How Extreme Self-Confidence Can 
End Up Working Against Entrepreneurs

More Introspection Is Needed For Long-Term Business Success, 
Says Former Naval Officer And Business Leader

The entrepreneurial spirit may be taking a hit these days.

Studies show members of the Millennial generation appear less interested than previous generations in starting their own businesses, preferring instead to find work with established companies. In 1989, 11.6 percent of households headed by someone younger than 30 held a stake in or owned a private enterprise; today that percentage is 3.6 percent, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Randy H. Nelson finds that troubling, but perhaps understandable.

“The statistics show the odds of success for a new business are pretty dismal,” says Nelson, author of the Amazon best-selling book “The Second Decision: The Qualified Entrepreneur.” (www.randyhnelson.com/book)

“Half of new U.S. small businesses fail in their first five years, and 70 percent have gone under by year 10. That’s not exactly a new trend, but what is a new is that each year in the United States more businesses now are shutting down than are being started.”

But Nelson, who developed leadership skills as a Navy submarine officer and has a track record of starting and building successful businesses, says there is a reason for those sobering statistics.

Anyone can become an entrepreneur. No qualifications are required. If more entrepreneurs understood the ramifications of that – and took steps to compensate for their weaknesses – the odds of success could improve, Nelson says.

One problem is entrepreneurs tend to be extraordinarily confident, which can blind them to their weaknesses.

Nelson remembers that early in his business career his wife asked if he knew what he was doing. He assured her he did. Since then, experience taught him he was wrong.

“The truth was, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Nelson says.

Over time, Nelson became what he calls a “qualified entrepreneur.” He says when he looks back over his 25-year entrepreneurial career that he could clearly identify four components of the qualified entrepreneur, and recently he added the fifth component, self-awareness, which is an important piece of each of the other four.

•  Entrepreneurship. People who become entrepreneurs are usually brimming with self-confidence, Nelson says. That helps them when it comes to making that “first decision” of starting a new company, all but ignoring those sobering odds for failure that would dissuade many others. The entrepreneur optimistically thinks: “I know I can do this.”

•  Career-Long learning. Entrepreneurs think growth all the time for their businesses. They preach their vision to employees and hire the best talent to help them reach their goals. But are entrepreneurs growing their skillsets as fast as their companies grow? If not, they risk becoming the wrong person in the wrong seat, with the very employees they hired to take them to the promised land asking: ”What value do you bring to the company?”

•  Leadership. The importance of good leadership is paramount to business success, but not all leaders are created equal. Nelson breaks down leaders into four types. The “urgent/reactive” leader thrives on an almost crazed atmosphere where he or she can ride to the rescue, put out the fire and move on to the next problem. There isn’t much time for introspection and no real vision. An “ever optimistic” leader starts from the belief there is nothing he or she can’t do. “Yes, we can do that!” is the typical answer from this type of leader…leaving it up to their staff to figure out how, even if accepting the new business takes them away from their core focus.

The “reflexively pessimistic” leader plays to survive, not to win. This leader has been toughened by hard times, and always worries about the economy’s effect on the business, Nelson says. In some industries easily battered by a downturn, this style can be effective. But if maintained too long, the pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The final leadership style, the “steady/proactive” leader, is the one every CEO should strive to become, Nelson says. This type of leader values productivity and profitable growth above all things, knows how to achieve both and can course-correct no matter the difficulty. “They understand both offense and defense, and can shift between them as cycles dictate,” Nelson says.

•  Life cycle. A business has different needs at different stages of the corporate life cycle. The qualified entrepreneur must recognize that. The startup stage is where many entrepreneurs thrive. Creating something from scratch is what they are about. Needs and challenges change, though, as companies enter growth or expansion stages. The entrepreneur’s needs change, too, because entrepreneurs have their own life cycle, Nelson says.

First, there’s getting the business started, and then there’s the second-decision stage when the entrepreneur needs to choose what role he or she plays in the business, and whether others might be better equipped. There’s also a third decision when entrepreneurs realize work infringes too much on family and personal time, Nelson says. “To avoid regrets later, you have to consider whether you need to make a stronger commitment to a more balanced life.” Finally, there’s the end stage when the entrepreneur is finished with the current business and must decide what is next. Having experienced the “exit” twice in his career, Nelson has come to realize that after the sale only a few lives really change. Everybody else goes on with their normal day while the entrepreneur, much like a retired athlete, must figure out how to function without leading their entrepreneurial venture every day.

