. Please feel free to ask her questions as well during this LIVE webinar.

Do you want to be noticed; to make an impact when you are contributing in business meetings? Do you want to raise your profile either as an entrepreneur or dynamic employee of a company? Or are you working in a large company and have ambitions to progress to a senior role? The Be Seen; Be Heard, Make an Impact Course is for you!

Susan Heaton-Wright has created a course to empower you to be an excellent spoken communicator. The principles are applied to all business conversations: pitching, public speaking, presenting, client and internal meetings.

Confidence, Optimism, Self-discipline, Patience, Trust, Thankfulness, Compassionate, Generosity, Kindness, Honor, Fairness, Resilience, Courage, Assertiveness, Forgiveness, Nobility.

These are virtues and they are the building blocks of oneself. When our conversations are infused with virtues words, we awaken these inner qualities to bloom.

What we say truly great has great power to inspire or discourage, our words shape character, bring out the best in others, and bring meaning and purpose to our lives.

Personal practices of virtues and using virtues language enable us to transform negativity and lead our lives by our highest standards.

Joyfulness, Helpfulness, Decisiveness, Caring, Perseverance, Simplicity, Truthfulness, Mindfulness, Wisdom, Creativity, Courage, Reliability, Diligence, Commitment, Hope, Orderliness, Justice

These are virtues and they make who we really are. When we infused virtues into our thoughts and conversations, we become more optimistic, resilient, and fair.

What we say truly great has great power to inspire or discourage, our words can shape character, bring out the best in others, and bring meaning and purpose to our lives.

Personal practices of virtues and using virtues language enable us to transform negativity and lead our lives by our highest standards.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make with branding is treating it as just a name, tagline or logo to identify their business. The second biggest mistake is to treat it as a luxury “image-building” exercise.

Branding is actually a powerful strategic business asset. People won’t buy if they don’t know, like or trust you. So the more your brand evokes positive emotions, the more likely it leads to customer loyalty and preference.

Building your brand authority is key. But brand authority is not something you give yourself. It is the trust and reputation you earn from your market.

In this Masterclass, I show you how to nurture trust, affinity and preference for profitable growth.

If you are a writer or content creator, you’ve probably wondered how to make your content go viral. Who doesn’t want thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people to see and appreciate the content you worked so hard to create?

Here’s the reality – viral content is rare. According to Digital Marketing Institute’s analysis of over 500 million posts, >90% get fewer than 100 shares, even for giant viral sites like Buzzfeed.

But if you know how to activate people’s psychological triggers, you can greatly boost your chances of getting massive traffic and engagement for your content.

In this Masterclass, I show you how I did it and how you can do it too.

It's my pleasure to interview the Suzi Sofiee Founder and Managing Director of FEN AROMA PTE LTD to share her struggles and challenges while running a business and being a mother. Join in for this LIVE session where you can also ask her questions, and relate to her experiences. As more and more mothers are starting business, they are faced with negativity and challenges that can either break them or propel them. Mompreneurs plan to showcase many more moms in business like Suzi to share real experiences and challenges, to guide you better in coping with yours.

Really, how well you do listen?
I struggle to listen!

Being a mother and a wife that takes care of the home and starting my own business, I have to make many decisions and many times, immediate decisions have to be made to troubleshoot the curve balls life throws at me every day. So I am very used to finding creative solutions and two hundred million things go through my mind on an hourly basis, I'm sure it's the same for you too so do we really listen while our minds are so busy? Do we take the time to stop those chatter in our minds, be present, put our opinions aside, and just listen to the person sitting in front of us? Because the best gift we have to give is our undivided presence and tentative listening! It's priceless.

Like all the billions of people in the world, we are all going through something....!
Big or small stuff, it doesn't matter. Don't underestimate the small stuff, they can turn into some big emotional baggage that eventually affects our relationships and performance at work or in business.

Most of the time, our emotions like anger over something someone said, frustrations from our daily commitments or struggling relationships, or confusion about moral behaviors or trauma over deaths or loss of any kind that hinders us from being at our best.

At home or at work, we’re either a parent, a friend, a leader or a co-worker to someone else, one of the most important daily roles we all play every day is the role of a caring companion and the role of a trusted friend.

In Virtues Companioning, you learn the 7 Steps to help a frustrated friend or confused team member or an angry child to get to the heart of the matter by asking "cup-emptying" question. At this stage, it is important to listen with detachment and compassion, not judging nor advising but listening tentatively.

It has NOTHING to do with what you think or feel. It is all about the person right in front of you, the team member's or child's feelings, and emotional state is the focus point, NOT what you think is right or wrong, not what you think should or should not be, and certainly not your not advice.

After the person has “emptied their cup”, we want to now fill the “empty cup” by asking clarifying questions and virtues acknowledgments for this person to find their own wisdom and peaceful resolution.

It is always more powerful and empowering when the person finds their own clarity, comes up with their own solutions, and make their own moral choices with the help of virtues.

The 7 Steps of Offer Companioning or Virtues Companioning, is one of the five strategies in The Virtues Project™. This counseling like tool helps us to be fully present, listen tentatively without judgment but with compassion and detachment. It is walking along with the distressed person, it is not about giving quick solutions but for the hurt to find their own clarity and having the trust in the confused person's process, seeing her or him as champions capable of learning their life lessons.

Tip 1:
The next time you're the listening ear, ask questions starting with "what" and "how". Questions starting with "who", "when", "why", they are too time-consuming and sets up a lot of unnecessary judgments.

Tip 2:
In companioning, the reference point is not your judgment but the heart, mind, and character of the angry or frustrated one.

Tip 3:
When you are companioning, call on the virtues of Compassion and Detachment. These are your protective shield for both, you and the person whom you are listening to.
Compassion is to allows your care to flow to the other person and detachment to keep you from taking on their feelings as your own.

Companioning is an art and skill which supports the other person to discover their own wisdom and clarity. It is quite a contrast to the typical approach taken by most caring people, where they usually try to solve the problem as quickly as possible, giving the other person advice like, “Why don’t you just ....? Or use distraction by saying, “It will pass” or “Don’t cry, it’s ok. That's normal.”

When you are going through your own stuff, do you having a caring companion and a trusted friend that gives you the safe space to be, to feel, and be heard without judging or advising you?

Look out for my free webinar to learn more about companioning.

With gratitude,
Gladys Tan
The Virtues Project Facilitator

How do you want teachers and students to feel when they walk into school every morning?

Are your teachers dreading coming to work in the morning?

Do students walk into the building with their heads down, trying not to interact with others?

Or are your teachers excited, starting each class with enthusiasm?

Do you hear laughter in the hallways when students are coming in?

Basically, a school culture consists of the underlying influences and attitudes within the school — based on the norms, traditions and beliefs of the staff and students.How important is school culture? In short, the prevailing atmosphere in your school will affect everything that goes on inside its walls.This goes beyond the student body: it also involves how teachers interact with each other, their students, and the parents.
Having a positive school culture has an impact, not just on the attitudes of students and teachers, but on the entire learning experience.

School culture has an impact on everything in the building, from non-teaching to teaching staff, from students to parents. But how do you promote a positive non-toxic school culture?

What is a school culture?

A school culture constitutes culture, ethos, atmosphere and climate based on the norms, traditions and beliefs of the staff and students. This goes beyond the student; it also involves teachers’ interaction with each other, their students and the parents.

How do we build a positive school culture?

There are many ways to build a positive school culture, few are listed below:

1. Create meaningful parent involvement.
2. Celebrate personal achievement and good behavior.
3. Establish school norms that build values.
4. Set consistent discipline.
5. Model the behaviors you want to see in your school.
6. Engage students in ways that benefit them
7. Create rituals and traditions that are fun for students and teachers
8. Encourage innovation in the classroom.
9. Professional development for teachers
10. Maintain the physical environment of your school.
11. Keep check on the school culture and make adjustments accordingly.

Toxic vs. positive school culture

A toxic school culture has been described as a place where “staffs are extremely fragmented, where the purpose of serving students has been lost to the goal of serving the adults, where negative values and hopelessness reign.” (Realizing a Positive School Culture, 1998)Anthony Muhammad -- a high school principal and the author of Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff -- describes a toxic school culture as an environment where school staff "fails to figure out what's needed to cultivate the characteristics necessary for student growth and learning."
On the other hand, a positive school culture is a place where your efforts are translated into positive experiences for both staff and students. Success, joy, and accomplishment are all main features of a positive school culture. When your school has a positive culture, teachers are excited to work because they see the bigger picture, and students are in a better position (mentally and emotionally) to learn.

Building a school culture takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Changing the attitudes of all the staff and students within your school will positively impact the environment and so the school culture. Keep working patiently at building a school culture that fosters positive action.

70:20:10 Webinar design and Transactional Distance
Dr Anthony 'Skip' Basiel

http://abasiel.wordpress.com | abasiel@gmail.com

Are you designing your next webinar? Do you want to promote creativity and innovation? Get the stakeholders involved?
Have a look at my webinar design research and resources at https://abasiel.wordpress.com

This blog explores the application and adaption of the 70:20:10 Corporate Training Instructional Design Model to a Webinar context. Part of this discussion examines the ways in which ‘Guest Speakers’ can be used in the context of webinars. Please see a ‘Guest Speaker’ proposal here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10YLxnPZeP94QAZsaMTlswM6C8883r3cv/view?usp=sharing
70-20-10 instructional design

Introduction:

In the mid-90s Lombardo, et al. (1996) conducted a survey with almost 200 executives through the Center for Creative Leadership about their learning philosophy. The unexpected results have come to be known as the 70:20:10 learning and development model:

70% challenging (informal) assignments
20% developmental relationships
10% formal learning and development training
The conclusion is that the great majority of our learning is experiential, grown from our tacit (applied) knowledge while 20% is social through peer-to-peer interactions, mentoring or feedback/feedforward comments.

A problem faced during the Coronavirus is that a lock-down situation we are in social isolation. Our synchronous (live) online interactions are via text chats and web video conferencing. This chapter addresses the question, ‘How can we adapt the 70:20:10 (face-to-face) model to webinar design?’ We will travel in reverse order, starting with formal teaching and training using current webinar technology to support short-term recall of procedural knowledge (the 10%). Next, we will discuss and analyse webinar designs that promote social learning opportunities. Lastly, suggestions of challenging assignments linked to tacit knowledge are explored. We conclude with an examination of the application of a Socratic discussion to a 360* immersive fishbowl webinar design (Basiel 2020). A Webinar Profile Toolkit (2020) offers Event Hosts / Presenters guidelines based upon Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory (1997).

Transactional Webinar Design
by Anthony Basiel and Mike Howarth April 2020
abasiel@gmail.com | drmichaelhowarth@icloud.com

https://abasiel.wordpress.com | http://www.mhmvr.co.uk/

Introduction
During the time of the 2020 Coronavirus, there was an unprecedented increase in web video conferencing for professional and academic use (Business Insider 2020). From the trial-and-error approach used by many organisations, it has become apparent that guidelines for conducting webinars are needed. What are the protocols that can inform webinar design? A theoretical foundation is needed to provide a clear plan forward in the research and development of webinar interaction. This paper puts forward a ‘transactional webinar design’. A starting proposition for any webinar event is for the stakeholders to recognise the nature and degree of self-directedness. In doing so, we are working towards autonomous, self-managed webinar participants and stakeholders. The narrative of this paper moves through a series of questions. First, WHAT are the key factors of a successful webinar? Next, HOW can we blend the tools with the interactive/transactional design? Lastly, WHY would we choose this webinar model?

When engaging in an argument, a starting common language is needed. What do we mean by ‘transactional’? Dewey (1949) explains ‘transaction’ in an education context, as the individual’s pattern of behaviour in an environment. The webinar virtual 2D space is addressed in this paper. According to Moore (1997) the separation of [stakeholders] is sufficiently significant that special [engagement] strategies and techniques are needed.
This webinar analysis begins by looking at WHAT elements comprise a successful event and the related evaluation criteria. This section starts with the technical components and moves to examine the stakeholder’s profiles. When hosting or attending a webinar, is there a clear model of the expectations of the participants? Is there an inherent expectation for the interactions to be identical to a face-to-face discussion, classroom lecture, seminar debate, role-play enactment, or unstructured brainstorming? This expectation needs to be explicit so there is a criteria to measure success. In this way, there is a benchmark to form the ‘transactional webinar design’.

Conclusion

This paper investigated three questions in relation to webinar design:

WHAT are the key factors of a successful webinar?
HOW can we blend the tools with the interactive/transactional design?
WHY would we choose this webinar model?
For a variety of learning environments, Moore (1997) suggests that distance learning requires changes in the traditional role of teachers to be able to select media for (webinar) instruction. This paper has shown these key issues:

Successful webinars require technical and pedagogic blending depending on the profile of the stakeholders,
The degree of learner autonomy is related to the instructional design,
The next-generation of webinar design may move from the current 2D (outside-looking-in) view to include a 3D immersive (inside-looking-out) perspective,
Webinar pedagogy can provide learning opportunities from traditional Behaviourist instructional design to Humanists creative brainstorming,
One approach to addressing ‘learning entropy’ in a large Socratic webinar discussion can be to use techniques such as a fishbone diagram,
The Transactional Webinar Profile Toolkit (2020), provided in this research, gives the reader software to apply Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory to a real-world webinar event,
Ongoing evaluation needs to be part of the webinar design.
By building a virtual learning community researching webinar design, we can progress towards the next-generation pedagogies and technology blends presented in this paper. The authors challenge readers to contact them to provide case study feedback on the results of using the Transactional Webinar Profile Toolkit and webinar learning theory offered. Through the analysis of the case study examples tends can inform the future designs of webinars. The authors predict a paradigm shift to more creative brainstorming webinars in the near future to promote autonomous learners

SYNOPSIS
Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap the endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

SYNOPSIS
Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap the endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

SYNOPSIS
Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap the endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book “100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn” written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

To start your own business will be much easier with your new business website where you can highlight products and services on the platform and people click and buy the service.

Now, making a website is possible for everyone even without coding skills. I will show and guide you all to have a business website with advanced features for your e-commerce business.

In this time of digital era, life without the internet is unimaginable. With the growing number of internet active users across the globe, the web has become the main hub for sharing and disseminating information - whether personal update, news, and politics, or entertainment passed between friends.

I am actively involved in startup programs and I can say that startup entrepreneurs should have a better understanding of how to have a proper entrepreneur mindset for the entrepreneur journey they would have.
It is the general approach every entrepreneur should have when starting a business when actually becoming an entrepreneur. So the class should help you to unfold your entrepreneurial personality, to understand what it is.
There is a common question that we use to have from the class if entrepreneurs are made or entrepreneurs are born.
In fact, entrepreneurs are made, when someone comes up and says “we should launch a business”, there will be a lot of questions, which might go through your mind

Now everyone has gotten used to the 'new normal', people and companies are refocussing on emerging stronger from the health and economic crisis. Macro-trends such as digitalization and the energy transition are expected to accelerate.

In this live webinar, Leza speaks to Michel Goedegebuure. Michel has a wealth of experience in different industries and has worked in several countries. In these positions he developed a comprehensive system to improve the culture in organizations. The result is a much better (financial) performance while employees, customers, suppliers and the owners are more engaged and happier.

Michel will share his view on the opportunities the crisis presents to companies as well has how to start moving on these opportunities.

Why does positive thinking and goal setting so often fail?
They fail because the positive thoughts and goals are incongruent with the way we really feel and they are incongruent with the image we see ourselves.

Come discover this mental exercise to alter the negative ways we feel and see ourselves, cast them aside, and bring your confident and successful self out of the closet.

This pandemic has made all the educational schools across the world to adopt teaching online.

With the sudden shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, many are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post pandemic and how such a shift would impact worldwide education system.

This is where the blended learning comes in - a hybrid of in-person lessons and online distance learning. Blended learning is one of the many proposed models for the future of the technology assisted classroom.

This webinar is good for educators, students, coaches, administrators and Principals.

More than 50% of medium sized businesses are spending huge amounts of money outsourcing their bookkeeping, accounting and financial statement preparation because of lack of skills and knowledge on entrepreneur accounting and financial management.

At this training, participants will:
1. Understand basic accounting concepts and learn how to accurately record financial transactions using excel
2. Identify a simple and step by step method to use excel for bookkeeping and preparation of financial statements
3. Discover the relationship between income statement, balance sheet and cash flows to facilitate decision making

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Do you want to become a public speaker? What is holding you back? Like many, may be fear of public speaking is holding you. Speaking anxiety is still the top phobia, affecting more people than fears of any other thing. In 60 minutes, I can not make you a great speaker, but these ideas will surely benefit you to improve your public speaking skills. In this webinar, I will share with you my personal experience as a speaker and some of my top tips.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap the endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book "100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn" written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

Opportunities await those who know accounting because businesses are everywhere!

Are you a…

📌Freelancer who wants to upgrade skill sets to get in-demand bookkeeping jobs today?

📌Business owner who wants to make better decisions using reliable financial reports?

This webinar is designed to be your ALL-IN-ONE destination for everything you need to get started.

This is a general overview of my Consulting DNA exclusive mentorship program for accountants, bookkeepers and consultants who are looking to grow their own practice.

If you are tired of the monotonous 8-5 job, there are 2 options left for you: Either become a freelancer or build a business right away

Can I hold your hand, guide you, and mentor you in 90 days?

“How to get clients?”

You see, most freelancers’ strategy is to hope that clients would find them. Or that people will refer clients to them.

In my case, I think the better question to ask first is who are the types of people you want to serve. What are their challenges?

Then, the next question you should ask is how your offer can help address their challenges.

I resigned exactly Jul 17, 2020 so I could start building my own accounting and consulting practice. In August, I got fully booked for clients and booked calls.

“How to get clients?”

You see, most freelancers’ strategy is to hope that clients would find them. Or that people will refer clients to them.

In my case, I think the better question to ask first is who are the types of people you want to serve. What are their challenges?

Then, the next question you should ask is how your offer can help address their challenges.

I resigned exactly Jul 17, 2020 so I could start building my own accounting and consulting practice. In August, I got fully booked for clients and booked calls.

This is a general overview of my Consulting DNA exclusive mentorship program for accountants, bookkeepers and consultants who are looking to grow their own practice.

If you are tired of the monotonous 8-5 job, there are 2 options left for you: Either become a freelancer or build a business right away

Can I hold your hand, guide you, and mentor you in 90 days?

Opportunities await those who know accounting because businesses are everywhere!

Are you a…

📌Freelancer who wants to upgrade skill sets to get in-demand bookkeeping jobs today?

📌Business owner who wants to make better decisions using reliable financial reports?

This webinar is designed to be your ALL-IN-ONE destination for everything you need to get started.

Personal Branding (The Lion Within You) is a 6-week transformational program catered for each individual and at the end of it, this program not only will help you gain a new perspective and clarity in your life but also see a transformation in yourself through personal branding, uncovering the Lion within you which this program is all about.

Personal Branding (The Lion Within You) is a 6-week transformational program catered for each individual and at the end of it, this program not only will help you gain a new perspective and clarity in your life but also see a transformation in yourself through personal branding, uncovering the Lion within you which this program is all about.

There are occasions where we are asked to do things that are unreasonable; they are not part of our job; they don't fit with our values; or we feel guilty saying no even though we already have enough to do.
In this interactive webinar, I will explore why we feel guilty saying no, and why saying 'No' can be the best thing to do in some work or personal situations.
This is invaluable for anyone as part of their professional development

Many of us have goals in life – some of us wants to have a healthier body, some of us wants to start a family, some of us wants to achieve financial freedom and more. However, more often than not, many of us do not achieve our goals as well. This is due to 2 main reasons - our goals do not align with our inner purpose and we do not have a systematic approach to achieve them.

In this masterclass, we will explore a systematic approach for us to identify and deep dive into goals which deeply align with our inner purpose, predicated by 6 pillars in our life as well as create step-by-step process to achieve them.

I am often asked how to maintain contact with existing clients and contacts in a professional, friendly way. It is easy to lose contact and it almost makes it harder to re-establish a business relationship.
In this intereactive webinar, I share top tips on how to maintain contact - but not sell! Also what to think about when setting up a business relationship system.

Your teams need help to acquire next-generation skills, master never-seen-before technologies or products and adapt rapidly to dynamic changes. In this research-based webinar, Dr Raman, a performance scientist and organizational learning leader, will walk you through the new order of workforce development to beat the speed of business. You will walk out with a deeper understanding of new workforce development metrics and how over 50 world-class organizations accelerated employee development.

SYNOPSIS
Waddup Legends!

We live in an amazing time of human history. The sum of human knowledge in our hands, thanks to digital technology and the internet. The truth is that we are all lost in the vast digital ocean of information and not many people know how to navigate their way to find the truth about any thing. In the digital universe, you will find an overload of lies, deception and falseness, to an extent that we now crave for authentic things. Indeed we live in a time of universal deceit where telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
Join this free webinar to learn how to find your way through the Digi-Verse!

YOUR BEST FRIEND

KHAN

As we approach March 2020, we saw the entire functioning was at standstill of all kind of businesses and Projects across the globe. We were facing an unprecedented situation and not knowing how to handle. Project Management appeared to be one of the most required skills to get back life on track.

We will talk of how effective project management can be a crucial to get businesses and projects re-initiated and back on track. The fundamental tools and techniques to be used in times of uncertainities.

The current COVID-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise. The mystery disease that intrigued a few people on Twitter in December 2019 has forced governments to close their borders and essentially paralyze economies. How do business owners maintain the productivity of their teams during this extraordinary time, and how do technologies help keep operations running? Agile project management ensures the constant delivery of value to your organization even amidst crisis.

All project are risky, an effective risk management is a key contributor to project and business success. The aim of this webinar is to provide participants with an understanding of the theory and practice of risk management with focus on projects and programmes. This webinar addresses the key elements of risk management , presenting practical solutions and tools & techniques.

This webinar will cover
1. Familiarise yourself with the risk concepts and risk management process
2. Learn tools and techniques to manage the risk effectively
3. Implementation the management of risk into practice

Project - Planning is both organizational process of creating and maintaining a plan, and the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired future on some scale. As such it is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, that is it combines forecasting of development with preparation of scenario of how to react to them.

Planning raises CONFIDENCE LEVEL and lowers LEVEL OF RISK by validating: Project goals are attainable.

This webinar provides an overview of IEEE Standard 1058 and its application in preparing and documenting a software project management Plan.

Retirement has been a hot topic for many. Each of us may have a different definition of what retirement means. To some, it may be being able to work at our own freedom, not having to work for money. To others, it may be to stop working all together.

However, regardless of what our definition of retirement is, many of us are also unprepared to transit into this phase. Proper planning has to be done for us to create our dream retirement.

Whether we are in our 20-s or in our 50-s, this program is designed to give us the clarity and certainty to progress towards our dream retirement. Let's be empowered to do so!

If you are a copywriter or content creator, you’ve probably wondered how to make your content go viral. Who doesn’t want thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people to see and appreciate the content you worked so hard to create?

Here’s the reality – viral content is rare. According to Digital Marketing Institute’s analysis of over 500 million posts, >90% get fewer than 100 shares, even for giant viral sites like Buzzfeed.

But if you know how to activate people’s psychological triggers, you can greatly boost your chances of getting massive traffic and engagement for your content.

In this Masterclass, I show you how I did it and how you can do it too.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make with branding is treating it as just a name, tagline or logo to identify their business. The second biggest mistake is to treat it as a luxury "image-building" exercise.

Branding is actually a powerful strategic business asset. People won't buy if they don't know, like or trust you. So the more your brand evokes positive emotions, the more likely it leads to customer loyalty and preference.

Building your brand authority is key. But brand authority is not something you give yourself. It is the trust and reputation you earn from your market.

In this Masterclass, I show you how to nurture trust, affinity and preference for profitable growth.

If you Google your name, what comes up?

You are already leaving digital footprints everywhere, which is building up an image of who you are! If you think you don't need to do any personal branding, you may be very mistaken! In a sense, you already have a personal brand. It's a matter of whether you are chancing it or you are crafting it.

In this Masterclass, I share with you how to build a powerful personal brand and why it could be the best thing for you.

"Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room."
~ Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

If you Google your name, what comes up?

You are already leaving digital footprints everywhere, which is building up an image of who you are! If you think you don't need to do any personal branding, you may be very mistaken! In a sense, you already have a personal brand. It's a matter of whether you are chancing it or you are crafting it.

In this Masterclass, I share with you how to build a powerful personal brand and why it could be the best thing for you.

"Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room."
~ Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

To start your own business will be much easier with your new business website where you can highlight products and services on the platform and people click and buy the service.

Now, making a website is possible for everyone even without coding skills. I will show and guide you all to have a business website with advanced features for your e-commerce business.

I am actively involved in startup programs and I can say that startup entrepreneurs should have a better understanding of how to have a proper entrepreneur mindset for the entrepreneur journey they would have.
It is the general approach every entrepreneur should have when starting a business when actually becoming an entrepreneur. So the class should help you to unfold your entrepreneurial personality, to understand what it is.
There is a common question that we use to have from the class if entrepreneurs are made or entrepreneurs are born.
In fact, entrepreneurs are made, when someone comes up and says “we should launch a business”, there will be a lot of questions, which might go through your mind….

This is a test.

Waddup Legends!

Welcome to the Webinar Session…

“I forgot” “I cant memorize!” “I got 100 things to do” “I cant remember them all” Do you think that one of these excuses apply to you? Chances are that the answer will be along the lines of “YES!” or “MAY BE”

Let me tell you something, we all have an unlimited memory space. We just don’t know how to access it. Our traditional schooling system has done its best to limit our beautiful mind.

Join this Awesome webinar and learn how to improve your memory.

By the end of this session, we will be able to remember a 100 THINGS!

Sign up to learn from this webinar!

Your best Friend!

KHAN

Waddup Legends! Welcome to the Webinar Session…

Do you have a huge stack of books that you plan to read someday? Do you find it hard to read through your coursebooks taught at school? Have you ever started reading a book and found yourself leaving it half way? If all of this applies to you, there is a problem. But the good news is, it can be fixed!

We are taught everything in school but the basic skills like how to read, comprehend, memorize etc are left for us to figure out ourselves.

Join this Awesome webinar and in one hour you will see how your learning speed increases two fold.

Sign up now!

What if you can turn the MOST difficult customers/ clients/ colleagues into your BIGGEST fans?

Wouldn’t that be nice? It is human’s nature to desire to be well-loved and well-respected. However, natural conflicts and complications make this challenging to be achieved among each and every one.😫😫

This sharing will explore on how we can effectively communicate and connect with even the most difficult personalities so that we can build meaningful relationships with them, be it at a personal or professional level.🤗🤗

Together, step by step, we can certainly make our relationships more positive, supportive and conducive.😍😍

Have you ever wondered how the growth rate significantly increases by activating student thinking? What are the factors/traits that can assist in engaging students in a meaningful learning?

In order to best express themselves, one needs to know how to think clearly- meaning practice critical thinking! Critical thinking also means knowing how to break down texts, and in turn, improve our ability to comprehend.

One needs to explore the ways to help oneself think critically in order to prepare for the future.

In this webinar, participants will learn about the traits of critical thinking to empower their thought process.

This webinar is ideal for everyone.

Life Design and Goal setting have been very traditional overtime talking only about money and career. But human happiness lies somewhere else.
Re-Discover your life with this webinar.

I have been delivering this for the last 2 years, shared amazing concepts with 500+ participants one to one in over 7 countries. 21 people achieved 100+ goals in just 1 year.

know more about it at www.3catalysts.com/trainings

#coaching #goals #growth #personaldevelopment

Life Design and Goal setting have been very traditional overtime talking only about money and career. But human happiness lies somewhere else.
Re-Discover your life with this webinar.

I have been delivering this for the last 2 years, shared amazing concepts with 500+ participants one to one in over 7 countries. 21 people achieved 100+ goals in just 1 year.

know more about it at www.3catalysts.com/trainings

#coaching #goals #growth #personaldevelopment

"There is only one corner of the universe that you can be certain of improving; and that is your own self" (Aldous Huxley,Philosopher)
When have you last tapped into your inner intelligence as a leader? Do you know your hot buttons, when you feel threatened or not respected ? Do you know how your emotions or behaviours impact your team or peers ? Its critical as a leader today to continuosly gain insights so you can strive to be a better leader. A leader people respect, want to work and collaborate with and admire. Its not too late to start learning the different strategies so you can develop your self awareness and be a more fulfilled leader.

How well do we listen?
Do you have a trusted someone to help you get the heart of the matter when you are angry or confused, listening without judging or advising in a safe space?

We are caring beings and we don't like seeing our loved ones hurt so we tell them that everything is just going to be ok and they will feel better soon. Although it may be true, it's not helpful for the hurting person at that moment.

However, most times, for someone to "feel better", they just need to be heard.

Come find out how to be a companion that listens tentatively without pushing or pulling & giving a safe space to be heard and respected.

When I first started joining LinkedIn, I had no idea what a personal brand was or even heard of it. I simply thought that LinkedIn is just like any other social platforms, only that it focuses on professional networking and career development. If this is where you are right now and you hear many about personal branding around you, but you don't know how to grow your personal brand then this webinar is definitely for you. Learn about the four essential elements that can help you to build a professional and effective personal brand.

When I first started joining LinkedIn, I had no idea what a personal brand was or even heard of it. I simply thought that LinkedIn is just like any other social platforms, only that it focuses on professional networking and career development. If this is where you are right now and you hear many about personal branding around you, but you don't know how to grow your personal brand then this webinar is definitely for you. Learn about the four essential elements that can help you to build a professional and effective personal brand.

The ability to speak in public or commonly known as public speaking is a must-have when the internet or more precisely social media is used as a new location for socializing. what is needed? To what I have to have if I want to have good public speaking skills, this will be discussed more deeply based on my experience during my 10 years working in the world of TV and radio, and the last 2 years as a social enterprise founder engaged in education. The main language of instruction used is Indonesian and presentation with English.

Your personal brand is one of your most powerful assets, learn to tap the endless opportunities and build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available and connecting every single day. In this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding and to win opportunities from the community of people you want to attract.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary copy of the book "100 strategies to get to 100,000 followers on LinkedIn" written by Leza Klenk, to guide you on strategies to amass large communities of right target audience.

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Are you getting enough leads for your business? What if I tell you can tap into one of the fast-growing platforms coupled with your personal brand to bring in your desire clients to your doorstep without begging for sales.

Join my webinar to discover how you can build your brand on the fast-growing platform and at the end of the seminar. On top of the strategies that I'm going share with you, you will be revealed one fo the platform where you can build your landing page for FREE to capture all the leads.

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Hema is a vibrant change catalyst with optimistic energy and has the distinct honour of having worked across three continents (Asia | Europe | Australia).
She is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) who qualified in PwC,Kuala Lumpur and was disappointed when her years of experience in top-tier investment banks in London was not even considered when she arrived in Sydney, Australia in 2011.
Despite this, she pushed through all obstacles, transitioned into the world of technology as a Snr Business Analyst then Coach and thrived, achieving the highest success in her career.

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Are you getting enough leads for your business? What if I tell you can tap into one of the fast-growing platforms coupled with your personal brand to bring in your desire clients to your doorstep without begging for sales.

Join my webinar to discover how you can build your brand on the fast-growing platform and at the end of the seminar. On top of the strategies that I'm going share with you, you will be revealed one fo the platform where you can build your landing page for FREE to capture all the leads.

How well do you listen?
Do you have someone you trust that's able to help you get the heart of the matter when you are angry or confused, listening without judging or advising?
When you are frustrated or disappointed, are you given then space to express your feeling and emotions freely?

We are helpful beings by nature and we all want to help one another person by giving advice because we always want what is best for our loved ones or for the people we care about. However, many times, for a person to feel better, they just need to be heard. They don't need advice nor sympathy, they just need to be listened to without judgments.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

Your personal brand is your unique and powerful asset. Learn to tap endless opportunities to build massive network with your brand. LinkedIn is the best professional platforms to build business connections with more than 500 million profiles available for connection every single day. Through this course, you will learn how to build your personal branding to win opportunities from your target audience.

By signing up for this webinar, you will also receive a complimentary power coaching session with Suresh MJ.

How well do you listen?
Do you have someone you trust that's able to help you get the heart of the matter when you are angry or confused, listening without judging or advising?
When you are frustrated or disappointed, are you given then space to express your feeling and emotions freely?

We are helpful beings by nature and we all want to help one another person by giving advice because we always want what is best for our loved ones or for the people we care about. However, many times, for a person to feel better, they just need to be heard. They don't need advice nor sympathy, they just need to be listened to without judgments.

Hema is a vibrant change catalyst with optimistic energy and has the distinct honour of having worked across three continents (Asia | Europe | Australia).
She is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) who qualified in PwC,Kuala Lumpur and was disappointed when her years of experience in top-tier investment banks in London was not even considered when she arrived in Sydney, Australia in 2011.

Despite this, she pushed through all obstacles, transitioned into the world of technology as a Snr Business Analyst then Coach and thrived, achieving the highest success in her career.

Enjoy Earth Matrix without suffering by mastery the game of own mind matrix, below is a list of samples but not limited by:
Wealth: predict, prevent and terminate the risk in investment, partnership
Success: Keep high performance with consistency that covers the whole lifecycle
Holistic health: free from the traps and triggers. Terminate any kind of suffering on earth matrix
Intimacy: prevent the potential suffering that can lead to life failure.
Parent-Child relationship: monitor the whole process for safety from birth to the death
Aging & Death: Free from the fear of aging, death, and uncertainty of afterlife.

Hema is a vibrant change catalyst with optimistic energy and has the distinct honour of having worked across three continents (Asia | Europe | Australia). She is a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) who qualified in PwC,Kuala Lumpur and was disappointed when her years of experience in top-tier investment banks in London was not even considered when she arrived in Sydney, Australia in 2011. Despite this, she pushed through all obstacles, transitioned into the world of technology as a Snr Business Analyst then Coach and thrived, achieving the highest success in her career. After a 20 year career working in 12 large corporates, Hema felt the best way she could make further impact and change the dial in the

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This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 6 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Business development is the bloodline of every business, learn how to consistently earn income.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 1 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn how to be visionary, illustrate ideas into concrete business models, plan effective execution plans including funding stages, global expansion potential exit.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 2 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Course with concepts and case studies written purely on experience, learn the fundamentals of starting a business right, taught by a CEO. You will learn the pros and cons of engaging freelancers, partners and employees - and when to use them in different stages of business growth.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This is module 5 out of 6 under The Entrepreneur Manual series.
Understand the purpose of investments and why/how to raise the funds your business need. Learn the importance to why you need to evaluate your business accurately, sell less shares in early stages and bootstrap to win bigger in distant future.
The key to success is adapt to change, by tweaking something today can bring about massive changes tomorrow. Before you can tell what to tweak, you need to understand the various aspects of business of your business - and the various ways you can implement change for the better.

This webinar is to share and explore which areas in HR are currently moving the needle on AI. There are many tools and products out there that state that they are driven by AI. Is it true? Are we really making HR decisions drive by AI based tech.

What areas in HR are integrating AI/ML/Deep learning and which areas are still evolving?. I will share some thoughts on this and how does it impact the function as a whole and what are the implications for HR as a function.

Waddup Legends!
Do you want to turn problems into solutions, challenges into opportunities, dreams into reality. If mindfulness or meditation or other methods have come up short, try the original, authentic, Jose Silva techniques. If you want to learn to be relaxed, mindful, mentally tough, creative and a genius, who can unleash their mental potential, this is the right place for you to sign up for a free webinar on How to develop your Extra Sensory Projection. Jose Silva Has proven since 1970s, how we can go to Alpha Level of mind to access our subconscious brain to solve problems. You will learn how to develop intuition and creativity in this one hour seminar.

Your Best Friend

KHAN

Waddup Legends!

The advancement world we see today comes to us thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of many people. However, there has to be one person who guides the group to a common goal and helps to achieve it. If all soldiers could fight on their own, there would have been no need of generals to lead them through victory. Small gangs of raiders and bandits donot survive long and are always outmatched by an army unified under strong leaders.

Today our world needs better leaders, not managers, in every field.
Sign up for this free webinar to learn how to be an inspirational leader.

Your Best Friend

KHAN

Life Design and Goal setting have been very traditional overtime talking only about money and career. But human happiness lies somewhere else.
Re-Discover your life with this webinar.
know more about it at https://www.3catalysts.com/trainings

#coaching #goals #growth

Do you feel stressed? Overwhelmed? Tired? Burnout? Uninspired? Unmotivated? If so, I promise you, You are not alone because 100% of people have problems and are suffering from something.

Yes, everyone and everybody is going through something.

Everyone experiences stress and frustration no matter what work they do, which country they live in, what gender or what life stage they are because of the unprecedented uncertainty we are now facing.

The good news is that there are powerful mind tools that can help you overcome your challenges so you can worry less, enjoy your life more and become happier.

Are you at the risk of losing your job? Did you lose your job? Do you want to learn 3 powerful and proven steps to pandemic proof your career?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this webinar is for you.

Register now because this free webinar can help you get clear on your next career move so you can survive and thrive during the pandemic and in any crisis.

Entrepreneurs are a unique group of people. Not only do they think differently; they act differently. They draw on personality traits, habits and mind-sets to come up with ideas that straddle the line between insanity and genius. But just because you’re an original thinker and came up with an idea to replace gasoline in cars doesn’t mean you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur.

If you ever wondered if you were an entrepreneur, check out the following list. You may not have all these traits or skills, yet if you have some, this is a pretty good indicator that you have what it takes.

1. You come from a family of individuals who just couldn't work for someone else. Your parents worked for themselves. Though this isn't true for every entrepreneur (myself included), many have a family history with one or both parents having been self-employed.

2. You hate the status quo. You’re a person who is always questioning why people do the things they do. You strive to make things better and are willing to take action on it.

3. You’re self-confident. Have you ever met an entrepreneur who was pessimistic or self-loathing? After all, if you don’t have confidence, how can others believe in you? Most entrepreneurs are very optimistic about everything around them.

4. You’re passionate. There will be times when you spend an excessive amount of time and do not make a dollar. It’s your passion that will keep you going.

5. You don’t take no for an answer. An entrepreneur never gives up -- ever.

6. You have the ability to create unlikely partnerships from out of nowhere because of your ability to connect the dots. People tend to gravitate toward you because you are likable. Many times this is because of your passion.

7. You spend more time with your co-founder than your spouse or significant other.

8. You dropped out of college like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.

9. The daily commute to your office is from the bedroom to the living room.

10. You were always a lousy employee and probably have been fired a lot. Don't worry; you're not alone. I personally have been fired several times in my life. Don't take it as a sign that you're a bad person. Sometimes it's in your DNA.

11. You’ve always resisted authority; that's why you've had a problem holding down a job.

12. You believe that there is more than one definition of job security: You realize that your job is safe as long as you are in control as opposed to relying on a boss who could ruin your career after one swift mistake.

13. Most of your wardrobe consists of T-shirts; some you probably got at SXSW. Others display your company's name or logo.

14. You have a competitive nature and are willing to lose. You always know that you can do something better.

15. You check GitHub when you wake up in the morning.

16. You ask to be paid in game tickets, shoes or whatever else you love. There are just some things that are better than money, right?

17. Your idea of a holiday is a working day without anything interfering with the tasks you really need to get done.

18. You’re unemployable, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Life skills are more valuable than the office politics commonly found at 9-to-5 gigs.

19. You work more than 60 hours a week; yet you earned more money at an hourly job when you were in high school.

20. You want to be in control and in command of your own company. You typically like overseeing most things that go on at your company.

