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Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into a business

Entrepreneurs, Multi-tasking, and Focus


Entrepreneur multi-tasking

Making the decision to start a business is easy compared to actually performing the many tasks needed to get the business off the ground.

One of the top reasons so few businesses succeed, in my opinion, is not that the business isn’t viable but the entrepreneur gets overwhelmed with the multitude of tasks they must do, many at the same time and like an over loaded electrical system crashes and burns.  When three, four, eight or twenty tasks need to be completed simultaneously you can almost see the brain overload. Without the skills necessary to meet these keeping and growing your business could be difficult.

Successful entrepreneurs learn the art of multi-tasking to cope with the demands of starting a new business. Prospective entrepreneurs, if not already proficient at multi-tasking, need to become proficient at that skill.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Make lists. As a beginning entrepreneur there will be so much information thrown at you that you will not remember everything  needed to be accomplished. Making a list daily keeps your mind focused on what needs to be done and keeps you from stressing…too much.

 2.  Remove as many distractions as possible. I know this is not easy.  However, the more distractions you can remove from your work environment then the less chance of tasks being interrupted.

 3. Take notes. Even with today’s electronics that help in many ways for us to become more efficient I still believe you need to have a pad and paper close by to quickly put down notes or thoughts. This may be a generational issue, but I find it is helpful in organizing my thoughts.

 4.  Delegate (when you can). This is a difficult skill to learn.  Sometimes it is not practical to delegate plus the make-up of entrepreneurs often make this difficult. None-the-less the earlier in your entrepreneurial career you learn this skill the better off your business will be and you will have less sleepless nights. Start small so you can build confidence that someone other than you can do the job.  This is a skill that requires an effort to obtain.

 Along with multi-tasking the ability to stay focused in your objectives for your business is critical.  Many of the things you do to aid in your multi-tasking overlap to your ability to focus.  However, here are some more tips on focus:

 1. Have your goals visible. When in doubt or feeling a little overwhelmed look at your goals and ask yourself if what you are doing is moving your forward toward your goals or away from your goals?

 2. Time wasters. When you go into business for yourself you begin to notice there is a group of people called ‘time wasters’. They are not just content to waste their time but yours as well. If you don’t learn to say No, or I’m busy. The main point is do not allow them to get you off task. It is your responsibility to guard your time not theirs.  Avoid these time wasters.

 3. Always move forward. This is something I believe if you can always move forward toward your goal not matter how big or small you will accomplish your goal.  

 4. Perseverance and Persistence.  Moving forward will require these two qualities. When things don’t go your way, and that will happen, then persevere.  Stay persistent in your desire to move forward and if what you’re doing isn’t working try something different that will get you to your goal.

 Of course these are many tips on how to multi-task and focus and I urge you if you are having difficulty with ether one to learn more about how to improve. Remember that although tips and suggestions are great they will do nothing if you don’t have the wish to change and put forth the effort to make it happen.

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June 30, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Aren’t Entrepreneurs In Government?


Politicians of today should be entrepreneurs.      

We live in a complex society. Individuals, groups, and countries face challenges daily.      

Politician in crisis

 

We must decide if our leaders are up to these challenges.  We find leaders failing to demonstrate their ability to lead.  Watching the oil spill and the feeble attempts to resolve the devastation this crisis has brought to our coasts I conclude our leaders need more entrepreneurial spirit and less ivory tower thinking.      

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary definition of entrepreneur is:      

en·tre·pre·neur – One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.      

My definition:      

en·tre·pre·neur – One who brings together the resources to get the job done quickly.      

If you use the Merriam-Webster definition one could argue at least some of our leaders possess the entrepreneurial spirit.  However, if you use my definition then finding a government leader with entrepreneurial fortitude is as difficult as finding a BP Executive with common sense.      

Entrepreneurs resources can include people, finances and most importantly an idea of how to solve a crisis.  It seems politicians have difficulty enlisting any of these resources but mostly having ideas on how to solve a crisis effectively.  Yes,  entrepreneurial characteristics are severely lacking in our leaders.      