“Ideally, entrepreneurs and CEOs would be more knowledgeable than everyone we manage,” Nelson says. “That’s rare, though. The rest of us would benefit from a better understanding of the vast reaches of what we don’t know, and a dose of the humility that goes with it, and this is where the self-awareness component comes in.”

•  Self-Awareness. Entrepreneurs need to know their strengths and weaknesses, and how they affect the business, Nelson says. Unfortunately, that’s a trait they often fail to develop. His suggestion: Surround yourself with people who know more than you (entrepreneurs, leaders, and coaches/advisors who have been through all the life-cycle stages the entrepreneur is navigating through) and learn from them. Once you have a clear understanding of what you do and don’t know, you can decide your next steps. Will you continue to lead the business directly; take a supporting role and let someone else lead; or move on to create another business?

About Randy H. Nelson

Randy H. Nelson is a speaker, a coach, a Qualified Entrepreneur, a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy and author of “The Second Decision – The Qualified Entrepreneur” (www.randyhnelson.com/book/). He co-founded and later sold two market-leading, multi-million dollar companies — Orion International and NSTAR Global Services. His proudest professional achievement was at the Fast 50 awards ceremony in the Raleigh, N.C., area when NSTAR, a 10-year-old company, and Orion, a 22-year-old company, were awarded the rankings No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. Nelson now runs Gold Dolphins, LLC, a coaching and consulting firm to help entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs becomeQualified Entrepreneurs and achieve their maximum potential. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Miami University, Ohio, and was awarded the Admiral Sidney W. Souers Distinguished Alumni Award there in 2011.

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(borrowed from EMSWorld.com)

Data Security

  • If you don’t know what parts of your business are vulnerable and what data needs to be protected, you can’t properly secure them. Work with a professional to audit your entire IT infrastructure to determine what you need to do to stop hackers.
  • Use strong and multiple passwords. Commit them to memory, not writing.
  • Back things up. Security is important, but if your data is not backed up, you will lose it. Test the backup to ensure your data can be recovered when you need it.

-Source: Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com, 8 Tips to Protect Your Business and Secure Its Data

Breaking the 7 Figure Ceiling

September 18, 2014

4 Secrets for Breaking the 7-Figure Ceiling
Million-Dollar Business Coach Shares Tips for Taking It
to the Next Level on YOUR Terms

Can both recent reports on the economic muscle of black women in the United States be correct?

On the one hand, businesses owned by women of color – 42 percent of them African American – have skyrocketed since 1997, far surpassing even the impressive growth rate of businesses owned by all women. And they’ve grown far faster in terms of revenues and employees than the average for all women.

On the other hand, compared to other U.S. women, black women are less likely to be employed or insured, to hold college degrees or be represented in elected office – all indicators of prosperity.

“It appears to be a paradox, unless you understand black women,” says Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. (www.DefyImpossible.com), a coaching business that helps black women — and men and women of all ethnicities — break the seven-figure ceiling.

“The survival strategies our ancestors learned from slavery are passed down to us and become our ‘normal.’ We’re taught that to feel good about ourselves, we have to work hard, sacrifice for others, prove ourselves, overcome; those are survival skills for which we’re socially rewarded. But when we allow society to dictate our inherent value, our self-worth, we will always come up short.”

That’s why so many smart, successful black women stay in jobs they hate – jobs that pay well but will never allow them to achieve their financial potential. That’s why they sacrifice for their children, their church, their community, but not for themselves. It’s why they can accomplish a great deal but still feel emotionally and financially impoverished. 
“Our self-worth and our mindset around money are our biggest barriers to breaking the million-dollar mark,” Dr. Venus says.

What do black women millionaires do differently? Dr. Venus shares some of their secrets, which are lessons for men and women of every ethnicity:

•  Make money from what you “know” instead of from what you “do.”
As employees, we rent out our behaviors for a certain number of hours each day. We’re paid to use our skills and accomplish tasks that benefit our employer. We all know how to make survival money from what we do.

Give up the working-class mentality of making money from what you “do” and start making money from what you “know.” Everyone has a skill, but not everyone has your story and your unique perspective on life – what you’ve learned from walking through fire. You have a million-dollar message that can be monetized to launch your entrepreneurial dream or take the dream you’ve launched to impossible new heights. First, you must identify it.

•  DON’T leave your day job until you have replaced your income.
Keep the job that’s paying the bills while you work on the side to market your message and build your revenue stream.

If you’re panicking about keeping the lights on, you’re not going to have the enthusiasm and creativity necessary to give your entrepreneurial dream your full, amazing power. Plus, having the lights on makes it a lot easier to get things done!”

Once you’re making enough money to replace that salary or hourly wage, give up the day job!