Related: Answer These 3 Questions Before Jumping Into Entrepreneurship

21. You see opportunities everywhere. For example, you walk into a building and are curious about its worth or the companies inside.

22. The word “pitch” no longer has an association with baseball.

23. Your take a personality test, like one offered by the Enneagram Institute, and end up with a result calling you a "reformer type," someone purposeful, self-controlled and perfectionist.

24. You recognize that the best seats at your favorite coffee shops are those closest to power outlets.

25. You’re a logical thinker with ideas about how to correct problems and the overall situation.

26. Speaking of problem solving, have you checked to see if there's an app for that? Perhaps you've already begun to create a business model and the software architecture to see if it’s feasible.

27. You’re a people person. You have no problem communicating with people.

28. You regularly quote Steve Jobs mainly to keep yourself from falling to pieces.

29. You sold stuff as a kid like at a lemonade stand. Heck, when there were class sales, you were probably one of the top sellers.

30. You get more SMS alerts from people you follow on Twitter than from actual friends listed in your address book.

31. You’re a self-starter, meaning you don’t give up on a project until it’s completed.

32. No matter what you do on a daily basis, you always think of it in terms of delivering a return on investment.

33. Your dress code is shabby chic and your suit is just collecting dust. You prefer T-shirts and jeans over a suit any day.

34. You’re unrealistic. As an inventor or innovator, you kind of have to be this way.

35. You think outside of the box. If not, what will change?

36. You’re a charming and charismatic person.

37. Rules don’t apply to you. We’re not talking about breaking the law. Instead, you believe in efficiency and will bend rules to make things run smoothly.

38. You realize that you can’t do everything alone. You have an idea and can promote it but also know that you’re not skilled at every task of running a business.

39. You’re very opinionated. That's another reason you got fired a lot.

40. You’re unpredictable. As an entrepreneur, you know how quickly things can change. Thankfully, you're ready and willing to make adjustments.

41. You enjoy being with a group but don't relish much being alone. You probably get most energetic when working with groups of more than four people.

42. You’re determined. You have to make the impossible possible.

43. You have the support of your friends and family. These are the people who get you. And they’ll be there to support you along the way.

44. It’s normal for you to take a nap under your desk to catch up on sleep. After all, getting eight hours of sleep sometime between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is antiquated.

45. You’ve done the market research. You know that just because you have an incredible idea doesn’t mean that it’s profitable. But you’ve already looked into whether customers will make the purchase.

46. You surround yourself with quality people -- not leeches who will bring you down.

47. You’re a bit out there. Having the ability to create something out of nothing takes a mad-genius type of person. Remember, people thought Albert Einstein was insane before he proved the theory of relativity.

48. Did you ever ask your family, friends or significant other to send you a calendar invite so that you could talk for all of five minutes?

49. You believe that your time is worth more than money.

50. During your most recent rant about growth hacking, your spouse or boyfriend (or girlfriend) totally understood what you were saying.

Even if you don’t have all the above traits right now, you’ll probably develop more of them over time. After all, being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a job or hobby.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232451

We hope you’re not totally miserable at the office tomorrow, but if you are, here’s one article from the archives that may explain why.

THE way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.

Increasingly, this experience is common not just to middle managers, but also to top executives.

Our company, The Energy Project, works with organizations and their leaders to improve employee engagement and more sustainable performance. A little over a year ago, Luke Kissam, the chief executive of Albemarle, a multibillion-dollar chemical company, sought out one of us, Tony, as a coach to help him deal with the sense that his life was increasingly overwhelming. “I just felt that no matter what I was doing, I was always getting pulled somewhere else,” he explained. “It seemed like I was always cheating someone — my company, my family, myself. I couldn’t truly focus on anything.”

Mr. Kissam is not alone. Srinivasan S. Pillay, a psychiatrist and an assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School who studies burnout, recently surveyed a random sample of 72 senior leaders and found that nearly all of them reported at least some signs of burnout and that all of them noted at least one cause of burnout at work.

More broadly, just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. For most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.

Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.

Curious to understand what most influences people’s engagement and productivity at work, we partnered with the Harvard Business Review last fall to conduct a survey of more than 12,000 mostly white-collar employees across a broad range of companies and industries. We also gave the survey to employees at two of The Energy Project’s clients — one a manufacturing company with 6,000 employees, the other a financial services company with 2,500 employees. The results were remarkably similar across all three populations.

Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.

THE more effectively leaders and organizations support employees in meeting these core needs, the more likely the employees are to experience engagement, loyalty, job satisfaction and positive energy at work, and the lower their perceived levels of stress. When employees have one need met, compared with none, all of their performance variables improve. The more needs met, the more positive the impact.

Engagement — variously defined as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy” — has now been widely correlated with higher corporate performance. In a 2012 meta-analysis of 263 research studies across 192 companies, Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22 percent higher profitability, 10 percent higher customer ratings, 28 percent less theft and 48 percent fewer safety incidents.

A 2012 global work force study of 32,000 employees by the consulting company Towers Watson found that the traditional definition of engagement — the willingness of employees to voluntarily expend extra effort — is no longer sufficient to fuel the highest levels of performance. Willing, it turns out, does not guarantee able. Companies in the Towers Watson study with high engagement scores measured in the traditional way had an operating margin of 14 percent. By contrast, companies with the highest number of “sustainably engaged” employees had an operating margin of 27 percent, nearly three times those with the lowest traditional engagement scores.

Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform. What our study revealed is just how much impact companies can have when they meet each of the four core needs of their employees.

Renewal: Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or just one during the day. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46 percent higher level of health and well-being. The more hours people work beyond 40 — and the more continuously they work — the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become. By contrast, feeling encouraged by one’s supervisor to take breaks increases by nearly 100 percent people’s likelihood to stay with any given company, and also doubles their sense of health and well-being.

Value: Feeling cared for by one’s supervisor has a more significant impact on people’s sense of trust and safety than any other behavior by a leader. Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization and are 67 percent more engaged.

Focus: Only 20 percent of respondents said they were able to focus on one task at a time at work, but those who could were 50 percent more engaged. Similarly, only one-third of respondents said they were able to effectively prioritize their tasks, but those who did were 1.6 times better able to focus on one thing at a time.

Purpose: Employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations — the highest single impact of any variable in our survey. These employees also reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and they were 1.4 times more engaged at work.

We often ask senior leaders a simple question: If your employees feel more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, do they perform better? Not surprisingly, the answer is almost always “Yes.” Next we ask, “So how much do you invest in meeting those needs?” An uncomfortable silence typically ensues.

How to explain this odd disconnect?

The most obvious answer is that systematically investing in employees, beyond paying them a salary, didn’t seem necessary until recently. So long as employees were able to meet work demands, employers were under no pressure to address their more complex needs. Increasingly, however, employers are recognizing that the relentless stress of increased demand — caused in large part by digital technology — simply must be addressed.

Still, the forces of habit and inertia remain powerful obstacles to better meeting employee needs. Several years ago, we did a pilot program with 150 accountants in the middle of their firm’s busy tax season. Historically, employees work extremely long hours during these demanding periods, and are measured and evaluated based on how many hours they put in.

Recognizing the value of intermittent rest, we persuaded this firm to allow one group of accountants to work in a different way — alternating highly focused and uninterrupted 90-minute periods of work with 10-to-15-minute breaks in between, and a full one-hour break in the late afternoon, when our tendency to fall into a slump is higher. Our pilot group of employees was also permitted to leave as soon as they had accomplished a designated amount of work.

With higher focus, these employees ended up getting more work done in less time, left work earlier in the evenings than the rest of their colleagues, and reported a much less stressful overall experience during the busy season. Their turnover rate was far lower than that of employees in the rest of the firm. Senior leaders were aware of the results, but the firm didn’t ultimately change any of its practices. “We just don’t know any other way to measure them, except by their hours,” one leader told us. Recently, we got a call from the same firm. “Could you come back?” one of the partners asked. “Our people are still getting burned out during tax season.”

Partly, the challenge for employers is trust. For example, our study found that employees have a deep desire for flexibility about where and when they work — and far higher engagement when they have more choice. But many employers remain fearful that their employees won’t accomplish their work without constant oversight — a belief that ironically feeds the distrust of their employees, and diminishes their engagement.

A truly human-centered organization puts its people first — even above customers — because it recognizes that they are the key to creating long-term value. Costco, for example, pays its average worker $20.89 an hour, Businessweek reported last year, about 65 percent more than Walmart, which owns its biggest competitor, Sam’s Club. Over time, Costco’s huge investment in employees — including offering benefits to part-time workers — has proved to be a distinct advantage.

Costco’s employees generate nearly twice the sales of Sam’s Club employees. Costco has about 5 percent turnover among employees who stay at least a year, and the overall rate is far lower than that of Walmart. In turn, the reduced costs of recruiting and training new employees saves Costco several hundred million dollars a year. Between 2003 and 2013, Costco’s stock rose more than 200 percent, compared with about 50 percent for Walmart’s. What will prompt more companies to invest more in their employees?

Pain is one powerful motivator. Often companies seek out our services when they’ve begun losing valued employees, or a C.E.O. recognizes his own exhaustion, or a young, rising executive suddenly drops dead of a heart attack — a story we’ve been told more than a half dozen times in just the past six months.

In a numbers-driven world, the most compelling argument for change is the growing evidence that meeting the needs of employees fuels their productivity, loyalty and performance. Our own experience is that more and more companies are taking up this challenge — most commonly addressing employees’ physical needs first, through wellness and well-being programs. Far less common is a broader shift in the corporate mind-set from trying to get more out of employees to investing more in meeting their needs, so they’re both capable of and motivated to perform better and more sustainably.

THE simplest way for companies to take on this challenge is to begin with a basic question: “What would make our employees feel more energized, better taken care of, more focused and more inspired?” It costs nothing, for example, to mandate that meetings run no longer than 90 minutes, or to set boundaries around when people are expected to answer email and how quickly they’re expected to respond. Other basic steps we’ve seen client companies take is to create fitness facilities and nap rooms, and to provide healthy, high-quality food free, or at subsidized prices, as many Silicon Valley companies now do.

It also makes a big difference to explicitly reward leaders and managers who exhibit empathy, care and humility, and to hold them accountable for relying on anger or other demeaning emotions that may drive short-term results but also create a toxic climate of fear over time — with enormous costs. Also, as our study makes clear, employees are far more engaged when their work gives them an opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.

The energy of leaders is, for better or worse, contagious. When leaders explicitly encourage employees to work in more sustainable ways — and especially when they themselves model a sustainable way of working — their employees are 55 percent more engaged, 53 percent more focused, and more likely to stay at the company, our research with the Harvard Business Review found.

Mr. Kissam, the Albemarle chief executive Tony first met more than a year ago, has taken up the challenge for himself and his employees. He began by building breaks into his days — taking a walk around the block — and being more fully focused and present during time with his family. He now sets aside at least one morning on his calendar every week for reflection and thinking longer term. He has also made it a practice to send out handwritten notes of appreciation to people inside and outside the company.

Mr. Kissam has also championed a comprehensive rethinking of his organization’s practices around meetings, email, flexible work arrangements, conflict resolution and recognition. By the end of 2014 more than 1,000 of his leaders and managers will have gone through a program aimed at helping them more skillfully meet their own needs, and the needs of those they oversee.

“I can already see it’s working,” Mr. Kissam told us. “Our safety record has improved significantly this year, because our people are more focused. We’re trusting them to do their jobs rather than telling them what to do, and then we’re appreciating them for their efforts. We’re also on the right path financially. A year from now it’s going to show up in our profitability. I saw what happened when I invested more in myself, and now we’re seeing what happens when we invest in our employees.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.html

Does your company frequently interact with your customers? If so, you may find it daunting to handle every customer interaction. Some people prefer live chat, while others like email, and still others would rather call you.

No matter what system you choose, your customer service will make or break your company’s reputation. According to a survey by American Express, a customer who’s happy with your business will talk about it to nine friends – which is like getting nine referrals.

On the other hand, an unhappy customer will discuss his experience with sixteen friends. That’s sixteen people who are less likely to try your product.

There are four main types of customer service: live answering, interactive voice response representatives, live chat, and email. Picking the one that’s right for you, or using them in tandem, means that you offer better, more consistent customer service.

Live Answering Services
An answering service is a company that specializes in handling live phone calls. Say Customer A orders a dress from your clothing company, but the one she gets is ripped. She prefers calling to get the help she needs, so she calls the number on your website.

If you don’t have an answering service, you may not have the resources to field Customer A’s call in time. She gets frustrated and writes a negative review about you online.

An answering service would have picked up her call, recorded her problem, and maybe even sent her a new dress, depending on the answering service’s complexity.

If you’re in the market for an answering service or virtual receptionist, choose carefully. I conducted a survey that asked customers what they wanted from phone interactions. Customers said that they prioritized these characteristics:

Friendliness
Clarity of speech
Quick service
A decisive outcome
Most answering services give you a trial period so that you can assess whether they’re a good fit for your business. Look for one that will allow you to try before you buy.

Interactive Voice Response Representative
An interactive voice response representative, or IVR representative, is a form of artificial intelligence that can direct callers to the information they want. IVR features voice recognition, which means that customers can describe their issue.

If a customer calls in with questions about a bill, the IVR might say, “Tell me a few words about your problem.” The customer says, “I want to pay my bill online, but I keep getting an error message.”

The IVR might respond by saying, “If you would like to pay your bill over the phone, press one.” Then the system directs the customer to a live representative who can take the customer’s payment information.

The IVR saves customer service reps valuable time by identifying the issue and assessing call priority level. It works well alongside an answering service or in-house customer support team.

Live Chat Support
Have you ever opened a website and seen a chat window pop up with a message like, “Hi! My name is Mike. Let me know if you have any trouble picking out the product that’s right for you”? If so, you’ve seen customer support chat in action.

Chat messaging systems allow web users instantaneous access to customer service. Phones aren’t necessary, so customers who would prefer not to make calls like this option. Overall, live chat is the most popular customer support method: 73% of live chat customers report satisfaction, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone, according to eDigital.

If you conduct most of your business through an online storefront, live chat is the perfect tool for converting leads. Potential buyers ask questions, receive answers, and make purchases based on your reps’ information.

You can add live chat to your online store by downloading plugins, such as Zendesk Chat, Pure Chat, and LiveChat.

Email Customer Service
Email support makes use of one of the most popular, reliable communication platforms: email. According to DMR, people send 269 billion emails every day. Using email customer support, customers can ask questions about your product while they’re setting up meetings, browsing newsletters, and coordinating projects.

The process of implementing email support is similar to chat support: find a plugin, or sign up for a plan from a company like Zendesk, which provides customer service software and automation.

As GrooveHQ points out, automation lets you sort through, prioritize, and delegate support issues so that you handle them faster and better. Automation doesn’t replace relationships with your customers; it just makes them easier.

Customers seem to think that way, too: email is one of the most popular ways for customers to contact support, according to research by the Northridge Group.

Multichannel Support Means Happier Customers

The more customer support solutions you have at your fingertips, the more prepared you are to handle any issue. Answering services, IVR, chat, and email are four tools that offer distinct benefits, but they work best in combination. The specific tools you use are up to you, your budget, and your business model.

Just remember to put your customers’ needs first. Think back to the American Express research: if you give customers a positive interaction, they’re more likely to recommend you to nine friends than to put you down to sixteen.

Source: https://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/4-types-customer-service-use-01996185

5 strategies that can help resolve a customer complaint in a smooth and professional manner.

Complaints happen every day. When a customer complains, it is usually for a good reason or genuine concern. They usually have made a purchase that did not meet their expectation—a product, service, or maybe a combination of the two. In the customer service industry, we cannot avoid complaints. We must take care of the customer by listening to the complaint, and resolving it, to ensure a happy customer.

Fewer than half of unhappy customers will bring a complaint to your attention. Those who never say anything will tell an average of 11 other people about their bad experience. It is important that we recognize complaints as opportunities, so we can sway these averages, one resolved complaint at a time.

Customers want to know someone is listening and they are understood, and they are hoping you are willing to take care of the problem to their satisfaction. No matter what the situation is, when a customer brings a complaint to your attention—even if they do it in a less-than-desirable way—be thankful. As the old saying goes, “We can’t fix it, if we don’t know it’s broken.” Moreover, we must realize that improper handling of a customer complaint can be costly to the business.

Here are five strategies that will help you handle a customer complaint in a smooth and professional manner:

Stay calm. When a customer presents you with a complaint, keep in mind that the issue is not personal; he or she is not attacking you directly but rather the situation at hand. “Winning” the confrontation accomplishes nothing. A person who remains in control of his or her emotions deals from a position of strength. While it is perfectly natural to get defensive when attacked, choose to be the “professional” and keep your cool.

Listen well. Let the irate customer blow off steam. Respond with phrases such as, “Hmm,” “I see,” and “Tell me more.” Do not interrupt. As the customer vents and sees you are not reacting, he or she will begin to calm down. The customer needs to get into a calm frame of mind before he or she can hear your solution—or anything you say, for that matter.

Acknowledge the problem. Let the customer know you hear what he or she is saying. If you or your company made a mistake, admit it. If you did not make a mistake and it is a misunderstanding, simply explain it to the customer: “I can see how that would be incredibly frustrating for you.” You are not necessarily agreeing with what the customer is saying, but respecting how he or she perceives and feels about the situation. An excellent phrase for opening up this particular conversation would be, “So, if I understand you correctly…” After the customer responds, follow up with, “So, if I understand you correctly, we were to resolve the problem by noon today. I can see how that must be frustrating for you.” Then be quiet. Usually, the customer will respond with “That’s right” or “Exactly.” By repeating to the customer what you think you heard, you lower his or her defenses, and win the right to be heard.

Get the facts. After listening, take the initiative in the conversation. Now that the customer has calmed down and feels you have heard his or her side, begin asking questions. Be careful not to speak scripted replies, but use this as an opportunity to start a genuine conversation, building a trusting relationship with your customer. To help you understand the situation, get as many details as possible.

Offer a solution. This happens only after you have sufficient details. One thing to keep in mind: Know what you can and cannot do within your company’s guidelines. Making a promise you cannot commit to will only set you back. Remember, when offering a solution, be courteous and respectful. Let the customer know you are willing to take ownership of the issue, even if it was out of your control. Take charge of the situation and let the customer know what you are going to do to solve the problem.

A quick follow-up phone call a few days later to make sure everything is OK is icing on the cake. Even a small gesture of apology can turn this interaction from disaster to legendary. The cost could be minimal—maybe a simple upgrade on the customer’s next purchase or a small gift certificate. A simple gesture like this could result in a future referral or a positive word-of-mouth marketing recommendation.

When you resolve customer complaints successfully, you will better understand their needs, retain them as loyal customers, and enhance your business.

Source: https://trainingmag.com/content/how-handle-customer-complaints/

James Altucher calls homeownership a part of The American Religion, so I know I’m treading dangerous ground here. But before you get out the tar and feathers, let’s do a little thought experiment together.

Imagine over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine we get to talking about investments. Then maybe one of us, let’s say you, says:

“Hey I’ve got an idea. We’re always talking about good investments. What if we came up with the worst possible investment we can construct? What might that look like?”

Well, let’s see now (pulling out our lined yellow pad), let’s make a list. To be really terrible:

.It should be not just an initial, but if we do it right, a relentlessly ongoing drain on the cash reserves of the owner.
.It should be illiquid. We’ll make it something that takes weeks, no – wait – even better, months of time and effort to buy or sell.
.It should be expensive to buy and sell. We’ll add very high transaction costs. Let’s say 5% commissions on the deal, coming and going.
.It should be complex to buy or sell. That way we can ladle on lots of extra fees and reports and documents we can charge for.
.It should generate low returns. Certainly no more than the inflation rate. Maybe a bit less.
.It should be leveraged! Oh, oh this one is great! This is how we’ll get people to swallow those low returns! .If the price goes up a little bit, leverage will magnify this and people will convince themselves it’s actually a good investment! Nah, don’t worry about it. Most will never even consider that leverage is also very high risk and could just as easily wipe them out.
.It should be mortgaged! Another beauty of leverage. We can charge interest on the loans. Yep, and with just a little more effort we should easily be able to persuade people who buy this thing to borrow money against it more than once.
.It should be unproductive. While we’re talking about interest, let’s be sure this investment we are creating never pays any. No dividends either, of course.
.It should be immobile. If we can fix it to one geographical spot we can be sure at any given time only a tiny group of potential buyers for it will exist. Sometimes and in some places, none at all!
.It should be subject to the fortunes of one country, one state, one city, one town…No! One neighborhood! Imagine if our investment could somehow tie its owner to the fate of one narrow location. The risk could be enormous! A plant closes. A street gang moves in. A government goes crazy with taxes. An environmental disaster happens nearby. We could have an investment that not only crushes it’s owner’s net worth, but does so even as they are losing their job and income!
.It should be something that locks its owner in one geographical area. That’ll limit their options and keep ’em docile for their employers!
.It should be expensive. Ideally we’ll make it so expensive that it will represent a disproportionate percentage of a person’s net worth. Nothing like squeezing out diversification to increase risk!
.It should be expensive to own, too! Let’s make sure this investment requires an endless parade of repairs and maintenance without which it will crumble into dust.
.It should be fragile and easily damaged by weather, fire, vandalism and the like! Now we can add-on expensive insurance to cover these risks. Making sure, of course, that the bad things that are most likely to happen aren’t actually covered. Don’t worry, we’ll bury that in the fine print or maybe just charge extra for it.
.It should be heavily taxed, too! Let’s get the Feds in on this. If it should go up in value, we’ll go ahead and tax that gain. If it goes down in value should we offer a balancing tax deduction on the loss like with other investments? Nah.
.It should be taxed even more! Let’s not forget our state and local governments. Why wait till this investment is sold? Unlike other investments, let’s tax it each and every year. Oh, and let’s raise those taxes anytime it goes up in value. Lower them when it goes down? Don’t be silly.
.It should be something you can never really own. Since we are going to give the government the power to tax this investment every year, “owning” it will be just like sharecropping. We’ll let them work it, maintain it, pay all the cost associated with it and, as long as they pay their annual rent (oops, I mean taxes) we’ll let ’em stay in it. Unless we decide we want it.
For that, we’ll make it subject to eminent domain. You know, in case we decide that instead of getting our rent (damn! I mean taxes) we’d rather just take it away from them.

Boy howdy! That’s quite a list! Any investment that ugly would make my skin crawl. In fact, I’m not sure you could rightly call anything with those characteristics an investment at all.

Then, too, the challenge would be to get anybody to buy this turkey. But we can. In fact, I bet we can get them not only to buy but to believe doing so is the fulfillment of a dream, indeed a national birthright! We’ll run the thought experiment on just how we might make that happen in an up-coming post.

For now, in the comments let me know what other characteristics our “worst possible investment” should have that I might have missed. Here are two more from…

Mr. Risky Start-up: It should increase stress, lead to more divorces, but then be impossible to divide.
DMDave: You only need one motivated (read: desperate) seller to set the price for the whole neighborhood. Imagine your so-called “investment” suddenly get scuttled when your neighbor decided to sell his particle-board mansion at 20% below assessment.
Oh. Wait. I’m sorry. This was supposed to be about houses.

So a few weeks back I was at an awards banquet and sitting at our table of 10 with me was a woman I know. She began talking about how she was encouraging her young son to buy a house. You know. Stop throwing away money on rent and start building equity.

I suggested that, since her son was single, living alone and without children maybe he didn’t actually need a house. That if he didn’t need one and since they are lousy investments (and here I gave her a few reasons why this is so), maybe he should consider some alternatives instead. Or at least run the numbers first.

This didn’t sit well and it was a short conversation. It ended when she said, “Well, he’d be better off buying a house than a clapped-out Camaro!”

Well, yeah. Maybe so. If this is the only alternative.

Source: https://jlcollinsnh.com/2013/05/29/why-your-house-is-a-terrible-investment/

In my line of work, I hear from hundreds of people a month, and connect with professionals in a more public, open way than ever before. Through this experience, I've seen scores of toxic behaviors that push people away (including me). And I’ve witnessed the damage these behaviors cause – to relationships, professional success, and to the well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and to everyone around him or her.

Let’s be real - we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another (none of us are immune to it), but many people are more evolved, balanced, and aware, and it happens only rarely in their lives.

Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or once in a blue moon, it’s critical for your happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving badly, and shift it when it emerges.

The 6 most toxic behaviors I see every day are:

Taking everything personally

In the powerful little book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz talks about the importance of taking nothing personally. I teach this in my coaching programs and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough as well, and there is so much pushback. “Really, Kathy – don’t take anything personally?”

People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything that happens in life is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The reality is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them. I’m not saying we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide. So yes – don’t take anything personally.

Obsessing about negative thoughts

It’s very hard to be around people who can’t or won’t let go of negativity – when they dwell on and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the slights they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s transpiring. Pessimism is one thing – but remaining perpetually locked in negative thoughts is another. Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a skewed way of thinking and living, and you can change that.

Treating yourself like a victim

Another toxic behavior is non-stop complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no influence on the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck and small. In my former work as a marriage and family therapist with people who’ve suffered terrible trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, and now as I career coach, I know that we have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe. When you stop whining, and refuse to see yourself as a hapless victim of fate, chance or discrimination, then you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept that reality.

Cruelty - lacking in empathy or putting yourself in others' shoes

One of the most toxic and damaging behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly cruel and destructive to others just because they can. They tear people down online but in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a weapon. Cruelty, backstabbing, and ripping someone to shreds is toxic, and it hurts you as well as your target.

I had a powerful learning experience about this a few years ago. I came into the house one day in a nasty mood, and shared a mean, sniping comment to my husband about the way a neighbor was parenting her child through one of his problem phases. In less than 24 hours, that very same issue the parent was dealing with came home to roost in my house, with my child. It was as if the Universe sent me the message that “Ah, if you want to be cruel and demeaning about someone, we’ll give you the same experience you’ve judged so negatively, so you can learn some compassion.” And I did.

If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all the same.

Excessive reactivity

An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We all know these people – men and women who explode over the smallest hiccup or problem. Yelling at the bank teller for the long line, screaming at your assistant for the powerpoint error he made, or losing it with your child for spilling milk on the floor. If you find that you’re overly reactive, losing it at every turn, you need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your emotionality. There’s more to it than appears on the surface. An outside perspective – and a new kind of support – is critical.

Needing constant validation

Finally, people who constantly strive for validation and self-esteem by obsessing about achieving outward measures of success, are exhausting to be around. Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over, and constantly want to “win” over their colleagues or peers, are toxic and draining.

Overly-attaching to how things have to look and be, and to achieving certain milestones and accomplishments rather than going with life in a more flexible, easy manner, can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down. There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve or fail at today. It’s about the journey, the process, the path - what you’re learning and applying, how you’re helping others, and the growing process you allow yourself to engage in.

Stop stressing over the particular outcomes like, “I need that promotion now!” or “My house has to be bigger and more beautiful than my neighbor’s.” A desperate need to prove your dominance or value and build your self-esteem through outer measures of success is (sadly) apparent to everyone but you, and it’s pushing away the very happiness outcomes you’re longing for.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140620200646-17850276-6-toxic-behaviors-that-push-people-away-how-to-recognize-them-in-yourself-and-change-them

Money, market, speed and fatigue are all factors that can undo the best business idea.

I love first-time founders. They’re true believers focused on creating a better future powered by better ideas. They're ready to start a business, possessed with the passion and the grit to enter the arena and do battle with the specters of failure and loss.

When they succeed, they often really do change the world—and the bank balances of a lot of people around them. And it’s because I love them that I say, with all due respect: They make a lot of mistakes. And a lot of times, they make the same ones a thousand other first-time founders have made before them.

As a lawyer who’s worked with clients to complete hundreds of venture financings and related company making—and breaking—transactions, watching first-time founders launch their dream can feel like I’m watching them amble into a busy street. They can be unaware of the nearby dangers, don’t have good insight into what to avoid to stay safe, and make the same life-threatening mistakes as a lot of other founders who’ve wandered into the same busy road. Which of course can get companies killed.

So playing crossing guard, here are some common mistakes first-time founders should seek to avoid as they head eagerly into the traffic flow:

1. Ignoring market risk when starting a business
Ignoring or downplaying market risk is the single biggest reason companies fail. Most founders put too much emphasis on perfecting their technology platforms—which is understandable, given that many founders are passionate technologists—and not enough on making sure those platforms deliver real business value. But as one of my favorite books, Max Finger and Oliver Samwer’s America’s Most Successful Startups: Lessons for Entrepreneurs explains, “Many startups burn through a lot of cash with a product or technology searching for a solution.” But it’s being wrong about the market, not the technology, that’ll kill you. A better approach, say the authors, is to take six months to talk with potential customers to understand their needs and validate your idea.

2. Taking the wrong advice
Talk is cheap, or as William Shakespeare wrote in Othello, “mere prattle without practice.” Those are words to live by in Silicon Valley where startup advice is plentiful but most of it is wrong. It’s a truism that most people with valuable insights are in very high demand while those with plenty of time to dispense advice typically don't have much value to impart. When taking advice, consider the source, and weight your response proportionally.

3. Ignoring constructive feedback
Founders should be wary of ignoring the feedback of a venture capitalist or a potential customer who has engaged deeply with your firm, but ultimately decided to pass on either investing in it or buying your product right now. As an example, one of my most successful client companies struggled for years to monetize an incredibly popular product. They eventually developed a pricing model that helped them succeed, thanks to advice from Kleiner Perkins VC Randy Komisar. He had passed on investing in the company, believing their likelihood of beating incumbents was too small. But based on Randy’s long years of related industry experience, he offered insights about how best to monetize the company’s product. The advice proved vital and the company was smart enough to implement it.

4. Going too fast
Most commentators on startups suggest you must go first and go fast — get to market first, stockpile the best talent, and full steam ahead while shoveling capital into the boiler. And sometimes that is right, but I have seen far more companies fail from growing too quickly. It’s more prudent to conserve capital until the company understands what the customer really wants and at that point, damn the torpedoes! Nest co-founder Matt Rogers says that while the firm had a vision of a connected home, it first had to focus on a thermostat: “Take one step at a time and be sure to celebrate the major accomplishments and milestones along the way.”

5. Hiring the wrong team
The late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was often criticized for drafting for speed, not football skill. Even when seemingly everybody knew the Raiders needed defensive reinforcement, Davis would still prefer to draft a fast wide receiver. Which is probably why the Raiders haven’t won a Super Bowl in 35 years. Similarly, most first-time entrepreneurs hire the wrong people. They hire their head of sales too quickly and their head of product too late. They also tend to hire key staff with too little experience, being overly impressed by time spent at a successful start-up or tech giant. Two people can work side-by-side at the same company and leave with dramatically different levels of experience depending on their engagement, self-reflection and pattern recognition. It’s important to sort the pile according to company needs, not flashiest resumes.

6. Overestimating the challenge of seed funding
It’s not that hard to raise seed capital, so founders should not be too self-congratulatory that a hot seed fund has invested. Very few companies have ever succeeded just because they had the right names in their cap table.

7. Underestimating the challenge of raising Series A funding
Series A funding is the milestone where the founder finally can move beyond bootstrapping to building their vision. It also marks the advent of a relationship that’s crucial to the firm’s success—a VC partner. (And remember, the individual partner is more important than the fund to the company’s success.) Founders have to seriously raise their game to attract Series A financing. My friend Jason Lemkin writes that founders need a great team, a data-driven pitch with 18 months of precision plans, a true understanding of customer acquisition costs and other revenue metrics, a nuanced understanding of the competitive landscape, and a real product roadmap. That’s not easy—not for the work product to be really good anyway—and it’s not something you can slap together in a single morning at a coffee joint.

8. Mental fatigue
Founders feel enormous pressure. That’s natural given that many of them work 80-hour-plus weeks and can’t get through a full night’s sleep without waking up in a cold sweat. They’re often overworked, lonely, and stressed out, and that takes a toll on both creative and analytical capacity that they often don’t sense until it’s too late. Founders need ballast—something to care about that’s unrelated to work—so that the inevitable disappointments don't become crisis points. Too many people in the startup ecosystem view outside interests as a sign of weakness, but that’s absurd.

Nobody’s got a magic formula for first-time founder success. But if they can de-risk their company’s path forward by avoiding these eight mistakes, the chances of achieving that world-changing vision increase materially.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/333806

Google isn’t big on college degrees, although the search giant is inundated with applicants touting perfect GPAs from Ivy League schools.

Google’s chairman and head of hiring, Laszlo Bock, has given a few insights in the New York Times on how he sorts through a multitude of bright applicants.

The upshot is that Google values the skills and experiences that candidates get in college, but a degree doesn’t tell them much about talent or grit.

You don’t need a college degree to be talented
“When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people,” Bock said.

Many businesses “require” a college degree; at Google, the word “college” isn’t even its official guide to hiring. With the rise of self-paced college courses and vocational learning, plenty of driven people can teach themselves all of the necessary skills to work at the company.

Demonstrate a skill, not an expertise
“If you take somebody who has high cognitive ability, is innately curious, willing to learn and has emergent leadership skills, and you hire them as an HR person or finance person, and they have no content knowledge, and you compare them with someone who’s been doing just one thing and is a world expert, the expert will go: ‘I’ve seen this 100 times before; here’s what you do,'” Bock said.

College degrees are, almost by definition, a certificate of expertise. A degree in journalism is a giant badge meant to tell the world that you know at least a little bit about the trade of telling stories and interviewing people.

But a degree really doesn’t say what a graduate can do. Can they present an idea in front of a crowd? Can they build a website? Can they think interestingly about problems, or did they just pass some tests?

Logic is learned, and stats are super important
“Humans are by nature creative beings, but not by nature logical, structured-thinking beings. Those are skills you have to learn,” Bock said. “I took statistics at business school, and it was transformative for my career. Analytical training gives you a skill set that differentiates you from most people in the labor market.”

Logical thinking goes way beyond programming. For instance, back in 2010, Facebook put up a blog post claiming that political candidates with more fans were more likely to win their race, implying that getting more Facebook fans would improve their chances. In no uncertain terms, this was a phenomenally bad argument.

Maybe candidates who were already more popular just happened to have more fans. And what about candidates with fewer fans that won their races? In these cases, why did fans not matter?

The Facebook employees who ran the statistics understood some basic logic, but they didn’t demonstrate analytical thinking. Sifting through data requires training in the latest techniques for understanding causality and creatively exploring patterns (FYI: Facebook has gotten a lot better about these types of political claims since 2010).

Prove grit
“It looks like the thing that separates out the capable students from the really successful ones is not so much their knowledge…but their persistence at something,” Google chairman, Eric Schmidt said.

For some people, college is just really easy. They can play 10 rounds of beer-pong until 4 a.m. and still ace an organic-chemistry exam the next day while their studious roommate is up to their eyeballs in color-coded flash cards and squeaks by with a B.

A college degree can’t tell Google whether an applicant is naturally smart or is a hard worker. Apparently, Google would rather mold someone with grit rather than someone who is a lazy high-achiever.

If you go to college, focus on skills
“My belief is not that one shouldn’t go to college … most don’t put enough thought into why they’re going and what they want to get out of it,” Block said.

Both Bock and Schmidt are adamant that most people should go to college but that skills and experience are more important than the stamp of expertise. Bock says Google is looking for the kinds of projects candidates completed or what they accomplished at an internship.

I honestly can’t remember the last time someone asked me what my major in college was. If you want a job at Google (or some other prestigious company), don’t focus so much on your major, and make sure you graduate with all the skills and experiences you need to do awesome things in the world.

Source: https://venturebeat.com/2014/04/25/why-google-doesnt-care-about-college-degrees-in-5-quotes/

Customer service isn’t just about being courteous to your customers – it’s a vital element of business operations that can impact your bottom line and affect how your company is viewed in the public eye. Several high-profile companies have been in the news of late, finding themselves in the spotlight because of poor customer service policies. The good news is, it’s relatively simple to implement a customer service improvement plan that keeps your business on top.

What Is Customer Service?
Customer service consists of a collective set of policies that govern every way you and your employees interact with your customers. It encompasses everything from how much parking you have available to how you greet customers, handle service complaints, and back up your product or service. At its core, quality customer service is about making sure your customers feel they are valued, treated fairly, and appreciated by your business.

Warning
Customers frequently share their opinions of businesses online and through social media, which means even one wrong move or perceived slight – especially one caught on camera – can spread quickly and damage your business. In addition to providing high-quality service, monitor what’s being said about your business online so you can quickly address and resolve any complaints as they arise.

Why Customer Service Is Important
A lot of businesses just like yours are competing for customer dollars and customer loyalty. Chances are good that you’re investing in marketing and advertising efforts to bring consumers through your doors. The important part of customer service is in keeping the customers once you bring them in. It costs significantly more to attract new customers than it does to take care of the ones you already have.

Tip
Customer service is important to reducing turnover. Employees who have to deal with unhappy customers are unlikely to enjoy their jobs for long and may leave to seek more hospitable working environments.

How to Provide Exceptional Service
Good service starts with your attitude and employee training. After all, good service works from the top down, and employees who are specifically trained in the art of quality customer service are far more likely to represent your company in the way that ensures satisfaction and repeat business.

Develop customer service policies: Implement service policies that address every conceivable aspect of the customer experience. This includes how quickly your phone is answered or your website or email questions responded to, how many cashiers you have on busy days, how generous your return or exchange policy is, and how you handle irate customers. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and brainstorm every potential scenario your specific business could encounter, and then develop customer-friendly ways to address them. Involve your staffers in the process – you’ll get fresh ideas as well as buy-in to the customer service concept.

Hire well: When you interview candidates, ask them what quality customer service means to them. Pose sticky customer scenarios and ask them how they would respond to the situation. This gives you an idea of whether the people you hire for your front lines will represent your business in a way you find acceptable.

Provide customer service training: Train your employees on customer service policies. Role-playing works well with one staffer acting as the customer and another as the staffer. Moderate the session to offer your take on what the role-players did right and where they can improve. Make customer service training an ongoing part of your company’s professional development program so that staffers are continually urged to up their games.

Survey Your Customers
Another way to gauge service levels is to invite customers to give you an honest assessment of the type of service you and your employees provide. Do this via surveys, focus groups, or by having an online or in-store comment box available. Carefully review compliments and complaints and look for common threads that can be addressed and improved upon.

Ask your employees to keep you apprised of the most common complaints and compliments they receive and strive to do less of the former and more of the latter. Consider rewarding staffers for exceptional levels of service as well. This encourages not only compliance but also above-and-beyond efforts.

Source: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/customer-service-important-organization-2050.html

Ever since I got my first job a thousand years ago, certain books have been really helpful. For example, Garlic & Sapphires, Ruth Reichl’s hilarious memoir of her years as the New York Times restaurant critic, showed my twenty-something self a woman who had big ideas and took risks. And I still keep a copy of George Lois’s brilliant Damn Good Advice at my desk. Here, 9 more women share the reads that inspired them…

Stella Bugbee, Editorial Director, The Cut

I have a VERY, VERY unlikely book that I often reference as a boss: Siblings Without Rivalry. It’s not about money or business per se, but I’ve found since reading it that I put so many of its lessons into practice managing my team at work. I love the way it teaches you to listen, repeat the issues without taking sides, empathize and then teach the parties involved to solve their own disputes. It also helps at home. (Duh.)