It has become almost repetitive when every disaster is met with inadequate or ill-conceived responses.  The phrase ‘proactive’ is not in a politicians vocabulary nor is the phrase ‘exception management’, however, these are concepts, of which, entrepreneurs are well versed. Entrepreneurs understand the implementation and execution of proactive and exception management processes are at the core of running any successful business operation.      

The world today has increased in complexity so does it make sense to elect officials to run our country that possess little to no practical business experience? We must consider electing public servants with entrepreneurial experience and who can bring those skills to running our nation.      

Again, let’s look at the oil crisis.  One has to wonder where was Plan B? What contingency plans did BP have if a crisis occurred? More importantly where was the contingency plan from our government? Does anyone else find the absence of a contingency plan incredible? An entrepreneur knows the best laid plans can….and things happen and always, always have alternative plans.      

A quality of successful entrepreneurs is what Robert Sternberg calls, “practical intelligence”.  This is the ability to maneuver through situations based on ‘gut instinct’ vs. the standard analytical fare often seen in the higher levels of government.       

Entrepreneur in crisis

 

It is my opinion, until we begin electing officials that understand our government must be operated as a business and posses some amount of entrepreneurial make-up the term ‘crisis management’ will be an oft tossed around phrase, and the ability to quickly, efficiently and effectively resolve a crisis will continue to be a pipe dream.      

Going forward when I consider candidates I will vet each candidate to see if they possess an ounce of entrepreneurship and I will then vote accordingly.      

My recommendation to current politicians is to bring to the discussion table entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are experienced in confronting challenges and gathering the necessary resources to get the job done.  Fellow voter’s careful thought should be given when considering candidates.  Do they have the experience and resume to bring the necessary skill set to the ‘business’ of government?       

Theoretical and analytical thinking still play a part in running the government.  However times change and thus we must add another ingredient. The ingredient to be added for our government to run successfully is practical people – successful entrepreneurs.  It is clear that the running of the ‘business’ of government should be transitioned over to leaders who understand the workings of successful businesses.  Please keep this in mind when casting your votes in upcoming elections.   

I  thought you may find the information below of interest too!   

  • 10 essential business leadership skills – are you a leader? truth be told, not everyone is a leader. it’s just not meant for everyone. and that’s ok. but more people are leaders than they realize. leadership takes on many different faces; it’s just a question of understanding … 
  • Concepts of Leadership – I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don’t think that’s quite it; it’s more like jazz. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. 
  • Flipping the Switch | LeadershipJournal.net – How far ahead do you plan your preaching? • I plan at least a year out. • I schedule six months to a year ahead. • I plan my preaching but not six months ahead. • I plan the next 3-10 weeks at a time. • I go week to week. … 
  • Leadership Skills – Leadership, a critical management skill, is the ability to motivate a group of people toward a common goal. These items will help you develop your skills as a leader. What Is A Leader? This describes the characteristics and traits of a leader. 

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ENTREPRENEURS ARE IN LOVE WITH… CONTROL


If you find your employees friends, or family crossing to the other side of the street when they see you approaching it is time for a wake-up call.

There are a number of mistakes entrepreneurs make that can cost them their business, but the one I feel is the most frequent is the need for an entrepreneur to be in control…of everything. When starting your business being control of everyone and thing can work to your advantage. However, when your business takes off, or you work daily with other people then your white knuckle grasp has to loosen or your business will suffer.

If you want action to be taken then STOP giving the answers!

The hardest thing an entrepreneur has to learn is to trust subordinates to get the job done. Does it require the end result to look exactly like your answer…probably not? What does matter is if they have accomplished what you have directed them to do.

The ability to delegate then let go is the hardest most difficult quality all people have much less an entrepreneur.