•  Don’t position yourself as a low-cost leader. 
Imagine being a Kia and then trying to be a Bentley. The market won’t believe you. If you want to go high-end, you have to stop charging low. It takes clarity, trust and confidence to up your rates, but it also forces you to get crystal clear on why people should pay top dollar to work with you. If you start low with the intention of going high, you will attract all the people looking for a deal. These people will never want to pay more. So don’t build your business on low-end items.

•  Trade on value instead of volume.
Another pitfall of charging low ticket is that it is dependent upon a high volume of people buying in order for you to earn a living. When you move into the world of high-end leadership, you don’t make your money from volume. You make your money from the value you bring your clients. The more value you provide, the more you can charge. Value can be tangible, emotional, prestige, exclusivity, or customization. When you build your business around value instead of volume, you naturally charge more — and get more — high-end clients.

About Dr. Venus Opal Reese

Dr. Venus Opal Reese, CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc. (www.DefyImpossible.com), is an acclaimed international speaker; CEO Mindset, Messaging and Marketing Mentor; and entrepreneur coach. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and worked as a university professor before investing in herself by testing her entrepreneurial skills. Her business, Defy Impossible, grossed $1.2 million less than three years after launching.

4 Tricks for Creating a Winning Corporate Culture
CEO & Sales Guru Says the Right Culture Fosters
Engagement, Loyalty & Productivity

If you’re the CEO of a company, the realization that much of what you do can be copied by your competitors may be distressing, but veteran sales manager, consultant and business speaker Jack Daly says not so fast.

“Sure your competition copy what they can, but there are two things they can’t: your people and your culture,” says Daly, author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” (www.jackdaly.net).

“I specialize in corporate coaching and sales, the latter of which really counts on the talent and sustained motivation of the sales force. Even your best salesperson needs that extra shot from time to time, and the best way to ensure a driven team is to create a culture that fosters the results you want.”

Some companies are outpacing their competition because of their culture, including Southwest Airlines, Zappos and the Virgin Group, says Daly, who offers these tips for growing a business culture that inspires loyalty, engagement and the high performance those qualities produce.

•  Start new hires on a Friday – and with a big welcome. Many managers think new employees should start on Monday – the day when their new co-workers are facing a long to-do list for the week. Consider starting them on Friday, when the office is a bit looser. Also – how about throwing the new hire a welcoming party? Many offices hold going away parties for departing employees, but it makes more sense to put this enthusiasm toward the person with whom you’re making a commitment, rather than the person who’s no longer working for you.

•  Recognize accomplishments by putting it in writing – handwriting. Typing emails and instant messaging is clearly much more convenient, which is why an employee who deserves special attention will recognize the extra effort behind a hand-written note. A letter has that personal touch; the receiver knows that the manager or CEO has taken some time and effort to create a special communication just for him or her. 

•  Provide lunch – for free. “One of my clients started with just 10 employees, and each day one would bring in lunch for everyone,” Daly says. “As the company grew to several hundred employees, the CEO found that free lunches were so beneficial, the company now hires a caterer to maintain the boost in culture it provides.” While many may cringe at the expense, employee appreciation outweighs the cost, Daly’s client says, and it keeps people engaged within the office, rather than having employees leave for lunch.

•  Flatten the privilege structure. It’s not a good idea to create anything resembling a class system, including special parking for upper management. “I was the No.1 salesmen at one company, but I always preferred to park with the others,” Daly says. “I’d come in at 5 a.m. and noticed that those with reserved parking arrived significantly later than those who parked in unreserved spots.” Parking should be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Upper management shouldn’t feel too entitled or privileged above other employees.  

About Jack Daly

Jack Daly, (www.jackdaly.net), author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” is an expert in sales and sales management, inspiring audiences to take action in customer loyalty and personal motivation through explosive keynote and general session presentations. He draws upon more than 20 years of business experience, with several successful stints as the CEO of fast-growing companies. Daly has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA. He was a captain in U.S. Army and is an accomplished author, with audio and DVD programs.

4 Tricks for Creating a Winning Corporate CultureCEO & Sales Guru Says the Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty & Productivity

 

If you’re the CEO of a company, the realization that much of what you do can be copied by your competitors may be distressing, butveteran sales manager, consultant and business speaker Jack Daly says not so fast.

 

“Sure your competition copy what they can, but there are two things they can’t: your people and your culture,” says Daly, author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” (www.jackdaly.net).

 

“I specialize in corporate coaching and sales, the latter of which really counts on the talent and sustained motivation of the sales force. Even your best salesperson needs that extra shot from time to time, and the best way to ensure a driven team is to create a culture that fosters the results you want.”