Emily Henderson, Stylist and Interior Designer, Emily Henderson Design

There is something inside us, especially women, that tells us that if our work is something we love to do it should somehow be worth less. But, the exact opposite is true: the more you love to do something, the easier you make it look, the faster you are at it, the more VALUABLE you are because of your passion. So, while we all love to get paid in kisses, praise and genuine appreciation, The Business of Design, which I’m reading now, is a book that offers a great reminder that your value is worth cash money. Money that will support your business, your family and your entire life. And it teaches you how to determine your rates and how to approach a lot of otherwise uncomfortable money and client situations.

Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, Co-founders, Of a Kind

As it turns out, the ability to say no is seriously critical to your success. That is the lesson behind The Power of a Positive No, one of our favorites. It teaches you how to say no in a way that makes clear you’re doing so not because you’re, like, a jerk but because saying yes would be rejecting things that you and your business value and need.

We also keep The Power of Habit on our shelf. It’s a guide to why companies and individuals do what they do and act how they act — full of fascinating anecdotes. (The very first one will make you feel like you’re 100% capable of running the New York City Marathon a year from now.)

Rony Vardi, Founder and Owner, Catbird

I regularly read the Corner Office column in The New York Times, which I find to be endlessly inspiring. (There’s a book, too, which I should probably get.) I think of it as a weekly business horoscope. And, lately, my biggest business inspiration has come from the excellent A Chef’s Table on Netflix. Each episode focuses on one brilliant, revolutionary chef, who, despite not defining themselves this way, is a business owner in one way or another. Watching them make big decisions, take huge risks and problem solve in creative ways is fascinating and it’s what business owners do all the time.

Molly Wizenberg, Blogger and Author, Orangette

I’ve probably read Bird by Bird three times now, which is saying a lot, because I’m not normally a repeat book reader. Anne Lamott is a national treasure, period. And though this book is ostensibly about writing, I find myself thinking about aspects of it nearly every day. My mother just moved from Oklahoma to Seattle, where I live, and last week, in the midst of helping her to unpack what felt like a billion boxes, I kept reminding myself, “Bird by bird, Molly. Just take it bird by bird.”

Leandra Medine, Founder, Man Repeller

The Hard Thing About Hard Things helped me reorient my way of thinking and get more business savvy. I naturally lean toward creative/right-brain thinking, which works well for producing editorial content but doesn’t satisfy my need to be a good boss and a smart, strategic thinker who can anticipate the needs of a successful business. Also, in terms of creative thinking, there is literally nothing that David Sedaris has written that I have not considered seminal to my own writing process.

Eva Jorgensen, Owner and Founder, Sycamore Street Press

After I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease in January, Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive, really hit home for me. We all wear our hours at work and sleepless nights as a badge of honor. But, studies show that we’d be more productive (not to mention happier) if we actually took care of ourselves. I’ve realized that I can’t afford to put myself last anymore.

Also, twelve years ago, when I was in college, I read Art & Fear for the first time. It had a huge impact on me and set the course for my artistic career. I recently re-read it and was surprised by how applicable it still is. Among other things, it has taught me that, 1. Art is made by ordinary people, so stop worrying about talent and just get to work, 2. If you act out of fear, your fear comes true, and 3. The only work that you can do well, and that’s worth doing, is the work that focuses on things you really care about.

Tina Roth Eisenberg, Founder, Tattly

The book that had a huge impact on me was Give or Take, in which Adam Grant explains why the most successful people are givers. It helped me better understand what motivates my co-workers and the companies I work with. And, it has helped me realize that there’s nothing wrong with running a business with a mindset of generosity. In fact, it might as well be the secret to success.

Source: https://cupofjo.com/2015/08/best-books-for-your-career/

Many long-time small business owners would agree with the line from the 1970s song by the band Faces: “I wish that I knew what I know now.”

Over years of running a small business, owners inevitably gather many lessons about how to grow and run a business more effectively. Thankfully, many of these owners are more than happy to share their insights.

Here are seven business tips from several successful small business owners that are worth paying attention to:

1. Build a Support Network
For Laura Kelly, being a business owner can be an isolating experience at times. “Especially if you’re a solo business owner, you can lose touch with other business owners,” says Kelly, who 15 years ago started The Handwork Studio, a Narberth, Pennsylvania-based company that runs needlework camps and classes for kids in 10 states along the East Coast.

The crucial solution for Kelly has been to stay networked in the larger business community. That means meeting with her personal business coach for an hour every four weeks. The coach has helped her find solutions to problems and work through tough decisions with her business. She also networks on Facebook and Linkedin from the comfort of her own home.

“She walked me through some visualization exercises,” Kelly recalls. “Just that sheer exercise of removing myself from the business and looking down on it really helped me see the problems that were bothering me. In an hour’s time, I walked away with clarity and an action plan to move forward.

And then there’s the mastermind group to which Kelly belongs. She and her fellow women service business owners get together over a conference line. “We discuss problems and solutions, and we talk each other off the ledge.”

As a busy business owner, It’s tough to find time to network, but getting better at networking and making contact can pay dividends in the future.

2. Be Very Specific With Your Goals
Another lesson Kelly has learned over the years: break big goals into smaller ones. “I have 10-year goals, I have 3-year goals and 1-year goals, and I have quarterly goals for my business,” she says. “When it come to revenues, I will break them into smaller numbers so they’re easier to obtain. If I know I need to make a couple hundred thousand in revenue in the first quarter, I say, ‘What does that mean in terms of camp sales? How many campers do I need to obtain?’ If I know I need 800 campers to reach the revenue goal, then it’s easier to figure out how to achieve it. These kinds of really specific goals can drive your actions.”

Every employee at The Handwork Studio has a dashboard with their goals on it which shows their progress toward those goals. It helps keep everyone focused, Kelly adds: “I can tell you at any exact moment how much revenue we have, the traffic of our website and how many Facebook likes we have.”

Building a performance-driven culture all starts with being very specific about goals– for yourself and your employees. When an employee is happy, they will be able to give the best possible performance and customer service.

3. Delegate Whenever Possible
When the Marks Group, a technology consultancy, started in 1994, it was just Gene Marks and his dad. “He was doing sales and I was doing service,” Marks recalls. Then his dad died. “When he passed away, I took it over and realized I couldn’t do it all, and hired some new employees. I’ve learned that you can make a lot more money when you have other people doing it for you.”

As he hired more people, it dawned on Marks that he had been doing work that he was pretty bad at doing. The revenue of the business soared as he brought on new people because he was hiring people who were better than him at certain jobs. “I just sort of learned the hard way: focus on what you do best, and delegate the rest.”

4. Keep Your Overhead Low
Eight years ago, it dawned on Marks that he was just sitting in an office costing nearly $30,000 a year in rent, while his employees were out working with clients. So Marks got rid of the office in suburban Philadelphia and made his workforce virtual. Along the way, he replaced the landline with an Internet-based phone that cost about $10 a month, and he ditched computer servers for the cloud, too.

Lowering the overhead brought Marks some peace of mind through the Great Recession. “When things turn bad, you don’t have to panic, because you can take a cut in revenue,” Marks says. “Even in the brunt of the recession, we never lost money. Cutting down overhead really gives you that peace of mind. If your overhead is low, you can make pricing decisions that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to make.”

5. Find Your Best Niche—and Stick With It
Trying to do too much too soon? Feel like you need to be all things to all clients? Maybe diversifying isn’t always the best strategy. Sometimes, it’s good to replicate the magic if you have something that works really well. That’s been the successful strategy for Ace Apparel, says Marc Mathios, who along with his two brothers are the third generation to run the 78-year-old family business.

“One of the industry silos that we’re really good in is parking garage operators,” Mathios says. “The reason that parking garage operators like to work with us is because we manufacture our own line of jacket that’s suited for parking garage companies. … We’ve duplicated that success with 30 different parking garage operators across North America.”

Finding your niche and continually innovating around that niche is a path to success.

6. Keep Your Day Job Just a Little Longer
It is a common trap: A person gets excited by a small business idea, quits his or her day job—and then runs out of money and fails.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely credits her success to the fact that she actually kept her day job as an office equipment salesperson for two years, learning to work with minimal sleep as she got her form-fitting shapewear company off the ground. Blakely did not want to resign from her day job until she was absolutely sure her small business idea would work, according to Forbes.

By the time Blakely resigned in 2000 from what was then office equipment supplier Danka, she had already spent countless nights and weekends studying pantyhose design and existing patents. She would drive from her Atlanta home to North Carolina, where she sought out hosiery mills willing to make the product.

“There were days that I’d be at Danka all day and the semi trucks would drop boxes of Spanx outside my apartment. … I resigned on October 14, 2000. I quit Danka and two and a half weeks later I was on the Oprah Winfrey Show,” Blakely says.

7. Avoid Distractions at All Costs
A few years ago, Seattle-based content marketing company AudienceBloom was operating so swimmingly that its founder and CEO Jayson DeMers decided he could get away with focusing on a second startup that he was intrigued with. DeMers would come to regret the decision.

“Running a company ‘just fine’ is not what an entrepreneur’s job is,” DeMers says. “Successful entrepreneurs don’t do the minimum for their company; they constantly work to grow it, evolve it, and prepare it for the future. Because I was splitting my team between the two startups, growth stalled at my first company, and I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to the new startup to make it successful.”

Eventually, the second venture failed. AudienceBloom was able to grow again once DeMers was able to focus his full attention on it. “I learned that a successful venture requires 100 percent attention, focus, and effort. Secondary ventures need a full-time manager or else they’ll just distract you and derail your existing efforts if you aren’t careful.”

Avoiding distractions applies to managing yourself so you get stuff done on a day-to-day basis too. “I know when I’m smart and when I’m dumb” says Marks. “I save the big tasks for the morning when I’m smartest, and do the monotonous ones when I’m dumb at the end of the day.” Keeping yourself organized and on-task is the real key to small business success.

Source: https://sba.thehartford.com/business-management/tips-from-successful-small-business-owners/

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit," optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in Life Hack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear," if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/#5a7df8e13934

Many companies hand out awards such as "employee of the month," but do they work to motivate performance? Not really, says professor Ian Larkin. In fact, they may turn off your best employees altogether.

It would seem to make sense that when companies recognize their workers with awards, they are likely to see a boost in morale and perhaps even inspire them to work harder.

It turns out that sometimes rewarding employees for good behavior can actually backfire, leading to a drop in motivation and productivity.

More than 80 percent of companies dole out work-related awards like "employee of the month" or "top salesperson." Managers often view these awards as inexpensive ways to improve worker performance; many believe that when employees bask in the glow of corporate praise, they may even feel motivated to work harder over the long term.

But new research suggests that some awards may actually have the opposite effect, according to a recent paper called The Dirty Laundry of Employee Award Programs: Evidence from the Field, written by Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ian Larkin, along with professor Lamar Pierce and doctoral student Timothy Gubler from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

The researchers studied an attendance award program initiated by managers at one of the five commercial-industrial laundries owned by the same midwestern company. Perfect attendance was defined as not having any unexcused absences or tardy shift arrivals during the month.

The plant managers had all the right intentions when they implemented the award program. Absenteeism and tardiness costs US companies as much as $3 billion a year. And in the case of the laundry plant, one worker's tardiness or absence can affect another's productivity. If one team of workers falls behind on the job, for example, other workers down the line are left to sit idle.

STELLAR EMPLOYEES WHO PREVIOUSLY HAD EXCELLENT ATTENDANCE AND WERE HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE ENDED UP SUFFERING A 6 TO 8 PERCENT PRODUCTIVITY DECREASE

The plant's attendance award program began in March 2011 and continued for nine months. Employees with perfect attendance for a month, including no unexcused absences or tardy shift arrivals, were entered into a drawing to win a $75 gift card to a local restaurant or store; the winner's name was drawn at a meeting attended by all the employees. At the end of the sixth month, the plant manager held another drawing for a $100 gift card for all employees with perfect attendance records over the previous six months.

The program did produce one benefit the plant managers were looking for: it reduced the average level of tardiness and led to more punctual arrivals for the workers who participated.

Airing Dirty Laundry
Yet when Larkin and his colleagues took a closer look at employee time sheets and records showing the amount of laundry that actually got done both before and after the program was introduced, they found that the plant—unlike the other four that didn't have an award program—experienced some problems:

First, employees ended up "gaming" the program, showing up on time only when they were eligible for the award and, in some cases, calling in sick rather than reporting late. Most interestingly, workers were 50 percent more likely to have an unplanned "single absence" after the award was implemented, suggesting that employees who would otherwise have arrived to work tardy on a certain day might instead either call in sick to avoid disqualification or else simply stay home because they would be disqualified from the award regardless.

Rewarding good employees takes many forms Also, while punctuality improved during the first few months of the program, old patterns of tardiness started to emerge in later months. And once employees became disqualified and the carrot of the award was out of their reach, their punctual behavior slipped back downhill. Larkin says this runs counter to what some people believe—that such an award program might instill a long-term pattern of on-time performance in workers.

The hope is that with the award "you get them to do what you want them to do in a habitual way," Larkin says. "But we can say it's the exact opposite. There was only a change in behavior while people were eligible for the award."

Second, and perhaps more significantly, stellar employees who previously had excellent attendance and were highly productive ended up suffering a 6 to 8 percent productivity decrease after the program was introduced. This suggests that these employees were actually turned off—and their motivation dropped—when the managers introduced awards for good behavior they were already exhibiting.

These workers may have believed that the award program was unfair; after all, they had been showing up to work on time before the attendance program, so they wondered why an award was necessary and why some employees who used to show up late were winning the award.

"The award demotivated these employees," says Larkin, who interviewed workers at the plant to gain additional insight. "People believed it was unfair to recognize people who only changed their behavior because of this award. They felt that 'I'm a hard worker, and now they're giving awards for something like attendance. What about me?' "

All in all, the award program actually led to a decrease in plant productivity by 1.4 percent, which added up to a cost of almost $1,500 a month for the plant.

"Having your top performers demotivated for all eight hours on the job ended up creating a much bigger productivity hit than having the extra five minutes of work from someone who came habitually late," Larkin says.
Ultimately, the researchers concluded that rewarding one behavior sometimes can "crowd out" intrinsic motivation in another.

Rewards that work
Despite the fact that this particular award brought more harm than good, many other types of award incentives have proven beneficial for companies. But Larkin says corporate managers should manage them closely to make sure that employees aren't gaming the system and that the programs aren't fostering unintended negative effects.

"Many award programs have created value and are cost-effective for companies," he says. "Our paper shouldn't be taken as a blanket criticism of awards. You can't say awards are good or bad. It depends on how they're implemented."

This particular attendance award may have been especially flawed because rather than rewarding workers for exceptional performance, it rewarded them for fulfilling a basic job expectation.

"A lot of awards are focused on identifying people at the top of the class or people who went the extra mile," Larkin says. "This award did not recognize people who went above and beyond. It was an award for a behavior that employees should do."

Also, Larkin believes that awards are more effective when they recognize good behavior in the past, rather than behavior going forward. Plus awards for past performance aren't likely to see as much gaming, he says.

"It's motivational to hear that you've done a good job and are being recognized for doing the right thing," he says. "And it provides a good example for other people. People aren't being rewarded because they changed their behavior to match what the manager wanted or by gaming."

Larkin says that in the laundry study, the reward itself—gift cards—may have led to a higher likelihood of gaming. Sometimes it's better to keep money out of the deal.

"People respond very strongly to monetary incentives with this gaming mentality," he says. "When I talk to companies about award programs, I find myself telling them, 'Don't put in that $500 or the trip to the Bahamas.' It sounds like a nice thing to put in, but it also changes the psychological mindset people have."

Instead, Larkin says that companies may fare better just by giving people a nice plaque, sending an email to staff, or calling a meeting to recognize certain workers publicly in front of the whole crew.

"You can't put a price on that. The recognition of hearing you did a good job and that others are hearing about it is worth more than money."

Source: https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-to-demotivate-your-best-employees

The 10 Ways to Evaluate a Market is a checklist that’s helpful in identifying the overall attractiveness of a new market: urgency, market size, pricing potential, cost of customer acquisition, cost of value delivery, uniqueness of offer, speed to market, up-front investment, up-sell potential, and evergreen potential.

If you’re thinking of starting a new business or expanding an existing business into a new market, it pays to do some research before you leap.

The 10 Ways to Evaluate a Market provide a back-of-the-napkin method you can use to identify the attractiveness of any potential market. Rate each of the 10 factors below on a scale of 0 to 10, where zero is extremely unattractive and 10 is extremely attractive. When in doubt, be conservative in your estimate:

Urgency — how badly do people want or need this right now? (Renting an old movie is typically low urgency; seeing a new picture on opening night is high urgency, since it only happens once.)

Market Size — How many people are actively purchasing things like this? (The market for underwater basket weaving courses is very small; the market for cancer cures is massive.)

Pricing Potential — what is the highest average price a purchaser would be willing to spend for a solution? (Lollipops sell for $0.05; aircraft carriers sell for billions.)

Cost of Customer Acquisition — how easy is it to acquire a new customer? On average, how much will it cost to generate a sale, both in money and effort? (Restaurants built on interstate highways spend little to bring in new customers. Government contractors can spend millions landing procurement deals.)

Cost of Value-Delivery — how much would it cost to create and deliver the value offered, both in money and effort? (Delivering files via the Internet is almost free; inventing a product and building a factory costs millions.)

Uniqueness of Offer — how unique is your offer versus competing offerings in the market, and how easy is it for potential competitors to copy you? (There are many hair salons, but very few companies that offer private space travel.)

Speed to Market — how quickly can you create something to sell? (You can offer to mow a neighbor’s lawn in minutes; opening a bank can take years.)

Up-Front Investment
— how much will you have to invest before you’re ready to sell? (To be a housekeeper, all you need is a set of inexpensive cleaning products. To mine for gold, you need millions to purchase land and excavating equipment.)

Up-Sell Potential
— are there related secondary offers that you could also present to purchasing customers? (Customers who purchase razors need shaving cream and extra blades as well; buy a Frisbee, and you won’t need another unless you lose it.)

Evergreen Potential — once the initial offer has been created, how much additional work will you have to put into it in order to continue selling? (Business consulting requires ongoing work to get paid; a book can be produced once, then sold over and over as-is.)

When you’re done with your assessment, add up the score. If the score is 50 or below, move onto another idea—there are better places to invest your energy and resources. If the score is 75 or above, you have a very promising idea—full speed ahead.

Anything between 50 and 75 has the potential to pay the bills, but won’t be a home run without a huge investment of energy and resources, so plan accordingly.

Questions About The ‘10 Ways to Evaluate a Market’
How attractive is the market for your idea?
Are there other markets that may be more promising?
Can you alter the idea to appeal to a more attractive market?

Source: https://personalmba.com/10-ways-to-evaluate-a-market/

Follow these ten steps to get -- and stay -- rich during the earliest stage of your career.

Getting rich and becoming a millionaire is a taboo topic. And saying it can be done by the age of 30 seems like a fantasy.

Well, it shouldn’t be taboo and it is possible. At the age of 21, I got out of college, broke and in debt. And by the time I was 30, I was a millionaire.
Here are the 10 steps I took to become a millionaire. Follow them and by age 30, you will be one, too.

Follow the money
You can not save your way to millionaire status. The first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and repeating that. My income was $3,000 a month and nine years later it was $20,000 a month. Start following the money and it will force you to control revenue and see opportunities.

Don’t show off -- show up!
I didn’t buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income. I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I became a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy.

Save to invest, don’t save to save.
The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one, which is to increase income. To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures that I cannot access.

Avoid debt that doesn’t increase your cash flow.
Make it a rule that you never use debt that won’t make you money. I borrowed money for a car only because I knew it could increase my income. Rich people use debt to leverage investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make rich people richer.

Treat money like a jealous lover.
Millions wish for financial freedom, but only those that make it a priority have millions. To get rich and stay rich you will have to make it a priority. Money is like a jealous lover. Ignore it and it will ignore you, or worse, it will leave you for someone who loves it more!

Outwork your competition.
Money doesn’t know about clocks, schedules or holidays -- and you shouldn’t either. Money loves people that have a great work ethic. When I was 26 years old, I was in retail and the store I worked at closed at 7 p.m. Most times you could find me there at 11 p.m. making an extra sale. Never try to be the smartest or luckiest person -- just make sure you outwork everyone.

Being poor makes no sense.
I have been poor, and it sucks. I have had just enough to get by, and that sucks almost as bad. Eliminate any and all ideas that being poor is somehow okay. Go to war with being broke! To quote General George S. Patton, “Success is how you bounce on the bottom.”

Get a millionaire mentor.
Most of us were brought up middle class or poor and then hold ourselves to the limits and ideas of that group. I have studied millionaires to learn their mindset and principles and I duplicated what they did. Get your own personal millionaire mentor and study them. Most rich people are extremely generous with their knowledge and their resources.

Get your money to do the heavy lifting.
Investing is the golden goose for becoming a millionaire. You should make more money off your investments than from your work. The second company I started required a $50,000 investment. That company has paid me back that $50,000 every month for the last 10 years. My third investment was in real estate. I started with $350,000, which was a large part of my net worth at the time. I still own that property today and it continues to provide me with income. Investing is the only reason to do the other steps, and your money must work for you and do your heavy lifting.

Shoot for $10 million, not $1 million.
The single biggest financial mistake I’ve made was not thinking big enough. I encourage you to go for more than a million. There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.

Apply these 10 steps and they will make you rich. Steer clear of people that suggest your financial dreams are born of greed. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes, be ethical, never give up, and once you make it, be willing to help others get there, too.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/299322

If you grew up like me, you’ve been instilled with false beliefs and bad advice about money. The middle class is an unforgiving place to be for aspiring millionaires. As a society, we have been raised to believe that a $70,000 salary, a house in the suburbs, a couple of cars, and two-week vacation is living comfortably. Your parents are right; this kind of life is comfortable, it’s normal. After all, it’s what hundreds of millions of utterly average Americans are doing, and they’re perfectly happy, right?

However comfortable an average life may be, it’s certainly not freedom.

Comfort is commonly mistaken for freedom. Where the majority of American’s go wrong is taking money advice from those stuck in the middle-class, financial comfort zone, rather than those who have built wealth. Having been raised with a middle-class mindset towards money and lifestyle, I understand how difficult it is to break free of the restrictive thoughts that keep people from their potential. Because I’ve done it, I also know, step-by-step, how to break out of average and become financially free.

1. Embrace sales as a way of life
Selling impacts every person on this planet. Someone’s ability or inability to sell, persuade and negotiate directly influences their position or status in life. There is a person in this world selling every millisecond of every day.

You need to sell yourself to get the job you want, you need to convince your boss why you should get the raise you think you deserve, you need to persuade the car salesman to give you a discount, you need to sell your crush on saying yes to dinner, and the list goes on.

There is no limit to what and how much you can sell, and what you get in return is the commission. How good or bad you are at sales determines the life you lead. When you embrace sales as a lifestyle and begin to develop your skills in the area of sales, an immediate shift will take place. You’ll begin getting more of what you want more often, setting yourself up for a future of freewill.

2. Become an asset
You can’t get to where you’ve never been by doing the things you’ve always done. If you want to reach higher levels in life, you’ll need to think, train, and perform at higher levels. To enhance your thinking, invest in books with quality information from credible authors. To improve your training, you must invest in proven programs and workshops created by the people who have already built the wealth you want and are who you strive to become. To enhance your performance, invest in personal coaching from these people, allowing yourself a closer look into the mindset and actions of the ultra-successful, and adopting them into your daily practice.

Invest in yourself first and become your greatest asset. If the economy crashes and your bank balances go to zero, all you’ll have left is yourself. When self-development is done correctly and continuously, the only resource you’ll need to prosper is you.

3. Expand your network
You’ve probably heard this a million times before: “It’s not X, it’s who you know.” The people you know, and who know you, will have an effect on the quality of your life; even if that effect is no effect. Yes, your life is impacted when it’s not being impacted. Make a list of ten people in your network, and ask yourself: Do they invest in your ideas? Can they introduce you to people who can? Are they more successful than you? Do they add to your life?

Someone in your circle who is not adding to your life, but not necessarily subtracting, is still having an impact on the overall state of your life. Rather than investing your time and energy into people who can help you expand, it’s being spent on people who play an inactive role in bettering your life and theirs. Discover who you want in your inner circle and devise a plan to meet them. When you have the right people in your corner, anything is possible.

4. Save to invest

If you were raised middle-class like me, you were most likely taught to save money for a rainy day, keep funds tucked away for emergencies, or to put your money away to buy a house, car, or two-week vacation in Hawaii.

The problem with this is that once you spend the money, it’s gone. The money that you saved to buy the house or car is worth less than it was the day after you spent it. The same way your house and car depreciates, your two-week vacation in Hawaii is an experience that will fade from memory over time. When it comes to savings, there is no light at the end of the tunnel; the tunnel just ends.

The lessons I learned and applied from rich people to become rich myself was to save money to invest in appreciating, income-producing assets. Money should always come back to you. Rather than saving for the sake of saving, save your money to put it into smart investments that pay consistent returns for the rest of your life.

5. Cash flow

When you’ve saved enough money to start investing, choosing where to put your money is the final step to your financially free future. Some put their money into the stock market, which in my opinion, is only a good option for two kinds of people: Those who have enough wealth to risk a lot of money, or those who have the time to constantly watch the market for fluctuations. Stocks are too volatile for my taste; too much chance, with very little monthly payout.

Good money can only be made in the stock market when one has enough of three things: Knowledge (could be in the form of a fiduciary), money, and luck. Lose access to even one of these three things, and your chances of losing money increase dramatically.

Some invest in houses to flip or rent out. Renting single-family homes can produce positive cash flow but having a single tenant to depend on for payment is risky. If something happens to your tenant or in your tenant's life that affects their living situation, your unit immediately becomes vacant, and you don’t get paid unless you can quickly fill that vacancy. As long as the unit remains unoccupied, it depreciates.

I invest in multifamily apartment complexes. The reason I’ve chosen to put my money into apartments since I was 30 is because of their consistency in producing strong cash flow, month-after-month. Even if there are a handful of vacancies or tenants who are late on their payments, monthly income is still being generated from the remaining tenants.

The consistent cash flow that multifamily assets produce increases the value of these properties over time, priming them to be sold for much more than they were purchased for, or producing substantial lifelong income and generational wealth.

There’s enough wealth in the world for everyone, including you. Make the decision to become better every day than you were the day before, whether that means multiplying your income, being a better mother or father, or widening your social circle; always be improving.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/352741

Here's what you need to know about stock option compensation strategies.

Stock option compensation strategies are hard for small firms and startups to get right even in the best of times given the myriad of rules that apply. The Covid-19 crisis has made it harder, underlining the importance of smart planning around equity-based pay to avoid unexpected tax outcomes for companies and employees.

One problem is the market volatility that has accompanied the pandemic, and the potential for more to come. Depending on where the options were priced when they were issued, this could either result in a lack of incentives for employees because their options are severely “underwater” or an unexpectedly large windfall for them that could hurt current shareholders.

The other complicating factor is the general uncertainty over how key parts of the economy will recover. That’s making it unusually hard to arrive at an accurate valuation, which usually determines the strike price for stock options. Valuations are usually driven by cash flow, which for many firms has evaporated or become highly erratic since March.

This can be especially difficult for tech startups, which rely heavily on stock options to incentivize their staffs when cash is in short supply. Unlike more established firms, they often lack the resources to thoroughly analyze the complex tax and regulatory issues around stock options that could come back to bite them and their employees.

The following are three key things that companies should be considering about stock options right now.

1. Avoid valuation risks
Companies need to protect themselves and stock option recipients from the potentially dire tax consequences of issuing options with a strike price that is lower than the current fair value of the stock. One way to avoid these dire consequences is for companies to obtain a Section 409A valuation. Still, many startups take a casual or overly aggressive approach on valuation in order to save the cost of a valuation or to boost incentives for employees. If that gets uncovered in an IRS audit, employees could be on the hook for extremely heavy penalties and the company could suffer a reputational blow as well as further tax consequences. Although a Section 409A valuation can be done in-house, the safest way is to hand the task to a third-party appraiser with experience in this area. One big advantage of using a qualified third party is rather than you having to prove that the valuation is reasonable, it puts the burden on the IRS to prove your valuation is unreasonable.

2. Pick the right option
Choosing the right form of stock options is another area that many companies don’t put enough thought into, resulting in tax outcomes that can undermine their incentive strategies. The two main types – incentive stock options (ISOs) and non-qualified stock options (NSOs) – come with very different tax consequences and many potential outcomes depending on how employees exercise them. In general, NSOs are treated as ordinary income for employees and deductions for employers when they are exercised. Startups often see ISOs as a better incentive tool because the proceeds can be taxed at the lower capital gains rate at the time the underlying stock is sold rather than as ordinary income at exercise, so long as employees do not sell the stock before the later of two years after the grant date and a year after the exercise date.

3. Know the tax landscape
Things can get complicated if, as is common, companies allow employees to conduct a “cashless exercise” of ISOs, in which some options are sold in order to fund the exercise of the rest. That results in a “disqualifying disposition” that requires the proceeds to be taxed as ordinary income and is reported on the employee’s W-2 form. Other complicating factors about ISOs that need to be considered are the Alternative Minimum Tax preference and the $100,000 annual limit. The latter can be a big obstacle in companies that expect to have a very strong growth trajectory. ISOs are also often issued in scenarios where they are unlikely to be exercised until an exit event is imminent, causing the anticipated tax benefits to be lost. While ISOs can be powerful planning tools, they are simply not always the best choice in many fact patterns.

These are just some of the important points to consider in what is a very complex tax area strewn with pitfalls.

Each company will need a tailored solution to suit its stage of development, its growth plan, its company culture, and its talent requirements. Company leaders need to understand the different options and the best fit for the firm. They then need to communicate to employees and help guide them through the risks and opportunities from different choices.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/352313

Working in customer service can be exceptionally gratifying (we all love that sense of completion when you’ve actually managed to help someone). But if not managed right – it can get extremely draining.

Working with people of different profiles, backgrounds and requirements requires a lot of patience, understanding and self-control. Those aspects are what’s making customer service a really demanding field to excel in.

Regardless of how professional and focused you normally are, there will be times when you will be, to put it simply, human. Words, tones, attitudes and cusses of your customers will get to you, and you will have to swallow your pride and stay collected. Trust me, I should know!

As a customer service employee who’s been with a very popular and renewed American firm for a few years now, although located in Eastern Europe, I’ve had my fair share of (un)professional encounters with various types of people; we are constantly On Phone (the term we use is “Ready”) throughout the shift of eight hours and our team covers 24/7 service. Meaning: there’s always someone covering the work and someone answering the phone.

With the time zone difference which is already a big enough pain (we mostly work mid-afternoon and night shifts because that’s when the US awakens), a language barrier (that isn’t that common but can be a factor) and a very mechanical, almost non-stimulating job we do, finding that one ray of sunshine to stay upbeat is, well, difficult. No, no one’s being ungrateful. I’m simply telling it the way it is.

For instance, I’ve got BA in Biology and yet, my “career” is based on making sure the phone doesn’t ring more than once (because the customer can’t wait). Ah, the excitement!

Still, when the job’s done and you’ve got a happy customer on the other line, you can’t help but feel absolutely amazing. It’s precisely THAT sense of achievement that’s keeping me on the job, otherwise, I’d be long gone. And, a lot has to do with the team you are in as well as supervisors you are working under.

To everyone who’s been employed in a form of customer service and sometimes feels like they’ll go nuts, here are a few tips that will help you stay calm and collected, and keep a positive attitude for as long as possible.

Trust your co-workers
No matter how amazing or terrible the work is, if you are not surrounded by the right people, it’s all for nothing. The team you are in is half the job done, both in terms of a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere and good energy working towards task accomplishments.

Unlike small firms, it is very important to understand corporate dynamics: telling on a colleague who’s messed up a few times to your supervisors (and, as such, hinting that you are such an amazing worker since you noticed the mistake) is trash. Not only will you get a bad rep but you’ll lose support of the other people around you. When you think about it: why would anyone want to hang around with a tattletale!? Setting someone up is also out of the question, especially if you are using it as means to get ahead.

Be a quality member of your team who works hard and is a fine colleague to have around. The better you are, the better people will be for you – and when you cover for them, they cover for you! Coming to work in such an atmosphere that oozes good vibes, laughter, mutual appreciation and understating will make those eight-hour shifts a piece of cake!

Ask to learn
The fact that your job could be mundane and everything but stimulating doesn’t mean you can’t advance; talk to your senior colleagues or supervisors to stir you in the direction of improvement and potential new projects. They’ll appreciate you showing interest and you, personally, will get a chance to change position and advance.

Further, whenever there’s a task unclear, a situation you can’t handle or a client you haven’t worked with before, ask your colleagues for help. Showing you are “vulnerable” to your colleagues is totally okay, as long as you are working towards improving yourself.

Socialize outside the office
Nobody’s expecting you to replace your out of office friends with your in-office ones, but going out for drinks, movie and food with them may do you good. You’ll get to know people you spend more time with than with your family, learn a little about who they are in private, figure out their traits and character and understand which of them you can count on. Also, such interactions will form a pleasant atmosphere during work, which would also keep you from going insane!

Stay human
If you are really creative and cannot picture your life being reduced to answering phones and being the “hotline” for everyone’s technical issues, I am with you.
Surrounded with computers for hours without end, clicking clicks and ringing rings, I am going crazy. Still, the job is way more pleasant when I just remember I am still a human.

Whenever I am feeling down, and it happens that the phone is ringing at that very moment, I put myself in the customer’s shoes and think: “If I needed help, what’s the kind of person I would want to talk to?” Even if the customer is agitated, nervous, calling in to file a complaint, or even starts yelling, you need to understand that none of it has to do anything with you personally.

Follow with honest phrases like: “I understand the frustration sir/mam,” “I’ll do my best to help out,” “Let me see if I can do something to solve this problem quickly,” “Let me just consult with a colleague and we’ll see to solve this immediately,” “I do understand but there’s no need for you to raise your voice, I’ve done all in my power and will try to help you out.”

Also, keep your tone calm and pleasant. If they’re yelling, stay calm. If they are calm, loosen up and spark up the conversation with a chit chat or joke while you are looking for information. That way you’ll make it easier for both you and the customer.

Have something outside of work
Even though it sometimes feels like all you do in your life revolves around the customer service job, don’t let it become a thing. Make sure you invest in the quality of your life after work in order to stay happy and fulfilled. If you’ve got another job that you love, invest mentally and emotionally in it. See your friends as much as possible, spend a lot of time with your partner, go for a jog or to the gym (even if it meant waking up at 5AM), indulge in movie marathons and sweets, good food and pyjamas parties.

Don’t let the dissatisfaction from your mundane job kill the joy in your soul! No, I am not frustrated - I am just being realistic, and everyone who’s working in customer service, they know what I am talking about.

How about you? How do you manage to keep the positive attitude while working in customer service?

Source: https://www.livechat.com/success/customer-service-attitude/

As a founder, your business relies on smart and scalable growth. Mistakes will be made, but advice from those who have been in the trenches can help steer you in the right direction.

My trench is customer service. I’m convinced that customer service is one of the most undervalued and misunderstood departments of an organization.

Please prove me wrong. Start by reading my customer service tips for small business owners and startup founders.

These 10 tips have been gathered over several years of working with founders who cared about customer service but needed guidance to really stay focused on long term results.

1. Do it yourself… at first
Most founders find themselves doing customer service for their business at first. It’s a necessity more than a choice in the early days. And it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

Soak up everything you can from your initial customers. Don’t rush to get out of the inbox or outsource support reps. The insights you get from direct interaction with your customers will shape the future of your business. Mine these conversations for gold.

Find out what’s working, what’s not, and go beyond general customer issues to really understand what they need from your product or service. Adjust your business accordingly and build a foundation for healthy customer relationships (use CRM software to help you scale this).

If all goes as planned, you will outgrow this task. As soon as customers start to suffer from late response times or rushed correspondence (because you’ve been in meetings all day and it’s 3am), it’s time to move on.

Remember, good business owners excel at delegation. Move this job to a trustworthy person who will treat your customers with as much care as you do. Never forget what it’s like to do customer service though, and to turn to the inbox when in doubt.

2. Set the (cultural) tone
As a startup founder or small business owner, you are the face of your business. Every time someone speaks on behalf of your business (as customer service does daily), they are representing you.

Be intentional about the tone you set.

From the way you talk to your employees to the emails you send, your vibe spreads throughout every part of your organization. Examples speak far louder than words.

Think about it this way: You tell your customer service team to always use the customer’s name to make them feel like a friend. But you don’t take the time to learn the names of everyone on your support team.

Actions set the culture for your company more than directions.

Now, you don’t have to be the friendliest person in the room or only use positive language to set the right tone as a founder. You just have to be authentically you, and trust that your employees will embody this.

As a founder of a small business, your personality sets you apart from others in your industry. Let it permeate throughout your organization to create a consistent tone that differentiates your customer service from the rest.

3. Understand the metrics
You know to measure revenue and growth to check the health of your business. What metrics matter to customer service, though?

Some of the biggest players are NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), and CES (Customer Effort Score) … and those are just the ones with acronyms! Within the inbox, you’ll want to pay attention to things like number of conversations, average resolution time, and trend insights.

As a former customer service agent, my biggest tip for founders is to use these metrics to track your customers’ happiness (rather than your customer service team’s productivity).

Put the responsibility on your customer service lead (when you hire one) to improve your customer service team’s productivity.

Focus on what these metrics tell you about high level business insights. Look at the number of conversations over time to see if customers are confused by new features. See if CSAT rises or falls when you adjust pricing. You can use quantified customer feedback to help you provide a better product or service and improve customer retention.

How do you get these numbers, though? Frankly, gathering all this data can be insanely difficult without the right tool. In fact, even managing customer service itself without the right tool is dangerous as you grow. Customer service tip #4 will address this in more detail…

4. Use a help desk
As your business continues to grow, you’ll soon realize personal email no longer works. A customer service help desk can help you ramp up to a more official support process.

There are three big reasons why moving to a help desk ranks high on my list of customer service tips.

1. Organization
A proper inbox will show you all your emails at a glance and provide tools to categorize and prioritize. Create various buckets so sales leads aren’t mixed in with bug reports. Make sure the right person gets the right email.

Even if you’re still the only “person” at this point, a help desk allows you focus on important emails first and carve out time for customer service (rather than answering support tickets while also doing a million other things).

2. Progression
Your customer support team will be bigger than you one day. Set yourself up for an easy transition by moving to a help desk early on. When you’re ready to hire a professional, they’ll know their way around an inbox and can hit the ground running.

3. Analysis
Those high level customer insights from tip #3 come neatly packaged in just about every help desk. When generalizing customer sentiment doesn’t cut it anymore, the reports from your inbox provide real data to back up customers’ needs.

5. No really, actually use a help desk
Automation, canned replies, knowledge bases… your helpdesk has features that can help you scale support, even if you’re the only one doing support. Customer support software moves you into proactive territory (which is definitely where you want to be).

At each small company I’ve worked at, people were shocked to hear how few customer support team members we had. If you know how to properly use your help desk, you can do the work of many with just a few (without losing your personal touch!).

For instance, a Knowledge Base allows you to easily set up and manage an FAQ page for your new customers. Most customers prefer self-service anyway, and this reduces the amount of incoming emails each day. You end up helping more customers while reducing customer service team needs.

Menial tasks like moving emails from one mailbox to another, or tagging tickets that mention “refund” can all be done with automations. Especially as a founder, even a few minutes spent on mindless jobs can distract from larger goals.

Maximize every part of your help desk to get the most value from the product.