Your ability to control things will be useful in getting the business off the ground but once it is if you continue this quality you will most certainly stunt any growth your company may achieve. Creativity will be non-existent in your company and the desire for anyone to think proactively will be thwarted. Your business will be in trouble.

Most people will tell you to stop being the control freak and delegate and give up control. That is easier said than done. It will require work and constant personal evaluation, but it can be done.

Here are some tips:

1.  Phases. You will not be able to wake one morning and transform yourself into Mr. Delegation. But you can start the process. Try delegating in small steps. Once you see that the world will continue and your business will be able to open the doors the next day confidence in your team will grow.

2.  Get help. I mean this in the most loving way. Find a business, life or executive coach to work with you on becoming a good executive. NOTE: A control freak will never become a good executive. You need advice from someone outside of the business to give you a clear prospective on you habits and areas of improvement.

3.  Empower people. If you demand accountability then give authority.  If you don’t you are throwing your employees into the ring with one hand tied around his back.

4.  Walk the talk. If you state you honor loyalty, then be loyal yourself. If you state you honor integrity then have integrity yourself. If you state you honor new ideas, then don’t shoot down new ideas without listening. It is easy to say many things but your employees are watching how your walk is in alignment with your talk. Keep that in mind.

5. Go take a walk. If you find yourself wanting to intercede or take over a project where you have delegated the responsibility go take a walk or a drive. Controlling behavior is a habit and you must learn to stop that habit by fighting the urge.

There are many other ways to combat the overwhelming need to be in control of everyone and everything. That is why I really recommend you find a coach with experience in these matters to help you.

Taking action to correct this problem shows growth as an entrepreneur and the willingness to become a more complete CEO. You and your company will thrive.  Good luck!

Below are some links I thought you might find useful.

  • Entrepreneur Mistakes – The Myth Of The Unique Business Idea – The Myth: “You must have a unique business idea before you go out and start your own business.” I see a lot of new entrepreneurs who believe that they need to come up with a really cool, unique idea for their business before they can …
  • 5 of the Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes – … at those who have gone before, it’s unlikely. Of course, there are some mistakes even the smartest among us make. It’s hard to be perfect all of the time, but watch out for the obvious pitfalls of the biggest entrepreneur mistakes. …
  • Why Start-ups Don’t Get Funded | Entrepreneur Advisor – Mistakes, Unfundable · Angel, angel funding, Angel Investing, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur mistakes, Start-up, Start-up Mistakes, VC, Venture Capital, Venture Capitalists, Venture Funding …
  • Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make | Small Business Mistakes and … – Comments. 1636 Responseshttp://powerupcoaching.com/mistakes-entrepreneurs-make/Biggest+Entrepreneur+Mistakes+…+And+How+To+Avoid+Them2008-10-16+03%3A19%3A23loudalo to “Biggest Entrepreneur Mistakes … And How To Avoid Them” …

June 19, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AN ENTREPRENEURS NEW ‘BFF’ – SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING


Words for social media

Social Media Marketing

 

Whether you are a new entrepreneur or an experienced entrepreneur you no doubt recognize that social media must be part of your marketing mix.   

Social Media Marketing is different from occasionally posting something on your My Space or Facebook page.    

Complete books exist that discuss how to properly engage in Social Media Marketing so I will try highlighting only the important points for you to consider.    

1.  Decide who your target market is and what social media channel reaches your audience.    

2. Decide which social media channel reaches your target audience.    

3.  Formulate a strategy on what actions you will use for each of those channels.    

4.  Write a schedule when you will do the actions adheres to it.    

5.  Finding time to perform these actions is difficult. That is why I recommend trying to automate many of these actions. Below   are some applications you can use to try to automate your SMM. They are:    

Twitter  

Twitter Tools    

Tweetdeck    

http://www.tweetdeck.com – A desktop application for managing your Twitter account.    

Twitter 101 for business     

http://business.twitter.com/twitter101 – Twitter’s “101” educational guide for businesses to help them use the channel effectively.    

