Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category
The average employee successfully achieves their basic objectives at work on a daily basis. This is mainly due to the fact that an employee is only responsible for specific task on a daily basis. In the corporate world for most errors that come up there is a standard resolution used across the company to correct the problem. For many entrepreneurs who have worked in the corporate world, the first thing you will notice is the difference is your work flow. For entrepreneurs, the daily task we tackle could differ from day-to-day.
The difference between a good job and a job well done is the ability to go beyond merely achieving what your customer wants you to do, and break through to deliver unanticipated impact that can truly distinguish your work. Research shows that the most successful professionals were not those who simply exceeded their objectives – delivering 100% of their prescribed targets. The most successful were the ones who redefined their objectives. They didn’t just do what they were told; they focused on what really needed to be done.
A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. – Steve Jobs
It’s always good to agree with a client on what their problem is. But how to solve the problem doesn’t necessarily need the client’s input. There are so many different ways to solve one problem. As the professional, your job is to show your client what can be done to fix the problem. This is where thinking and working outside of the box comes in. There’s always the traditional way that things have been done. But successful entrepreneurs think differently. Having a negative situation that needs to be turned into a positive is not a problem. In business, this is a part of everyday life. The true task is in not only solving the problem, but creating a solution that causes a continuous impact.
- Define the problem
- Define the impact you want the solution to make
- Explore the solutions
- Choose a solution that works best
- Develop an action plan
By focusing on the outcome you make the process of the assignment easier. This approach is effective, but requires creativity, detail and lots of work. By focusing on the outcome, you’ll need to draw a plan to tackle a specific problem. This could mean implementing different plans for each problem. Be sure to interact one on one with your clients as much as possible. This way, you will be able to alter your plan as you go, and still meet or exceed the expected outcome.
Professionals are paid for a reason – your client is paying for the use of your knowledge, experience, and your ability to execute with a positive impact. Remember to always look at problems more expansively. It’s not the task or assignment that is most important, but impact of the outcome.
With the trend of leadership building, whether within a group or one on one coaching, it’s become imperative that entrepreneurs develop strong leadership skills to facilitate their success. Entrepreneurs who are not natural-born leaders can still find ways to build their leadership muscle. That being said, with the obligations of everyday life on top of being an entrepreneur it can be very hard to carve out time to take on leadership sessions. This raises an important question – can a person develop themselves into a leader on their own?
As a mother and an entrepreneur, my time is very limited and this was a question I had to seriously ask myself. The answer was – yes! Once I made the commitment, I then had to come up with a strategy and execution plan. How would I find the extra time, even with myself to develop my leadership skills. I quickly realized that to get the best use of my time I would focus on areas I knew were weak for me. When you work with a team or leadership coach most of your time in the beginning is spent discovering what your needs are and customizing a plan to your individual needs. You know yourself better than anyone else, this is one of the main reasons discipline and self-development can be successful.
Some of the most important skills in today’s leadership roles may not be as hard-core as you think. It’s important to make sure you are not overlooking what’s important to your successful growth. Because of the trend that modern work has taken soft skills such as; self-awareness, adaptability and relationship building have become the new hard skills to have. So, how do you create your own leadership development plan?
Step 1: Define your weaknesses
First do an honest self-assessment of your weaknesses. What are some of the things you see holding you back from growth as a leader. Do you lack assertiveness? Are you a bad listener or do you have a hard time communicating you thoughts and ideas to others? Maybe you have issues with all of these and then some, and that’s ok. The important thing now is that you identify these areas and start the process to improve.
Step 2: Choose development activity (s)
Create a development plan. Now that you have established what weak leadership areas you want to work on, develop a strategic plan that will catapult the change you’re looking for. This could include network groups, reading material, videos, project based learning or reaching out to mentors. Depending on the skill you are working on at any given time, you may even incorporate a few or all of these as part of your development plan.
Network groups: These are great because you have the diversity of people who come from different professions, cultures and thought patterns. You have the flexibility of meeting at a time that works best for you and there’s no pressure to perform. Network groups allow you to be yourself, absorb and learn from the individuals around you in a relaxed atmosphere. You might even want to try a CEO retreat. Be sure to come prepared with questions that will help you with ways to conquer a specific weakness.
Reading material: This is a great option in your development plan because of the variety of material available. You can easily target a specific weakness and find several different ways to deal with it. Again, you can do this at times that are convenient for you at your own pace.