6. Hire a lead before hiring reps
Big mistake to hire your teenage niece to do customer service part-time. It’s a real job. Hire a capable person to do it. They will grow your entire team (and business) for you in a smart and economical way.

Rushing to bring on minimally qualified customer service representatives won’t result in top notch customer experiences. Instead, build a solid foundation by hiring an experienced and creative team lead who you can rely on to shape the customer journey as you grow.

Even better, let them hire customer service reps when ready. You’d be surprised how much one super capable customer support lead can accomplish on their own. Let them set up the inbox, establish best practices, and create training materials before bringing on new team members.

So many founders work backwards when it comes to hiring, bringing on people to quickly put band-aids on current problems.

The knee-jerk reaction makes sense. For many startups and small businesses, growth comes suddenly, and it’s a race against time to grow your team.

But you can ride out the bumpy initial growth wave much easier if you surround yourself with the right people early on.

7. Pay your team… well
Customer service professionals make far less money than their colleagues. Which may be why customer service is so notoriously bad.

Small businesses and startups, especially in the tech industry, have proven the value of good customer experience. And social media has shown us the result of unhappy customers!

Show your customer team that you acknowledge their input by paying them a salary on par with the rest of the company.

Pool the money you would have spent on outsourcing or budget agents and invest in one or two great customer service agents. Keep them committed to your business and motivated to improve the customer experience with a competitive salary.

You will make more money in the long-run by hiring good people and paying them well. This holds true outside of customer service, of course. But in my experience, it’s often dismissed in the customer service realm.

Take this opportunity to go the extra mile and make your business better than the rest.

8. Trust your team
It’s tempting to keep your nose in everything as the founder of a small business. And customer service is one of those things that everyone thinks they know how to do. I encourage you to feel at peace saying, “I don’t know,” and trust your customer service team to do the job they were hired to do.

When you hire well, you really can let go. Know that this person has your company’s best interest at heart. You made the right decision to bring this person on board. Now let them show off their excellent customer service skills and unique point of view.

Give them room to excel at making your business a customer service powerhouse, free of micro-management.

Check in often. But listen more than you speak.

Remember what it’s like to speak directly with customers every day and empathize with their concerns.

You’ve built a great product, created a fantastic service, and hired a world-class team. Time to step back and simply watch the magic unfold.

9. Support your team
Customer support needs support too! Customer service professionals get so swept up in helping others, they often forget to ask for help themselves. This is where good founders become great.

Ask your team what resources they need. Find out if any other departments could provide assistance to the customer team. Encourage collaboration among different teams to heighten the customer experience for all.

Pair a copywriter from marketing with someone on the customer service team to craft unique content for canned replies or knowledge base articles. Designate an engineer to fix bugs as they’re reported.

Understand each of your team members’ strengths and weaknesses to build a perfectly balanced ecosystem in your organization.

Customer service skills like finding workaround solutions for problems can also be a weakness in the workplace. Follow up every now and then to make sure they’re taking advantage of the team you’ve built and working as efficiently as possible.

10. Share customer service goals
Every department’s goal should be to create loyal customers. The only team that actively tracks customer happiness though, is customer service.

If you really want to make the customer service history books, share customer metrics with the entire company and set cross-functional goals.

Whether you create these goals, or your customer team lead does, make it clear how each customer-related metric depends on the work of the entire company.

Average resolution time depends on the engineering team’s ability to fix bugs swiftly.
Number of new conversations relies on the product team’s feature improvements.
Knowledge base satisfaction correlates with the marketing team’s clear and concise copy.
As the founder, you’ve got a view from the top. You can see how each piece contributes to the larger puzzle. Make this clear at each team meeting or all-hands.

Put the onus on every department to move the needle on customer loyalty. And celebrate when they do.

Source: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/customer-service-tips#set-the-cultural-tone

Early on, Angie Chang discovered that asking questions was actually the best way to influence others. One of her most important questions was posed to college classmate and now AppSumo CEO Noah Kagan. Kagan was running entrepreneurship conferences and events in Palo Alto at the time and had contracted Chang to build the website and design marketing collateral. After reviewing the speakers page, she asked, “Noah, why are there no women on any of these panels?”

This inquiry set off a chain reaction that led Chang to co-found Women 2.0, one of the largest global communities for women working in technology. Since then, she founded Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners (attracting hundreds of attendees per event) and currently breaks new ground as VP of Strategic Partnerships for Hackbright Academy, the engineering school for women. How did this English major and self-taught webmaster become one of Fast Company's Most Influential Women in Technology with close to 10,000 followers and even more fans?

In this exclusive interview, Chang reflects on her journey to become one of Silicon Valley’s most persuasive and powerful voices. She shares the early decisions that built her influence brick-by-brick, techniques to use a strong personal brand to fuel a cause or a company, and her go-to tactics for rallying individuals around something bigger than themselves.

First, Convince Yourself
Before becoming a leader of any organization, Chang made a conscious choice to become an influencer. There wasn’t one revelatory moment, but rather a sustained commitment to approaching everyday interactions with people in a persuasive way. Here are four tenets that she adopted early and practiced vigilantly to amplify her voice.

Construct your confidence — everyone else is figuring it out, too.

Networking at tech meetups in the Bay Area means a lot of exchanged business cards. “Nearly every guy I met handed me a card that read ‘CEO of ‘Company X’ and I was impressed. I listened to what they had to say,” says Chang. “Then I’d go through my stack of business cards, put their companies’ URLs in my web browser and realize that many were not only the CEO, but also the first and only employee of whatever company it was.”

Chang was careful not to dismiss the lesson. While she realized it took very little to print a business card with a CEO title, the important thing is to adopt the confidence of a CEO or founder. “That confidence leads to the credibility and belief that you can do something greater,” says Chang. “Early on, I was determined to project — and feel — that confidence like anyone else.” She also actively sought out women who embodied the same attitude.

One of those women was Sandy Jen, co-founder and CTO of instant messaging company Meebo, which was acquired by Google in 2012. Jen has said that one of the reasons she started Meebo was because one of her male friends launched a startup. Immediately, she knew she was clearly capable of the same thing, too. Really grounding yourself in what you already know — that your peers and friends are just like you — is one of the best ways to break down misbeliefs that you lack what it takes to start something or do something aspirational.

One thing that helped Chang is drawing confidence differently. “I see commonalities first. As humans, we notice differences easily, but we connect through similarities,” says Chang. “Maybe it’s through practice, but I don’t find that I’m all that different than the next person, to be honest. If you see yourself in someone else, it’s like you’re connecting with the person you’ve known the longest. You can suddenly see how you might do what others have done, but that you never thought you were capable of before.”

Deconstruct your networking events.
From the beginning, networking events have been a key platform for Chang to build her personal brand. Yet she’ll be the first to admit that making an impact or a good impression at meetups can be intimidating. She attended a Tessel.io hack night recently which showcased the startup’s modular microcontrollers that allow for physical devices to connect to the web, and felt the same discomfort she used to when she first started networking.

“I was on my own, nervous and slightly intimidated. It was a roomful of people silently hacking away,” recalls Chang. “My first instinct was to run out the door, but I told myself to give it just one hour.” Chang picked up a Tessel and alighted next to a woman sitting alone on the couch. The stranger turned out to be Tessel.io co-founder Jia Huang, who then helped Chang get her device blinking. Chang then used the Tesstel to take and tweet a photo of her and her new friend. “It was a real win, especially since I nearly left the meetup right after I got there.”

Even the most skilled conversationalist or seasoned professional can struggle in new networking environments. Here are Chang’s tips for newbies and veterans alike:

Count conversations if it’s hard to start them. For more nervous or introverted meetup attendees, go into a networking situation with a quantitative goal. It might be staying an hour or meeting three people. Don’t let yourself leave before you hit that number.

Pair your arrival time with your purpose. A well-timed entrance doesn’t always mean arriving before the free pizza runs out or walking in fashionably late. Chang suggests segmenting networking events differently. “Go early if you want to talk to the organizer without interruption or if you want quiet time to have more in-depth conversations,” she says. “Go toward the end if you seek quick chats, want exposure among a large number of people, or prefer to choose when to be noticed. Things really started for me when I was new to meetups, practiced being curious and asked questions.”

Channel your inner peacock. Connection and influence can come faster if others initiate the conversation. “Wear something catchy — either a funny t-shirt, a startup hoodie or Lego earrings,” says Chang, who happened to be wearing a dress patterned with lemurs during this interview. She says it spurred two spontaneous conversations for her in just one day. Conversation starters project your identity and give people a hook to come talk to you when they may not otherwise.

When in doubt, approach groups of two. If you have to take the daunting step of joining a conversation of strangers, always pick a duo. “It’s the right size to allow for easy conversation and contribution from each member of the gathering,” says Chang. “Then just stand there and smile at them. Simply say hello. Or ask about their company if they are wearing a name tag. It’s surprising how asking questions about other people actually makes you immediately interesting to them.”

Always default to yes. Seriously.
A key part to being an influencer is being truly accessible to others. This doesn’t mean straying from your objective, but it does mean listening and showing authentic initial interest. “I usually say ‘yes’ to most requests and invitations,” says Chang. “Some people screen and are very hesitant unless there’s a clear, direct impact. But, given the variety of ways my network has grown, I err on the side of being connected and letting myself be pleasantly surprised.”

Politely cut the conversation short if it’s not relevant to your mission, but take most meetings. “I am always interested in hearing what people have to say, and how I can be helpful. It’s the way to concretely practice what I believe, and that becomes part of my brand and reputation,” says Chang. The breadth of people she has met has helped her recruit hundreds of volunteers for Women 2.0, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, and Hackbright Academy — and has fielded impressive speakers at her events.

Even if you’ve decided to become an influencer, it’s hard to know which channels will be most effective for you to meet the right people. So don’t guess. Just go with it. “I remember that one of my greatest supporters, Khosla Ventures Operating Partner Irene Au was randomly email introduced by someone I met for coffee,” says Chang. “He said, ‘You should meet this wonderful woman.’ I wanted to meet one of the few women executives at Google [where Au was working], so next week I did.”

It’s easy to see how always saying “yes” is unsustainable (especially as your career and social calendar gain momentum), and one should always be wary of burnout. Here are a few of Chang’s tactics to keep your accessibility and your sanity:

Keep mornings for yourself. “I don’t take meetings in the mornings if I can avoid it. That’s my time for emails and prioritizing the day’s work. It’s when I need and use the most brain power. I’m caffeinated and can get a lot done.”

Take meetings in the middle of the week in the late afternoon. “I segment my week to take most of my meetings midweek. It’s not always perfect, but it allows me to give as much of my undivided attention to people as I can.” Being able to focus on the person in front of you is critical to the cause of becoming an influencer. The only way to be heard by a great number of people is to make them feel like you truly hear and represent them. In-person interactions like this are precious opportunities to send this message.

Take Friday for exploratory meetings. “I prefer to take agenda-free meetings on Friday (like meeting with a young person just starting their career, or a friend of a friend interested in a specific field). I have the full week behind me and it gives me a lift to talk to new people and explore possibilities. I set these 20-minute coffee meetings a block from the office.” When you set time expectations upfront, you’re less likely to offend someone by cutting things short, and you can make it clear that you’re taking time out of a busy schedule to invest in them.

Influence is not magic. It’s a habit. By continuing to meet and take coffees with people, I’m mapping out the plan. Meetings are more than simple conversations — they’re the secret and serendipitous way forward.

Banish blind introductions.
Influence not only extends to those you meet, but also the people you connect to one another. Once you’ve built a strong network, your reputation is as much in your control as it is in others’ hands. “If a person wants an introduction to someone I know, I always ask for the purpose of the connection,” say Chang. “I won’t do a blind connection — it has to be useful to both people. Otherwise, I lose credibility and so does the other person.” It’s a delicate thing — much more so than most people think. And impressions created by missteps in this area stick.

A dual-sided introduction is paramount for maintaining credibility and influence within your network. It requires sharing backgrounds and getting buy-in from both sides separately, but it’s time well spent. This properly sets expectations and increases the likelihood of not only a better match, but also a positive association for the connector.

Affix Your Personal Brand to Something Greater
Building a personal network is the foundation of influence, but it has its limits unless it’s tied to a greater cause and community. People want to know and follow others who stand for something, espouse a particular philosophy or make them feel like part of a movement. Throughout her career, Chang has found a way to use her personal brand to unite and promote female founders, executives and technologists. Here’s how she did it:

Write to become ubiquitous.

Chang’s personal brand blended with her cause to support women in technology when she started publishing stories about female entrepreneurs and executives on Women 2.0’s website. For several years, she wrote three short articles a day and published a email summary weekly. “Writing helped me translate all the incredible stories I was hearing about the women I met,” says Chang.

“Each article I wrote started with a byline that read ‘By Angie Chang.’ Since I published so frequently, my name appeared in the subject line of our weekly newsletter that went out to over 10,000 women,” she says. After a few months, people started to approach her and say, “Your name’s really famous. I hear and see it everywhere. You’re always in my inbox.” Because they kept seeing her name, she was the one they wrote to or asked when they wanted to get involved with the organization. She became synonymous with the ideas it was advancing about women in leadership, entrepreneurship and technology.

If you speak openly and often, you don’t need to speak loudly.
Showcasing influential women and being an adept curator of their stories has helped Chang not only build her personal influence but also a far-reaching community. Her body of work defines her — it’s more than a calling card, it’s her professional identity. “If you want to advance a cause, produce a body of work that expresses and embodies what drives you. It will help you recognize and reach others who belong to your tribe and are a part of the story,” says Chang.

To begin to formulate your body work and increase its audience, ask yourself three questions:

Can you articulate what it is you’re doing or interested in doing in a few paragraphs?

What have you done or who have you assembled to demonstrate your interest?

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned and how have you made them habits?

If you can’t answer these questions, then perhaps the issue is not time, but resonance. “If you don’t have a body of work to show who you are and what you believe in, how do you expect to be an ambassador of it or influencer for it? If you have the desire, show that you’re an active agent. Make, tweet or write something to get started,” says Chang.

Don’t be discouraged if your body of work evolves or changes slight direction — keep at it. “I’m still refining my language,” says Chang. “I've explained concepts over and over again to people, and done a lot of iterative writing and tweeting on topics. It not only helps other people understand so they can champion the cause, but it’s also another way for me to check-in with the mission and how it resonates with the community and me today.”

Pick a very ambitious yet niche mission.

For Chang, to influence effectively means to choose — and to do so with precision. Since 2006, she’s been singularly focused on high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship for women. “I attribute much of my success to identifying very early on who I wanted to connect to, surround myself with and bring together,” says Chang. “I honed in on a very specific category.”

It’s important that influencers don’t equate a restricted scope with a narrow impact. In fact, Chang has found the opposite is true. By expressing and broadcasting her focus on women in high-growth entrepreneurship and technology, and equality in leadership in particular, she’s been more thorough, effective and impactful. “When writing to raise the profile of successful female founders, I was also reaching out to angel investors who helped them fund their companies. It was a natural progression given my focus and frequency of my writing.”

Chang delivers deeply on this specific mission through Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, which has allowed her to connect a large number of women at once to companies and tech leaders who can inspire and influence them. “The dinners mean sharing a meal, but also success stories, job opportunities, mentorship tips and tricks. The events continue to grow because we find new and creative ways to deliver against a clearly defined mission serving women technologists and entrepreneurs.”

Additionally, the mission must not only be niche, but also ambitious. You need a North Star that energizes you in all the conversations you and have and all the logistical grunt work you may have to do to get there. “I’m not against starting small businesses, but I’m going to spend my time applauding high-growth businesses started by women,” says Chang. “Being uncompromising in ambition has been very good for building the brands of the organizations I’ve helped grow.” In the two years Chang has worked at Hackbright Academy, she has increased the network to over 150 partner companies, including the biggest companies such as Facebook, SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite and Uber, to recruit female software engineers.

Commit for the long haul.

Enduring influence and credibility takes time to build. Chang has over a decade of work experience writing and broadcasting over social media on women in technology, and has been recognized with accolades and media coverage. “Sure, a long track record on your resume or LinkedIn brings an authority, goodwill and trust that you’re an ambassador for a cause,” say Chang. “But I believe I’ve always been able to get meetings because I’ve shown duration with and sole dedication to this cause. In short, it’s not just the ‘Volunteer Experience and Causes’ portion of LinkedIn that shows my commitment, but my entire ‘Experience’ section. It’s hard to question my intent.”

It’s tempting to broadly apply Chang’s advice and operate believing that everything will take time. By definition, movements need to advance, but here are three areas where she recommends that progress needs consistent investment and where you should take the long view:

Partnerships. “Persuading partners to join you can take awhile. Sometimes the stars are aligned, but most times it takes a bucket of emails to get to the right person,” says Chang. “Hackbright Academy has a solid partnership with SurveyMonkey, especially with the engineering department led by CTO Selina Tobaccowala. She has hired Hackbright graduates steadily each quarter. AdRoll, New Relic and Lanetix have strong male champions of women leading their engineering departments and have also been strong employers of our students.” This is one area where your personal brand can make a big difference. If people believe they’re entering into a relationship with an individual who’s shown passion and dedication, they’re much more likely to enter into a professional partnership with a company led by that person.

Evangelism. “When marrying one’s personal brand with a company or cause, it’s important to be intentional with each decision for as long as possible. Mission creep can happen on a personal or company-level, and when you represent both, a misstep with one will impact the other, especially if you’re trying to do too much at once,” says Chang. “A lot of people try to recruit me for events management or evangelist roles. I have no interest in that because I know what I want to accomplish in a very specific way. It’s important to remind others of your stance with your behavior and decisions over time.”

Recruiting other influencers. “It takes time to find more women who want to influence an industry or community versus lead a company. It’s a lot of work that has be sustained for a long period, and it’s each individual’s personal decision in the end. I’m happy to mentor people, but it’s not my place to tell a woman that she needs to be more ambitious with her life (though I’m guilty of doing it). So, it takes time to find fellow influencers and build enough trust that they start sharing things for you.”

You're Only As Good As Your Ability to Rally People
As a serial entrepreneur, Chang has been able to engage tens of thousands of women through Women 2.0 and Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners. And she’s still astounded by how the title of “founder” has helped her assemble a movement. “Being a founder has been inadvertently useful. When I started Women 2.0, it was more like a goal of just meeting and connecting with people,” says Chang. “The fact that I’m a founder has opened doors. It carries weight and a lot of social capital, especially given the huge demand for female role models in leadership positions.”

As a result, she's been able to help rising female leaders in tech cut their teeth as founders, join high-growth companies or get exposure in the media. Chang's asked about the leading women in science or technology, and she shares many names. She’s known for this. That said, for those who aren’t founders, there are still ways to rally people and amass a following. Here are three tactics from Chang:

Just ask.

It seems obvious and simple, but many people hesitate to make a direct ask of support. Soon after Chang started Women 2.0, its first conference drew an audience of 100 women and a few men. She created the website, logo and a simple flyer to distribute. “Then, we asked our friends, tapped our network and called in favors,” says Chang. “We asked people to attend and to be on panels. Most people said yes.”

If your requests hit the bullseye, be prepared to deliver more. After the initial Women 2.0 event, attendees asked how to sign up on a mailing list or when they could come to the next event. To keep up with the demand, Chang started to invite people to her house to host a monthly meetup of female founders.

After 100 women tried to cram into her apartment, she moved the meetup to a larger meeting space in San Francisco. “Part of it was being responsive, and giving them a space to connect with each other. A big moment was having the group articulate that they were going to build this together. Group ownership is a big part of community building.”

Don’t be afraid to establish “making asks” as a rule — until it becomes part of the culture. “For Girl Geek Dinners, we always create a rideshare Google document for attendees to carpool to events,” says Chang. “This makes it easy for attendees to reach out to others, network and make real connections.”

Get people to take it personally — then they’ll support publicly.

In January 2008, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners held its first event for over 400 women at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. The organization has hosted over 90 dinners to date, attended by over 15,000 women in the Silicon Valley. Dinners are now held every other week and completely booked for the next year and a half. Chang and her team used all the well-known engagement techniques: word of mouth, free admission, Facebook groups and e-mail signup lists. These tools were all valuable and lowered most barriers to participation.

But the team focused most intently on delivering the networking, content and connections that would make a lasting impression on the female technologists and founders in the room. For example, sponsors are encouraged to make their women executives, engineers and technologists the speakers at the event. Encore sponsors are encouraged to share how many female attendees they’ve hired from previous dinners. One sponsoring company hired 9 women after hosting two events.

“We made their professional growth personal to the point that they took it personally with their companies,” says Chang. “The Girl Geek Dinner attendees recruit for us with their own companies, asking them to become sponsors. The random string of coffees that led me to [former Director of UX at Google] Irene Au and Google’s sponsorship of a previous event in London got us our first sponsor stateside. Facebook soon followed.” The passion for the cause — and then the virality of the concept — produced 400 new registrations over a weekend.

“There no substitute for — or reminder like — posting photos that share how fun the events look, the faces of the women networking and even cultural aspects of the organization,” says Chang. “By encouraging others to share their personal experiences of our professional events on social media with the right hashtag, we’ve been able to spread like wildfire.”

Forget motivational posters. At Hackbright, people love sharing pictures of the bathroom mirror, because that's where people leave encouraging Post-its for each other.
Social media has extended Hackbright Academy’s reach and influence beyond its operational footprint. “People from other cities, states, and even countries where we don’t operate, come up to us and say, ‘I know Hackbright has an unofficial Balloonicorn mascot. And it’s awesome.’ Social media has allowed the members of our network to easily spread the word in a way that feels authentic to them,” says Chang.

Keep it coming full-circle.

For Chang, influencing others involves creating habits to make small adjustments that produce a larger impact. Many of these routines are cyclical and have a pay-it-forward attribute. Here are three tactics that has served her organizations and her well:

Boost and boast. While Chang’s no longer working with Women 2.0 full time, she tweets daily about women in technology and business. She prefers to retweet, and in some cases, boosts the same links by using a new line of text or adding a photo. “There’s a lot of great content out there that just needs a hook, so I’ll write a new line or add a screenshot to help it get noticed. Once, Arianna Huffington retweeted an article I wrote, with a much better subject line,” says Chang. “Everyone needs an editor and a cheerleader. I’ve noticed that most women aren’t inclined to boast about themselves, so I like to help surface their great ideas and accomplishments as much as possible.”

Rephrase and repeat. When Chang and her team are recruiting attendees for an event, drafting and delivering variations of the same invite email has improved their sign-up rates. “I understand that there's a funnel to pass through. That usually means emailing people five times to get them to commit to something that you know they want to do but they're just too busy to actually do it,” she says. “Repetition with email marketing actually works. But change the email subject line, create new threads instead just heaping onto the old ones. Unless you receive an RSVP No, stay persistent. I haven’t found that it burns bridges or sheds subscribers.”

Elevate your alumni. Hackbright Academy outfits its alumni with information and attire to keep them active as ambassadors. “With their diverse backgrounds and networks, we ask them to help spread the word about our awesome Hackbright engineering fellows by simply being themselves! We give each graduate a bright red Hackbright hoodie to wear as they start their new jobs at great companies. It’s earned media and unpaid marketing for us.” The red hoodie is just a symbol — and reminder — of the enormous amount of pride they have for Hackbright. “Our students are the best marketing that we can have,” says Chang.

I don’t think of myself as an influencer, but as someone who has decided and declared. That’s attractive to people. They attach strings to you and hold on for the ride.
By definition, influence involves other people’s buy-in to change — and that begins with persuading yourself. Adopt a “founder’s confidence,” approach your networking with precision and “say yes” by default. These are the small decisions and habits that help build your personal brand. Applying your influence to advance a cause or company requires more diligent, sustained work. The key here is to pick a very ambitious, niche mission to champion and build a body of work by writing prolifically and publicly about it. To assemble a following, don’t be shy to ask and remind people to join you or help share your ideas. If they take it personally, they’ll promote it publicly.

The best influencers — like the best teachers — know they’ve done their job when they’re no longer needed. Chang sees her role in promoting and elevating women in technology similarly.

“Frankly, I’d like to see most women’s organizations not have to exist anymore — eventually. For my work, that means reaching gender parity at all levels, from entrepreneurs in small businesses to venture-backed companies to the investors at venture capital firms,” says Chang. “Let’s get the same global 50/50 gender-split at each tier and throughout each function within technology companies. It’s a big job to hit a simple metric, but that’s what I’m about and that's where I’m headed.”

Source: https://firstround.com/review/influencers-arent-born-theyre-built-heres-how/

Sometimes people ask me for help or suggestions about how to write, or how to get published. Keeping in mind that this is all very ephemeral and personal, I will try to explain here everything that I believe about writing. I hope it is useful. It’s all I know.

I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling. I became a writer the way other people become monks or nuns. I made a vow to writing, very young. I became Bride-of-Writing. I was writing’s most devotional handmaiden. I built my entire life around writing. I didn’t know how else to do this. I didn’t know anyone who had ever become a writer. I had no, as they say, connections. I had no clues. I just began.

I took a few writing classes when I was at NYU, but, aside from an excellent workshop taught by Helen Schulman, I found that I didn’t really want to be practicing this work in a classroom. I wasn’t convinced that a workshop full of 13 other young writers trying to find their voices was the best place for me to find my voice. So I wrote on my own, as well. I showed my work to friends and family whose opinions I trusted. I was always writing, always showing. After I graduated from NYU, I decided not to pursue an MFA in creative writing. Instead, I created my own post-graduate writing program, which entailed several years spent traveling around the country and world, taking jobs at bars and restaurants and ranches, listening to how people spoke, collecting experiences and writing constantly. My life probably looked disordered to observers (not that anyone was observing it that closely) but my travels were a very deliberate effort to learn as much as I could about life, expressly so that I could write about it.

Back around the age of 19, I had started sending my short stories out for publication. My goal was to publish something (anything, anywhere) before I died. I collected only massive piles of rejection notes for years. I cannot explain exactly why I had the confidence to be sending off my short stories at the age of 19 to, say, The New Yorker, or why it did not destroy me when I was inevitably rejected. I sort of figured I’d be rejected. But I also thought: “Hey – somebody has to write all those stories: why not me?” I didn’t love being rejected, but my expectations were low and my patience was high. (Again – the goal was to get published before death. And I was young and healthy.) It has never been easy for me to understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of criticism. Wasn’t that the point of the creation – to communicate something to the world? So PUT IT OUT THERE. Send your work off to editors and agents as much as possible, show it to your neighbors, plaster it on the walls of the bus stops – just don’t sit on your work and suffocate it. At least try. And when the powers-that-be send you back your manuscript (and they will), take a deep breath and try again. I often hear people say, “I’m not good enough yet to be published.” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: Let someone else decide that. Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.

As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.

I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.” Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place.

Here’s another thing to consider. If you always wanted to write, and now you are A Certain Age, and you never got around to it, and you think it’s too late…do please think again. I watched Julia Glass win the National Book Award for her first novel, “The Three Junes”, which she began writing in her late 30’s. I listened to her give her moving acceptance speech, in which she told how she used to lie awake at night, tormented as she worked on her book, asking herself, “Who do you think you are, trying to write a first novel at your age?” But she wrote it. And as she held up her National Book Award, she said, “This is for all the late-bloomers in the world.” Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where – if you missed it by age 19 – you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try.

There are heaps of books out there on How To Get Published. Often people find the information in these books contradictory. My feeling is — of COURSE the information is contradictory. Because, frankly, nobody knows anything. Nobody can tell you how to succeed at writing (even if they write a book called “How To Succeed At Writing”) because there is no WAY; there are, instead, many ways. Everyone I know who managed to become a writer did it differently – sometimes radically differently. Try all the ways, I guess. Becoming a published writer is sort of like trying to find a cheap apartment in New York City: it’s impossible. And yet…every single day, somebody manages to find a cheap apartment in New York City. I can’t tell you how to do it. I’m still not even entirely sure how I did it. I can only tell you – through my own example – that it can be done. I once found a cheap apartment in Manhattan. And I also became a writer.

In the end, I love this work. I have always loved this work. My suggestion is that you start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Cast out your will, and then cut the line. Please try, also, not to go totally freaking insane in the process. Insanity is a very tempting path for artists, but we don’t need any more of that in the world at the moment, so please resist your call to insanity. We need more creation, not more destruction. We need our artists more than ever, and we need them to be stable, steadfast, honorable and brave – they are our soldiers, our hope. If you decide to write, then you must do it, as Balzac said, “like a miner buried under a fallen roof.” Become a knight, a force of diligence and faith. I don’t know how else to do it except that way. As the great poet Jack Gilbert said once to young writer, when she asked him for advice about her own poems: “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES.”

Good luck.

Source: https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/thoughts-on-writing/

If You Think Investment Education Is Expensive, Just Try Ignorance
Do you know the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement?

Do you know the necessary due diligence steps to take before putting capital at risk on a new investment?

Do you know the difference between investing and gambling and how it affects your profits?

Amazingly, the single biggest skill that can make or break your financial success isn't taught in school. You can graduate with a four year degree and learn nothing about personal finance or investing.

Doctors and attorneys can open their own practices without any clue how to read a financial statement. Business owners and investors can remain dangerously ignorant of the tax law.

The truth is, financial literacy is the essential skill you must develop if your goal is to build wealth and enjoy financial security. There's no alternative.

Why? Here are seven reasons:
1.Provides dividends for life that nobody can ever take from you.
2.Increases your earning potential.
3.Increases your return on investment.
4.Improves the quality of your life and finances.
5.Secures your retirement.
6.Defends your portfolio from unnecessary losses.
7.Provides peace of mind around money.

Financial education is one of the great bargains in life: it costs little, risks nothing, and returns huge rewards. It's the best investment you can make.

The sooner you get it, the more it'll be worth to you. The longer you wait, the more it'll cost you. Which path will you choose?

Below, we'll examine each of the seven reasons why financial education is your best investment so that you make the profitable choice.

1. Most Investment Advice Is a Dangerous Half-Truth
2. One Size Doesn’t Fit All Investors
3. How to Overcome the Conflicts of Interest in Investment Advice
4. You Can Delegate Authority, But You Can't Delegate Responsibility
5. Your Financial Intelligence Compounds Like Money
6. Financial Intelligence Is the One Investment You Can Never Lose
7. True Freedom and Independence Requires Financial Intelligence

Financial Education Is Your Best Investment
So what should you do now? The answer is simple: commit to growing your financial literacy with a process of continual improvement by beginning to learn today.

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is financial intelligence. You have to start somewhere – wherever you are right now – and fortunately, success is a learnable skill.

If you work on yourself and study regularly, the reward for persistence can be financial freedom.

There will never be a better time than now to learn and prepare so that all these benefits can be yours:

Financial education will teach you how to sort all the conflicting investment advice so that you know how to manage your way through a world filled with investment half-truths.

Financial education will help you build a wealth plan custom fitted to your individual needs.

Financial education will help you negotiate the conflicts of interest inherent in investment advice.

Financial education is how you demonstrate self-responsibility for your financial security.

Financial education is how you raise the ceiling on your financial future by raising your financial intelligence.

Financial education is like an annuity – it pays dividends for the rest of your life, and nobody can ever take it from you.

Financial education is the foundation on which true financial independence stands.

Financial education is a long term approach to wealth. It builds success on several levels by growing your knowledge, experience, and portfolio simultaneously so that you can retire early and wealthy with security and peace of mind.

Financial education is your best investment, and the only thing keeping you from enjoying all the benefits of smarter investing is… you.

If you aren't clear on the tangible dollars and cents value of financial education in your life, then here is a quick and fun exercise to prove it to yourself.

Go to this free retirement calculator and input your financial information as best you know it today, and print out the results. Don't worry about accuracy: just do the best you can.

Then increase your savings rate and investment return by 20% (i.e. from 10% to 12% investment return or from $400 saved per month to $480), and notice the dramatic change in results when compounded over your expected lifetime.

That's an example of the potential cash value of financial literacy. It's literally worth a fortune.

It can mean the difference between financial security and flipping burgers in your old age.

So what are you going to do about it? What actions are you going to take today?

If you aren't motivated to make a change, then all I can say is I walked the talk and it literally made me a fortune. I'm a big believer in financial education because I know the difference it made in my life. I hope you'll join me and do the same.

Nobody said it better than this:
If you think (financial) education is expensive, try ignorance. - Andy McIntyre

Source: https://financialmentor.com/financial-advice/financial-education-best-investment/13173

How To Uncover Even The Best Disguised Investment Fraud Before It Costs You Money.

You can't judge a book by its cover.

Appearances can deceive when trying to protect yourself from investment fraud.

Sharp looking companies with trustworthy facades are used by con-men to instill confidence in their victims.

Rented office spaces, receptionists, professionally designed brochures, impressive web sites, and more, are all tools used to create the appearance of legitimacy.

That's because the con artist knows he must gain your trust to get your money so he will do everything necessary to appear reputable.

For that reason, you must let go of any preconceived notions or Hollywood expectations about how a con-man should appear. He could be a friend-of-a-friend, a kind voice on the phone, an authority figure on the internet, or a business person in a perfectly tailored suit.

Additionally, the con artist can use any of the traditional communication channels to commit investment fraud. Besides the telephone, mail, and internet, investment fraudsters may advertise in well-known publications to appear legitimate.

Just because you learn about an investment through a reputable channel does not imply the investment itself is legitimate.

You also can't trust an investment just because someone you know made big profits. Con artists will often pay the first few investors large returns so that they will refer the investment to their friends.

Many investment frauds spread like a virus because self-deceived investors “talk up” their great returns at social gatherings. Don't be deceived.The reality is investment fraud can look perfectly legitimate in all the ordinary ways which begs the question, “How can I protect myself from investment fraud, and what are the tell-tale warning signs to tip me off before I lose money?”

To answer that question, below are the top 26 most common symptoms of potential investment fraud.

When you notice any of these warning signs, always remember that it doesn't necessarily mean you're faced with investment fraud; however, it should put you on notice to be extra skeptical and perform more detailed due diligence than normal.

Remember, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Top 26 Danger Signs of Investment Fraud:

1.Be skeptical of unexpected and unsolicited phone calls, emails, letters, or personal visits from strangers offering investments.

2.Never trust anyone who promises a high return in a short period of time. Above market return is the number one characteristic of investment fraud. It's the bait designed to hook you.

3.Low risk, no risk, or a guarantee is the second most common characteristic of investment fraud. Watch out for track records so consistent they appear almost guaranteed. The truth is, every investment strategy has an Achilles Heel, making “no risk” incongruent with reality. The more you are guaranteed, the more you should examine what you are being guaranteed against.

4.Your investment account should be held with an independent, third party custodian that is regulated and monitored by regulatory agencies. Avoid giving custody and possession of invested capital to the investment manager.

5.Your investment account should be held separately in your name by the third party custodian. Avoid commingling or aggregating your assets into a pool with other investors.

6.Hang up or walk away from high pressure sales tactics. When a salesperson demands you invest on the spot that is a red flag. If the salesperson is trying to make you feel guilty, stupid, or intimidate you into making a decision, then leave immediately. Investments must be understood fully before accepting risk. Legitimate investments that are good today are still good tomorrow. Never tolerate sales pressure when investing.

7.Beware of a broker who has “special connections”, “secrets”, or “inside” information not available to the general public. Making money on inside information is illegal, and there are no “secrets” to good investing.

8.Beware of invitations to join exclusive investment organizations and become part of a select group of active investors and financial experts. Exclusivity often points to potential investment fraud.

9.Be careful of opportunities to get in on the ground floor of the “next big thing” or “once in a lifetime” deal. Similarly, claims of unverifiable formulas, patents or new technologies that will revolutionize the industry are a warning sign that necessitates deeper due diligence.

10.Think twice about investment strategies explained with sophisticated terminology and fancy phraseology instead of commonly used words. A legitimate salesperson will simplify the complex to help you understand. Investment fraud may complicate the simple in order to intimidate you from looking deeper behind the facade. Never buy into the idea that you are too old, young, or financially inexperienced to understand an investment. If you don't understand, it then don't invest in it.

11.Watch out for sophisticated investments marketed to unsophisticated, smaller investors (under $100K initial investment). If the risk/return was legitimate, the organizer could access all the money he needed from institutional investors at a much lower cost, and with far fewer headaches. The reason unsophisticated investors are targeted for investment fraud is because they rarely perform due diligence, whereas sophisticated investors always perform due diligence.

12.Beware of any investment offered from an overseas location.

13.Think twice when the sales appeal includes rhetoric about how the U.S. Government is keeping these investments away from the little guy so that it can be the secret of the rich. Conspiracy theories about the government and “secrets of the rich” are a warning sign of potential investment fraud.

14.Be wary of seminars and salespeople representing schemes to defer or hide money from the U.S. Government in tax shelters, trusts, or offshore accounts.

15.Be cautious of any investment without a prospectus or offering memorandum. Walk away from any salesperson who dismisses the importance of disclosure documents required by law as mere “formalities”

16.Watch out for any investment that cannot be verified through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), your state securities regulator, or the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) registration process.

17.Be extra careful of any investment sold by people unregistered or unlicensed to sell securities, or those working for an unregistered or unlicensed firm. Certain independent insurance agents are a common example. Similarly, verify all registrations with regulators when dealing with unfamiliar persons or companies.

18.Be wary of any investment salesperson who doesn't want you to get a second opinion.

19.Walk the other way when an investment salesperson encourages you to invest on the basis of trust. Similarly, be careful of promoters preying on your membership in a certain group (church, professional organization, social club, etc.) to establish trust with you.

20.Watch out if you have trouble cashing out. Delays when withdrawing money may point to illegitimacy. Only fixed-term securities such as CDs, hedge funds with periodic redemption rights, certain partnership interests, and other liquidity constraints agreed to in writing prior to investing should limit your ability to access your cash when it comes time to exit.

21.Beware of any investment salesperson that encourages you to put your life savings into a single investment. Such practices are contrary to a prudent investment strategy. Similarly, no legitimate investment salesperson should ever fail to clarify your past investment experience and risk tolerance before recommending an investment. A con-man may skip this essential step in the sales process.

22.Be skeptical of newsletters touting investments that don't specifically disclose who pays them, the amount paid, and the type of payment for promoting any specific investment. The disclosure should be prominently placed in the article and not buried in fine print elsewhere in the newsletter. Financial Mentor never touts any specific securities or investments in its newsletter, web site, or publications. Mixing investment advice with financial education is a conflict of interest.

23.Be wary if the salesperson encourages you to borrow money or cash in your retirement accounts to make the investment.

24.Never invest if the salesperson encourages you to falsify information on your account application.

25.Avoid investments where the salesperson requests your bank account number, and other unnecessary personal information, so he can “facilitate the transaction”. Additionally, you should not send money to a post office box, and if the salesperson offers to send a personal courier to pick up the check, it may very well be to avoid Federal mail fraud charges.

26.Watch out for investments accompanied by unprofessional contracts.
Misspellings, careless wording, and vague or imprecise language in the agreement can point to more serious problems with the investment.

Source: https://financialmentor.com/investment-advice/investment-fraud-prevention/top-26-warning-signs-of-investment-fraud/14692

The secret is out…

The stable economic past we grew up with is just that – the past. The future is going to look very different.
Some prognosticators are screaming inflation, while others are equally well-reasoned in their deflation forecasts.
My best guess is they will both be wrong – and both be right.
In other words, extreme volatility should be expected to continue as it has in the recent past, and that will wreak havoc with your investment strategy.