TwtApps    http://twtapps.com/ – A suite of content tools from polls to coupons.    

Twit Pic     http://twitpic.com/ – A tool to help post pictures via Twitter.    

Twitter Feed    http://twitterfeed.com/ – Allows you to pull your company’s blog posts into your Twitterstream.    

Bit.ly – http://bit.ly/ – A URL shortening tool that condenses the size of the links you post in your 140-character-limited Tweets; provides statistical data relative to user engagement with the links.    

Facebook  

Facebook Tools     

Social RSS     http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=23798139265 – Allows you to pull your company’s blog posts into your Facebook Page.    

Static FBML   http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=4949752878– Helps create advanced coding options for your page.    

My Business Blink Web    http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=15269243569&ref=s – A promotional widget creator that can be used by your Page and others’ to advertise your firm.    

Facebook Page Insights   http://www.facebook.com/help/?search=insights#!/help/?page=1030 – A tracking tool that provides actual statistics on your Page’s usage (available to Page admin when logged in).    

Blog

Blog Tools    

ShareThis – http://www.sharethis.com/ – A content sharing tool you can embed in your blog; provides statistical data relative to how your content is shared.    

Feedburner – http://www.feedburner.com/ – A blog syndication tool.    

Linkedin  

LinkedIn Tools    

LinkedIn Application Directory   http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=application_directory/ – A page that has a list of all of LinkedIn’s partner applications, including BlogLink(for pulling your company’s blog posts into your LinkedIn Profile), Tweets (fo posting Twitter updates to LinkedIn), SlideShare (for promoting the presentations you’ve posted on SlideShare in your LinkedIn profile), and others.    

6.  Measure your results.     

The results can be measured by the number of followers, friends, and connections your selected social media channels generate. Do you find the followers on Twitter retweeting your posts? How many people are posting on your wall? If you find your receiving activity in these areas you attempt at branding in Social Media Marketing is becoming successful.    

Always track your responses and make the necessary adjustments. Discover what resonates with your audience.    

Conclusion  

If you find the response to your social media efforts not getting traction then adjust and try again. The answer is there you just need keep trying and adjust. To be successful in the realm is not a passive endeavor but requires diligent, and rigorous effort to succeed. Once you find the right mix, and diligently stay on top of the social media channels you will see progress which will go a long way in helping your business efforts.

June 12, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

John Wooden A Great Man! Entrepreneurs Take Notice!


I want to devote this blog to the passing of a great basketball coach and a true leader of people.

I grew up in the era of UCLA and its’ incredible basketball teams. I think most of the team members would agree their success was due largely because of John Wooden and his ability to get the most out of people.

How does this relate to entrepreneurship? There is much that Mr. Wooden coached that is applicable to the entrepreneur.

I want to offer a few quotes of Mr. Woodens and discuss how they can relate to today’s entrepreneur.

 “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are”.   John Wooden

As an entrepreneur your character is everything. If you do not live with integrity, loyalty, and honor your reputation won’t either. People will eventually find you out.  Success will only last a short while because your character, or lack, rise to the surface like day old fish. People will discontinue buying from you. So make sure you developand keep good character.

Don’t worry about your reputation.

 “Never mistake activity for achievement”.   John Wooden

I have seen more than my fair share of entrepreneurs mistake activity for achievement. People who too often seem scurrying around and always busy but have no goals are only fooling themselves.  Activity without goals is a waste of energy.  Be sure you write your goals, review your goals and adjust your goals accordingly.

Achievers with goals create activity. Activity without goals means you keep going in circles.

 “Success is never final,  failure is never fatal.  It’s courage that counts”.   John Wooden

I had a boss once tell me that when you have a success write it down or put a clipping in a file so you can refer back to it when times get tough. That was some of the best advice I received.  Because the truth is whatever success you are having now will pass. Whatever failure you are experiencing now it too shall pass. What counts is the courage you show in getting to your final destination… a successful business.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges.  Some they succeed at some they don’t but the only true fact is tht things change.  Successful entrepreneurs find the courage to stay the course.