 

Some companies are outpacing their competition because of their culture, including Southwest Airlines, Zappos and the Virgin Group, says Daly, who offers these tips for growing a business culture that inspires loyalty, engagement and the high performance those qualities produce.

 

  •  Start new hires on a Friday – and with a big welcome. Many managers think new employees should start on Monday – the day when their new co-workers are facing a long to-do list for the week. Consider starting them on Friday, when the office is a bit looser. Also – how about throwing the new hire a welcoming party? Many offices hold going away parties for departing employees, but it makes more sense to put this enthusiasm toward the person with whom you’re making a commitment, rather than the person who’s no longer working for you.
  •  Recognize accomplishments by putting it in writing – handwriting. Typing emails and instant messaging is clearly much more convenient, which is why an employee who deserves special attention will recognize the extra effort behind a hand-written note. A letter has that personal touch; the receiver knows that the manager or CEO has taken some time and effort to create a special communication just for him or her.
  •  Provide lunch – for free. “One of my clients started with just 10 employees, and each day one would bring in lunch for everyone,” Daly says. “As the company grew to several hundred employees, the CEO found that free lunches were so beneficial, the company now hires a caterer to maintain the boost in culture it provides.” While many may cringe at the expense, employee appreciation outweighs the cost, Daly’s client says, and it keeps people engaged within the office, rather than having employees leave for lunch.
  •  Flatten the privilege structure. It’s not a good idea to create anything resembling a class system, including special parking for upper management. “I was the No.1 salesmen at one company, but I always preferred to park with the others,” Daly says. “I’d come in at 5 a.m. and noticed that those with reserved parking arrived significantly later than those who parked in unreserved spots.” Parking should be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Upper management shouldn’t feel too entitled or privileged above other employees.

 About Jack Daly

Jack Daly, (www.jackdaly.net), author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” is an expert in sales and sales management, inspiring audiences to take action in customer loyalty and personal motivation through explosive keynote and general session presentations. He draws upon more than 20 years of business experience, with several successful stints as the CEO of fast-growing companies. Daly has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA. He was a captain in U.S. Army and is an accomplished author, with audio and DVD programs.

6 Takeaways for Stay-at-Home CEOs
Veteran Entrepreneur Shares Tips for Balancing Business and Family

Being young and inexperienced can be intimidating for stay-at-home entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t mean you’re making mistakes, says veteran businesswoman Renae Christine.

Fresh out of college at 23, she thought she’d done something wrong when the wholesaler for her stationery company assigned her a personal representative.

“In reality I was doing so much business with them that they wanted to ensure my satisfaction,” says Christine, a serial entrepreneur who has created dozens of successful home-based businesses for herself and others. She shares practical how-to advice in her new book, “Home Business Startup Bible,” (http://richmombusiness.com/).

She was the busy mother of a 2-year-old and she’d just returned home – to the mess left in the wake of last-minute packing — when the rep showed up, she says.

“I was mortified when he walked into my home/business and he was shocked, but the experience marked my first success as an official business,” she says. “It was actually the beginning of a great relationship.”

Though it turned out well, Christine says her first years in business would have been much happier if she hadn’t had to deal with her own painful feelings of self-doubt, embarrassment, guilt, etc.

“The good news is – no stay-at-home entrepreneur needs to feel that way,” she says.

She offers these tips for maintaining professionalism in business without sacrificing – or feeling guilty about — family.

•  Don’t apologize for your kids. We need to stop apologizing for our kids’ squawks and energy while we’re on the phone or in meetings. Kids are kids and to them, Mommy is Mommy and their home is their home 24/7. If anything, we can all learn from our children and lighten up during business chats.

•  Don’t pick up the phone when you’re not ready. I used to think I had to say yes to everyone, including the telephone whenever it rang. Don’t answer the phone if you’re not ready to speak; if it’s important, the caller will leave a message. Consider an online chat system for your website; I use a free one via craftysyntax.com.

•  Add a disclosure message to your call-answering service. My disclosure indicates the quickest way to reach me, which is chat or email. Email is quickly becoming everyone’s preferred method of communication anyway, and this way, we all have a digital trail that will help us stay organized.

•  Say no and don’t apologize for it. You can say no to lots of things, like PTA meetings and extra bake sales for your kids’ school. When you say yes to those things, you are saying no to your business. You have to think of your new business as if you are your own boss. Would you ask your boss for a day off so you can sell cupcakes? Probably not.