Videos: This option gives variety, flexibility and visuals. If you are a person who prefers one on one instruction this is a great option. Some leadership videos come with exercises that you can do and in some cases you can contact the instructor with additional questions or advisement.
Project based learning: The best way to learn is by doing. This option is great because it allows you the diversity of working with others, and the verbal and visual examples to refer back to. Get involved in a project outside your comfort zone. Sign on in a role that will force you to develop a skill you are weak in. Solicit the support around you to work through and conquer your weakness while actually working.
Choose a mentor: Having a mentor is a lot like having a leadership coach but there are some advantages. A mentor does not cost you anything and you are not confined to set hours in an office to develop your leadership skills. With a mentor you can have endless access to conversations, experiences and honest feedback. One of my favorite things to do with a mentor is shadow them for a day. Actually seeing first hand how your mentor carries out their leadership role throughout a day is an experience that you can not put a value on.
Step 3: Monitor your progress:
Invite feedback from your employees or peers. Keep the feedback pool small. Limit it to a few who can be confidential and efficient. Have them answer a list of review questions or just ask for an informal assessment of how you’re doing. It’s good to always be aware of the impact you’re making on those around you. It’s recommended that you do theses type of reviews twice a year (every six months) so your first review should be six months after you start your leadership development plan.
Whatever development plan you come up with the key to your success is your dedication and hard work. Be consistent with your plan and remember that the ability to develop strong leadership skills within yourself is up to you.
Respect commands itself and can neither be given nor withheld when it is due. –Eldridge Cleaver
Showing respect is a basic skill that for most people comes easy, but obtaining respect seems to take a little extra work. Whether you are the boss or a team member, your ability to earn respect from those you do business with will determine the depth and length of your success.
When I first started my financial service business, I was given tremendous amounts of advice on how to retain clients and increase revenue. While most entrepreneurs believe going above and beyond for clients is the way to retain and build revenue, I opted to take my own approach in the belief that respect would sustain my business best of all. Our ability to earn respect is a direct impact on a business owner’s revenue. I never bought into the idea that the customer was always right. It’s true that what you are willing to do for a client is important, but what you will not do is just as important. Always offer an opinion or strategy that is supported with facts. To be respected in business you don’t have to be fancy, you have to be right
Ask yourself, “what does respect mean to me?” My perception has always been that if you’re providing a great product or service that is needed, clients will come. If they like you, they will sign on with you but only if they respect you will they stay. Respect can mean different things to different people.There is a huge difference between catering and influencing. Catering to is when you deliberately do only what you know your clients will agree to. Influence requires the client to respect and value your opinion.
Our actions teach others how to treat us. Doing everything to please the client is not good service, and eventually causes clients to have less respect for you. Respect from clients like any good thing is earned. Have a set of guidelines or procedures and stick to them. Establish your competency of the field you work in. But the ultimate test of respect is the result of your everyday actions. Carry yourself with the utmost respect and clients will acknowledge it.
Remember: Not everyone will respect you. Agree to disagree with those who don’t show you respect, and focus your efforts on those who do.
Success Isn’t always About Greatness. It’s About Consistency. Consistent Hard Work Gains Success.
All new endeavors are started with the best of intentions. Starting a new business is full of emotional highs and lows. When you find yourself facing more lows than highs more often or not, what gives is the consistency of your work ethic and strategy. To establish yourself as force in your field you must develop a habit of consistency. Your service may be good, but it’s consistency that will make you great. Commitment to time, effort and continued refining of your services results in a constant flow of customer who embrace your business.
The character of your brand is your most valuable asset. What you say, what you do and how you do it should always be constant. If your conversation and behavior is built around chaos, you will lose value among your peers and potential customers. Chaos eventually leaks into business decisions and partnerships, as it’s only the chaotic who are drawn to chaos. Following through daily is a must in growing your business. Business growth requires a track record of successful experiences. You can’t build a track record if you do not have a consistent strategy that you follow. Potential customers need to see a predictable flow from you in order to trust you. The more consistent you are in business the more you will be valued, the more valued you are the more you will grow.
Consistency in what you say: Develop and maintain good communication skills.
- Always be clear about what your business does and does not do. Gray areas only lead to confusion.