Economic Forecasting Is Worthless
Before I dig into the investment strategy issues associated with that forecast, let me clarify an important point.
Long-time readers know I avoid economic forecasting like the plague.
3 decades of real-time investing experience has taught me that economic forecasts are worthless. They make soothsayers and goat entrail readers look like respectable professions.
Sure, some brilliant guys get it right on occasion, but a broken clock is right twice a day and you still can't tell time with it.

Similarly, you can't invest based on forecasts because eventually your forecast will be wrong, and you'll lose big-time. (Surprisingly, the time you are most likely to be wrong is when you are most confident that you are right. :-))

The truth is nobody really knows whether we'll have rocketing inflation or free-falling deflation over the next year or two (notice the time-frame, 1-2 years), despite confident forecasts.
Such clairvoyance requires a direct connection to a Higher Power or a magical crystal ball, both of which forecasters lack.

Yes, I agree the economics are unequivocally clear that the Fed's shenanigans virtually assure a serious inflation in the future (10+ years), but the exact sequencing of how that will occur is unknown.

I have no idea if it will start this year, 5 years from now, or 10 years from now. I just know it's baked in the cake.

The problem is, that's not good enough.

Extraordinary gains and losses can and will occur in the interim time periods of 1-4 years. Those gains and losses can make or break your financial success.

Every investment strategy is essentially a bet on a specific economic outcome (inflation or deflation, growth or decline, etc.). When the outcome is different from expectations, then you lose.

Unfortunately, about the only forecast I have any confidence making is that devastating periods of volatility will continue, which makes investment strategy very difficult.

Let me explain why…

Pessimism Goes Mainstream
A dollar collapse, hyperinflation, or a crippling deflation could change everything on a dime.
Not too long ago nobody would consider that a serious possibility.
People believed in the stability of our economic system. They believed in the almighty dollar with controlled inflation.
Pessimism has gone mainstream. The genie is out of the bottle.
Normal people with regular lives who don't live and breathe econometrics fully understand that our current economic trajectory is mathematically impossible. Something has to give.

Governments around the world have played the “funny money” game with bank bailouts, various rescue packages, and other entitlements.
The growth of financial obligations has reached an unsustainable level. There's too much leverage in the system, and there's no mathematical way the debts can be paid back in real terms.
They must either be defaulted in reality or defaulted in kind through inflation. They can't be paid back and they can't continue to grow at their current pace.
Something big is going to happen economically, and the masses realize it now. It's just a question of when – not if.

All the government shenanigans with the bailouts and other nonsense I vociferously objected to on these pages over the years had the exact opposite affect from what the government intended.
They wanted to restore confidence in the system. Instead, they undermined everyone's confidence to such an astounding degree that even I was surprised.
The masses now understand our economy is no longer operating like a comfortable walk in the park, where a misstep results in a dirty knee or a bruised ankle (i.e. – a normal economic contraction).
Now, we're walking an economic tightrope strung between two 40 story buildings where a misstep results in a devastating fall. On one side is massive inflation, and the other is horrifying deflation. Both are bad…very bad.

Each error in judgment causes dreadful consequences, and that's why continued volatility is a fairly safe forecast.

What To Do?
The bottom line is I can't tell you if we'll have inflation or deflation over the next few years.
I've read economic analyses from many extraordinarily learned people who sit on opposite sides of the fence. They are equally convincing.
My belief is inflation will ultimately prevail (10+ year time horizon), but sequencing is everything.
The inflation might be preceded by a devastating deflation first. The only thing I'm confident about is we are in for a wild ride either way.

This is important because it determines investment strategy. If inflation prevails, then commodities, metals, and mildly leveraged income producing real estate (with fully amortizing, fixed rate mortgages ONLY) will be the places to invest.

Under this scenario, cash is trash and real stuff is the best place to be when inflation wins the day.
However, if another round of debilitating deflation strikes first, then these exact same investments could be a very expensive mistake.
Cash is always king in deflation because money becomes worth more in terms of the real things it can buy. For example, just look at how easily real estate investors were wiped out during the short-term 2007-2009 decline. It's because they were invested in real stuff.

In other words, the economic tightrope produces two mirror opposite scenarios. The correct investment strategy for one can be a nightmare for the other. You can't have it both ways as an investor.
That's why the markets are schizophrenic right now, producing dramatic volatility.

When it appears the government has the upper-hand (inflation prevails), then it's “risk on” and asset prices soar.
When it appears the government is losing the battle against deflation, then it's “risk off” and everyone runs to cash, causing asset prices to free-fall.
Not an easy situation for investors like you and me.

What's Your Solution?
The purpose of this post is to lay the foundational arguments and set the context for discussing how you're dealing with the problem.
What's your investment strategy for this economic tightrope?
Tell us in the comments below. I will then add some coaching questions to each strategy in an effort to deepen the learning.

The goal is to produce some informative and educational insights you can apply. Participants get free coaching and readers get valuable insights.

If you want to follow the discussion, I encourage you to chime in with your own ideas so that you can subscribe to the comment updates and not miss anything. We might just uncover some viable solutions that can help you…

Okay, so who's going to get the ball rolling? How will you manage your investments to protect against inflation and deflation?

Source: https://financialmentor.com/investment-advice/investment-strategy-alternative/how-to-invest-for-inflation-deflation/5419

I'm a really dumb investor.

The reason I say that is because smart investors believe they know stuff. Dumb investors realize how little they know, so they test everything to figure out what's true.

I'm as dumb as they get, but I suppose that's why my portfolio earns consistent positive returns in most market environments.

You see, the only difference between you and me is I already know I can't invest my way out of a paper bag if brain power is required.

If my profits resulted from my knowledge and ability to reason, I would already be broke.

Unfortunately, that's probably true for you as well, but you just haven't figured it out yet.

In all likelihood, you believe you know certain things about investing, causing you to accept conventional wisdom as true:

-Buy and hold for the long-term is an appropriate investment strategy at all times.
-Stocks outperform bonds and real estate.
-Daily news and events drive market price movements.
-Expert financial advice equals profitable portfolios.
-The Fed controls interest rates.
and much more…

I'm dumb enough to realize I don't know if these (and many other) supposed investment truths are really true or not – so I test them.

In fact, I've spent two decades testing more investment ideas you assume to be true than I care to remember.

Amazingly, what I've learned is very little is actually true.

Much of what passes for investment wisdom is either a dangerous half-truth, or an outright lie. Very little conventional investment wisdom holds up to critical analysis.

That's why I'm so dumb. The more I test, the less I know.

Things that used to pass for knowledge are now proven false. I've learned enough to know how little I know.

In fact, I've reached such an incredible level of ignorance that it could almost pass for wisdom.

How To Turn Dumb Investing Into Profitable Investing

But here's the rub…

No matter how wrong conventional investment strategy is, you still have to invest in order to achieve financial security.

You can't achieve financial freedom without a portfolio of assets.
So not investing is no solution. Ignorance is no excuse for failure in pursuit of wealth.

There has to be a basis for sound investment strategy that can produce consistently profitable investment results.

As it turns out, the answer relies on inviolable mathematics – specifically, the concept of mathematical expectancy as the basis for all investment decisions.

Logic backed by science proves what's false, and logic backed by science also proves what's true.

Using positive, robust mathematical expectation as the crucible for a viable investment strategy wasn't perfect because it reduces investing to an actuarial process.

But anyone who tells you they have a perfect investment process is either a liar or self-deceived. No such thing exists.

Statistical certainty is as good as it gets. It's not perfect because you'll still be wrong and lose money occasionally, but with proper risk management your gains will exceed your losses tilting the payoff portion of the expectancy equation resulting in reliable profits.

I discovered a portfolio of low-correlation investment strategies with provable, positive mathematical expectation based on rigorous research was about as good as it gets.

No hunches, hot tips, hot stocks, expert advice, financial forecasts, or any other nonsense would qualify as a viable investment strategy because those were all examples of gambling – not investing.

Rigorous research that proves positive expectancy with an acceptable risk to reward ratio is the only way to reliably make money when you're dumb like me. It's okay for smart guys to think about brilliant investment ideas and lose money, but not us dummies.

Now, you may be reading this thinking it all sounds nice, but you don't have the time or inclination to do years of research so you can escalate your ignorance to my level.
Fortunately, you don't have to, because most of what you need to know already exists for free on the internet.

For example, I teach you many of the important ideas on this blog, and I teach the entire investment process from start to finish in this Expectancy Investing course here.

For example, in an article titled “‘Five Hot Stocks That Could Double This Year' And Other Useless Financial Advice”, I share with you my hard-learned experience of going down the rabbit hole of financial market forecasting. You'll learn the sordid history of financial forecasting, become “curiouser and curiouser” as to why it exists at all, and question what value it holds for your investment strategy – if any.

This is an example of the second level of knowledge where you learn what works, what doesn't, and why for investment strategy. Read this article and move one step closer to blissful investment ignorance.

In summary, if you want to be consistently profitable, then learn investing for dummies – or rather, invest like a dummy.

Discover how little of the common financial wisdom is really true so you can eliminate such nonsense from your investment strategy.

Get really ignorant so you can reach the second level of financial knowledge that allows you to focus your precious time and energy on the few things that actually work – and discard all the rest.

Source: https://financialmentor.com/investment-advice/investment-strategy-alternative/investing-for-dummies-profitably/656

Economic fundamentals are fairly useless as timing tools, but can be extremely valuable in characterizing the investment environment for risk.

They can also determine if you're experiencing a new bull market, or simply a bear market rally.

In this post, I'll discuss the economic fundamentals of bear markets.

This will help you analyze conditions in the current market to assess risk.

The 3 Conditions That Typify Bear Markets
Let's begin by understanding the fundamental conditions that typify major stock market declines:

1.Overvaluation
2.Economic recession
3.Bursting of a credit bubble

If you look at the history of bear markets (see below) since the Great Depression, you'll notice the vast majority are manageable affairs contained within the 20-30% range.

A handful approach 50%, and only the very rare beast exceeds a 50% decline by a wide margin.

Knowing which type of bear market you're in is critical to managing your investment risk exposure.

One useful set of clues, as discussed above, are the fundamental conditions existing at the time of the bear market.

Bear Market Months % Decline
9/29 – 6/32 -- 33 --- 87%
7/34 – 3/35 -- 20 --- 34%
3/37 – 3/38 -- 12 --- 54%
11/38 – 4/42 -- 41 --- 46%
5/46 – 3/48 -- 22 --- 28%
8/56 – 10/57 -- 14 --- 22%
12/61 – 6/62 -- 6 --- 28%
2/66 – 10/66 -- 8 --- 22%
11/68 – 5/70 -- 18 --- 36%
1/73 – 10/74 -- 21 --- 48%
11/80 – 8/82 -- 21 --- 27%
8/87 – 12/87 -- 4 --- 34%
7/90 – 10/90 -- 3 --- 20%
4/00 – 10/02 -- 31 --- 45%
For example, when you examine the manageable market declines in the 20-30% range (9 out of 14 bear markets listed), you'll notice the fundamental factors typically include mild overvaluation and/or normal business recession.

They're not usually characterized by extreme conditions, nor do they occur in environments that fundamentally change the underlying economy or regulatory law.

It's fair to say the end of these market declines results in a return to business-as-usual. You can think of them as unfortunate and relatively inconsequential hiccups on a longer path to prosperity.
The 40-50% declines are a different animal. They're correlated with more extreme conditions of overvaluation and/or economic recession.

For example, the two most recent bear markets began from some of the highest stock market valuations in recorded history, and both declines reached the 50% range.
When these bear markets end, there's often some significant (but not dramatic) change to the economic landscape.

The relevant question for investors should be: is the recent bear market already complete and due to enter the history books in the 40-50% category (with a little stretch)? Or…is it just taking a break on the way to something more consistent with the Great Depression bear market?

What Sets The Great Depression Apart From Other Bear Markets
To answer that question, you must understand what set the Great Depression apart from other bear markets.
Yes, it had the first two factors that other bear markets possess: a correction of overvaluation and an economic recession, but it also had something much more. It included a banking and credit bubble collapse.

While tons of material has been written analyzing the Great Depression and its causes, the critical factor that led to such a dramatic deflationary collapse was the bursting of a credit bubble and the consequent banking collapse.

In other words, the history of stock market declines indicates that the really serious wealth destroyers require extreme conditions to occur.
These conditions are significant because they're wealth destroyers that require many years to get back to even. It takes even longer to get a reasonable compound return on your money net of inflation.

However, the distinguishing characteristic that sets apart the rare-beast declines like the Great Depression is not only all the required conditions above (extreme overvaluation and recession), but the addition of a credit and banking collapse.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), the data sample for studying rare-beast bear markets is limited – the Great Depression and Japan's recent “lost decades” experience being notable exceptions.

Specifically, they both had credit bubbles bursting with consequent banking panics that were preceded by extreme overvaluation, accompanied by economic recession.

Another similarity is the rare-beast bear markets include some of the greatest counter-trend rallies in history.

Did you know 8 of the 10 best days for the S&P 500 occurred during the Great Depression? What you may not want to hear is the other two “Top 10” days occurred following the 1987 collapse (10/21/87) and on 10/13/08. That's not very good company to be in.

Similarly, the great bear markets are characterized by brief and dramatic counter-trend rallies of 35-60%, correcting 25-40% of the previous decline. All of this upside volatility is what makes it so hard to separate bear market rallies from legitimate bull markets.

Another disconcerting fact is the great bear markets result in fundamental changes to the economic and regulatory landscape.

One final anecdotal piece of evidence – great bear markets tend to correlate with instability and volatility in inflation.

This could be outright deflation, like what occurred from the 29-33 period in the U.S. and Japan recently, or inflation, such as it was seen in the 1970's in the U.S.

The key factor is instability and increasing volatility in the inflation numbers – the absolute direction of instability isn't important.

In Summary
What lessons can you take away as an investor?

Market declines will always exist. It's just part of investing.

When supply for securities exceed demand then price will decline. It's just that simple.

However, there are rare combinations of circumstances that lead to historic market declines. These include:

-Overvaluation (precedes)
-Peak profit margins (precedes)
-Economic recession (coincident)
-Rising instability in inflation typified by a move from stable, low inflation to either increased inflation
or deflation (coincident).
-Increasing price volatility (coincident)
-Credit bubble resulting in a banking and/or credit collapse (precedes and coincident)

Source: https://financialmentor.com/investment-advice/risk-management-plan/new-bull-market-or-bear-market-rally/2278

After years of educating my coaching clients on how to properly design their own investment plans, I've noticed there are three distinct types of investors.

1. Pre-Investor
2. Passive Investor
3. Active Investor

So what type of investor are you and why should you care?

Identifying your investor type will help you know the consequences of your investment style. You'll learn the limitations and advantages that naturally result from the way you invest.
Additionally, you'll be able to decide if the opportunity available at the next level of investing is worth the effort by understanding what the next level of investing looks like.
There's no right answer to the question, “What is the best investment type?” However, there's a right answer uniquely suited to your situation.

Only one investment type is appropriate for your plan to achieve wealth, and your job is to determine what that type is.
The nice thing about investor types is we all start in the same place (pre-investor), and we can all graduate to the next successive level of investment skill through education and experience.

Each investment type builds on the skills of the type below it. So no matter what type of investor you are now, the next level is just a little practice and education away.
Investor Type 1: Pre-Investor
Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and a trust fund to match, then you likely began life as most of us do: a pre-investor.

A pre-investor is simply someone who isn't investing.

Pre-investors are characterized by minimal financial consciousness or awareness. There's little thought of investing, and there's correspondingly little savings or investment to show for that minimal thought.

Some pre-investors have a company retirement plan, but that wouldn't exist had the personnel department not set it up for them.
The pre-investor’s financial world is primarily about consumption, which takes precedence over savings and investment.

As wage earners, they typically live paycheck to paycheck believing their financial difficulties will be solved by the next pay increase. When pre-investors earn more, they spend more, because lifestyle is more important than financial security.

For whatever reason, pre-investors haven't woken up to the necessity of owning financial responsibility for their lives and their future.

This isn't to judge all pre-investors harshly because it's perfectly acceptable for a seven year old to live in this reality. It's another thing for a 40 year old to never graduate beyond it.

Are you a pre-investor? How is your savings and investment plan progressing? Is your financial consciousness ruled by consumption needs, or are you prioritizing savings and investment?

What are you going to do to take the next step and begin passively investing so that you can move beyond financial dependence and get on the road to financial independence?

This course can help…
Investor Type 2: Passive Investment Strategy
As we mature and gain responsibility, most people graduate from pre-investor status and enter the investment world through the window of passive investing. It's the most common starting point on the road to financial security.

Most financial institutions, educational services, and web sites support passive investing as the proven, accepted solution. Most of what you can learn from the information available in your local bookstore or on the internet is the conventional wisdom of passive investment strategies.

Passive investing is where the retail world of investing lives. While there are no hard statistics to support my claim, I believe well over 90% of all investors fall into the passive investor category.

The passive investor type usually employs all the basics of sound personal financial planning: own your own home, fund tax deferred retirement plans, asset allocation, and save at least 10% of earnings.

If you follow these foundational principles and begin early enough in life, then passive investing is likely all you'll ever need to attain financial security.

Passive investment strategy is good for people with busy lives, families, jobs, outside interests, or entrepreneurs building businesses.

Let’s face it: most people’s lives are already full, leaving little time for developing investment skills. It's difficult to make investing a top priority despite its financial importance.

A common result of having limited time is passive investors often delegate the responsibility and authority for their investment decisions to “experts” such as financial planners, brokers, money managers, or even newsletter writers.

Rather than become their own expert on investing, passive investors typically rely on other people’s expertise for their investment strategy.

The defining characteristic of passive investment strategies are their simplicity. They require less knowledge and skill making them accessible to the general populace.

“Buy and hold” with mutual funds or stocks, fixed asset allocation, averaging down, and buying real estate at retail prices are all examples of passive investment strategies.

There's nothing wrong with any of these strategies, but they can have negative consequences.

Sure, it's possible to become acceptably wealthy, but the downside is it usually requires a working lifetime combined with discipline and regular savings contributions to achieve financial independence using the passive investment style. The one exception is extreme frugality because of the high savings rates and low spending rates that accelerate the timeline.

The other downside to the passive investment strategy is you'll take a lot more risk and can expect lower returns than investors who have reached the next level of investing.

That's because passive investors have no “value added” or skill component to their expected return stream so they're dependent on the opportunity in the market for investment return. Rising markets provide great returns, and declining markets provide miserable returns.

The passive investor submissively rides the market roller coaster up and down into the future and willfully bets his financial security on the hope that the roller coaster will end higher than when he started. You can learn more about the buy and hold investment approach here.

While passive investing isn't without its flaws, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for many people, making it the right course of action for them.Passive investing is far superior to not investing at all as it starts the process of compounding returns on invested capital and has the lowest barrier to entry in terms of time and knowledge required.

If the simplicity of passive investing is necessary to get you started, then it's well worth the trade-offs because not getting started (pre-investor) is far worse.

The disadvantage of passive investing is the lack of control over your financial security. Because it's passive, it lacks many risk control strategies and overlooks the value-added opportunities available only to those with greater skills.

The result is the passive investor type endures higher volatility and possibly lower returns when compared to the successful execution of an active investment strategy.
Investor Type 3: Active Investor
Active investors build on the foundation of the passive investor. They take the process to the next level by running their wealth like a business.

The primary difference between active and passive investors is the active investor not only receives market based passive returns, but he also gains a value-added return stream based on skill; two sources of return in one investment.

This allows the active investor to make money regardless of market conditions or direction and to reduce losses during periods of adversity. This holds the potential to increase returns and lower risk.

A primary distinction between passive and active investment strategies is passive investors work hard to acquire and save money, but spend far less energy making their money work for them.

Active investors work just as hard at making their money work for them as they ever did earning it in the first place. In other words, active investing is more work, and that's why it is not for everyone.

The reason active investors are willing to spend that extra effort is because they understand the wealth building game is about return on capital.

Small differences in growth rates over long periods of time make huge differences in wealth – far bigger differences than could ever be realized by working toward the next pay raise.

The most important factor in building your wealth is not how much you earn, but how much your money earns and how long it compounds.

Active investors have embraced full responsibility for their financial future by not only building investment capital as passive investors, but also taking responsibility for the return on their invested capital through active strategies that add value.

How does the active investor do this? By creating a plan that follows specific rules designed to exploit inefficiencies existing in the marketplace. The term for this is known as “edge” and it's identical to the competitive advantage an entrepreneur seeks in business. The competitive advantage must add more value than transaction costs take away or you won't profit.

Without getting too complicated, the only way to create an investment return in excess of market rates (passive returns) with consistency is if inefficiencies exist that can be profited from in a business-like fashion.

Investment edge creates profits that are equal to the inefficiency afforded by the market after subtracting the cost to exploit the inefficiency.

Source: https://financialmentor.com/investment-advice/investment-strategy-alternative/types-of-investors/18150

You’re telling your own story: You graduated college and you’re a grown-ass woman now. Tina Fey is your hero; Beyoncé, your preacher.

You know how to take care of you. You’ve learned self-defense. If any man ever hit you, you’d rip his eyes out. You’ve seen Mad Men, and if anyone ever sexually harassed you at work, you’d tell him to fuck right off, throw your coffee in his face, and wave two middle fingers as you marched out the door.

You get your first internship. You get your first credit card. You get to walk into Nordstrom, where your mom would never take you, and congratulate yourself with one fabulous black leather skirt, and the heels to match.

Your car? It’s the car of a college student. You get a lease, graduate from the rusted Civic to last year’s Accord.

You get your first student loan bill, and look at all those numbers.

Your life turns into a stock photo tagged “young professionals”: you and your new work friends, hanging out at the bar across the street from the office. The cocktails cost twice as much as you paid when you still measured time by semesters and nights by cans of PBR.

The college boyfriend gets serious. You move into his place, spruce it up by buying your first coffee table together. Ikea lets you put half on your newest credit card.

Your internship ends before you find a permanent job. You pay minimum payments, then max out your cards again buying two days’ worth of groceries and filling your gas tank half way.

Your bank app upgrades to a new feature that combines all your balances — the shiny Nordstrom card with the Visa and the Chase Freedom you were only supposed to use for emergencies — and tells you that somehow you owe people seven thousand dollars.

Your boyfriend offers to cover the rent for a while. You get a job a few months later, but you’re that many loan payments behind. Your first paycheck feels like a breath of air that gets sucked right out of your lungs.

Your new boss, who seems nice, calls you in his office, shows you a picture of his kids. He jokes about his son, then as you’re laughing, he puts his hand on your arm, gives you a little squeeze. You smile it off.

You wait to pay the electric bill while you’re gathering up the half you owe, and the lights go out. On your phone you see the email about the $50 late fee. Your boyfriend asks how you could be so stupid. “I am not stupid,” you say. You would never be with someone who called you names, but you would never be able to make first, last, and deposit right now, either.

You say yes to payday P.F. Chang’s with your new co-workers, because you want to make friends, your turkey sandwich sounds boring, and what’s one more charge? You buy a halter dress you know you can’t afford, because it makes you look like the successful young woman you want everyone to think you are.

Your boss tells you that you look nice in that dress, asks you to do a spin. Just to get the moment over with, you do.

Your boyfriend asks you how much you paid for it, says it makes you look chubby. You lock yourself in the bathroom until he bangs on the door so hard you think he must have hurt himself. After he falls asleep, you search Craigslist for places, and can’t believe how expensive rent’s gotten around town. You erase your Internet history and go to sleep.

A few weeks later, your boss calls a one-on-one in his office, walks up behind you, and stands too close. His breath fogs your neck. His hand crawls up your new dress. You squirm away. He says, “Sorry, I thought…”

You know what to do. You’re just shocked to find you’re not doing it. You are not telling him to fuck off. You are not storming out. All you’re doing is math. You have $159 in the bank and your car payment and your maxed out credit cards and you’ll die before you ask your dad for a loan again and it all equals one thought: I need this job.

“It’s ok,” you hear your voice saying. “Just forget it.” You scurry out of the room, survey the office half full of women, and wonder how many of them have secrets like the one you’re about to keep.

At the apartment, your best guy friend calls. After you hang up, your boyfriend says you laugh too much with him, that you’re flirting with him, probably sleeping with him. You say it’s not like that. You yell, he yells. You try to leave, he blocks your way. When you struggle to get by, he grabs your wrist in the exact way they pretended to in self-defense class, and you know to go for the eyes, but you don’t know how to go for his eyes. He yanks you back until you fall and crack the coffee table.

He seems so sorry, cries, even, so that night you lie down in the same bed. You stare up at the dark and try to calculate how long it would take you to save up the cash to move out. Telling yourself that he’s sorry, convincing yourself it was an accident, discounting this one time because he didn’t hit you, exactly, seems much more feasible than finding the money, with what you owe every month. The next time you go out as a couple, his arm around your shoulders, you look at all the other girlfriends and imagine finger-sized bruises under their long sleeves.

Wait. This story sucks. If it were one of those Choose Your Own Adventures, here’s where you’d want to flip back, start over, rewrite what happens to you.

You graduated college and you’re a grown-ass woman now. Tina Fey is your hero. Beyoncé, your preacher.

If any man ever hit you, if anyone ever sexually harassed you, you’d tell him to fuck right off. You want to be, no, you will be the kind of woman who can tell anyone to fuck off if a fuck off is deserved, so naturally you start a Fuck Off Fund.

To build this account, you keep living like you lived as a broke student. Drive the decade-old Civic even after the fender falls off. Buy the thrift store clothes. You waitress on Saturdays, even though you work Monday through Friday. You make do with the garage sale coffee table. It’s hard, your loan payments suck, but you make girl’s night an at-home thing and do tacos potluck.

You save up a Fuck Off Fund of $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, then enough to live half a year without anyone else’s help. So when your boss tells you that you look nice, asks you to do a spin, you say, “Is there some way you need my assistance in the professional capacity or can I go back to my desk now?”

When your boyfriend calls you stupid, you say if he ever says that again, you’re out of there, and it’s not hard to imagine how you’ll accomplish your getaway.

When your boss attempts to grope you, you say, “Fuck off, you creep!” You wave two middle fingers in the air, and march over to HR. Whether the system protects you or fails you, you will be able to take care of yourself.

When your boyfriend pounds the door, grabs your wrist, you see it as the red flag it is, leave a post-it in the night that says, “Fuck off, lunatic douche!” You stay up in a fancy hotel drinking room service champagne, shopping for apartments, and swiping around on Tinder.

Once your Fuck Off Fund is built back up, with your new, better job, you pay cash for the most bad ass black leather skirt you can find, upgrade to the used but nicer convertible you’ve always wanted, and start saving to go to Thailand with your best friend the next summer.

Yes, that’s a better story.

It’s a story no one ever told me.

It’s the kind I’d hope for you.

Source: https://www.thebillfold.com/2016/01/a-story-of-a-fuck-off-fund/#.is6q9pgzf

Say Thank You
Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”

Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.

Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.

Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.

Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.

Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.

Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.

Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.

Thank Margaret Fuller for your equal education.

Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.

You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.

You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.

You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.

You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.

You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.

You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.

You are still worse off if you are a woman of color, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanized.

Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.

You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systematically oppressed.
Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.

Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.
New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.
Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.
The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?
I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.
Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.
But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.

Source: https://medium.com/@dinachka82/about-your-poem-1f26a7585a6f#.2utc485qk

I first started managing people seven years ago, three years after I graduated and got my first design job. At the time, I was woefully unqualified. I barely had any experienced being managed, let alone managing others. I remain grateful to my then-manager for her leap of faith in me. I don’t think I would have bet on myself in her situation. Then again, one of the things you learn is that a prescient manager can sometimes see things in you that you couldn’t, and push you to do achieve things that you didn’t think were possible.
In those seven years, I have mostly managed product designers, with a few UI engineers and researchers thrown into the mix. More recently, I now manage other design managers.
I love my job. I find it hard and crazy and wonderful because it is all about people. Interacting with people. Understanding people. Getting the best out of people. Realizing that everyone is imperfect but in our imperfections, we can still come together to do more than we ever could alone.
And yet, despite management being — like parenting— a certain kind of black art with no hard and fast rules, of course there are better and worse managers. A better manager gets better results. You can’t always measure this in weeks, months, or even sometimes years, but it eventually emerges clear as daylight.
I had a few things going for me when I first started managing. I was likable, I took my responsibilities seriously, and I always cared to know both sides of the story. But I also had my white whales: an Asian upbringing that taught hierarchy and going with the flow, a desire for perfection, a cavern of insecurities.
These are some of the lessons in my knapsack so far. Each year, I hope to collect more.

1. You must like dealing with people to be great at management.
One of the first things I now ask people when they tell me they are contemplating becoming a manager is this hypothetical question:
Imagine you spend a full day in back-to-back 1:1s talking to people. Does that sound awful or awesome?
If the idea of talking to people for 8 hours straight sounds awful, then you will probably not enjoy the day-to-day of management. I don’t mean to imply that every day is back-to-back meetings, but you can’t gloss over the fact that the pulsing lifeblood of management is people. If listening to and talking with people is not your cup of tea, then management will probably be an uphill slog.
Eventually, what will happen is that someone will come to you with a problem — they don’t get along with their coworker, they feel burnt out and need to take a month off, they have little faith the project is going to turn out well— and as you’re talking to them you will get a sinking realization in the pit of your stomach that you hate doing this and you just can’t anymore. You will long for the days when you were able to manipulate something directly — pixels, words, lines of code, bars of music — quietly and with headphones on, and in that blissful world nobody would need to talk to you and unload on you their burdens.
I know this lesson well because I have pushed people to become managers when I thought they had the right skills, only to burn them out and lose them down the line. It is crushing to have someone you asked to be a manager admit to you a year later that she is having trouble getting out of bed in the morning because the prospect of having to deal with her reports every day was that unappealing.
Unfortunately at many places, you’re roadblocked in advancing your career unless you become a manager. This sadly incentivizes the wrong outcomes, in which people who don’t love dealing with people become bad managers, and both they and their team suffers. In more technical roles, we are fortunate that many companies support separate but equal career tracks, where at a certain level of seniority you can choose to go deep into the craft of your discipline or go into people management. If you find yourself at this crossroad, ask yourself whether you’re interested in management for the right reasons.
The type of people who become great managers genuinely like working with people. They see problems of motivation, personal roadblocks, or unclear alignment as challenging but fulfilling to tackle. They like 1:1s. Their satisfaction comes from watching others thrive.

2. Having all the answers is not the goal. Motivating the team to find the answers is the goal.

Before I started managing, I thought that when people became managers, it was because they were one of the best in their specific discipline. After all, if a manager’s job is to give her reports feedback on what what they are or aren’t doing well, how can you do that if you yourself aren’t awesome at everything?
This is the reason why I was insecure about being a manager for a long time. No way did I think I was a better product designer than the folks on my team! And yet, I thought everyone expected me to be, or that I had to be in order to do a good job. To make matters worse, I applied this same view to my own managers. I’d be more inclined to think that they were right (it’s their job to be right!) which meant I didn’t often question their decisions (though this would sometimes turn to passive-aggressive resentment). If something felt off on the team, I’d bring it up to them as a problem they should go solve.
That line of thinking was destructive not only to myself and my team, but also to my manager. It’s exactly the kind of thing that contributes to our perfection-oriented culture, where people are afraid to admit weaknesses or failures, and we all pretend, like ducks, to glide gracefully on the surface of the water while paddling furiously underneath.
Look, nobody’s perfect. In some facets of our lives we’re heroes, and in others we’re shitty.
It’s unrealistic to expect that a person leading a team is better in most skills than every other person on that team.
As a manager, you don’t need to know it all. You don’t even need to pretend to know it all. The best coaches aren’t the best athletes. The best teachers aren’t the best executors. Your job is to get better work out of the team then they could have gotten without you, either because they are afraid of you, or because they are motivated by you.
I think we’ve all watched enough Game of Thrones to know what the right choice is.
How do you motivate a team? That is a longer topic for its own time, but I’d say first and foremost don’t be an asshole, and do the kinds of things you yourself are inspired and motivated by, not what you think others expect to see you do.

3. To evaluate the strength of a manager, look at the strength of their team.
I used to think there was some long checklist of manager qualities to determine whether a manager was great. Are they well-regarded? Strategic? Good at presenting? Can they knock out 20 important tasks in a day? Break up a fight? Mediate a peace treaty? Etc. etc.
I’m not going to say those things aren’t good traits to have, but the litmus test of a successful manager is quite simple: their team is awesome. Their team kills it on outcomes.
What does this mean?
At the most basic level, it means all the day-to-day things that you — yes YOU — personally accomplish don’t matter much in of themselves.
You can be the hardworkingest, smartest, most well-liked manager in the world, but if your team has 20 people and a reputation for mediocrity, then I’m sorry but there’s not a world where you can be considered a “great” manager.
On the flip side, sure, for a few quarters, a bad manager might be lucky. They might get exceptional results for a bit because they’re driving the team super hard. Or they might have inherited a great team.
In the long run, however, there is no getting around the fact that the best people don’t stay years and years to work under somebody they don’t respect or who doesn’t truly care about helping them or their teammates succeed.
These days, I have a lot of admiration for someone who has a killer team of unicorn ninjas, even if I don’t know anything else about her. There must be a reason they’ve managed to attract and retain such talent, after all.
This is also why the fastest path to becoming a 10x manager is hiring well. I remember when I first started hiring, I biased towards looking for people whose career paths I understood and had experienced myself. Unwittingly, I was placing a ceiling on the types of people I’d reach out to. As someone with 5 years of experience, for example, I couldn’t imagine that someone who had 10 years of experience would want to work on my team. Unfortunately, that kind of view meant that my team’s growth would be sluggish.
If you are the most skilled person on your team across multiple dimensions, then things might feel comfortable hierarchically, but trust me, you do not have a great team.
It is a thousand times better to have a diverse team with people who are strong in areas where you are weak, who can teach you new skills and challenge you to take on new perspectives. This is the quickest way to grow as a manager. If you are unsure of whether your team fits that bill, ask yourself whether you’ve learned anything meaningful from someone on your team. If you’re having trouble coming up with examples, it might be time to set your sights on more ambitious team-building.

4. The most significant advantage a senior manager has over a junior manager is an expanded perspective.
I sometimes get asked by new managers “What are the biggest lessons I can learn to help me quickly ramp up and become good at my job?” I used to ask this a lot myself, hoping for nuggets of insight that would speed up my learning process.
These days, however, if I’m to be totally honest, I don’t think a lot of management is learnable without actually experiencing it.
That is to say, I believe that it takes at least 3 years (and in most cases longer than that) to become a truly confident senior manager.
There is no shortcut where you can master this in a few months or even a year in by reading books, consuming articles, or asking other people for advice (although doing those things certainly helps the lessons you’re experiencing sink in more quickly.)
This is because management isn’t some skill like drawing where you can just practice in isolation for hours and hours on end. You need to have the opportunity to be stretched in certain situations in order to learn and grow.
For example, let’s take understanding what makes a great designer. Pretend there is a company with 100 designers. If you’ve only ever managed 5 of them, then the best designer in your experience is the best one of those five. If I ask you, “What are the qualities of a great designer?” you’d probably pattern match and list off some of the things that person does well.
Now let’s say there is another manager at that company who manages the other 95.
Between you two, who do you think, statically speaking, will have managed the best and worst designers in the company? Who do you think will have a more developed and nuanced perspective of what a good designer looks like?
This applies to a ton of different management situations: managing underperformers. Onboarding new people. Hiring in senior talent. Having a product launch flop. Managing periods of low morale. Having people on your team suddenly quit.
The first time any of the above happens on your watch, it’s always new and hard, no matter how many books you’ve read on the topic. But the fifth or tenth time or 20th time it happens, you’re no longer freaked out. You realize that you’ll be fine. You’ll get through it, because you always have. You become like a rock, solid in the face of changing winds.
The thing is, it’s hard to snap your fingers and say, “Cool, I need to get more experience firing people. Let me just practice that a bunch in the next month.” The circumstances need to be such that you get a chance to actually do it. At the same time, an inexperienced manager can do a lot more damage than an inexperienced individual contributor, so opportunities for new challenges or more reports don’t always materialize just because you want them.
When I interview managers today, I get excited about people who walk through the door having managed a wide range of teams for many years. You can tell very quickly that what they bring to the room is the kind of confidence and stability that says they’ve weathered a lot — times of scarcity and times of plenty — and they’re not going to be thrown off by a few storm clouds ahead.

Source: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/unintuitive-things-i-ve-learned-about-management-f2c42d68604b#.fduroa5av

This is a continuation of Part 1, please start by reading that first.

5. Aligning on why is more important than aligning on how.
I used to spend a lot of time pondering questions like How do you make sure the right things are happening without coming across as a micromanager? and How do you make sure people are getting enough feedback on their work? and What’s the best way for designers, PMs, and engineers to work together? While these remain interesting questions, I realize now that an inherent assumption I was making was that the answer to great results lies in the tactical how, or in what each person could accomplish in their day-to-today. So I’d pore a ton of energy into working through those details with the people on my team— given this specific Problem X, let’s all discuss the best ways to make progress on X.
What I’m starting to gain a greater appreciation for is that the best results are achieved not by talking about the how, but by talking about the why.
Assuming you’re surrounded by smart, capable people, I find that there are two things that tend to get in the way of progress as teams scale: lack of motivation, or confusion about what really matters. (If there are not smart, capable people on your team, that is a separate issue which should be addressed first as discussed in #3.)
Confusion about what really matters (and in some cases, lack of motivation) occurs when there is not clarity of purpose. For example, if you get assigned a task to make a particular action 20% more efficient, would you be motivated to get up every morning and pour your energy and passion into that task? If something went wrong, would you be willing to skip a dinner with friends, heat up some instant ramen, stay up late and figure it out? I wouldn’t. I don’t really get motivated by numbers, charts, or the abstract concept of optimizing efficiency.
But if you told me, Hey, if you make this action 20% more efficient, the 50 million people who use this service will spend 5 seconds less staring at a loading screen as they wait for their information to load, I’m suddenly a lot more motivated. Doubly so if I myself have experienced the irritation of what it’s like to wait that additional 5 seconds.
In a similar vein, at many places moving quickly is highly valued and applauded. To encode that value, teams will set aggressive deadlines for launching a feature. But if not everyone understands why moving quickly is important, an aggressive deadline simply seems arbitrary. Why should I work overtime on a Saturday in order to get my code checked in so we can release next Tuesday? Will the sky fall if we slip a week or two? Does it really matter? This kind of sentiment over time breeds resentment and dissolves motivation.
Worse, what if you end up at a place where it’s possible to ship something by the aggressive deadline set, but that something won’t be any good? Should you go ahead and ship? Any reasonable CEO would say, Of course not. If we don’t have confidence anybody’s going to want to use this thing, it’s absolutely useless for us to ship it. But if people on the team don’t understand that the greater purpose is to create valuable products, they may over-anchor on the ship by the deadline goal and make suboptimal decisions for the company as a whole.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, or as a result of doing a single task. Great results are the byproduct of many people making individual decisions that collectively result in an organization moving in the right direction. You will never be able to fully control the how. People must be trusted to improvise when the situation on the ground changes. But you can control the vision. You can get people to understand why they’re here, and what it will look and feel like if we succeed.
When you spend time talking about the why, once is not enough. Twice isn’t either.
Repeat yourself until you wonder if people are annoyed by you sounding like a broken record (hint: they aren’t. In my experience you can feel like you’ve said something ten times before most people hear it for the first time). Connect every project, every task to the why, until you start to hear the why evangelized by others around you.
If everyone on the team understands what is important, then the right things will happen. Bricks will be properly laid. Roads will quickly emerge. And over time, the picture of that fine shining city that everyone held in their heads will rise gloriously from the dirt.