•  Pick a neutral location. If you need to have business meetings in person, I suggest choosing a neutral place like a coffee shop. Don’t allow them to come to your home and, if you can avoid it, don’t go to their office. If you’re negotiating, this can give them a home-field advantage.

•  Just say it. I continue to attend trade shows. When I tell companies that I work from home, they might give me an indifferent attitude and hastily move on to chat up a brick-and-mortar owner. I simply take my business elsewhere; I know the value of my business, and so will another vendor.

About Renae Christine

Renae Christine is the owner of by Renae Christine, a company that has launched several successful businesses and has helped launch dozens more for others. A journalist, she’s known for her popular YouTube videos (search Rich Mom Business channel), which use humor and pragmatism to advise others who want to launch home-based businesses. She recently published “Home Business Startup Bible,” (www.richmombusiness.com), a comprehensive how-to guide. Christine is also the founder of the Rich Mom Business University and has come into popular demand as a speaker.

Aphorisms in Business

March 21, 2014

10 Things MBA Students
Can Learn from Infantry School

Military Principles Significantly Complement
Business Tactics, Says Straight-Talking
Texas Entrepreneur

In many ways, the knowledge gleaned from four years of college does not compare to what a person can learn at infantry school, says successful Texas businessman David M. Smith.

“The Army provided me with more fun and interesting experiences and principles than college. I spent a lot of time in the company of officers and immersing myself in reading military classics,” says Smith, author of “The Texas Spirit,” (www.TheTexasSpiritBook.com).

“Most students in MBA programs nationwide will never have that military experience, which is why I’ve condensed what I’ve learned into 10 essential principles.”

Smith says the following aphorisms apply to both military and business endeavors.

•  Take the offensive to win. Defense alone never wins. There have been numerous efforts in history to construct some form of “impregnable” defense that will withstand all invaders; ultimately, none were successful. Whether in war, sports or the business world, victory depends upon taking some kind of offensive initiative.

•  When defense is necessary, fall back carefully, with a plan and while firing. Cancer, for example, is a war millions face. If a patient is to survive, he or she must take proactive measures – to fire and fall back – with treatments such as chemotherapy. In other words, your best defense is often your best offense.

•  Be prepared to use your last option to decimate an invader, but only if you must. Infantry officers call it the FPL – final protective line, which acts like an overdrive on a vehicle. An FPL uses all weaponry to fire at once, continuously firing down a single pre-planned, narrow lane. Depending on the stakes, parties at a business negotiation, for example, should know their FPL option.

•  The counterattack … Remember, the easiest time to resume the offensive is immediately. If you’ve been forced off a hill or into an undesirable position, regroup and counterattack!

•  A good general always has enough troops. Whether you’re a general, lieutenant, private or middle manager – make sure you’re marshalling your resources wisely. For the layperson, that might translate to never making a purchase you can’t afford.

•  Never take a weak front. In war, a weak front is often just a lure to tempt the opponent to attack; taking a weak front is like taking the bait in a trap. In business and in advertising, we are confronted with proposals that are too good to be true. Be skeptical of potential weak fronts.

•  Never sleep while on guard duty. At Texmark Chemicals, sleeping, dozing, napping or drifting off is an unforgivable sin for a shift operator, which is the equivalent of guard duty during wartime. Vigilance is the key to surviving and winning war, even during lulls in the action.

•  Do not heed the voices of caution too much. If the general listens mainly to the quartermaster, who is in charge of supplies, the army will never maneuver. While supplies are essential for survival, it is the risk takers who enjoy victory.

•  Have a primary and a secondary objective. In a military unit or in a business team, you should have one clearly defined primary objective, understood by all persons in the unit. If a secondary objective is absolutely essential, it is better to have one preplanned, and not created during the heat of combat.

•  “Clean the lint off the helix.” This quote refers to the screen on clothes dryers that catches lint and frequently needs to be cleared. Cutting corners, like overlooking the helix, can ruin an officer’s uniform – an important part of the military and business community. Little details are often very important; when overlooked they may have large consequences. 

About David M. Smith

David M. Smith is the author of “The Texas Spirit,” www.TheTexasSpiritBook.com (2014; Halcyon Press). He’s the founder and owner of Chemical Exchange, Inc. and Texmark Chemicals of Galena Park, Texas. An El Paso native, he attended the University of Texas in Austin. Early in his career, he moved east to Houston and established himself in the petrochemical industry. His new book, “The Texas Spirit,” features a series of essays about the ways in which the United States can benefit from Texas’ example, including economic models and moral fiber.

(article supplied by  www.newsandexperts.com)

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