Posts tagged ‘entrepreneurship’

February 17, 2014

An Awesome Experience

10 days ago, I stood in front of 800 people packed in an auditorium, delivering a speaking engagement that I called “The 10 Aha! Moments of Entrepreneurship”. Most of the attendees were students, from grade 7 through grade 12, at The Pingry School, a private preparatory school in New Jersey. I wanted to give them 10 things to think about from the world of entrepreneurship.

After the keynote, a couple of dozen students moved up close to the stage for a one-hour Q&A session about anything on their minds. It was during this conversation that I got a feel for the interest and motivations that many of the students share. By the time I left, after touring the school and hearing about some of their ongoing projects, I couldn’t help but feel energized by what I’d seen and heard.

I went there to inspire them, and they in turn inspired me. What an awesome experience!

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December 21, 2013

Keeping Your Cool

You know how work can be sometimes, whether it’s your own business or whether you work for someone else. Once in awhile you just have it up to here. And because you figure it doesn’t happen often, you’re entitled to blow off steam in some loud or nasty way to try to make a point. Or maybe you didn’t even have a point to make.

I have to admit, early in my career while I was still learning, I lost my cool once or twice in a professional setting. Hey, I was young. Subconsciously, I probably thought I’d create more impact by losing my cool. By the second time I did it, I started to realize that the reverse was probably more true. And that’s why I remember those instances after all these years, because I didn’t want to do that again.

Don’t do it. Don’t lose your cool. Even if someone loses their cool with you first. If you lose your cool, you put yourself on a level from which you have to raise yourself afterward. People who lose their cool, contrary to their beliefs, do not get respect. They do get attention, at least temporarily, but they don’t get respect. That’s why you sometimes hear people say, after another person blows up suddenly, that they “lost a lot of respect” for that person.

Be cool! And have a great holiday season…

November 19, 2013

5 Minutes Instead of Checking Email

Instead of checking email yet again, why not spend 5 minutes doing something else, perhaps something more refreshing or energizing? In a recent article posted on the FastCompany website, Laura Vanderkam offers 17 possible suggestions.

What do you think? Any of those sound good to you?

November 14, 2013

8 Things You Need Before the Start

In business, the hardest thing is the start. And there are often factors that prevent us from launching successfully, or that create distractions after we launch. On my other blog, The Second Boom, I wrote about 8 things Boomers need to have in place before they consider starting a business, but those 8 things are not restricted to just Boomers. Jump over to that post and tell me if you’re thinking of those 8 things:

Do you have these 8 things in place?

Where do you stand in regards to these 8 things?

October 7, 2013

The FORE Leadership Cycle

In my second book, Let It Fly! Defy the Laws of Business Gravity and Keep Your Company Soaring, I introduced the FORE cycle of leadership. FORE is an acronym which stands for focus-offload-review-encourage. I’ll let you read the book and learn the details of each stage of the 4-stage cycle, but in this post, I want to point out that FORE is a complete cycle. You can’t just do some of the 4 stages, you have to do all of them. Here’s what happens if you leave out a stage while doing the others.

If you leave out the “F” or focus, you might still offload, review, and encourage your team, but they’re all over the place because you supplied no focus. Lots of unfocused work just passes the time.

If you leave out the “O” or offload, you never trust your team enough to offload the responsibility to them. Then you become a micro-manager, even though you review and encourage, because all you’re doing is reviewing and encouraging them on exactly what you told them to do.

If you leave out the “R” or review, you’ve focused your team, offloaded responsibility to them, and encourage them, but never check on whether they’re executing properly. Things that break could be broken for awhile until you finally discover them. Plus, if you’ve been encouraging them all along, they might be reluctant to bring you bad news.

And finally, if you leave out the “E” or encourage, you have a good team that’s focused, takes responsibility, fulfills your reviews of them, but never gets thanked or encouraged about what they do. That could become a thankless job for many of the team members.

See how focus-offload-review-encourage, or FORE, is a complete cycle of stages? Those of you with leadership responsibilities, please take note.

September 5, 2013

Objection, Your Honor!

In courtroom dramas, we see opposing attorneys object to things, and the judge settles it with a “Sustained” or “Overruled”. In life, it’s not such a convenient situation when someone objects to what we’re saying or proposing, whether it’s in a business or a non-business setting.

This article on the American Management Association website offers tips on how to deal with objections. The author offers 4 steps to keep in mind: clarify, acknowledge, respond, and confirm.

How do you deal with objections?

September 3, 2013

The Meaning of Success

Last year, in a survey of 26,000 Americans, Parade magazine and Yahoo! Finance found that almost 60% said they regretted their career decisions. I find that an astounding revelation, and feel even more thankful that I have forged my own path with my own business pursuits.

Success is something that means different things to different people, but part of this involves making your life meaningful to you. In a recent Fast Company article, Wharton Business School professor Richard Shell offer 5 insights on what could make life more meaningful. One I was happy to see was #3, “Discover what you do better than most.”

In my mind, that’s how you start laying the foundation for success and fulfillment, whether you have your own business, or work for someone else.

August 13, 2013

Lesson from BlackBerry

BlackBerry, once the dominant market leader in smartphones, just released the news that it is looking at the possibility of selling all or part of the company. They practically created the smartphone device market, and had a stranglehold on the corporate device segment. Now, they’re in danger of becoming irrelevant, despite adding singer Alicia Keys to its Creative Design group.

The reasons for BlackBerry’s dramatic fall are being debated. And you might say that this has nothing to do with any of us because BlackBerry is a large public company. But as small business owners we can learn something from this.

One of the reasons BlackBerry is in the situation it’s in is because it didn’t react to changes in its marketplace, as new devices emerged with full size touchscreen displays and “soft” keyboards (think iPhone). It seems that the BlackBerry guys felt that their customers would continue to prefer BlackBerry’s physical-keyboard devices. With such a large market lead, they started to believe they were invincible.

The same thing can happen to a small business. Its customers could be singing praises, and the business owner feels he or she owns the market. Things change, but the owner’s not listening, because of the previous adoration. Then the company fades, and this is one story that doesn’t make the press.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what you think about how good you are. It only matters what your customers think.

July 17, 2013

Don’t Get It Backwards

One of the common mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make is to come up with a product idea before they figure out who to sell it to. They fall in love with some concept they’ve been thinking about, perhaps to solve a problem they personally have. Then they create a product to address that problem, and maybe even come up with a good solution for it.

But if very few other people have that same problem, the potential market won’t be very large. The entrepreneur could experience what I call “terminal success”: achieving 100% market share after 10 sales. You’re awesome if you reach 100% market share, but if your market consists of only 10 possible sales, you’re sunk.

Don’t get it backwards. Focus on finding a potential problem to solve, figure out if it’s a big enough market, then create a product to address it. It’s way cheaper to change your focus before you build a product, then to build a product first and find out the market’s too small.

July 8, 2013

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

The Second Boom has arrived, for Baby Boomers who want to start their own businesses. It’s not too late — I talk about it in my series of 3 training videos that are absolutely free just for opting in. Go here to find out more:

http://www.TheSecondBoom.net

Some people say that Boomers are past their primes. I say, baloney, it’s not too late to figure out a business that fits your passion and knowledge. And an old Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Start your Second Boom. Make it big.