6. Sometimes, a great person will not work out on a great team, and that is okay.
When I first started managing, I operated with what you might consider a blanket optimism. Ever a believer in the inherent goodness of people, I reasoned that if two smart, well-intentioned individuals couldn’t agree, then surely it must be the result of some misunderstanding. My job, therefore, was to resolve such misunderstandings! After all, here I was equipped with my managerial superpowers: lenses that helped me appreciate both sides of the story, a pretty deep well of patience, and — as we have already established —extreme tolerance for spending my days talking with people.
So when people on my team would bring up their dissatisfaction about something, I’d launch into a campaign to try and help them see the other side. I’d rationalize with them about how it wasn’t as bad as they were saying, and how surely they were looking at it from the worst possible angle. I’d then go and seek out the other side to do the same — explain the dissatisfaction, try and broker a peace treaty that would make everyone happy, all the while feeling of course there is a productive way out of this.
I didn’t always succeed. At one point, after spending 40 minutes trying to convince him to change his mind, a good friend and colleague said to me in exasperation that I was being hopelessly naive. The situation wasn’t resolvable, he told me. This particular relationship just wasn’t going to work. Someone had to be moved off the project. He was right.
Over the years, I also experienced losing talented, good people from my team, people whom I’d gladly work with again. Each time, I took the departure quite hard, as a mark of personal failure. I couldn’t reconcile how someone talented and good could not work out at a place that I similarly felt was so talented and good. It was like Lego pieces not fitting together, like peas and carrots refusing to cooperate. Surely I had done something wrong!
These days, my perspective is a little different. Certainly I’m not perfect, and I’ve made mistakes that have contributed to a team member’s decision to leave. But what I now also understand is that an individual’s values and her environment’s values play a huge role in whether that particular relationship will be fruitful.
Call it what you want — fit, chemistry, harmony — but the thing a person cares about most must also be something their team (and company) cares about.
Otherwise, when push comes to shove and hard decisions get made, that person is going to feel like her preferences are constantly getting trampled upon.
If the fit just isn’t right on a particular team, sometimes a move to a new team within the same company solves the issue — new teammates and manager plus a different problem to noodle on can often turn a crash-and-burn situation into something awesomely productive. If that doesn’t work, then perhaps the fit is with the company as a whole, in which case parting ways may be the best outcome for everyone.
A good analogy is dating. You can totally imagine meeting a person who is a catch by all accounts — kind, fiscally responsible, empathetic, interesting, in possession of a winning smile— but with whom you’d struggle to be in a relationship. Maybe they’re a champion sky-diver and you have a fear of heights. Maybe they want a van full of kids and you just don’t see grubby hands and sticky faces in your future. Maybe they’re seeking to grow roots and your eyes are still dreamy with wanderlust. Totally cool. Maybe you’ll invite them to a future party and introduce them to a friend.
These days, I spend a lot of time trying to understand what potential candidates value, as well as being very transparent about what I and my company value. If what I’m saying gets them nodding along like it’s music to their ears, then they’re going to love this job. If not, that’s fine too. Even if they are super-duper talented, it’s better for them and me to not try and sell a round peg into a square hole. Each of us ought to be doing the thing we really and truly want to do, in an environment that cares about what we care about. Life’s too short to live otherwise.

7. You never regret moving a struggling person too soon. You only regret doing it too late.
When I first started managing people, I considered my role above all to be a champion for my team. It was my job to support them, defend them, and listen to them. If someone was going through a tough time — struggling through a project, getting critical feedback from peers, having trouble working with others— I’d think to myself, If I don’t step up and show some empathy here, who else will? Nobody. As their manager, I am the last line of defense. And everybody deserves a second chance.
Thus, when someone on my team started to exhibit problems, I’d double my involvement with them. I’d spend more time in 1:1s, give them feedback more frequently, and get more involved in their projects. I’d stand up for them in front of their peers and ask for understanding and time so that the person would have enough time to respond to the feedback and change their behavior.
Unfortunately, 80% of the time, that effort ultimately proved futile.
It turns out, there are three main reasons why someone is not working out on a team: they are unaware their behavior is an issue, they don’t have the right skills, or their values aren’t meshing with the values of their environment (see #6 above).
Only an issue with awareness can be addressed in a reasonable amount of time. If someone is lacking the necessary skills for their role, it’s hard to expect a quick turnaround, no matter how much feedback you give. And if what motivates a person fundamentally doesn’t jive with the values of the team, then a bunch of pep talks might help relieve short-term symptoms, but they don’t provide a cure.
Usually, what would end up happening is that I’d pour a ton of time and energy into trying to help a struggling person, and eventually wake up to discover that 50% of my entire week had been spent on that person. I’d be stressed out, my energy sapped. People whom I’d ask for advice would remark how this wasn’t a good use of my time — you should be spending most of your time on your best people, they’d tell me. Still, I thought this process was how it had to be. I thought that this amount of sacrifice was what it meant to be a caring manager.
The turning point for me was realizing that standing up blindly for someone was detrimental for them, too, and also taxing to the greater team. People know when they aren’t trusted, and the person I’d be trying to help would also end up feeling stressed out and demoralized because I’d be deep in their business and giving them critical feedback on everything they did. Meanwhile, the broader team would impatiently wait for me to take more decisive action, and every week that I dragged my feet was another week they had to put up with someone they weren’t thrilled to work with, which also affected their happiness.
At the end of the day, the kindest and most caring thing you can do for somebody who is struggling is to be honest with them, set clear expectations on what it would take for them to thrive on the team, and move them quickly off the team if you don’t feel they can thrive. The question to ask yourself is, If this person left today and I hired somebody else to replace them, would I feel confident that the team would be better off? It’s my experience that most managers don’t make the move soon enough and in fact do it far too late.

8. Your team should respect you. But you don’t need them to agree with everything you say or do.
One of my earliest mistakes as an new manager was thinking that in order to be respected and well-liked, I needed to get everyone’s stamp of approval on the things I did. After all, what better way to demonstrate that you are listening to and valuing someone’s opinion than inviting them to be a part of the decision-making process? Plus, I didn’t want things to feel hierarchical, like I was walking around flashing the I’m the boss card all the time. I wanted my team to feel comfortable with me, like they could trust me. I wanted them to like the fact that I was their manager. Making a bunch of decisions they didn’t agree with felt like the fastest way to fall into the cliche of the out-of-touch manager who is the constant source of backroom complaints and eye-rolls.
This meant I went to great lengths to ensure that every person on my team met potential new hires, and if anybody voted No Hire, I’d end up passing. Or, if an important task came up and the person I’d asked to do it politely told me, “I’d rather not,” I’d look for an alternative. Or, if I felt somebody on the team would make a great lead or manager, but another individual on the team didn’t like that person, I’d think, Well, I’m not setting the team up for success unless everyone agrees this is a good idea. (On the flip side, if someone on my team said, “Hey, I’d love to start interviewing/get an intern this summer/work on X project,” I’d be so eager to help them achieve their goal that my default response was usually “Of course I’ll support that!”)
It seems fairly obvious in retrospect that these actions made me a bit of a pushover. The burning desire to be well-liked made me tone down my critical feedback, not push folks beyond their comfort zone even when it would have been good for them, support people in whatever they said they wanted even when it wasn’t in the best interest of the team (for example, just because someone wants an intern or wants to work on X project doesn’t mean they are best suited for it), and otherwise not make hard calls that people disagreed with, even when it was the most efficient and effective thing.
If I’m to be honest, a lot of what I considered support and consideration for the people on my team actually came from a place of fear and uncertainty. I was afraid of creating conflict. I was uncertain of my own calls when other people disagreed. These symptoms can be hard to see yourself but tend to be fairly obvious to a third-party observer. They see that you are indecisive, that you struggle to make decisions without looping other people in and parroting their viewpoints. Or they see that while you are well-liked by your team, you aren’t necessarily objective in seeing their weaknesses or correcting their bad behavior. (It’s a bit of the my own children can do no wrong syndrome that annoying parents exhibit.)
Of course it’s better to get perspectives from others before diving blindly into decisions. Of course you should aim to be someone your team trusts. But in your role as a manager, you often have more information than they do. Your perspective of what is important for the organization may be more complete. And you are being asked to do a different job than your reports. I can’t think of a great leader who hasn’t made what at the time were bold decisions others disagreed with, sometimes vehemently. Listening to people is not the same as acquiescing to them. Your primary job is not to represent your team but to get the best results from them.
How can you earn respect, then? The following are traits that I see great managers embody: understanding the job their team does and continually honing their critical ability to recognize what mediocre, bad, or superb work looks like; being self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses and helping their team in ways that play to their strengths; understanding team members’ goals and giving them the coaching, training and opportunity to reach those goals; being transparent about what they believe and why, and doing those things rather than simply talking about them; setting clear expectations with team members and giving them feedback often; asking for feedback and acting upon that; dreaming big and inspiring others with a clear vision; being someone their team considers a genuinely good, caring person.
These things are easier said than done. On paper, they seem unremarkable, even cliche. The art of management is that most of the time, in the moment, it can be entirely unclear whether you’re doing the right thing. Balancing what’s best in the short-term versus long-term, figuring out which conflicting pieces of feedbacks to act upon, choosing the least bad path in an unexpectedly challenging scenario, knowing which battles to fight and which to concede— these aren’t answers you can find in a book. A group of smart people can give you wildly different opinions on what you should do. Ultimately, you need to have faith in yourself and do what resonates with you. And when you reflect back on those outcomes, you need to recognize and learn from your mistakes.
This collection represents a reckoning of what I have learned about management, and a reflection on some of my own lessons and mistakes thus far. If you are on a similar journey, or are simply curious about what management entails, I hope you’ll find something useful in this perspective.

Source: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/unintuitive-things-i-ve-learned-about-management-part-2-7c22fc9d87ed

From leading nations, to standing up for human rights, to running the world’s most important organisations, women continue to shape the world through their leadership.

Whether you’re planning your next project, working on your side hustle, or leading your team – we hope these quotes about leadership from renowned women leaders will inspire you in your next endeavour.

1. “The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”
- Padmasree Warrior (CEO & Founder, Fable)

2. “One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”
- Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand)

3. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
- Muriel Strode (Poet)

4. “Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”
- Joanne Ciulla (Author and Educator)

5. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
- Marianne Williamson (Author and Activist)

6. “You are never too small to make a difference.”
- Greta Thunberg (Environmental Activist)

7. “If you’re not making some notable mistakes along the way, you’re certainly not taking enough business and career chances."
- Sallie Krawcheck (CEO & Co-Founder, Ellevest)

8. “We need to accept that we don’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes. Understand that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
- Arianna Huffington (Founder & CEO, Thrive Global)

9. “Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. 'Here, open it, it's perfect. You'll love it.' Opportunities – the good ones – are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They're risky. They challenge you.”
- Susan Wojcicki (CEO, Youtube)

10. “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
- Oprah Winfrey (Media Executive and Philanthropist)

11. “If you want to run for Prime Minister, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too. Shave your armpits, don’t shave them, wear flats one day, heels the next. These things are so irrelevant and surface to what it is all really about, and I wish people wouldn’t get caught up in that. We want to empower women to do exactly what they want, to be true to themselves, to have the opportunities to develop.”
- Emma Watson (Actor and Activist)

12. “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist."
- Ginni Rometty (Executive Chairman, IBM)

13. “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
- Marissa Mayer (Co-Founder, Lumi Labs)

14. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt (Former First Lady of the United States)

15. “Who you are surrounded by often determines who you become.”
- Vicky Saunders (Founder, SheEO)

16. “Magic happens when you connect people. I credit much of my success to always making it a point to truly get to know people and help them whenever I can. It’s become the backbone of our firm’s success. Women founders in particular are often highly skilled at making connections that can help advance their businesses.”
- Susan Macpherson (Founder & CEO, McPherson Strategies)

17. “Leadership is hard to define, and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.”
- Indra Nooyi (Former CEO, PepsiCo)

18. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”
- Dianne Feinstein (Senior United States Senator)

19. “Emotional intelligence is the ability to use emotion to increase your own and others’ success.”
- Annie McKee (Author and Business Advisor)

20. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
- Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook)

21. “It’s okay to admit what you don’t know. It’s okay to ask for help. And it’s more than okay to listen to the people you lead – in fact, it’s essential.”
- Mary Barra (CEO, General Motors)

22. “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.”
- Mary D. Poole (Author)

23. “With kids, they don’t do what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Organizations don’t necessarily, either. You’ve got to listen. You’ve got to learn how to influence.”
- Ellen J. Kullman (President & CEO, Carbon)

24. “People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”
- Anna Wintour (Editor-in-Chief, Vogue)

25. “Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.”
- Hillary Clinton (American Politician)

26. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else."
- Sara Blakely (Founder & CEO, Spanx)

27. “Part of leadership is knowing when to go ahead with a decision that’s within your authority because you’re really convinced it’s the right thing, even if other people don’t understand it at that point."
- Dr. Ingrid Mattson (Professor, Huron University College)

28. “If you are committed to creating value and if you aren’t afraid of hard times; obstacles become utterly unimportant. A nuisance perhaps; but with no real power. The world respects creation; people will get out of your way.”
- Candice Carpenter Olson (Co-CEO, Fullbridge)

29. “You have to look at your career and personal life at the big-picture level: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Doing that helps me feel OK during the weeks when one part of my life overwhelms the other.”
- Joanna Horsnail (Partner, Mayer Brown LLP)

30. “No one else is going to build the life you want for you. No one else will even be able to completely understand it. The most amazing souls will show up to cheer you along the way, but this is your game. Make a pact to be in it with yourself for the long haul, as your own supportive friend at every step along the way.”
- Tara Mohr (Leadership Coach and Author)

31. “I’m a maniacal perfectionist. And if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have this company.”
- Martha Stewart (Author and Television Personality)

32. “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
- Michelle Obama (Former First Lady of the United States)

33. “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
- Anne Sweeney (Former President, Disney ABC Television Group)

34. “Without being willing to fail and continually get back up again, I would never have been able to find the right market and establish my product within it."
- Kelly Manthey (Group Chief Executive, Kin+Carta)

35. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
- Rosalynn Carter (Former First Lady of the United States)

36. “I’ve always subscribed to the belief that the best leader is not one who has the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders. I strive every day — and in every program and offering we have at Integrous Women — to create more conscious, confident, and soulful leaders who, in return, will build a better world for all.”
- Stephanie Courtillier (Founder, Integrous Women)

37. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?”
- Ayn Rand (Author)

38. “You need to spend political capital - be unafraid to introduce people, compliment somebody when it’s deserved and stand up for something you really believe in, rather than just go with the flow.”
- Amy Schulman (Partner, Polaris Partners)

39. “Leadership is about the team - the culture they keep and embrace, it’s about empathy for your customers, clients, employees and the communities where you do business, it’s about doing the right thing for the right reasons, being confident enough to take risks and responsible enough to think of those who your decisions and risks may affect.”
- Kat Cole (COO & President of FOCUS Brands)

40. “Do not be afraid to make decisions. Do not be afraid to make mistakes.”
- Carly Fiorina (Former CEO, Hewlett-Packard)

41. “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”
- Maya Angelou (Civil Rights Activist and Poet)

42. “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Former President of Liberia)

43. “Making the decision to not follow a system, or someone else’s rules has allowed me to really dig into what my own strengths and gifts are without spending time feeling jaded or wasteful.”
- Ishita Gupta (Founder, Fear.less Magazine)

44. “Success is an exception, so be exceptional.”
- Malti Bhojwani (Professional Coach and Author)

45. “A good leader is able to paint a picture of a vision for the future and then enlist others to go on the journey with her. A truly conscious leader recognizes that it is not about her, but that the team is looking to her for inspiration and direction. Keeping her ego in check is essential.”
- Tamra Ryan (CEO, Women’s Bean Project)

46. “I have broken many glass ceilings - so I know it can be done.”
- Helen Clark (Former New Zealand Prime Minister and UNDP Administrator)

47. “You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.”
- Rosalind Brewer (COO & Group President of Starbucks)

48. “I think it’s a combination of personality traits that have helped me to succeed. Not only hard work - but patience, sacrifice and choosing my battles have all helped me to reach the point in my career to which I aspired, in a company I admired.”
- Katelyn Gleason (CEO & Founder of Eligible)

49. "Cultivate a network of trusted mentors and colleagues. Other people can give us the best insight into ourselves—and our own limitations. We must have the courage to ask for help and to request feedback to expand our vision of what's possible.”
- Maria Castañón Moats (Assurance Partner, PwC)

50. "Continuous learning leads to continuous improvement. Commit yourself to advancing your knowledge, skills, and expertise. The business environment is quickly changing, and your understanding of the leading practices, thinking, and emerging tools will help you manage for better results. Be a lifelong student."
- Pamela Gill Alabaster (Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Centric Brands)

Source: https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/50-inspirational-leadership-quotes-from-women

Life has a funny way of getting in its own way: we get so busy, sometimes we forget to look up.
That’s why every now and then it’s important to take a step back and check in: How are we doing? Where are we going? What’s important now that perhaps wasn’t before?
Last weekend, I decided to carve out an afternoon to do a life audit and find out.

Life audit (n, origin unknown): An exercise in self-reflection that helps you clear the cobwebs of noisy, external goals and current distractions, and revisit or uncover the real themes & core values that drive & inspire you. Also known as: spring-cleaning for the soul.
(Who doesn’t want that?)

I think everyone can benefit from a life audit, so I’m sharing my learnings and notes on my process here. (Update: I’ve started running life audit parties & workshops, too, if you’d like some extra guidance.)
In the hopes that you’re inspired to run your own life audit, here goes. Grab some tea, a pen and paper, and make yourself at home. Architecting a life takes time, after all.

The process:
100 post-its, 5 activities, 5 people, 1 afternoon.

100 post-its in 1 hour (Okay, 121)
The first part of my audit was originally inspired by a “100 wishes” exercise a couple undertook to “pair design” their relationship. I adapted the exercise for my life audit, and added several rounds of analysis along the way.
The first step is simple:
take 100 post-its and write a single wish on every one. These can be any kind of wish or goal you’d like: no wish is too big or too small. Brainstorm until you reach 100 or run out of wishes.
It turns out that most people will stop at 30-40 post-its: they run out of things they’d like to do, and are relieved to find that’s the case. The smaller the number of goals, the more within reach, or so I’m told the thinking goes.
In my experience that did not happen. I had a lot of goals in mind: To publish a book. To visit all seven continents before I die. (Five down, two to go.) To fill my passport but know where my home is. To make something people love. To form & contribute to a peer suite of advisors. (More on that in a separate post.)
I wrote until I ran out of post-its. I blew past 100 wishes in less than an hour. I stopped at 121.
I was already excited.

Mapping wishes
Initial brainstorm complete, I started phase two and began my card sort, grouping my wishes into themes. Three categories emerged during my first sort: Personal, Professional, and Creative. This wasn’t quite right, though, because “Personal,” could really apply to every goal on my list: each creative goal was grounded in some personal core value, and the same was true of my professional aspirations. Things like getting speaking engagements, contributing thought leadership — these are “professional” goals of mine, but ultimately stem from my own personal commitment to knowledge sharing. I removed “Personal” as a category and went back to sorting.

I grouped and regrouped until I came to my top themes:

https://miro.medium.com/max/1000/1*cqK3XdgwR0IDZe7G--QmiQ.png

Some themes surprised me, some did not.

I was not surprised to see the Skills bar was high. I know I am happiest when I’m learning, so chasing learning curves has always been a priority for me.
On the other hand, the distribution on my chart for Adventure and Family at first seemed low given how important they both are to me. Yet it was precisely because these are so core to my interests that they didn’t show up as a “goal” or “wish.” I assume I’ll continue to travel as much as I already do, and stay close with my family, as much as I already am. I didn’t need to add a post-it to wish for them: they were already ingrained in how I think about the future. There were similarly interesting insights for each of my categories.
The original 100 wishes exercise I’d read about stopped there, but I wasn’t ready to stop just yet. Having a birds-eye view of my priorities was proving to be strangely exhilarating: with the first round of sorting, I felt a rush of clarity and adrenaline as I put together a picture of my life’s priorities.
But now I wanted to go deeper: I could sense there was more to be done.
At this point I was pacing around my room, circling my 121 post-its and scrutinizing for patterns and insights. (Yes, I was actually circling.) I had some thoughts about additional restructuring. I took a stretching break and grabbed some water. I rolled up my sleeves. I was just getting started.

Plotting wishes by time (all wishes are not made equal)
I looked at my well-oiled wish list. I had a clear view of what was important to me, and there was a lot. Where to begin? I noticed that every post-it could be further sorted into “a spectrum of when,” no matter what theme it fit into. Some skewed heavily toward the future, others toward the immediate present. Many were more simply ideals and values for how to live my day-to-day (with intention, empathy, and awareness). I thought of these as mantras or intentions to carry with me daily.

I assigned each post-it one of three timeframes:
Now/Soon: For wishes that were immediately actionable but in need of next steps and prioritization. i.e. “To publish a podcast series.” (Stay tuned!)
Someday: Milestone moments/long-term goal-posts. i.e. “To be spry at 80.”
Always/Every day: Deliberate intentions/mantras to live by every day. i.e. “To share what I’ve learned, in life and professionally.”
I have never been one to make a plan, so these categories felt more natural to me than putting dates on a calendar.

I looked at each theme again through this new lens, and classified each post-it once more, marking each by timeframe. I drew an arrow for my Nows, a star for my Somedays, and pinned a heart to my Mantras.
Once I did that, I could see more clearly all the things that I could do now but hadn’t prioritized, those I wanted to do at some point, and those I wanted to take on every day.
https://miro.medium.com/max/700/1*c0eXM_P6apIXphXLrAczDw.png

I paused with this new information. My priorities had naturally surfaced, and I could see my instinct for when to focus on what. The question was: did that breakdown align with how I currently spent my time? Now that I could see my priorities and timeframes on paper, I wondered: was I spending my time in alignment with the themes and intentions that mattered to me most, at the times that made the most sense?

5 Activities
The first thing I did to evaluate my “pointless to purposeful ratio” was to quickly jot down the five activities I spend the most time on. My results looked like this:

As expected, work took up a large portion of my time. That was the problem with this chart: it didn’t give me a full picture of how I choose to spend my time, outside of the office.
I removed work to see what my free time spent looked like, and evaluated. There were some areas I wanted to tweak (less Internet, more exercise), but overall, the exercise confirmed I was prioritizing the right activities. I’m already fairly diligent about making time for the things that matter outside of work (as I’ve written elsewhere): I just had to rebalance a little.

I had charted my values and aspirations, and I had my activities more or less in line with getting there. But there was still one area missing from my life audit: the people.

5 People
The law of averages says that your success is determined by the five people you spend the most time with.
If I was really going to take this audit seriously, I was going to have to do some thinking. Did I have the right people on my personal team to help me realize those 120+ goals, aspirations, and intentions?
Now, I’m not talking about “help” in terms of having someone in your network who can introduce you to someone who might offer you your next job. Those people are nice and obviously useful, but transactional if that’s the only reason you keep them around.
No, I’m talking about the people who inspire and motivate you to go after that thing that you’ve been thinking, talking, and dreaming about — every day. I’m talking about the people who challenge your ideas and push you to do better: the ones who help you when you’re stuck, who offer advice and act as a sounding board for whatever you’re working on at any given time. They are part role model, part mentor, part co-conspirator in creative endeavors.
Of course we all like to think we already surround ourselves with that type of person. But do we spend the most time with them?
This was a tough exercise for me, because it turns out—and I suspect this is true of many of us—I spend a lot of time with people who it’s easy to spend a lot of time with.

Don’t get me wrong: the people in both buckets are great — even those who I see more out of convenience than necessity are important to me. A handful even fit the “people who inspire me” category, and are exactly the type of I want to collaborate with and learn from.
But some of the most inspiring of the bunch — the ones I imagine in my mind to make up my own peer suite of advisors and collaborators — were noticeably missing. They barely made it into the top ten people I interact with.
These people are the most important people in my life, but we catch up only once, maybe twice a month. As much as we have a solid relationship, we don’t see each other often.
This made me sad, because these are relationships I value very much.
They are the friends and peer mentors where help given is mutual and thoughtful. Conversations are energizing and you each learn something new every time. Each contributes to the other’s happiness and wellbeing: you grow as they grow.
They’re the gems in my life, but compared to other relationships, they made up only a small sliver of my interactions. That needed to change.
Takeaways and to do’s
There were three action items that came from my life audit.
One: to shift my time and focus my energy on the gems in my life — the people who inspire me most—and to work on inspiring them, too.

Secondly: to find more gems and build a community around them. At the end of my life audit, having a community of creative collaborators and inspiring, motivated minds to meld with was the area that felt weakest.
Having moved to San Francisco less than a year ago, perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me. I was lucky to arrive with several close friends already here when I landed, which in many ways removed the urgency of building a community from the ground up. But it’s time to meet more good people, more thoughtfully, and work on forming a community with the care and deliberateness that sort of undertaking requires.
To build that board of peer advisors and community of co-creators and conspirators, I’ll need a little help, so on that last note I’m asking my friends (and you, dear reader) to introduce me to one quality person they know out here in the Bay area. If you know someone who fits the bill out here, I would love to meet them.
Last, but certainly not least: I felt compelled to share what I learned and encourage others to try out this exercise. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you feel inspired. There is so much you can learn about yourself in a single Saturday afternoon.

Happy life auditing. Let me know how yours goes.

Source: https://medium.com/@xsvengoechea/how-and-why-to-do-a-life-audit-1d8bfbe1798#.3n27ng38d

Starting your own business can feel like scaling Mt Kilimanjaro. You dig your feet in, climb, and pray for the best. It’s an exciting, chaotic, and hope-filled journey… But what happens when you reach the top of the mountain? Is there anywhere to go but downhill?

Unfortunately many small businesses grind to a halt - or even start to decline - after climbing their first mountain. This is known as the small business profit plateau. Your company is finally up and running smoothly, but its exponential growth suddenly stops. Your profits start to flatline. It feels like your team is working twice as hard just to maintain the same ROI.

The first profit plateau is an emotionally challenging time for any small business owner. The hype surrounding your company has died down, the magic and motivation you once felt has vanished. Worse still, your profits may be decreasing. Breaking through this early slump and taking your business to the next level is going to take hard work, passion and courage. Have you got what it takes?

1. Explore Different Market Niches

All businesses start out with a defined target market, but sometimes that market doesn’t hold the potential you expected. Maybe you’re failing to compete with existing market leaders, or new competitors have emerged. Or perhaps you’ve reached the limits of growth within your narrow market niche.

Does this mean you should throw in the towel and abandon all hope of progression? Of course not! Instead of reinventing your product or service, try redefining your market. Pretend you’re just starting out and brainstorm all over again - there are plenty of excellent guides for defining your market from scratch. Often just by shifting or expanding your market niche, you can reinvigorate your business and push past the profit plateau.

For example, there may be alternative uses for your product you hadn’t imagined, allowing you to reach more people. Don’t believe me? The original designers of bubble wrap were attempting to create three dimensional wallpaper! And YouTube started out as a video dating website. Even WorkflowMax began with different intentions - it was designed for an engineering company, but it then became clear that all sorts of other businesses could benefit from its project management capabilities.

Finding different uses or a wider market for your product can help you to reach new customers and fuel growth. It offers a fresh start without having to rebuild your product or service from the ground up. So get researching!

2. Reinvent Your Brand

The first year of business can mould and change you in unexpected ways. Missions and values can shift. Once your company reaches maturity, you may be surprised to discover how little your branding reflects your business personality.

If you suspect this might be the case ask your staff and customers for feedback. Does your brand speak to them? Are you easily known, loved and recognised? If the answer to these questions is no, it could be time for a change - whether it’s new brand visuals, a new website, or even an entirely new name.

A branding overhaul is unlikely to save you from a serious profit plateau, but its potential shouldn’t be underestimated. Rebranding forces you to revisit your mission, values and ideals; and reminds you of who you set out to be. A successful, beautiful rebrand may reignite your passions and inspire your staff. And of course, better branding can help inspire loyalty in your fans and reach new, untapped audiences.

But beware - branding overhauls can incur many hidden costs. Before diving in you’ll need to conduct a thorough assessment of the ramifications. Do you have merchandise or other forgotten items that will be rendered obsolete? Long-lost landing pages that need to be updated? How will rebranding impact clients and partners who use your logo? Take every single expense into account.

3. Embrace Technological Advances

Many startups fall victim to the speed of technological change. If your business doesn’t keep modernising and evolving its systems, you have no chance of keeping up with your competition.

For example, the growth of cloud based systems has had a huge impact on way many small businesses handle their project management and accounting. Xero offers easy online accounting, bank reconciliation, file storage, payroll, billing and more - all within the cloud. WorkflowMax can be integrated with Xero, and handles everything from leads through to quotes, job management and time tracking right through to invoicing.

These cloud based tools can boost your productivity, efficiency and profitability all at once. And even if you don’t use them your competitors probably will. Do you want to give them the edge? While it’s tempting to keep doing things the same way, entrepreneurs simply can’t afford to be resistant to change.

4. Develop Complementary Products

Another approach to stimulating growth (and delighting your customers) is developing complementary products, services or add-ons for your existing range. Survey your current customer base and figure out their pain points. What is your current service missing? What complementary products or add-ons would make their lives easier?

If you can figure out a way to satisfy their unmet needs, breakout sales are basically guaranteed. But be sure to survey how much they’d be willing to spend on complementary products. You don’t want to sink time and money into endless development - sometimes the simplest add-ons or accessories are the most effective.

This also offers the perfect opportunity to re-assess your pricing package. Complementary products or add-ons can be used to create bundles with your existing range; and may allow you to increase prices without upsetting customers.

5. Assess Employee Performance

Your business is only as successful as its employees. If profits are stalling and you don’t know why, it could be time to review your workforce. Assessing employee performance can be uncomfortable - particularly if those staff have been with you since the very beginning - but it’s an important part of growth and optimising your business.

You should also encourage employees to give feedback on management. Do they feel satisfied with the levels of coaching, support and career development available? Do they still feel committed to the mission and values of your company? Profit plateaus are often reflected in staff motivation and performance.

Many startups hire quickly during their initial growth phase, and because of the changing and chaotic environment staff turnover can be high. Now that you’re settled you should be aiming to retain skills and talent, rather than churning out people as and when you need them. Shift your focus to hiring the right people and personalities, rather than just skillsets.

6. Align Marketing With Popular Trends

Something strange happened in July of this year. Pokemon Go exploded onto the scene; and its popularity left many observers perplexed. Why were millions of adults suddenly wandering around with their face stuck to their phones, playing a game seemingly for children?

This confusion soon gave way to the realisation that where a massive trend exists, there is money to be made. Astute marketers quickly jumped on board, using strategic in-app tools to lure players to their retail locations. Other businesses were simply lucky; a struggling, small town ice cream shop in Washington credits it’s accidental survival to the game.

Of course, not everyone wants to run outside and catch a Snorlax - this is simply one example of trend marketing. Is your audience passionate about current sporting events, national holidays, festivals, environmental movements or political elections? Check out popular hashtags on social media to see what topics cause buzz among your consumers or clients.

The relevance of trends will vary wildly depending on your business and industry - but if you can make a meaningful connection, the marketing potential is there. And a well-timed marketing initiative could be your ticket to the next level of growth.


7. Seek Objective Help

As a small business owner, I’m sure you’re a skilled and tenacious multitasker. You’re used to taking on challenges and doing everything yourself. But when your business hits a profit plateau and growth grinds to a halt, it’s definitely time to call in reinforcements.

Many small business owners are reluctant to hire external consultants. I hear the same objection all the time - “My business is my baby, I understand it better than anyone. How can a complete stranger offer useful insights?” But there are incredible benefits to be reaped from hiring an outsider.

Business consultants are valuable because they know nothing about your company. This makes them completely objective, and allows them to view your strategy with fresh eyes, free from bias. As a business owner your emotions can cloud your judgement, but a consultant should pinpoint any problem areas you’ve been ignoring.

Of course, hiring a business consultant costs money, and this can be hard to justify when budgets are already tight. But it’s worse to sit on your hands and do nothing. You can’t ride out the profit plateau and simply wait for things to get better; your business needs a powerful jolt to break out of its comatose state.

8. Avoid the Sunk Cost Fallacy

If I told you to stop throwing money away, you’d think I was joking - it’s such mind numbingly obvious advice. We all know that cutting unnecessary costs is the quickest way to increase profit margins. So why do we feel uncomfortable axing projects that are failing to achieve ROI?

The answer lies in human psychology; and our natural predisposition towards the sunk cost fallacy. All humans are innately averse to failure and loss. We go to great lengths to avoid feeling like we’ve wasted time or money, even if it means making irrational decisions about future gain.

You probably don’t even notice yourself doing it, but I bet you’ve fallen into the clutches of the sunk cost fallacy. Have you ever cooked too much food for one person, and forced yourself to eat it anyway? Have you ever gone to an event while sick and miserable, because you didn’t want the tickets to go to waste? The sunk cost fallacy is often at play in our personal lives.

Unfortunately, the same thing can happen when making business decisions. This is particularly true for small business owners who have powerful emotional ties to their company. You’ve poured your precious savings, time and undying love into a certain strategic approach. A year in you analyse the ROI and find its not working - in fact you’re losing significant amounts of money.

Do you quit or keep at it? Now that you’ve reached a profit plateau, it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions:

-Which marketing initiatives are we spending money on without seeing any ROI?
-Are any features of our product or service too expensive or unsustainable?
-Do we have any unnecessary human resources? Did we overhire?
-Have we targeted the wrong market niche?
-Brutal honesty is required here - cut your losses and take remedial action, fast.

There are many other ways to break through a profit plateau; but it’s going to take strategy, creativity and awareness. Have you got what it takes? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

Source: https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/hit-a-profit-plateau-8-breakout-ideas-for-small-businesses

“A book is a treat to be savoured, and a book that can inspire us to greatness, or offer insights into better business practices” Steff Green

You know that sinking feeling when you read a glamorous review, eagerly buy the book off Amazon and a few chapters in realise it’s a lemon? Into the graveyard of unread books it goes, gathering dust, cobwebs and disappointment.

But with the year winding down, holidays being booked and Kindle libraries being frantically searched in the hope of finding something marginally decent to read, I wanted to save you the frustration! But first, a quick disclaimer:

This is not a post about feminism (honestly, can people just chill about that word already?) nor is it aimed at women exclusively. But it is Women's Entrepreneurship Day on the 16th, and I figured why not put together an awesome reading list by inspiring women from all walks of life.

I hope you find something that resonates with you. Happy reading!

Big MagicElizabeth Gilbert

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored...You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder.”

I think every creative ought to read this book. Yes, there are lots of books out there that tackle a similar subject – the good ol’ elusive creative genius – and provide advice on taming it… but Gilbert’s point of view on creativity is so incredibly compelling. She touches on all-too-real truths, discusses her own personal struggles with writing and weaves her learnings into an optimistic narrative that makes you want to drop everything and fight for your creative pursuit once more.

Lean InSheryl Sandberg

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Probably making the rounds on women’s booklists everywhere, Lean In by Facebook COO caused a ripple in communities of women around the world when it first came out. Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, and offers insightful, practical solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential – based of course, off her own vast experience. She encourages women to challenge the common workplace assumption that "men still run the world” and question what’s really holding ourselves back.

Exhausted to Energized Dr Libby

Holistic nutrition expert, speaker and wellness author Dr. Libby Weaver barely needs an introduction. She’s been empowering women with keen insights for decades, and her eighth book, strives to do the same. This time tackling the subject of living life with more energy, Dr. Libby offers simple but powerful strategies to help liberate yourself from exhaustion.

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People HelpAmanda Palmer

“Asking for help with shame says: You have the power over me. Asking with condescension says: I have the power over you. But asking for help with gratitude says: We have the power to help each other.”

Amanda Palmer, the rockstar, crowdfunding pioneer and free-spirited creative artist has a unique way of looking at the world and the communities surrounding us. Her book, an extension of her wildly popular TED talk, discusses a new way of engaging with the communities around us. It’s hopeful, real and visionary. Check it out, I urge you.

I Quit SugarSarah Wilson

Okay I had to include this one because what I think Sarah Wilson has done is quite incredible – and if you’re after an inspiring woman, you need look no further. What started as a personal experiment, quickly became a way of life and has now developed into a global phenomenon. Wilson’s guide has inspired people to change their habits and lifestyles the world over. The book delivers a practical (and dare I say fun?) guide on how to kick your sugar habit, without being “preachy” or overly scientific. It’s easy reading with plenty of easy to implement tips and tricks. Get ready to change your life!

Source: https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/6-books-by-inspiring-women-to-add-to-your-booklist-these-holidays

You’ve had a hectic day at the office. A last minute crisis occurred and you worked 2 hours overtime to get everything done. When you finally arrive home you’re too exhausted to cook dinner (and substitute with greasy takeaways and a cheap bottle of wine).Your ‘quality time’ with your spouse consists of a few muttered sentences before doing the laundry and other crucial tasks, then rolling into bed exhausted.

Does this all sound familiar? Maintaining a work life balance is tough for anyone with a full-time career. Business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other high performers already know this; that’s why many of them have secret coping mechanisms.

Here are 7 secrets to restoring your precious work life balance - without sacrificing your career opportunities or harming your business.

Secret 1: Meditation Isn’t Just For Hippies
I’d been told about the benefits of meditation for many years - by my parents, colleagues, friends - and for a long time I stoically ignored their advice. Why? I don’t know, it just sounded flakey. Like the kind of pseudo-science advice you’d read in Cosmo. Focus on this happiness mantra for twenty minutes a day and you’ll lose 3 kgs and have an amazing sex life!

When I finally gave real meditation a shot I realised what all the fuss is about. After a few weeks I found that regular mantra meditation (20 minute sessions, 1-2 times a day) made a huge difference to my overall sense of happiness and wellbeing. I was the same person, but I was calmer in the face of adversity. I approached each task with more patience and concentration.

And if you need science to convince you, a study by Harvard Medical School has found that meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain, as well as helping with anxiety, depression and stress. So if you’d like to give it a shot, look up your local meditation centre - or check out these 6 easy steps for learning meditation.

There are also apps which make meditation more accessible for beginners. Headspace plays meditation and mindfulness sessions you can use at work. It’s a good tool for briefly escaping the noise and stress, and giving your brain some much needed R&R. Stop, breathe, relax.

Secret 2: Work Smarter, Not Harder
There’s a dangerous corporate mentality, which says that working longer hours and being more productive are the same thing. They’re not. Sometimes we think we’re achieving more because we’ve worked for longer, when actually we’re just dragging out tasks to fill the day.

Working a 70 hour week is nothing to brag about if you could’ve reached the same results in 40 hours. And it could be hurting your mental wellbeing - a study by the UK Mental Health Foundation found that working long hours made 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable. So how can you avoid succumbing to these statistics?

Instead of logging insanely long hours at the office and sacrificing your personal life, you need to teach yourself to work smarter (as explained by the Lazy Project Manager books).

There are 4x main types of productivity hack you need to master:

Delegation. Spend your time on the specialised tasks that only you can do. Don’t be afraid to delegate more generic jobs to those who have time (unless they can be automated).
Automation. I guarantee there is some aspect of your business - whether it’s your finances, customer support or social media marketing - which could be systematized and automated. Never delegate what can be automated.
Cutting the fat. Do you really need that recurring team meeting? Are your morning admin tasks a waste of time? Stop doing pointless activities just because you’ve grown accustomed to them.
Use productivity tools. Project management software and time tracking apps can streamline all of your work processes.
Communicate effectively. Team project tools like Slack, Trello and Hangouts can eliminate the need for time consuming meetings. They also allow remote working, which can boost efficiency.