- Develop written outline of your company’s services. Have a verbal discussion and be sure new customers have a copy.
- Follow through with phone calls and emails. People wont work with someone they can’t keep up with.
- Don’t assume anything. Keep clients /staff up to date on projects. Hold weekly/monthly meeting in person or virtually.
Consistency in what you do: People pay attention to what you do. Consistent value speaks for itself.
- Focus on doing your best every time. Avoid cutting corners or making do.
- Plan smart. Take the time to research and build a powerful plan for each project. The smarter the plan, the smoother the process.
- Get to know your customer and their business. Understand how you can give e the highest level of service to them.
- Stay ahead of the pitfalls that your customer could face. Make your customers look good and they will keep coming back.
- Always meet deadlines. Time is money, and if customers feel they are wasting money on delays they will part ways.
- Go the extra mile. Add a special something (specific to their business needs) that the customer may not have been expecting.
- Have regular brainstorming sessions to develop new ways your company can service customers.
If You Believe In What You Are Doing, Then Let Nothing Hold You Up In Your Work. – Dale Carnegie
Being an entrepreneur has its share of ups and downs, but when your heart is one hundred percent into what you’re doing everyday should be filled with excitement and satisfaction right? No one becomes an entrepreneur because they think it’s going to be easy. You become an entrepreneur because you believe in what you’re doing. If you’re constantly stressed out by your work, don’t be too quick to blame it on entrepreneurship. You may need to rethink the work you’re doing.
In business your day is filled with a variety of things you have to take action on. Too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day and react without taking the time to think about what we’re doing or why. The result is usually a collection of disappointing ventures that we never really had any belief in from the start. What you believe deep inside is what will manifest in your actions. How you think about something is what makes the difference in how you approach it. How you approach something determines its success.
“If you change the belief first, changing the action is easier.” ~ Peter McWilliams
The definition is insanity is to repeat an action over and over again expecting different results. Do you continue to take on the same projects, clients or customers over and over because you’re insane? Or are you working in disbelief? As a business owner, you need to focus on projects that are in line with your goals and beliefs. Every time you approach something in disbelief your actions will show it. You’re not as focused or enthusiastic as you are when you’re working on project you really believe in.
Don’t count success by the number of projects you have in the fire or the financial gain from taking on everything that comes your way. The reward of being a business owner is having the freedom to choose what you do. To count every business endeavor you take on as a success, first ask yourself one question, “Do I believe in this”?
Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
But when your business starts to grow and you’re caught up in the daily grind, you may begin to feel that you’re just coasting from day-to-day, lacking the fiery passion you had at the start. As your company grows, the passion you started with must remain intact and flow throughout the company. Passion starts at the top and is the difference in your business just surviving from day-to-day or thriving. As the leader, maintaining your passion will keep the passion flowing in your business. Think about your state of mind when you started your business. What were you doing then that you’re not doing now?
Don’t delegate. Do
I’m sure when you first started your business you had a hand in every interaction that took place. You met with potential customers and played a part in solving every problem that came up. Besides the fact that you probably did not need a full team just yet, you were driven by passion for what you were doing and eagerly took part in every aspect of your business. As you grow, don’t delegate everything. A huge part of keeping passion alive comes from doing. When you’re in the trenches getting your hands dirty, you remind yourself of the desire that drove you to the place you are.
- Have weekly meetings to stay in the know of what’s on your company’s plate at all times.
- Have one on one sessions to offer advice and solutions.
- Don’t wait until work is completed by staff to review. Go over work with your staff while it’s in progress.
Keep the ‘wow’ factor:
When you started your business you most likely went to bed late every night unable to sleep more than a few hours because of a great new idea you had that you were sure your current customers would love, and would bring tons of new ones. In the beginning, you’re constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Now that your business is stable, don’t relax but stir up the fire to stay relevant. Creativity is a positive side effect of passion.
- Have brainstorming sessions to think of new services or products you can offer.
- Think of ways to revamp or update the services or products you already have.
- Reach out to your customers on a regular basis. Keep a health check on your business relationships. What you did to win them you must continue to keep them.
Yes, the leader plays a huge role in fueling the passion that trickles down to the team but be sure to build a team that comes with its own internal passion for the business. When a business owner is passionate about the company but the employees are not, it makes it very hard to pull off one triumph let alone many. When your build or expand your team, it’s important that you look at credentials. It’s even more important that you look at the heart. Does this person have ‘passion’ for what they do? Will they bring ‘passion’ to the table everyday in your company?