I speak from some experience. I have won a few and lost many.  But what I do know is that you breathe, you learn and then you move forward.

Readers of this blog if you have some spare time consider reading a book about John Wooden or by John Wooden. You will find in it much to help you in your quest to become an entrepreneur.

 Thanks Mr. Wooden!

 

 

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blown Calls Happen To Entrepreneurs Too!


Baseball - Great Game

 

For baseball fans, and especially Detroit Pitcher Amando Gaiarraga, a blown call can hurt. In his case it kept him from having the record book show he pitched a perfect game.  For entrepreneurs looking for funding a blown call by potential investors can be discouraging.  

If we are on this earth for any length of time we have experienced a blown call which may have kept us momentarily from achieving something spectacular. Notice I said momentarily.  A blown call can take you to your knees but only momentarily. It is how we choose to react to the blown call and the belief in our dream that determines if we go forward or stand still.  

Entrepreneurs must remember that very few of the businesses presented to investors receive funding.  On occasion investors can blow a call and turn down a business that turns around and becomes successful. Just as Jim Joyce is human so are investors. The key for the entrepreneur is to take what they have had to say, filter out the good and throw away the bad. Then you need to move on.  

 If your business idea is good and you have done the necessary due diligence there is an investor who will fund you. It might take some time to locate that investor or investors but persistence is the key.  

 If you quit after an investors group turns you down then, in my opinion, you were not cut from the entrepreneur ‘cloth’ to start.  Entrepreneurs I know are not quitters, but keep moving forward no matter how incremental.  

 Always…always move forward.                                                                                                                                                           

Shocked Entrepreneur - Turned down

 

I am just saying:  

After this was written Bud Selig ruled that the Jim Joyce call would stand depriving a young man of a place in history and sentencing Jim Joyce to a lifetime of second guesses. Rarely do we get a chance to rectify a blatent wrong. When we have an opportunity to do so we should step up and do the right thing.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Do I Find Investors?


How to find investors 

If you are not able to go it alone or do not have family, or friends to help then finding investors could be at the top of your list. Often when I am asked this question I am looking at an entrepreneur with the  “deer in the headlights”  look.  It is perfectly understandable. The thought of finding investors and asking for money can be a scary thought.

First and foremost as an entrepreneur you must change your way of thinking.  If you have done your homework and researched your product or service you should have confidence in your plan. You must believe in yourself and your enterprise because as the saying goes, “If you don‟t believe in yourself no one will.”  Investors are smart, savvy people who can smell self-doubt or fear a mile away.  So before you approach anyone to convince them of your idea you must convince yourself first.

I could devote a whole book to this topic, but now let give you three or four places to start.

1.  Look into the local Angel Funding groups in town. Try doing a search on the internet for some Angel groups near you. Tell your story to your friends and family. If they are not interested then ask them if they know of anyone who may be interested.  You probably will get two or three more names from them.  Ask for an introduction or if you can use their name. You then need to contact them and ask to meet them for lunch. If they are not interested ask for two or three names of people they think that might be interested and ask for an introduction. Do you see what is happening? I call this the “Spider Web Effect”. You will need to talk to a lot of people to find investors. You find them by making a “Spider Web‟.

2.  If that does not work call a local business incubator Director and he should have contact information for the local Angel Investor Groups. Your local Chamber of Commerce will have that information as well.

3.  I have put financial institutions last because with the current economy (written in 2010) they have shown reluctance to loan money to small businesses. They will also more than likely require collateral for any loan they provide. If you are fine with that then try for a business loan from your local financial institutions. 

These are just a few of the top places to start. It is hard work and not easy to find investors. One other word of advice …develop thick skin. This process is not for the faint of heart.

June 2, 2010 Posted by | Entrepreneur | , , , , , , | 4 Comments