Secret 3: Meal Prep Isn’t Just For Bodybuilders
...Or crossfit enthusiasts. There’s an increasing recognition of its value in the corporate world.

Just stop and think for a minute. How much of your time is spent on food? I’m not just talking about eating. I mean how much time do you spend daydreaming about what to cook for dinner, going to the grocery store, preparing your daily lunch, cleaning up pots and pans… For most of us, food takes up a significant chunk of our lives.

But what if all your food was prepped in advance? Try setting aside one afternoon a week and doing all your cooking at once. Freeze reheatable dinners and lunches in serving size containers, ready to grab and go. Not only does this save time in the mornings and evenings, it also means you’re less likely to waste time on ‘emergency’ shopping trips. By creating a comprehensive meal plan for the whole week you know exactly what ingredients to purchase - saving precious time and money.

If you’re interested in eating well but don’t have time for meal prep there are growing numbers of companies that will do it for you - with an emphasis on nutrient rich, healthy food. There’s My Food Bag and My Underground Kitchen in New Zealand, Fit Fuel in the UK, and Freshly in the US. These companies make it easy to eat well when you’re time poor (although it’s still cheaper to prepare your own!).

Secret 4: Work Alternative Hours
A stress-free life is impossible when you commute 2 hours a day in Auckland (or London) traffic. This applies whether you’re in the driver’s seat, clutching your steering wheel with white knuckles, or you’re running through the rain to catch your inexplicably irregular bus.

But what if you could make those painful commutes a distant memory? Even if you have to spend 40 hours in the office, it’s usually possible to choose smarter hours than the traditional 9-5. Just by getting up 1-2 hours early you can skip the rush. This might sound painful but trust me, your body will adjust in no time. And every second you don’t spend sitting in traffic is a big win for your mental health and productivity.

You can also investigate the possibility of working remotely. Perhaps you don’t need to be in the office at all. With all the digital tools, project management and cloud technology we have at our disposal, it’s easier than ever to collaborate with your team on the go. The WorkflowMax iOS app allows you to enter important details like timesheets from wherever you are. Why not do all your tasks from the beach?

Let go of the notion that you need to turn up for the sake of appearance. As long as you communicate clearly with your team and clients, what matters is the work you do - not where it’s done.

Secret 5: Learn to Say No
Like they always say on airplanes - you need to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you don’t put your own work priorities first, everyone else’s demands can easily start to suck up your time. Before you know it you’re doing everyone’s job except your own.

To avoid this you need to become an expert at saying ‘no’. It’s one of the hardest words in the English language to get comfortable saying. This is especially true when it’s your boss, a client, or a colleague who’s helped you in the past. But with practice saying ‘no’ gets easier.

Often we say yes to requests in the spur of the moment, without checking our schedule first. Don’t be afraid to delay giving an answer if you’re not sure. Take some time to calculate whether you have other priorities, then politely refuse them if it’s not possible.

This doesn’t only apply to work chores but social requests as well. When colleagues ask you out drinking on a weeknight, or try to drag you out to a long lunch, weigh up your desires and priorities before agreeing. If it’s going to waste time you’d rather spend more productively, you know what to say.

Secret 6: Take Breaks Religiously

During a busy working day it’s easy to forget about your entitled breaks. Some of us even forget to eat lunch. But taking a few moments of rest each day is crucial for preventing burnout and exhaustion, no matter how busy you are.

If you know you’re the type to forget, schedule short breaks into your calendar like you would any meeting or appointment. Make sure you’re marked as busy so everyone knows not to interrupt you. Find a quiet room or take a walk outside. Even short 10 minute breaks a few times a day can do wonders for your mental health.

Research has shown it’s more important to schedule these moments of rest in the afternoon, when our focus starts to wane. The late hours of the day take a bigger psychological toll on us.

Staying physically fit is also important for your mental health and wellbeing. If long hours are making you miss the gym, try to fit bursts of exercise into your standard day. Instead of sitting in the lunchroom go for a brisk walk or jog at lunch. If you don’t mind a little embarrassment, do sneaky squats at your desk. Make these rituals part of your daily routine.

Secret 7: Define the Non-Negotiable
Obviously you shouldn’t neglect your personal life and needs - but that’s easier said than done. As every entrepreneur and busy professional knows, sometimes we have no choice but to bring work home. Your responsibilities can’t always be left at the office door.

But neglecting your personal needs can ultimately lead to anxiety, stress, depression and psychological burnout. So how do you find the right balance?

The trick to staying sane is defining the non-negotiable. Everyone has something precious in their personal life - whether it’s attending your kid’s rugby games, having Taco Tuesday with your partner, or doing yoga twice a week. Which of these things are essential for your own fulfilment and happiness?

Make a list of the most important non-work activities that occur regularly in your life. For you to be happy and healthy - which things should never, ever be trumped by work? Define these as absolutely non-negotiable, and plan your work schedules to allow this even when disaster strikes.

If you don’t define the non-negotiable, you’ll notice these things gradually start to slide.
Maintaining a work life balance doesn’t have to be impossible, even for the busiest people. It just takes a little planning, perseverance, and rigidity on the right things.

It’s your life and your career. You choose how they work together.

Source: https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/the-elusive-work-life-balance-7-ways-to-avoid-burnout

It’s a new brand world.

That cross-trainer you’re wearing — one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who’s got you branded. That coffee travel mug you’re carrying — ah, you’re a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion “C” on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi’s rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker’s symbol crafted into the end …

You’re branded, branded, branded, branded.

It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.

Behemoth companies may take turns buying each other or acquiring every hot startup that catches their eye — mergers in 1996 set records. Hollywood may be interested in only blockbusters and book publishers may want to put out only guaranteed best-sellers. But don’t be fooled by all the frenzy at the humongous end of the size spectrum.

The real action is at the other end: the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents, looking to have the best season you can imagine in your field, looking to do your best work and chalk up a remarkable track record, and looking to establish your own micro equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Because if you do, you’ll not only reach out toward every opportunity within arm’s (or laptop’s) length, you’ll not only make a noteworthy contribution to your team’s success — you’ll also put yourself in a great bargaining position for next season’s free-agency market.

The good news — and it is largely good news — is that everyone has a chance to stand out. Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.

Who understands this fundamental principle? The big companies do. They’ve come a long way in a short time: it was just over four years ago, April 2, 1993 to be precise, when Philip Morris cut the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 40 cents a pack. That was on a Friday. On Monday, the stock market value of packaged goods companies fell by $25 billion. Everybody agreed: brands were doomed.

Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services — from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants — are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.

Who else understands it? Every single Web site sponsor. In fact, the Web makes the case for branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could. Here’s what the Web says: Anyone can have a Web site. And today, because anyone can … anyone does! So how do you know which sites are worth visiting, which sites to bookmark, which sites are worth going to more than once? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. They’re the sites where the brand name tells you that the visit will be worth your time — again and again. The brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.

The same holds true for that other killer app of the Net — email. When everybody has email and anybody can send you email, how do you decide whose messages you’re going to read and respond to first — and whose you’re going to send to the trash unread? The answer: personal branding. The name of the email sender is every bit as important a brand — is a brand — as the name of the Web site you visit. It’s a promise of the value you’ll receive for the time you spend reading the message.

Nobody understands branding better than professional services firms. Look at McKinsey or Arthur Andersen for a model of the new rules of branding at the company and personal level. Almost every professional services firm works with the same business model. They have almost no hard assets — my guess is that most probably go so far as to rent or lease every tangible item they possibly can to keep from having to own anything. They have lots of soft assets — more conventionally known as people, preferably smart, motivated, talented people. And they have huge revenues — and astounding profits.

They also have a very clear culture of work and life. You’re hired, you report to work, you join a team — and you immediately start figuring out how to deliver value to the customer. Along the way, you learn stuff, develop your skills, hone your abilities, move from project to project. And if you’re really smart, you figure out how to distinguish yourself from all the other very smart people walking around with $1,500 suits, high-powered laptops, and well-polished resumes. Along the way, if you’re really smart, you figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for yourself — you create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.

What makes You different?
Start right now: as of this moment you’re going to think of yourself differently! You’re not an “employee” of General Motors, you’re not a “staffer” at General Mills, you’re not a “worker” at General Electric or a “human resource” at General Dynamics (ooops, it’s gone!). Forget the Generals! You don’t “belong to” any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn’t to any particular “function.” You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description.

Starting today you are a brand.

You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-words-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.

If your answer wouldn’t light up the eyes of a prospective client or command a vote of confidence from a satisfied past client, or — worst of all — if it doesn’t grab you, then you’ve got a big problem. It’s time to give some serious thought and even more serious effort to imagining and developing yourself as a brand.

Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues. What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength? Your most noteworthy (as in, worthy of note) personal trait?

Go back to the comparison between brand You and brand X — the approach the corporate biggies take to creating a brand. The standard model they use is feature-benefit: every feature they offer in their product or service yields an identifiable and distinguishable benefit for their customer or client. A dominant feature of Nordstrom department stores is the personalized service it lavishes on each and every customer. The customer benefit: a feeling of being accorded individualized attention — along with all of the choice of a large department store.

So what is the “feature-benefit model” that the brand called You offers? Do you deliver your work on time, every time? Your internal or external customer gets dependable, reliable service that meets its strategic needs. Do you anticipate and solve problems before they become crises? Your client saves money and headaches just by having you on the team. Do you always complete your projects within the allotted budget? I can’t name a single client of a professional services firm who doesn’t go ballistic at cost overruns.

Your next step is to cast aside all the usual descriptors that employees and workers depend on to locate themselves in the company structure. Forget your job title. Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value? Forget your job description. Ask yourself: What do I do that I am most proud of? Most of all, forget about the standard rungs of progression you’ve climbed in your career up to now. Burn that damnable “ladder” and ask yourself: What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

When you’ve done that, sit down and ask yourself one more question to define your brand: What do I want to be famous for? That’s right — famous for!

What’s the pitch for You?
So it’s a cliché: don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle. it’s also a principle that every corporate brand understands implicitly, from Omaha Steaks’s through-the-mail sales program to Wendy’s “we’re just regular folks” ad campaign. No matter how beefy your set of skills, no matter how tasty you’ve made that feature-benefit proposition, you still have to market the bejesus out of your brand — to customers, colleagues, and your virtual network of associates.

For most branding campaigns, the first step is visibility. If you’re General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler, that usually means a full flight of TV and print ads designed to get billions of “impressions” of your brand in front of the consuming public. If you’re brand You, you’ve got the same need for visibility — but no budget to buy it.

So how do you market brand You?

There’s literally no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your profile. Try moonlighting! Sign up for an extra project inside your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills — or work on new ones. Or, if you can carve out the time, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they’ll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.

If those ideas don’t appeal, try teaching a class at a community college, in an adult education program, or in your own company. You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests and more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re a better writer than you are a teacher, try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper. And when I say local, I mean local. You don’t have to make the op-ed page of the New York Times to make the grade. Community newspapers, professional newsletters, even inhouse company publications have white space they need to fill. Once you get started, you’ve got a track record — and clips that you can use to snatch more chances.

And if you’re a better talker than you are teacher or writer, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. Visibility has a funny way of multiplying; the hardest part is getting started. But a couple of good panel presentations can earn you a chance to give a “little” solo speech — and from there it’s just a few jumps to a major address at your industry’s annual convention.

The second important thing to remember about your personal visibility campaign is: it all matters. When you’re promoting brand You, everything you do — and everything you choose not to do — communicates the value and character of the brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations to the email messages you send to the way you conduct business in a meeting is part of the larger message you’re sending about your brand.

Partly it’s a matter of substance: what you have to say and how well you get it said. But it’s also a matter of style. On the Net, do your communications demonstrate a command of the technology? In meetings, do you keep your contributions short and to the point? It even gets down to the level of your brand You business card: Have you designed a cool-looking logo for your own card? Are you demonstrating an appreciation for design that shows you understand that packaging counts — a lot — in a crowded world?

The key to any personal branding campaign is “word-of-mouth marketing.” Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers is the most important marketing vehicle you’ve got; what they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand. So the big trick to building your brand is to find ways to nurture your network of colleagues — consciously.

What’s the real power of You?
If you want to grow your brand, you’ve got to come to terms with power — your own. The key lesson: power is not a dirty word!

In fact, power for the most part is a badly misunderstood term and a badly misused capability. I’m talking about a different kind of power than we usually refer to. It’s not ladder power, as in who’s best at climbing over the adjacent bods. It’s not who’s-got-the-biggest-office-by-six-square-inches power or who’s-got-the-fanciest-title power.

It’s influence power.

It’s being known for making the most significant contribution in your particular area. It’s reputational power. If you were a scholar, you’d measure it by the number of times your publications get cited by other people. If you were a consultant, you’d measure it by the number of CEOs who’ve got your business card in their Rolodexes. (And better yet, the number who know your beeper number by heart.)

Getting and using power — intelligently, responsibly, and yes, powerfully — are essential skills for growing your brand. One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. As a consumer, you want to associate with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you.

It’s the same in the workplace. There are power trips that are worth taking — and that you can take without appearing to be a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing megalomaniacal jerk. You can do it in small, slow, and subtle ways. Is your team having a hard time organizing productive meetings? Volunteer to write the agenda for the next meeting. You’re contributing to the team, and you get to decide what’s on and off the agenda. When it’s time to write a post-project report, does everyone on your team head for the door? Beg for the chance to write the report — because the hand that holds the pen (or taps the keyboard) gets to write or at least shape the organization’s history.

Most important, remember that power is largely a matter of perception. If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, act like a credible leader. When you’re thinking like brand You, you don’t need org-chart authority to be a leader. The fact is you are a leader. You’re leading You!

One key to growing your power is to recognize the simple fact that we now live in a project world. Almost all work today is organized into bite-sized packets called projects. A project-based world is ideal for growing your brand: projects exist around deliverables, they create measurables, and they leave you with braggables. If you’re not spending at least 70% of your time working on projects, creating projects, or organizing your (apparently mundane) tasks into projects, you are sadly living in the past. Today you have to think, breathe, act, and work in projects.

Project World makes it easier for you to assess — and advertise — the strength of brand You. Once again, think like the giants do. Imagine yourself a brand manager at Procter & Gamble: When you look at your brand’s assets, what can you add to boost your power and felt presence? Would you be better off with a simple line extension — taking on a project that adds incrementally to your existing base of skills and accomplishments? Or would you be better off with a whole new product line? Is it time to move overseas for a couple of years, venturing outside your comfort zone (even taking a lateral move — damn the ladders), tackling something new and completely different?

Whatever you decide, you should look at your brand’s power as an exercise in new-look résumé; management — an exercise that you start by doing away once and for all with the word “résumé.” You don’t have an old-fashioned résumé anymore! You’ve got a marketing brochure for brand You. Instead of a static list of titles held and positions occupied, your marketing brochure brings to life the skills you’ve mastered, the projects you’ve delivered, the braggables you can take credit for. And like any good marketing brochure, yours needs constant updating to reflect the growth — breadth and depth — of brand You.

What’s loyalty to You?
Everyone is saying that loyalty is gone; loyalty is dead; loyalty is over. I think that’s a bunch of crap.

I think loyalty is much more important than it ever was in the past. A 40-year career with the same company once may have been called loyalty; from here it looks a lot like a work life with very few options, very few opportunities, and very little individual power. That’s what we used to call indentured servitude.

Today loyalty is the only thing that matters. But it isn’t blind loyalty to the company. It’s loyalty to your colleagues, loyalty to your team, loyalty to your project, loyalty to your customers, and loyalty to yourself. I see it as a much deeper sense of loyalty than mindless loyalty to the Company Z logo.

I know this may sound like selfishness. But being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to act selfishly — to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself. Of course, the other side of the selfish coin is that any company you work for ought to applaud every single one of the efforts you make to develop yourself. After all, everything you do to grow Me Inc. is gravy for them: the projects you lead, the networks you develop, the customers you delight, the braggables you create generate credit for the firm. As long as you’re learning, growing, building relationships, and delivering great results, it’s good for you and it’s great for the company.

That win-win logic holds for as long as you happen to be at that particular company. Which is precisely where the age of free agency comes into play. If you’re treating your résumé as if it’s a marketing brochure, you’ve learned the first lesson of free agency. The second lesson is one that today’s professional athletes have all learned: you’ve got to check with the market on a regular basis to have a reliable read on your brand’s value. You don’t have to be looking for a job to go on a job interview. For that matter, you don’t even have to go on an actual job interview to get useful, important feedback.

The real question is: How is brand You doing? Put together your own “user’s group” — the personal brand You equivalent of a software review group. Ask for — insist on — honest, helpful feedback on your performance, your growth, your value. It’s the only way to know what you would be worth on the open market. It’s the only way to make sure that, when you declare your free agency, you’ll be in a strong bargaining position. It’s not disloyalty to “them”; it’s responsible brand management for brand You — which also generates credit for them.

What’s the future of You?
It’s over. No more vertical. No more ladder. That’s not the way careers work anymore. Linearity is out. A career is now a checkerboard. Or even a maze. It’s full of moves that go sideways, forward, slide on the diagonal, even go backward when that makes sense. (It often does.) A career is a portfolio of projects that teach you new skills, gain you new expertise, develop new capabilities, grow your colleague set, and constantly reinvent you as a brand.

As you scope out the path your “career” will take, remember: the last thing you want to do is become a manager. Like “résumé,” “manager” is an obsolete term. It’s practically synonymous with “dead end job.” What you want is a steady diet of more interesting, more challenging, more provocative projects. When you look at the progression of a career constructed out of projects, directionality is not only hard to track — Which way is up? — but it’s also totally irrelevant.

Instead of making yourself a slave to the concept of a career ladder, reinvent yourself on a semiregular basis. Start by writing your own mission statement, to guide you as CEO of Me Inc. What turns you on? Learning something new? Gaining recognition for your skills as a technical wizard? Shepherding new ideas from concept to market? What’s your personal definition of success? Money? Power? Fame? Or doing what you love? However you answer these questions, search relentlessly for job or project opportunities that fit your mission statement. And review that mission statement every six months to make sure you still believe what you wrote.

No matter what you’re doing today, there are four things you’ve got to measure yourself against. First, you’ve got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you’ve got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you’ve got to be a broad-gauged visionary — a leader, a teacher, a farsighted “imagineer.” Fourth, you’ve got to be a businessperson — you’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.

It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you

Happiness can be a choice -- especially when you take the right actions.

1. Make good friends.
It's easy to focus on building a professional network of partners, customers, employees, connections, etc., because there is (hopefully) a payoff.

But there's a definite payoff to making real (not just professional or social media) friends. Increasing your number of friends correlates to higher subjective well being; doubling your number of friends is like increasing your income by 50 percent in terms of how happy you feel.

And if that's not enough, people who don't have strong social relationships are 50 percent less likely to survive at any given time than those who do. (That's a scary thought for loners like me.)

Make friends outside of work. Make friends at work. Make friends everywhere.

Make real friends. You'll live a longer, happier life.

2. Actively express thankfulness.
According to one study, couples that expressed gratitude in their interactions with each other resulted in increases in relationship connection and satisfaction the next day--both for the person expressing thankfulness and (no big surprise) for the person receiving it. (In fact, the authors of the study said gratitude was like a "booster shot" for relationships.)

Of course the same is true at work. Express gratitude for employee's hard work and you both feel better about yourselves.

Another easy method is to write down a few things you are grateful for every night. One study showed people who wrote down five things they were thankful for once a week were 25 percent happier after 10 weeks; in effect they dramatically increased their happiness set-point.

Happy people focus on what they have, not on what they don't have. It's motivating to want more in your career, relationships, bank account, etc., but thinking about what you already have, and expressing gratitude for it, will make you a lot happier.

It will also remind you that even if you still have huge dreams, you have already accomplished a lot--and should feel genuinely proud.

3. Actively pursue your goals.

Goals you don't pursue aren't goals, they're dreams, and dreams make you happy only when you're dreaming.

Pursuing goals, though, does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, "People who could identify a goal they were pursuing [my italics] were 19 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves."

So be grateful for what you have, and then actively try to achieve more. If you're pursuing a huge goal, make sure that every time you take a small step closer to achieving it, you pat yourself on the back.

But don't compare where you are now with where you someday hope to be. Compare where you are now to where you were a few days ago. Then you'll get dozens of bite-size chunks of fulfillment--and a never-ending supply of things to be thankful for.

4. Do what you excel at as often as you can.
You know the old cliché regarding the starving yet happy artist? Turns out it's true: artists are considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists--even though the pay tends to be considerably lower than in other skilled fields.

Why? I'm no researcher, but clearly the more you enjoy what you do and the more fulfilled you feel by what you do, the happier you will be.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor says that when volunteers picked "one of their signature strengths and used it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed."

Of course it's unreasonable to think you can chuck it all and simply do what you love. But you can find ways to do more of what you excel at. Delegate. Outsource. Start to shift the products and services you provide into areas that allow you to bring more of your strengths to bear. If you're a great trainer, find ways to train more people. If you're a great salesperson, find ways to streamline your administrative tasks and get in front of more customers.

Everyone has at least a few things they do incredibly well. Find ways to do those things more often. You'll be a lot happier.

And probably a lot more successful.

5. Give.
While giving is usually considered unselfish, giving can also be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver. Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it.

Intuitively, I think we all knew that because it feels awesome to help someone who needs it. Not only is helping those in need fulfilling, it's also a reminder of how comparatively fortunate we are--which is a nice reminder of how thankful we should be for what we already have.

Plus, receiving is something you cannot control. If you need help--or simply want help--you can't make others help you. But you can always control whether you offer and provide help.

And that means you can always control, at least to a degree, how happy you are--because giving makes you happier.

6. Don't single-mindedly chase "stuff."
Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)

But after a certain point, money doesn't make people happier. After about $75,000 a year, money doesn't buy more (or less) happiness. "Beyond $75,000... higher income is neither the road to experience happiness nor the road to relief of unhappiness or stress," say the authors of that study.

"Perhaps $75,000 is the threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals' ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure."

And if you don't buy that, here's another take: "The materialistic drive and satisfaction with life are negatively related." Or, in layman's terms, "Chasing possessions tends to make you less happy."

Think of it as the bigger house syndrome. You want a bigger house. You need a bigger house. (Not really, but it sure feels like you do.) So you buy it. Life is good... until a couple months later when your bigger house is now just your house.

New always becomes the new normal.

"Things" provide only momentary bursts of happiness. To be happier, don't chase as many things. Chase a few experiences instead.

7. Live the life you want to live.
Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care, spending time with patients who had only a few months to live. Their most common regret they expressed was "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

What other people think--especially people you don't even know--doesn't matter. What other people want you to do doesn't matter.

Your hopes, your dreams, your goals--live your life your way. Surround yourself with people who support and care not for the "you" they want you to be but for the real you.

Make choices that are right for you. Say things you really want to say to the people who most need to hear them. Express your feelings. Stop and smell a few roses. Make friends, and stay in touch with them.

And most of all, realize that happiness is a choice. Fifty percent of how happy you are lies within your control, so start doing more things that will make you happier.

Follow these ten steps to get -- and stay -- rich during the earliest stage of your career.

Getting rich and becoming a millionaire is a taboo topic. And saying it can be done by the age of 30 seems like a fantasy.

Well, it shouldn’t be taboo and it is possible. At the age of 21, I got out of college, broke and in debt. And by the time I was 30, I was a millionaire.

Here are the 10 steps I took to become a millionaire. Follow them and by age 30, you will be one, too.

1. Follow the money.
You can not save your way to millionaire status. The first step is to focus on increasing your income in increments and repeating that. My income was $3,000 a month and nine years later it was $20,000 a month. Start following the money and it will force you to control revenue and see opportunities.

2.Don’t show off -- show up!
I didn’t buy my first luxury watch or car until my businesses and investments were producing multiple secure flows of income. I was still driving a Toyota Camry when I became a millionaire. Be known for your work ethic, not the trinkets that you buy.

3.Save to invest, don’t save to save.

The only reason to save money is to invest it. Put your saved money into secured, sacred (untouchable) accounts. Never use these accounts for anything, not even an emergency. This will force you to continue to follow step one, which is to increase income. To this day, at least twice a year, I am broke because I always invest my surpluses into ventures that I cannot access.

4. Avoid debt that doesn’t increase your cash flow.
Make it a rule that you never use debt that won’t make you money. I borrowed money for a car only because I knew it could increase my income. Rich people use debt to leverage investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make rich people richer.

5. Treat money like a jealous lover.
Millions wish for financial freedom, but only those that make it a priority have millions. To get rich and stay rich you will have to make it a priority. Money is like a jealous lover. Ignore it and it will ignore you, or worse, it will leave you for someone who loves it more!

6.Outwork your competition.
Money doesn’t know about clocks, schedules or holidays -- and you shouldn’t either. Money loves people that have a great work ethic. When I was 26 years old, I was in retail and the store I worked at closed at 7 p.m. Most times you could find me there at 11 p.m. making an extra sale. Never try to be the smartest or luckiest person -- just make sure you outwork everyone.

7.Being poor makes no sense.
I have been poor, and it sucks. I have had just enough to get by, and that sucks almost as bad. Eliminate any and all ideas that being poor is somehow okay. Go to war with being broke! To quote General George S. Patton, “Success is how you bounce on the bottom.”

8.Get a millionaire mentor.
Most of us were brought up middle class or poor and then hold ourselves to the limits and ideas of that group. I have studied millionaires to learn their mindset and principles and I duplicated what they did. Get your own personal millionaire mentor and study them. Most rich people are extremely generous with their knowledge and their resources.

9.Get your money to do the heavy lifting.

Investing is the golden goose for becoming a millionaire. You should make more money off your investments than from your work. The second company I started required a $50,000 investment. That company has paid me back that $50,000 every month for the last 10 years. My third investment was in real estate. I started with $350,000, which was a large part of my net worth at the time. I still own that property today and it continues to provide me with income. Investing is the only reason to do the other steps, and your money must work for you and do your heavy lifting.

10.Shoot for $10 million, not $1 million.
The single biggest financial mistake I’ve made was not thinking big enough. I encourage you to go for more than a million. There is no shortage of money on this planet, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.

Apply these 10 steps and they will make you rich. Steer clear of people that suggest your financial dreams are born of greed. Avoid get-rich-quick schemes, be ethical, never give up, and once you make it, be willing to help others get there, too.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/299322#10

The journey to become a successful business owner isn't smooth one. It's filled with bumps, forks, and unexpected detours.

Surprisingly, most business owners wouldn't have it any other way. It's a badge of honor that we proudly display.

That doesn't mean that there have been mistakes that I wish I hadn't made. Not that I'm embarrassed. These mistakes have helped me get to where I am today. It's just that if I could have prevented them, the journal could have been just a bit smoother and less stressful.

With that in mind, here are 10 things that I wish I knew before I launched my own business.

1. Running the business is always the top priority.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about starting your own business is that you're only focused on chasing your passion. In other words, you're not just going to be making handmade jewelry, cooking on your own food truck, or designing websites 24/7. That's maybe going to consume 15% of your time.

Instead, you're going to spend a bulk of your time on developing business strategies, marketing, selling, interacting with customers, and doing administrative tasks like bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll. In short, you're a business owner first and then a web designer, chef, or creator of handmade jewelry.

I know this isn't what you signed-up for, but the sooner you realize this fact, the sooner you'll be able to launch and maintain a successful business.

2. It's about helping others, not turning a profit.
While you obviously need to turn a profit, that's not your goal. Your focus should be on helping your customers solve a problem or make their lives better. You could be an extremely knowledgeable consultant, but if you're just preoccupied with making money, how is that going to benefit your clients in the long-run? It's not. And, you're going to deliver mediocre results.

When I started my payments company Due it wasn't just because I thought it was a way to beef-up my bank account. It was because I was looking for an easier and more affordable way to my fellow freelancers and small business owners to send and receive money - a problem I personally experienced.

Once you realize that it's not about you, or how much money is flowing into your bank, you'll start delivering a superior product or service, which will attract more customers. And, when you have more customers, the more income you'll generate.

3. The importance of cash flow management.
Make no mistake about it. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. When you don't properly manage your cash flow you end up spending more money that you're bringing in. And, how long can you expect to stay-in-business when you don't have enough money to pay your necessary expenses?

The most effective way to manage your cash flow is by creating a budget and justifying every expense so that you know exactly where your hard-earned money is going.

4. The odds are stacked against me, and that's alright.
You've probably heard this time and time again. But, most businesses are going to fail. So, what steps are you going to take to at least decrease those odds?

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, but you should consider doing something like keeping your current job for as long as you can. This gives you time to build an emergency fund, conduct market research, and start gaining some traction. Even when it's to make to take that giant leap you need to hire the right team and constantly develop your skills.

Even if your business fails, it's not the end of the world. At least you've gained new skills, experiences, and have learned from your mistakes so that you can come back even stronger.

5. It's lonely.
Think about the jobs you've held down in the past. Whether if it was flipping burgers in a restaurant or as an accountant at a large accounting firm there was a sense of community since you and your co-workers were all in it together. That's not the case when you start your own business. It's just you and you alone. Every decision and responsibility fall on your shoulders. And that's a heavy, lonesome burden to carry.

Having a co-founder or business partner can lessen that burden and make the journey not as lonely, but if you're not in that position then you should build a safety net. It could be your spouse, family, best friend, or other business owners who are going through the same experience as you. You're going to need them for advice, emotional support, and the occasional venting session.

6. Activity doesn't equal growth.
What do you consider growth? Is it all of the fancy features that you just added to your product? Is it the swanky new office or 20 new employees? Is it the glowing review you just received in a leading industry publication?

All of that is great. But it doesn't constitute growth.

Growth means that you're building a product and adding customers. That's it.

7. A part-time gig gives you peace of mind.
This may sound counterproductive after all, doesn't this distract from your top priority since it divides your attention? Not when it gives you peace of mind.

Remember, successful businesses don't happen overnight. It takes time. And during that period there will be times when money isn't coming through the door. For me, that meant countless sleepless night worrying about how I was going to pay this bill or questioning my business decisions. How could I be productive and focused the next morning?

Having a second gig, like freelancing or delivering pizza on the weekends, alleviates some of that financial stress so that you aren't distracted.

8. Optimize, outsource, and automate whatever you can.
Entrepreneurs have the mindset that they have to do everything on their own. Not only is that a one-way ticket to Burnoutville, it's just bad for business. I mean if you can't design a logo or loathe accounting why you would put energy in those tasks? Your time would be better spent doing the tasks that you enjoy and are capable of handling.

Better yet. A majority of these tasks can now be outsourced and automated. For example, you can hire freelance writers, accountants, or graphic designers on sites like Upwork, Guru, Fiverr, and SimplyHired. Besides outsourcing tasks to freelancers, there is no shortage of tools that can automate most of your marketing needs, like communicating and retaining customers.

9. Engage with your audience.
Your customers don't want to do business with some faceless, nameless organization. They want to know that there's an actual person on the other end. Someone who will respond to their inquiries and understand their pain points.

Engaging with your audience is one of the most important tasks that business owners must work on. Instead of hiding in an office and never interacting with your customers, respond personally to comments left on forums, blog posts, social media channels, review sites, and emails. Speak at industry events and mingle afterward. Talk to potential customers when waiting for a flight.

This gives you insights on what you're customers are really looking for, as well as builds trust between you and your customers and establishes you as an authority figure.

10. Don't forget to have fun.
I know what you're thinking. Why take a vacation or play hooky on a Friday afternoon so that you go hiking with friends when you have so much work to do?

Because you need to enjoy life. It keeps you sane. Helps you refocus and come up with new ideas to solve problems. Recharges your batteries when you're drained. And can be used to celebrate your small victories.

Simply put. Don't work yourself to death. It's not good for the health of either you or your business.

Final words of advice.
Even if you follow the advice listed above that doesn't mean that you're going to be mistake-free when starting your business. Every business owner will encounter their own specific set of problems to overcome - which means there are going to be plenty of instances of trial and error.

However, by not repeating some of the same mistakes that I've made in the past you're increasing your chances of survival - or at least reducing the amount of stress in your life!

Source: https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/10-things-i-wish-i-knew-before-i-started-my-own-business.html

It can be difficult to imagine that entrepreneurship takes a psychological toll, thanks in large part to the media’s tendency to show the luxurious and exciting lifestyles of high-profile, successful entrepreneurs. However, those entrepreneurs are a very small percentage. Most successful entrepreneurs don’t have private jets or islands. Most don’t rub shoulders with diplomats or well-known celebrities. Most of us entrepreneurs live well, but not extravagantly by any means.
That is not to say these wealthy entrepreneurs have it made. Just like all entrepreneurs, achieving goals and maintaining success is quite challenging and can come with a psychological price. This is the nature of our chosen path.

Sure, idolization of the Richard Bransons and Jeff Bezoses of the world still exists. But that idolization may not be so attractive when the true cost of entrepreneurship is revealed. Depression and anxiety are often lurking in the shadows for us entrepreneurs. Not all experience it, but I believe that many of us have moments when mental health becomes a concern.

Research doctor Michael A. Freeman from the University of California San Francisco found disheartening results after studying the psychological price of entrepreneurship in 2015. The objective of the study was, “To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of mental health conditions among entrepreneurs and their first-degree family members.”

Dr. Freeman and co-authors of the study uncovered that mental health was a concern for 72% of the participating entrepreneurs. It was concluded that, “The findings of this study are important because they suggest an underlying relationship between entrepreneurship and many of the affective, cognitive, and behavioral differences associated with mental health conditions.”

Why is such a large percentage of entrepreneurs concerned or experiencing mental health issues? To understand this better, let’s look at some common entrepreneur obstacles that may be factors in the psychological price.

Entrepreneurs are often alone — by choice.

Being an entrepreneur is in many ways pretty lonely. Sure, you have friends, family and your team with you for the ride, but being transparent about the state of your business endeavor is left on your shoulders. For instance, entrepreneurs often need to put up a front in order to keep the confidence of investors, the team energized and family and friends unworried.

This can create a pretty lonely space for entrepreneurs. Since your front is up, you bear the brunt of all worries and anxiety alone. This is, of course, unhealthy and can contribute to the psychological price of entrepreneurship. I recommend finding a mentor because you can turn to them and have a sounding board for issues you may not want to share with others.

The entrepreneur spirit is very difficult to turn off.

The entrepreneurs I know are passionate, committed, determined and all-in every waking hour of every day. This includes weekends. When growing a business, it can be very difficult to turn off work and enjoy life. This is due to the investments made and what is ultimately at stake if you fail.

Many newbie entrepreneurs don’t fully understand that being an entrepreneur and business owner is not a 9-to-5 job. A study by BGF Ventures and Streetbees found that nearly 20% of U.K. founders are working 60-79 hours per week. And 53% of entrepreneurs never turn off.

It is certainly a calling. But that being said, there needs to be a balance to ensure that your personal life is intact even if your business fails. And any successful entrepreneur can tell you — failure is most certainly an option.

Failure is part of the entrepreneurial process.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic of failure as an entrepreneur. Failure is indeed part of the process, and the sooner you accept that, the easier it gets. But even though failure is part of the entrepreneurial process, it is difficult to reframe and shed your fear of failure.

Mark Cuban, American businessman and investor, has reframed failure in a very positive way. “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.”

Feelings of failure can be a contributor to the psychological cost of entrepreneurship. It can derail your business and destroy relationships due to the anxiety and depression that bleeds into your personal life. Instead of focusing on failure, or “not failing at all costs,” focus on the accomplishments you have made in the past, no matter how small.

Are you paying the psychological price of entrepreneurship?

Identifying if you are at high risk for mental health issues due to your entrepreneurial endeavors can be hard. Most entrepreneurs are heads down on growing their business with little attention paid to the signs that you are not simply overwhelmed. These signs include a hopelessness in changing negative issues in your personal and professional life, decline in relationships, poor sleep and eating habits and change in emotions.

This is a real issue and, as an entrepreneur myself, I don't have all the answers. If you need to talk to someone about your mental health concerns, you can get information and resources from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or National Alliance of Mental Illness.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2019/05/02/the-psychological-price-of-entrepreneurship/#517812876adc

Over the course of speaking with almost 500 leaders for my weekly “Corner Office” series, I’ve asked every one of them, “How do you hire?” Their answers are always insightful because after years of interviewing countless job candidates, they’ve learned the best approaches to help them get right to the core of who a candidate is and how he or she will work with a team. Learn the strategies these chief executives have developed through trial and error to help you go beyond the polished résumés, pre-screened references and scripted answers, to hire more creative and effective members for your team. And if you’re on the other side of the job hunt, you can gain insight on what your interviewer is really looking for in a candidate.

Avoid the Standard Job Interview
Use these basic principles to avoid the common pitfalls of the interview.

A typical job interview is little more than a social call with some predictable choreography. A conference-room meeting, a pristine résumé and the standard questions: Where do you want to be in five years? What do you consider your biggest failure? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Add in some small talk — maybe the candidate and the interviewer have something in common, like an alma mater or an acquaintance from an earlier job — and that’s largely it. The candidate seems good, and the references check out. So an offer is made, and fingers are crossed that everything works out.

Then, a month later, the new hire misses an important deadline or starts complaining about the work. Cue that sinking feeling: You start wondering if hiring this person was a mistake.

Of course there’s a better way. Here are three principles that can help you hire the right person:

Be creative. Every candidate will be prepared for commonplace interview questions. Find new ways to truly understand how a person thinks.

Be challenging. Put the candidate in situations where they are more likely to show their true selves.

Allow your employees to help. You are not the only person who is going to have to work with this candidate. There is likely already a team of employees you trust that will have to interact with him or her every day. Their opinion should matter.

Get Away From Your Desk
You’ll have a much better sense of your candidate if you get them out from behind a desk and watch how they behave.

The Goal
As you’re sizing up job candidates, there are two key qualities to check for:

-Is the person genuinely interested in the work of the organization?
-Do they treat people as equals, regardless of their title?
If you take them out of the office or conference room to see how they interact with others, you’ll get a better sense of their personality.

Take Them On a Tour
Stay in the building and show the candidates around your company, and maybe introduce them to some colleagues.Things to pay attention to:

-Are they asking questions about what everybody does and how things work?
-Are they curious?
-Do they treat everyone they meet with respect, and show interest in what they do?
For Patty Stonesifer, who now runs Martha’s Table, a Washington nonprofit, the tour is a key test for any job candidate.

“I can get a really good sense of whether I want to be working with somebody when I walk them through the place,” said Ms. Stonesifer, a former top Microsoft executive who also ran the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for years. “I’ll stop and introduce them to a half-dozen people, and see if it’s just a handshake or whether there’s some curiosity and interest.”

Share A Meal
Take a candidate out for lunch or dinner. Going to a restaurant will reveal all sorts of clues about someone. For many leaders, this is the most important part of the interview process.

The key is to watch whether the candidate is considerate of others — an essential quality of effective team players.

Things to pay attention to:

-Are they polite to everyone who is serving them?
-Do they look people in the eye (a sign of respect)?
-Are they irritated or flustered by problems?
-Can they keep a conversation going, with smart questions?
-Do they barrel through the restaurant, or let others go first?
“You learn so much in a meal,” said Carol Smith, the publisher of Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s like a little microcosm of life.”