- Hire from various cultures and professional backgrounds. Often professionals from different fields bring a fresh relevance .
- Remember interns. Eager to learn and do and the free passion you could ask for. The majority of interns today are trained to be entrepreneurs, and have plenty of passion to offer.
Feed your talent:
The surest way for anything to die is by starving it. We live in the most innovative of times, feeding your talent is just a matter of researching what’s out there and jumping in. With technology, obtaining education to grow your talent is at a whole new level. Stay on top of what’s going on in your field. Feed your passion with your passion. This is a perfect way to re-fuel and kept your passion tank from getting empty.
- Take advantage of teleconferences, webinars and workshops as much as possible.
- Start your own business podcast, news letter or blog. Sharing your passion with others is a great way to keep it alive.
- Join professional organizations and consistently network with other business owners and professionals.
One thing I’ve learned is that business relationship is a lot like personal relationships. absence does make the heart grow fonder. When you get stuck in a rut doing the same thing day in and day out, you can lose the passion for it fast. Be sure to take the weekends or any one day that works for you to step away from your business. No business calls, emails or paperwork for the day will give you a chance to rest your brain, regroup and come back refreshed. Trust me, you’ll miss the business, and when you get back in the grind it will be with the passion and vigor that you thought was gone.
So much could be said about passion, how to tap into it and maintain it. But ultimately it’s up to you to discover what works. One thing for sure, it was passion that got you where you are today and it will be passion that will keep you going.
It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are held accountable.
Every business is a brand, whether yours is good or bad is up to you. Successful entrepreneurs know that their business will flourish when they’re accountable. They take the time to not just ‘get the job done’ but to get it don ‘right’. When leaders take responsibility of their projects and processes, they create an environment that demands accountability.
Customers flock to work with businesses that consistently go above and beyond (everyday). An accountable business doesn’t just happen overnight, but the foundation must be put in place from the start and carried throughout the life of business relationships. Here are three key ways to build an environment of accountability in your business.
1. Take Ownership
Establishing clear roles and processes removes confusion in the work place. Support the input of your team. Make sure they have the resources, knowledge and assistance they need to successfully complete projects. Obligate your team to participate in the solution process. Ask them to give and receive feedback on various aspects of the business. For your business to be accountable, members must be comfortable taking on new roles and increasing their skills. This builds confidence and ownership of assigned tasks.
Plan for progress: Have a detailed growth plan for every team member. Specify what their career goals are and what steps they will need to take to obtain it.
Measure progress: Keep detailed track of your team member’s progress. Have regular progress meetings that applaud the team’s commitments but speak to areas where they are lacking as well.
2. Establish Core Values
When businesses consistently fall short of promises, it’s saying to the customer, “we’re not committed to you.” Lack of commitment directly results in low or no accountability. Be prepared to call out members who don’t follow through. Leaders who value their customers work hard improve and maintain the integrity of their business. No team member can achieve any professional goal to customers, if they don’t personally hold themselves accountable from the start.
Don’t point fingers: Never tolerate your team to point fingers and blame each other. This is the beginning of chaos and will not produce any responsibility within the team. Only team members with integrity will Acknowledge and correct themselves first before lashing out at others.
Own Strengths & Weaknesses: Accountability in a business trusts the business team to acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses. Just as you are confident in projects you know your team will do well, be just as accountable when it’s a project that you know you can’t do well. The integrity of your business will be rewarded when you honestly do what’s best for the customer.
3. Consistently Drive Improvement
Accountable businesses are always growing and improving their services, products and processes. For a business to grow, the team must have regular access to education and training to develop new skills. Business owners must be able to map out exactly what the teams needs to drive improvement. To do this a leader must know what’s working and what isn’t.
Routinely evaluate: Have the team take self-assessment test on a monthly or quarterly basis. Have the team share their results and brainstorm about what positive changes they each could make going forward. When people are forced to recognize their short-comings they’re more likely to correct them.
Ask, how are we doing?: Just like the bumper stickers you see on trucks that say “How’s My Driving?”, Invite the outside in to help improve what your business is doing. Perform regular customer surveys (potential customers too) and share the results with the team. Again, have the team brainstorm what changes need to be made and the best way to get it done.