The candidate’s personality comes out during a meal, providing answers to key tests for Ms. Smith: “Are you going to connect with us? Are you going to be part of the team, or are you going to be one of these independent players who wants to take all the credit? Are you good with assistants?”

Throw Some Curveballs
Unusual questions will get candidates to open up and provide insights into what makes them tick.

The Goal

Smart candidates will be prepared for all the usual interview questions, and will try to find clever ways to turn any negatives into positives, worried that any admission of weakness or vulnerability will count as a point against them. This strategy usually backfires with chief executives, since it makes a candidate seem less honest and trustworthy.

To get beyond the rehearsed answers, many executives have developed their own interview questions to better understand what a candidate is really like.

And we don’t mean brain-teaser questions like, “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?” Laszlo Bock, the former senior vice president of people operations at Google, said that while the company once used those types of questions, it ultimately decided that they were a complete waste of time. “They don’t predict anything,” Mr. Bock said. “They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

Here are some unusual questions that will reveal a lot about a candidate:

Interview questions to ask
WHAT IS YOUR NATURAL STRENGTH?
A person’s natural strength is not about their current title or what they studied in college. It is a particular skill or ability that, for them, comes as naturally as breathing but that others may find difficult. Other ways to ask this question: If everybody is in the top 5 percent of the world at some skill, what is yours? Or what is your ninja skill?

WHAT KIND OF ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE? AND WHY?
This may strike you as silly, but the answer can tell you a lot, particularly when candidates explain why they chose a certain animal. If you want to test it before you use it in a job interview, try it out at your next dinner party.Ask enough people this question, and you’re likely to hear some surprising answers, and gain valuable insights that will tell you whether they’re right for the job. The chief executive who often asks this question, for example, says that if she’s hiring somebody for sales, she likes to hear a predator as the answer, like a lion. If somebody is going to be working in teams all the time, a social animal may be the right answer. The “why?” part of the answer will also tell you a lot about their level of self-awareness.

WHAT QUALITIES OF YOUR PARENTS DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?
We’re all influenced by our parents, often more than we’d like to admit. So it’s a good bet that the answers to this question will reveal a lot about the candidate. You can also ask how these qualities come out in their daily lives.One chief executive takes this question a step further and asks people about the qualities of their parents they like the least. (That may be a bit too heavy for some people, though.)

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISPERCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOU?
The answers to this question will reveal candidates’ level of self-awareness. Do they know how they come across to others, even in ways that may not be a true reflection of who they are?This can also be a bit of a trick question, too, because what really matters is how people perceive you – in a sense, there is no such thing as misperception; in this context, perception is reality.Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos.com, uses this question often. Here’s what he’s listening for with this approach: “I think it’s a combination of how self-aware people are and how honest they are. I think if someone is self-aware, then they can always continue to grow. If they’re not self-aware, I think it’s harder for them to evolve or adapt beyond who they already are.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/business/how-to-hire-the-right-person

Surprising new research from NYU and the Wharton School shows that entrepreneurs who start a business on their own are likelier to succeed than those who do so with one or more partners.

That's pretty much the opposite of what most aspiring founders would guess. After all, you can't be good at everything. You might be a marketing expert but not know how to manage cash flow. Or you might good at building great products but bad at setting prices for them. So you team up with someone who's strong in the areas where you're weak, and you start the business together.

This reasoning seems logical, and it's how most people--even experts--see entrepreneurship. In fact, it's such an ingrained belief that VCs and other investors routinely choose to fund companies founded by teams rather than those with a solo founder. But it's also dead wrong. In an intriguing research project, Jason Greenberg of New York University and Ethan Mollick of the Wharton School sent surveys to more than 65,000 businesses launched on Kickstarter over a seven-year period.

More than 10,000 completed the survey. The researchers narrowed their focus to projects seeking a meaningful amount of funding--the kind that could be used to start a real business, and wound up with 3,526 businesses started with either a single founder or two or more partners.

Consistent with investors' bias toward teams rather than solo founders (and perhaps the fact that multiple people have more friends and family members than one), they found that companies with multiple founders were able to raise more money than those headed by a solo entrepreneur. You might think this would give founding teams an advantage over single founders, but you'd be wrong. Despite starting off with a smaller stake, companies with a single founder were more likely to still be in business than those with two or more. And though teams may have been able to raise more money initially than single entrepreneurs, companies with only one founder also saw higher revenue than those with two or more.

To see if these findings would hold true in the non-Kickstarter world, the researchers expanded their scope, looking at data from Crunchbase, the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics from the University of Michigan, and a survey of Wharton graduates. Although that research has not yet been completed, Greenberg told the Wall Street Journal that preliminary findings are consistent with the Kickstarter study: Companies with a single founder do better over time than those with multiple founders.

Why One Founder Is Better
Why are companies with single founders more likely to survive? The results suggest one explanation. Revenue at companies with multiple founders is lower than that at companies with a single founder. Yet two or more people cost more than one, especially if the founders are drawing salaries. Even if they aren't, office space, phone service, travel, and so on cost more for two founders than they do for one.

Researchers also pointed to some truths about leadership dynamics. Starting a company with multiple founders may bring an advantage in terms of wider expertise--but a solo founder can also hire others to provide the expertise he or she lacks. On the other hand, it's much easier and quicker for a single founder to think things through and then make a decision than it is for two people to discuss a problem or opportunity and agree on a course of action. With three or more founders, decision-making can take even longer.

And then there's risk. Starting a company is a risky undertaking to begin with. But once they've made that leap, many founders prefer to be conservative and hedge their bets. Two or more people making decisions together are less likely to make bold moves and take chances than one person acting independently.

Of course, it can be hard to distinguish cause from effect in studies like these. For instance, it's certainly true that two or more people making a decision together are more likely to avoid risk than one person deciding alone. But it's equally true that a solo entrepreneur who decides to start a business on his own or her own is probably more of a risk-taker than someone who wants to start a business but craves the comfort of a second founder to share the burden of responsibility. And someone who cares enough about a new product or idea to be willing to start a business on her own may have more passion for the product or business concept than a team of founders. Founder teams may be as motivated by the idea of working together as they are by their new company or product.

Further research may better explain why solo entrepreneurs are more successful than teams. In the meantime, the message is clear. If you want your new business to succeed, you're better off starting it by yourself.

Source: https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/solo-founders-entrepreneurs-success-nyu-wharton-research.html

Your first few years in the workplace are incredibly important. Here’s what you need to know.

My son Chris graduated from college and started his first “real” full-time job last month, working in human resources. It made me think about my first job out of college: editorial assistant in the custom publishing division of a Detroit-area advertising agency. I learned a lot in school, but my first job and bosses taught me even more.

Since experience can be a great teacher, I reached out to CEOs and business leaders to find out what they wish they had known when they started their first jobs.

TAKE MORE CHANCES
When Kanuj Malhotra, president of digital student solutions for Barnes & Noble Education, was starting his career, he wishes he had been more willing to take chances and make mistakes.

“In developing a product, fast failures are always better than drawn-out mediocrity,” he says. “Throughout my professional journey, I’ve discovered the importance of embracing the learnings you derive from failure; they allow you to re-evaluate your product and improve in areas you may have previously overlooked. These experiences make you a better leader, manager, and product developer—and a stronger asset to your business.”

STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
Dani Reiss, CEO of Canada Goose, thought you had to be an extrovert to be a great leader.

“When I first started doing speaking opportunities or even just addressing my own company, I felt a lot of pressure to be the kind of motivational speaker that you see a lot in the business industry, and that wasn’t me,” he says. “It wasn’t until a friend told me I was a compelling speaker when I spoke in my style that I understood I would only be effective if I spoke authentically.”

NETWORKING IS PART OF YOUR JOB
If you have an opportunity to meet more senior people, take it, says Laszlo Bock, cofounder and CEO of Humu, a human resources software firm.

“Treat building those relationships like a job, especially if you hate politics (like me) and are basically introverted (like me),” he says. “This will be obvious to people from certain backgrounds and hard to do for others. In school, I never approached teachers outside of class for advice. In consulting, I never felt comfortable schmoozing with the partners. But there are people less capable than you who will invest in those relationships and be advantaged as a result. Building those relationships is part of the job.”

HAVE PATIENCE
Don’t let outside influences push you to prioritize speed, says Ron Rudzin, president and CEO of the home furnishings company Saatva.

“When you’re young, you’re moving fast and get so excited about growth that it can throw you off course,” he says. “Don’t do it for ego. You’ve got to be smart and not worry about being the biggest on the block right away. Have patience, get your ducks in a row.”

GAIN GLOBAL EXPERIENCE
Karen Fichuk, CEO of the staffing and workforce solutions provider Randstad North America, wishes she had sought out global experience earlier in her career. Her first job was as a staff accountant in a branch office of a Fortune 500 beauty company.

“It was mostly made up of females in clerical roles, many of whom worked in that same branch, department, and some in the same exact job their entire career,” she recalls. “I actually left after three years because I didn’t think there was enough advancement in a branch location.”

Fichuk wishes she had explored more opportunities within the company. “Working for such a large organization, there were other paths for career development and cross-border experience, but I limited myself, defining my opportunities by my physical location,” she says.

LOOK FOR WAYS TO ACCELERATE YOUR CAREER
Victor Cho, CEO of the online invitation platform Evite, worked at Microsoft early in his career. One of the best pieces of advice he received was to think about three levers for accelerating your career.

“Be your own rocket ship,” he says. “Deliver with constant excellence, do your job superbly, and solve for the company first and foremost. Companies are generally meritocracies, and high performance will get rewarded and recognized. People typically focus here—but it isn’t sufficient.”

The next lever is to work for a manager who is a rocket ship, says Cho. “When you build a trusted relationship with someone who is accelerating rapidly, they will take you with them, and you can draft off of their progress.”

Finally, work on a product or business that is a rocket ship. “New opportunities will be created, and the employees who have proven themselves will be given chances at those opportunities.”

BE FLEXIBLE
When Beth Gerstein, cofounder and CEO of the ethically sourced jeweler Brilliant Earth, started her first job as a satellite communication engineer, one of her responsibilities was testing hardware. “I wasn’t keen on this,” she recalls. “I spoke to an adviser who gave me the advice to stand up and be vocal about my preferences.”

After telling her manager she didn’t want to test hardware, she learned that it was important to her role and a great opportunity. “I quickly learned the critical value of my role on the team and realized my work was integral to launching our satellite,” says Gerstein. “Being accommodating and flexible was beneficial to me early on, and now as an entrepreneur and CEO, I realize how important it is for new employees to come in with an open mind, do whatever it takes, and prove themselves. Additional opportunities will come from being a flexible team player.”

WORK DOESN’T GET EASIER
For the majority of his career, Tom Gozney, cofounder and CEO of Roccbox and Gozney Ovens, says he was locked in a sprint, working longer hours in anticipation of a finish line being around the corner.

“It’s easy to white-knuckle multiple commitments and work long hours thinking the next contract you land, or the next hire you make, will be the answer,” he says. “The truth is, the sprint never ends, the terrain just changes. It’s important to prioritize what’s important both at work and in your personal life, as it’s the cumulative effect of focus that truly reaps rewards.”

EVEN JOBS YOU DON’T LOVE ARE VALUABLE
After graduating from college, Bill Nash, president and CEO of CarMax, took a job at a public accounting firm. He says he knew on the second day it wasn’t the right fit.

“I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life behind a desk,” he says. “I wish I had known at the time that even in a job you don’t love, you can learn something. If I could go back, I’d tell myself to focus on learning everything you can by listening and observing your surroundings. Do the best you can do in the job you have, even if it’s not your dream job.”

DON’T LET PERFECTION GET IN THE WAY
Wix.com cofounder and CEO Avishai Abrahami’s first job was as a member of a hacker team, packing games onto floppy disks.

“My job was to write the graphic interface and compression,” he says. “I learned how computers work internally, how to create graphics and advanced algorithms.”

Abrahami says he wish he had known not to let planning and perfection stand in the way of getting the job done. There isn’t one perfect way to solve a problem–sometimes you just have to jump in, he says.

“My experience taught me two important lessons: Always make sure you surround yourself with people who possess incredible talent, and that passion is not about money, but it absolutely is what generates creativity,” he says.

BE A GOOD LISTENER
Ian Siegel, CEO of the employment marketplace ZipRecruiter, says he wishes he had known the importance of listening when he started his first job.

“Good listening is the best technique to become someone others want to work with,” he says. “There’s a simple hack that I call the two-second rule. In important conversations, wait two full seconds before you respond to whatever your conversation partner is saying. It allows your brain to process all the information they gave you and makes it apparent you’re really listening.”

EXPERIENCES ADD UP
Eugena Delman, CEO of clothing brand Ava James NYC, says she wishes she had been more patient at the beginning of her career.

“I wish someone had told me to learn as much as you can from every job you get in your career because you never know where it leads you,” she says. “I never thought I would launch my own business—much less a fashion e-comm business—but looking back at every job I had, I added another tool in my tool kit of skills and experience that eventually helped me launch my own startup.”

COMMUNICATE YOUR PASSION
Bill Peña, CEO of Simply Business US, a digital insurance marketplace for small businesses, started his career as an online creative designer at a learning company.

“I wish I had known that communicating my passion was just as imperative as demonstrating technical skills,” he says. “My younger self presented as calm and collected, even in high-pressure situations, because I was confident in my abilities to deliver. But to my colleagues, it looked like I didn’t care about the work because I wasn’t showing my emotions or talking to them about it.”

Peña learned that communicating with his colleagues is just as important as delivering the actual work.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT COMPETITION
Jason Fried, cofounder and CEO of the project management platform Basecamp, wishes he didn’t worry so much about things outside of his control.

“Competition is going to do what they’re going to do,” he says. “The market is going to do what it’s going to do. The economy is going to do what it’s going to do. So what are you going to do? There’s lots of obsessing about things far out of your control and not enough focus on the things that you can control.”

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90347310/ceos-share-their-best-advice-for-college-graduates

Over recent years, more and more women have been foregoing traditional male-dominated workplaces to start their own businesses. Whether they're expressing themselves through the arts, designing new technology, or establishing themselves as freelancers, women entrepreneurs are are constituting a bigger and bigger share of the workplace, with 114 percent more than there were two decades ago. Instead of exclusively seeing white men at the top of their companies, women who aspire to run their own businesses now have role models like Mogul founder and CEO Tiffany Pham to look up to. To help other women (and people of all genders) reach the point she's at, Pham recently released the book You Are a Mogul.

Pham moved to Texas from Paris at age 10 without speaking a word of English. She gradually rose to the top of her class and went on to attend Yale and Harvard Business School. She was working three jobs in New York City while she taught herself to code so that she could fulfill her dream of creating a place for women worldwide to support one another. That dream became Mogul, a site and app where women have discussions, give and get advice, share articles, post and find jobs, and more. Over 18 million women worldwide visit Mogul each week.

How did she do it? "When you have an idea, just get started," she tells Bustle. "Put pen to paper. Don’t worry about it being perfect at the beginning. Rapidly prototype, and iterate toward perfection over time. Next, reach out to your 50 role models. Not just one, but 50. Ask to collaborate with them, so you can learn from them while you support their projects and initiatives. In this way, you learn from the best of the best. And in the process, become genuine friends. Finally, be kind, authentic, and generous. Give, give, and give. Because that’s the energy you’re giving off, and that’s the energy you’re getting back. Momentum will continue to arise in this way."

Here are some more tips from Pham that she shares in her book.

1
Work In A Variety Of Fields

While some entrepreneurs may try to get as much experience as possible in the field they want to end up in, Pham advocates working in as many roles in as many fields as possible. If you're going to run a business, you need to understand all facets of it.

Pham learned this after being offered an internship at the United Nations while working in finance. She wanted to end up working at a place like the UN eventually, but she realized that the way to get there was to gain expertise in a number of areas including finance, so she stayed at her current job, which ultimately prepared her for running a business that changes the world the way she hoped to change it at the UN.

She imparts advice her father gave her when she was making the decision: "I know that you want to make a difference. And you will. But right now, you are putting in the hours to learn the skills necessary to make that difference. ... If you are ever going to pursue starting something, put your heart into it and finish this out. Become the best you can be at it. Then move on to the next thing."

2
Treat Every Small Task As A Chance To Excel

"You’ve got to kill it and over-deliver on every task you are given. And I mean every task. There is no task too small for you," Pham writes. If you're an intern charged with making your boss coffee, make the best cup of coffee you've ever made. If you're answering phones, be extra nice to the people on the other end of the line. Pham imparts the story of a friend who had to lick stamps for her job, so she became an extremely enthusiastic stamp-licker and got promoted.

If you can find a way to do even the most mundane tasks extremely well, you will be noticed. So, no matter what you're doing, over-deliver and kill it.

3
Fail Forward

Most of us are taught during childhood to view failure as a negative. But failure can actually mean that you're trying different things and making progress. Aside from the fact that it teaches you lessons about what doesn't work, failures can actually be successes in disguise — if you treat them as such.

For example, Pham's childhood years in an unfamiliar country, failing to fit in with her classmates, helped her "learn how to belong anywhere, to be curious about new places and new ideas, and to be ready and willing to incorporate new perspectives into my growing worldview," she writes. If you make a mistake, funnel the energy that would have gone into feeling regretful into making that mistake a changing point in your life.

4
Always Aim To Do Better

Most of us feel successful if we're outperforming the people around us, but Pham instead advocates trying to outperform yourself — even if you're already performing well. She first learned this in high school math class, where she'd typically get A-minuses on tests. She wasn't motivated to do better until she saw that the girl in front of her was getting A-pluses. Once she knew that was possible, she strove for a 100 every time, realizing that a little bit of extra time studying had big payoffs.

"Achieving the 'impossible' is usually possible with hard work and unwavering dedication," Pham writes. "When you set yourself up for success, you often surpass what once seemed impossible. Not just for grades or accolades, but because there is no better feeling than doing your best, whatever your best might be."

5
Choose A Supportive Partner

Pham believed she was going to marry the partner she was with when she started Mogul — until he made her choose between him and her career. That experience taught her that, before you become serious with someone, you need to make sure they support all your career goals.

Pham cites research showing that married women who are expected to do all the work around the house have less career success. "Who you choose to be your life partner is just as important as who you decide to have as your business partner," she writes. Sheryl Sandberg has similarly said that "the single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is."

6
Value Your Voice

When you're the only woman in the room or the only person of color or the youngest, it can feel like your voice doesn't matter. But actually, it matters more because you're bringing a new perspective to the table, says Pham. We need businesses run by all kinds of people so that we can cater to all kinds of people.

"If you are facing an industry event, a board meeting, or an interview where you know you will be facing a roomful of people unlike you, acknowledge what an important thing you are doing," Pham writes. "You are taking one more step for each of us to claim our place at the table."

7
Establish A Routine That Helps You Look Forward To Each Day

Pham shares her morning routine in her book, and it helps you understand (though still not completely) how she manages to subsist off four hours of sleep a night. When she wakes up every morning, she texts "good morning" to several of her close friends, and they check in with one another. Then, she goes to a dance class and has her first meeting of the day over breakfast to turn business into an outing. "This allows me to go into the day feeling most like myself when I’ve connected with someone deeply," she says.

As Pham writes, "Every day is about high impact. It’s important to perform at 100 percent in every moment — with true kindness, authenticity, and generosity." That's a lesson anyone in any profession can apply to their careers.

Source: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-tips-for-aspiring-female-entrepreneurs-according-to-a-ceo-13247478

For years, I threw tons of money at marketing that never really worked.

In one of my previous businesses, we redesigned our website, cranked out brochures, and went to tradeshows — always hoping that whatever we tried next would FINALLY be the “magic” strategy that actually drove registrations.

Spoiler alert: none of it ever worked — even though we had a great product.

We had fallen into the marketing money pit — spending too much money on great-looking marketing materials that just didn’t work.

Does that sound familiar?

If you’re like most small businesses, you can relate. We interact with about 3000 clients every year at StoryBrand. Time after time, we’ve heard clients tell us about their expensive rebranding campaign. We wince and tell them as gently as possible that it was all a waste of money.

I’m so tired of seeing business leaders waste money on marketing. It tends to happen in one of three ways. I want show you what they are PLUS how to avoid them so your precious marketing resources go toward strategies that will actually grow your business.

Redesigning a website without clarifying their message first

We all know how it goes.

You say to yourself, “I need a new website.”

You shop around and finally find someone to help you create it. They design and build out the site, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. This is your baby, and you are the proudest parent ever.

But once it launches, nothing happens. Sales don’t increase. New customers don’t come in the door. You’ve got this beautiful new website, but nobody’s paying attention to it.

The problem? Graphic artists get degrees in design. They master tools like Photoshop and Illustrator. They’re incredibly talented and they know how to make something beautiful.

But very few of them ever study sales copy. They don’t write words that sell things.

People buy your products based on the words they hear and read.

People buy your products based on the words they hear and read. And yes, the design can make those words more noticeable and readable. But ultimately, it’s the words that motivate us to take action.

When you go to a graphic designer or agency to create a website, and they aren’t trained on how to write the correct words that’ll sell that product, you’re losing money. Websites can’t get by on their good looks alone.

Are you relying on design experts to write the words on your website? If so, you’re probably using the wrong words and it’s costing you money.

Before you redesign your website, check out our field guide to every step of the process — and don’t assume that a beautiful site is an effective one.

Sponsoring a trade show booth without a solid one-liner

Are trade shows a part of your marketing strategy?

Exhibiting at a trade show helps you connect face-to-face with qualified potential customers and can dramatically increase your brand’s influence.

If you’re a typical company, you’ve allocated a whopping 31.6% of your overall marketing budget to trade shows.

If you’re a typical company, you’ve allocated a whopping 31.6% of your overall marketing budget to trade shows (according to this research). And you’ve dropped some serious coin on your displays, materials, and travel costs.

And it all looks great. Heck, you’ve even got the on-trend succulents and modern furniture.

But what words are your team members saying when prospects visit your booth? How are they conveying what your company does and the problems you solve?

If you don’t know, you’re wasting all that investment. Because your eye-popping booth may attract attention, but it’s ultimately the words you use inside the booth that will earn you more business.

You need a one-liner: a well-crafted sentence that you can say that gets people to buy your product.

First, this sentence describes the problem your typical customer has. Then it describes how your product or service solves that problem. And finally it describes a resolution, how the customer’s life is better as a result of using the product.

Once you have a one-liner, make sure any employee who staffs your booth knows it cold. When you use that formula to say what you do, those prospective customers will listen and remember it. And you’ll actually get a great return on your trade show investment instead of throwing away your marketing dollars.

Developing an email newsletter that no one reads

If you’re asking customers to sign up for your email newsletter, you’re wasting money.

Here’s why.

Nobody wants to sign up for your email newsletter!

Honestly, how many newsletters do you sign up for in a given month? In a year? And of the ones you get, which ones do you actually read, much less click on?

Let’s say somebody does sign up for your newsletter. That means, every week or every month, you’ve got to send one.

You’ve got to write or collect the content, track down images, design, format, and test it all, and send it. Or you’ve got to ask one of your employees to spend their precious time doing it — instead of the other important tasks on their list.

In either case, what does all that effort really do to drive business?

It’s time to go beyond the newsletter. There are far better email strategies out there that can:

Generate more email signups than a simple “newsletter” offer ever could
Develop stronger, more trusting relationships with customers
Strengthen your authority as a leader in your industry
Drive sales straight from the emails you send

One of those strategies is simply to offer a free piece of “lead generating” content your subscribers get when they sign up for your emails. Here’s how to grow your email list with a lead generator. Implementing this strategy — plus a series of smart follow-up emails — will probably take the same amount of staff time as a newsletter, but it will deliver a far stronger return on that investment.

Too many companies waste enormous amounts of money on marketing. I don’t want that to happen to you. If you’re doing anything on this list, I want you to stop. I also want you to check out this free video series. In it, I go into a lot more detail about what to do instead so you can avoid the marketing money pit and start creating marketing that actually grows your business.

Source: http://buildingastorybrand.com/ways-small-businesses-waste-money-on-marketing/

I. The Context – An Introduction

Businesses are confronted with a never-ending litany of challenges. While it may be increasingly difficult to know where to begin in prioritizing these challenges, companies must undertake threat assessments and prioritize the impact of any potential, realistic threat. Once the threat is identified, the enterprise must evaluate appropriate and reasonable measures to minimize the detrimental impact should the threat materialize. Such prudence is an obligation each organization owes to its stakeholders. This article explores one potential threat to virtually every organization and the significant return on investment in strategically and cost effectively protecting some of the most valuable assets of any enterprise that are exposed to misuse and theft: trade secrets, proprietary information, and confidential information.

Intellectual property is critical to the vitality of today’s economy and the competitive advantage of an enterprise. Intellectual property, in all its forms, is an engine of growth, accounting for an increasing share of jobs and trade. Intellectual property in selected core industries has, in the past, been estimated to account for at least 6% of the gross domestic product of the United States. In recent years, the overall value of the “intellectual capital” of U.S. businesses – including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets – was estimated to account for one third of the value of U.S. companies, or about $5 trillion.

A company’s trade secrets and intellectual property rights create incentives for entrepreneurs and investors to commit the necessary resources to research, develop, and market new technologies, process improvements, new services, and other forms of critically important innovative activities. These rights are fundamental to the protection of the nation’s competitive advantage. As one court observed, “[t]he future of the nation depends in no small part on the efficiency of industry, and the efficiency of industry depends in no small part on the protection of intellectual property.”1 The effective protection of intellectual property is essential to fostering creativity and supporting the economic and financial infrastructure of an enterprise.

Rare will be the business that has no proprietary or confidential information that is worthy of some level of protection. As such, virtually every enterprise must acknowledge and confront certain realities in evaluating whether and how to protect its confidential and proprietary information:

-Employers, in an attempt to increase efficiency and effectiveness and exploit the benefits of sharing institutional knowledge, provide employees access to confidential and proprietary information. Sales personnel are routinely exposed to such confidential information as national sales trends, product development plans, quality control issues, profitability evaluations across product lines, marketing plans, and the like. Information sharing is not unique with sales personnel: managers, department heads, engineers, research and development personnel, etc., are increasingly given access to sensitive institutional knowledge so they might better perform their assigned duties. This information, if obtained by a competitor, would, to say the least, prove catastrophic for many companies.

-Systems that store critical information and data are becoming much more complex and accessible. The use of laptops rather than desktops and the deployment of work from offsite or home technologies like Virtual Private Networks (VPN) have created an environment ripe for potential misuse and abuse.

-The U.S. Department of Commerce has estimated that the theft or misappropriation of an employer’s trade secrets and confidential information costs U.S. businesses approximately $250 million per year.3

-According to the Computer Crime and Security Survey by the FBI and the Computer Security Institute, theft of proprietary data and unauthorized access to information are among the four most common sources of loss due to cyber crime (along with viruses and hardware theft).

-There exists a body of well-developed contract law and state and federal statutes to protect employers from unfair competition. These unfair competition laws will not provide any significant benefit to those employers who do not strategically evaluate how best to exploit the protections these laws provide.

II. The Legal Overview – A Primer

The legal protections provided to business are many and varied and this article will focus on a few of the more important tools at the disposal of every organization.2

A. The Contract; Restrictive Covenants

A restrictive covenant is a contractual agreement, usually between an employer and an employee (but can and should be used appropriately with vendors, suppliers, independent contractors, board members, and consultants), in which one party prohibits the other from engaging in conduct detrimental to that party’s business. One of the most common forms of restrictive covenants is an agreement between a business and its employee designed to limit the employee’s ability to compete against the business (either individually or as an employee of a competing business) once that employee leaves employment. Restrictive covenants can also take the form of prohibitions on the solicitation of customers, clients, or employees, as well as prohibitions on hiring current employees of the employer or agreements not to improperly disclose certain information of the employer either during or after employment (confidentiality agreements).

Because of various state law requirements (both common law and statutory), as well as judicial philosophy, non-competition agreements are often the most difficult of the restrictive covenants to fully enforce. As a result, there is a reluctance by many enterprises to use these tools. The individual state law requirements for the enforcement of non-competition agreements vary significantly, which poses burdens in draftsmanship and enforcement. This is particularly true if the restrictive covenants impact employees in multiple states and are geographic locations and are therefore subject to multiple state law requirements. However, such non-compete and non-solicitation contractual arrangements have and can be effectively tailored and enforced by the courts to meet the legitimate business needs of an employer.

The essential requirement in enforcing these contracts, regardless of the state involved, is whether there exists a “protectable interest” that justifies the court’s intervention. Unless the employer can prove a “protectable interest,” a restrictive covenant will not be enforced. What constitutes a “protectable interest” is specifically defined in some state statutes. In Michigan, the definition is rather vague and open ended: “an employer’s reasonable competitive business interest.” The bottom line is that information, processes, or practices that provide the business with a competitive advantage, and are generally not known outside of the employer’s business, and required the time, talent, and effort of the employer to develop that information, process, or practice will be deemed “protectable” by the courts. While impossible to catalogue all the “business interests” that have been protected by the courts, legitimate protectable interests can include customer lists, pricing, compensation strategies, security systems, marketing programs, formula and/or design techniques, and sales data.

III. Trade Secrets and Computer Fraud – State and Federal Statutes

A. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Absent an enforceable restrictive covenant, employees are generally free to compete with their former employers, including pursuing clients, accounts, and market areas. While restricting competition in general is disfavored, virtually every state recognizes that certain valuable information developed by companies should be protected from disclosure, regardless of the existence of a restrictive covenant. This recognition has led to legislation aimed at protecting company “trade secrets.” The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA” or the “Act”) has been adopted in most states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The purpose of the Act is to codify the myriad conflicting common law rules dealing with trade secrets.

The goals of the Act are to maintain a standard of commercial ethics, encourage the creative activities of businesses, and spur invention in the marketplace. To accomplish these goals, the Act prohibits the misappropriation of a company’s trade secrets and provides a number of potential remedies for actual or threatened misappropriations of trade secrets.

This Act defines a “trade secret” as “information, including a formula, pattern compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that is both of the following:

-Derives independent economic value, actual or potential from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use.

-Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.”

The statue provides the business with a civil cause of action for the misappropriation of a trade secret and specifically empowers the court to issue a preliminary injunction. The damages available to the employer who prevails on a trade secret claim includes the recovery of “reasonable attorney fees” and:

can include both the actual loss caused by misappropriation and the unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is not taken into account in computing actual loss. In lieu of damages measured by any other methods, the damages caused by misappropriation may be measured by imposition of liability for a reasonable
royalty for a misappropriator’s unauthorized disclosure or use of a trade secret.

B. The Federal Economic Espionage Act

The Federal Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C.A. §§1831 et. seq., criminalizes the theft of trade secrets from an employer. The definition of a trade secret under this Act is similar to the definition contained in the Uniform Trade Secrets Protection Act.

In addition to providing criminal penalties, this Act also authorizes the Attorney General to institute a civil action to seek immediate injunctive relief to protect those employers whose trade secrets have been stolen or misappropriated. The Act provides another important tool for to employers but the decision on when and how to use this tool must be carefully weighed and evaluated.

C. The Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C.A. § 1030, is an often overlooked statute that provides for both criminal and civil remedies for its violation. This Act prohibits not only the theft of trade secrets from computer-based programs, but also the malicious destruction of computer-based information and systems. Again, this Act should be viewed as a “supplemental” protection and not relied upon solely in the protection of trade secrets. If, however, a current employee destroys or impairs computer systems, data, or programs, there is potential civil and criminal liability that does exist.

IV. Reasonable Steps To Protect

Taking “reasonable steps” to protect the confidential information of the enterprise is critical for two reasons: before a Court will enforce the available state and federal laws, such steps must be taken by statute. In addition, such steps will bolster the argument when enforcing a restrictive covenant that the interest involved is “protected.” Some of the more common and inexpensive steps an organization might consider are:

-Have all appropriate personnel and entities (i.e., suppliers, independent contractors, board members, etc.) execute confidentiality, non-compete or non-solicitation agreements;

-Have employees execute invention assignment agreements;

-Include in the company’s policies, handbooks, and collective bargaining agreements the appropriate confidentiality and trade secret provisions that will also permit the company to access and evaluate all computer hard drives and other company-assigned electronic information storage devices without violating the privacy rights of employees; and

-Catalogue and restrict access to confidential information and trade secrets, particularly when dealing with information retained in the company’s IT systems.
These are only a few of the actions an employer might consider to reasonably protect its confidential information and trade secrets.

V. Potential Detection and Remedial Measures

Any protective strategy is ineffective if it fails to incorporate processes and procedures that will trigger the implementation of effective remedial measures. When a key employee departs the organization, for example, the company should have mechanisms in place to detect and remedy its good faith belief the former employee has or is about to misuse a company’s confidential information and trade secrets. For example, any such strategy might encompass an evaluation of the following measures:

-Conducting exit interviews with all key employees requesting the identification of the employee’s new employer. If an employee fails to identify the new employer, particularly if the employee is bound by a restrictive covenant, a “red flag” exists that may well require further investigation and evaluation;

-The immediate termination of all access rights by the departing employee to the company’s information systems and facilities;

-Requiring the IT department to properly secure all computers and other data storage devices (telephones, blackberries, PDAs, etc.) that may be necessary to assist in any subsequent investigation; the department should power down (including the removal of all batteries) and store in a secure area any computer or electronic information storage device before anyone attempts to search or access data on the device;

-Retain a computer forensic expert who can effectively copy, evaluate, and mine data from hard drives and other electronic devices assigned to former key employees where there exists a belief the employee may be engaging in inappropriate activity. If a computer is immediately taken out of service, most computer forensic evaluations will permit the recovery of files and e-mails that have been deleted from even the computer’s recycle bin. Similarly, the internet access history of a computer may potentially result in a wealth of information that can be used in any subsequent proceeding. A forensic investigation can also determine if any external device like a hard drive or iPod was installed on the computer and, if so, what documents and information may have been down loaded and when; and

-Cell phone investigations are becoming increasingly prevalent as most phones have a memory chip (SIM card) that holds large amounts of data, including text messages, e-mails, and even documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point. Unfortunately, the internal storage capacity is limited and can be deleted from the memory if the device is not taken out of service and the forensic evaluation conducted as soon as possible.
Today a host of new (as well as traditional) tools are at a company’s disposal to detect, evaluate, and remedy the misappropriation and misuse of trade secrets and confidential information. Undertaking these and other appropriate steps before an attorney goes to court in an attempt to obtain a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction will often mean the difference between success and failure in remedying what could potentially be a significant threat to the economic vitality of the enterprise.

VI. Conclusion

Given the significant investment of resources, time, and talent required in the development of an organization’s advantages (including its confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets), it would be prudent to take the appropriate steps that are necessary to protect this information from theft and misappropriation by competitors.

Source: https://www.stout.com/en/insights/article/protecting-your-valuable-trade-secrets-proprietary-and-confidential-information/

Here at Google, we don’t have a secret formula for innovation. But that doesn’t mean Googlers’ best ideas are ineffable mysteries. On the contrary, we’ve found they can be systematically coaxed into being and steadily improved upon. And so can yours.

BUILDING A BETTER BRAINSTORM
Just about everyone can learn to brainstorm better. After all, it’s a process like any other. And the beauty of a process is that it can be taught, learned, and shared. We’ve distilled our own approach into a set of three basic principles–ideas we believe can be adapted and applied at pretty much any organization, regardless of size or industry.

The way many of us brainstorm often gives the whole experience a bad rap: We typically envision a brainstorming session as an unstructured scene where wild ideas are thrown around in an ad hoc way–where anything goes. But at Google, while we’ve learned that freestyle brainstorming is the basis of innovation, it doesn’t turn into substantive action without some structure.

That’s why we’ve created a linear process for brainstorming new ideas and turning them into actual products:

-Know the user
-Think 10x
-Prototype

If that looks simple, it is–but you have to execute each step the right way.

1. GET TO KNOW THE USER

To solve a big question, you first have to focus on the user you’re solving it for—then everything else will follow.
To solve a big question, you first have to focus on the user you’re solving it for–then everything else will follow. So we go out in the field and talk to people. We collect users’ stories, emotions, and ideas. We learn to get comfortable with silence. We watch, listen, and empathize. You can’t just understand your users’ needs–you need to actually relate to them.

For example, I recently visited our customers in Canada, Brazil, and India. By observing and talking with them, I realized that what we generically call “mobility” means very different things depending on where you are. In Canada, mobility means instant collaboration from your desk, the coffee shop, or your kitchen table. In Brazil, where users spend a lot of time in commute, a great interface and voice control underpin the concept of mobility. In India, where connectivity may be a challenge in some areas, a critical aspect of mobility is working offline.

Obviously, there’s no way we could’ve learned that without making the effort to find it out. And that’s something many brainstorming sessions get wrong right off the bat–they get everyone but the user into a room together to start throwing ideas around. But that’s actually Step 2, not Step 1.v

2. THINK 10X

Being able to describe an idea in less than six words helps you clarify it.
Now that you’re armed with information to base your brainstorm around, you can get down to thinking–but not just any thinking. The notion of “10x thinking” is pretty familiar in the business world by now, and it’s at the heart of how we innovate at Google. It’s about trying to improve something by 10 times rather than by 10%. One example is Project Loon, our initiative for providing internet access to everyone: An incremental solution would be to just install more fibers, whereas a “10x” idea is Project Loon–a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas and help fill the hardest-to-reach gaps in coverage.

The next step is to have all participants write down their ideas individually before getting back together as a group and deciding which ones to pursue. Here’s the thing to understand before you do that, though: 10x thinking sounds great in theory, but not everyone quite knows how to put it into action. So when team members reconvene with their sticky notes and the most productive part of the brainstorming process kicks into gear, make sure to follow these six guidelines:

-Build on each others’ ideas. It’s easy to kill an idea, so especially in the early stages, systematically follow up ideas with, “yes, and” instead of shooting them down with “no, but” comments.

-Generate lots of ideas. At this point quantity is more important than quality, so really let loose. Time to grab a pile of sticky notes or your favorite note-taking app. The best way to have a great idea is to have many ideas.

-Write headlines. Being able to describe an idea in less than six words helps you clarify it. Imagine your favorite media outlet or magazine covers your great idea: What would you want the headline to read?

-Illustrate. Pictures are usually louder than words and harder to misinterpret.

-Think big. Invite bold, intrepid ideas–yes, this is the “10x” part–not incremental solutions. As Frederik Pferdt, Google’s head of innovation and creativity, likes to say, “Just beyond crazy is fabulous!”

-Defer judgment. Don’t judge ideas in the midst of brainstorming (remember Rule #1) but let them grow so you can build on them and iterate.

3. PROTOTYPE
Then it’s time to take action. Most brainstorming sessions end with an agreement to have another meeting later, to take those ideas and work them up further. It’s a common mistake. You want to strike when the iron is hot–you don’t want to walk away or agree to follow talk with more talk.
Here at Google, we like to build a quick prototype pretty much right away. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a physical manifestation of an idea that’s designed strictly to answer the most immediate questions and test our first assumptions about an idea that seems promising.

When it comes to details, we’ve found we can always fake it, so as much as possible, we like to actually make it. When you can hold your ideas in your hands, you can start to test and learn from them.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/3061059/how-to-brainstorm-like-a-googler

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”
Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.

Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Not long ago I Skyped with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of France. She described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. She says it feels like college — she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. She has a boyfriend again. (She once ruefully summarized dating in New York: “Everyone’s too busy and everyone thinks they can do better.”) What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school — it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?

But just in the last few months, I’ve insidiously started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. For the first time I was able to tell people, with a straight face, that I was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon. Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails as