7 Ways to Become a Better Leader

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to first be a successful leader. After all, motivating and inspiring your team to come in every day and do their best work is arguably the single most important aspect of the job.

Witten by Laura Entis, a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Discussions of leadership often center on overused tropes, including the rote phrase ‘Leaders are born, not made.’ But here at Entrepreneur.com, we believe that leadership is a quality that can be learned and then continuously strengthened. Some of our most celebrated business leaders didn’t start out that way — instead, they matured into their leadership roles by actively responding to the world around them, re-evaluating their strengths and weaknesses and — perhaps most importantly — learning from their failures.

 

Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you want to strengthen your leadership muscle.

1. Don’t be scared to fail big.

“I am such a big believer in this. I could give you a long list of things I have done wrong,” says self-made billionaire Michael Rubin. Of particular note was being more than $200,000 bankrupt at 16.

Rubin says that he often hears from aspiring entrepreneurs about their great ideas, but they are consistently blocked by some variety of fear. Failure is ok and good, Rubin says, as long as you are able to fail forward, i.e. you learn from each and every mistake.

“I like to fail,” he says. “I have had so many failures and each time I have failed, I have figured out how to grow.” Read More: The Brilliance of Failure, In the Words of a Self-Made Billionaire

2. Banish self-doubt by acknowledging your accomplishments.

A lack of confidence can stop you from taking charge. “You overestimate the risk in your mind,” says Marci G. Fox author of Think Confident, Be Confident (Perigee Trade, 2009). “You see yourself as more vulnerable, and you forget how capable and competent you are.” Feelings of anxiety or doubt can distort your self-image; we’re often our own worst critic. Fox recommends focusing on daily successes (no matter how small) in order to keep self-doubt at bay. “Often, we’re so focused on what we haven’t done that we can’t accurately see our progress,” she says. If you’re able to celebrate your past accomplishments and keep your confidence level high, making the necessary tough or unpopular calls becomes more doable. Read More: How to Think Like a Confident Leader

3. Don’t settle for the standard solution.

If you want to create a truly outstanding product or service, you need to be thinking a step ahead of the pack. Our brains are wired to recycle ideas we’ve already heard from others, but independent thinking can be learned, says Art Markman, a cognitive psychologist at University of Texas at Austin and author of Smart Thinking (Perigee Trade, 2012).

Contrary to what you might think, open-ended problems are the enemy of novel solutions. “If you don’t have constraints, the first things you’ll come up with are the most accessible memories,” says Markman. “They’ll be really similar to what others have done before.” He also recommends ruling out elements of the solution that are most expected or obvious, considering ideas that don’t seem compatible, and zooming out to see variables that others might overlook. Read More: How to Break the Mold and Be an Independent Thinker

4. Focus on results, not style.

“Our research indicates that what really matters is that leaders are able to create enthusiasm, empower their people, instill confidence and be inspiring to the people around them,” says Peter Handal, chief executive of New York City-based Dale Carnegie Training, a leadership-training company. It’s a tall order, but luckily, there are many ways to achieve these same standout results. Inspiring leaders come in all different forms — introvert, extrovert, casual, formal you name it. Authentic leadership styles fall on a broad spectrum; it’s the results that matter, not the package. Read More: 5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

5. Always keep improving.

Some studies report that a third of what it takes to be a good leader is inherited, but that just means the other two thirds are up for grabs, says Angelo Kinicki, organizational culture expert and professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Most traits, Kinicki says, can be improved with environment and training.

True, some people are naturally more in control than others, but discipline can be strengthened and re-enforced with practice, Kinicki says. Read More: Leadership: Nurture or Nature?

6. Learn to act like an introvert and an extrovert.

The business world has never been altogether friendly to introverts. Yet roughly four in 10 top executives — including Larry Page, co-founder and now CEO of Google — identify as one. What’s more, their success may not come despite their natural introversion, but because of it, an idea backed up by new research suggesting introverts foster a better team environment than their more outgoing peers.

It’s worth noting, however, that the most successful introverts have also mastered the ability to act like extroverts, a reminder that learning how to fake it is still an important tool in a leader’s arsenal. Read More: Why Introverts and Comedians Make Great Leaders

7. Cultivate generosity.

Creating an organizational culture of generosity is healthy for business, says Patricia Thompson, an Atlanta-based corporate psychologist and president of Silver Lining Psychology. “Research shows that engaging in acts of kindness is associated with greater happiness,” she says. While being stressed and in a negative mood puts our bodies into fight-or-flight mode and limits our range of thoughts, making us less effective as problem solvers, positive emotions can improve productivity and inspire innovation.

In addition, a culture of generosity encourages employees to work collaboratively. It also gives employees a sense that what they are doing is valuable: “Having opportunities to feel they’re getting fulfilment through their work and not just a paycheck is increasingly important,” says Thompson. Read More: Make Gratitude a Part of Your Company Culture

Laura Entis is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230860#ixzz2r2ume7Qs

What is the Best Age to Become a Successful Entrepreneur?

What age?
The term ‘entrepreneur’ often conjures up an image of a young, enthusiastic risk-taker or computer whiz-kid, hungry to make a fortune from the next big thing.
Reprinted from business2community.com.  Written by Rachel Craig.
Starting a successful business, on the other hand, requires a little more savvy. But the best age? That matter is up for debate and the focus of a great deal of authoritative research. Sure, some of the most famous successful entrepreneur businesses were created by individuals in their 20s – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, to name a few – but this is not representative of the majority: the middle-aged professional with know-how, wisdom and vision is now the typical entrepreneur of the high-growth venture.
The benefits of ageIt’s not such a surprising notion when you think about it. People over the age of 40 are now proving to be the most successful entrepreneurs for a number of reasons – people are living longer, the job market is saturated, redundancy is high, the retirement age just keeps increasing, the baby-boomers developed the age of technology we now rely on, birth rates in this age group have declined, they are more likely to have financial resources with a reliable credit rating, and the knowledge and experience of this age bracket is far greater than those under 30. Whilst there may be ageism in employment based on the assumption that with age comes out-dated skills and a lack of innovation, the middle-aged generation is challenging this aversive, stereotypical attitude through successful entrepreneurship.
Who has the advantage?Liz Kammel’s article in Forbes, Start a Company When You’re 25 – Not 52, suggests younger entrepreneurs hold the advantage in start-up ventures because they are less likely to have responsibilities, they’re probably not making very much money anyway, they are used to working late and surviving on little sleep, and they’re more likely to want to challenge existing standards with new ideas. These are all relevant and logical points but Whitney Johnson’s article in Harvard Business Review cites empirical data and a number of examples that suggests quite the opposite. Research conducted by the Kauffman Foundation shows that those aged over 55 are almost twice as likely to succeed as successful entrepreneurs than those aged between 20 and 34, and high-growth start-ups are also twice as likely to be launched by those over 55 than the younger age group. Similarly, Vivek Wadhwa, renowned scholar and entrepreneur, studied 549 successful entrepreneurs and discovered that “Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25. The vast majority – 75 per cent – have more than six years of industry experience and half have more than 10 years when they create their start-up”.This is not only excellent news for the higher age bracket, but the younger generations will also benefit from the surge in the job market created by the high-growth ventures typical of the over-40 entrepreneur. Furthermore, there’s a tendency with younger individuals to be more focused on quick gain for their own benefit. This self-concerned trait is not so much a bad thing or a recent development; it’s simply a natural aspect of being young. Older, mature individuals are more likely to have outgrown such characteristics, choosing instead to use their experiences to create a business that counts and benefits future generations as well as themselves.
Age is not a ruleWhilst the research points strongly toward the advantages of having more years under your belt, a good business idea can strike at any stage of life so don’t be put off by age – there’s no hard and fast rule. Achieving success as an entrepreneur depends on so many factors – the viability of the idea, the industry you’re targeting, timing, talent, drive and commitment, access to financial resources, networking with the right people. The 20-something entrepreneur generally has more energy to burn, is less risk-averse because they have nothing to lose and is less likely to be tainted by ideas about the way things should be done. Starting a business when you’re young is no doubt much easier but arrogance and lack of experience are often problematic in the long run. However, one way to overcome this hurdle would be to co-found a business with an experienced individual or find a valuable mentor whose experience and knowledge you could use to your benefit. The over-40 entrepreneur may be less inclined to risk their financial security, they are more likely to have commitments and may be giving up a lucrative, secure career for an uncertain new venture – but the more you have to lose, the more likely you are to think things through and ensure the viability of a new business before making the leap. Paired with maturity, experience and knowledge, this is no doubt a key factor in the souring number of older entrepreneurs achieving such great success.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/leadership/best-age-become-successful-entrepreneur-0714303#tzxDBCuqHhO6WLr6.99

How to Teach Your Children to Become Entrepreneurs

 

Teaching children

Here is a great article by Sarah Santacroce about how to develop our children to be Entrepreneurs.  http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/12/12/can-teach-our-children-to-become-entrepreneurs/

I never planned to become an entrepreneur. In fact, I kind of slid into it. But now that I think about it, my dad was an entrepreneur for as long as I remember, and so was my grandmother. Some people might come to the conclusion that entrepreneurship gets passed on through the genes. I don’t think so. I believe it has more to do with circumstances — and maybe our upbringing.

As parents we sometimes think we need to manage our kids’ future. It’s understandable. We want only the best for them, and don’t want them to struggle in their adult life. But not my parents, they always trusted me with the education and career decisions I made. I realize now that this was probably a key factor in my decision to launch my own business: I believed in myself and had the confidence to take the risk.

So how can we encourage our kids to become entrepreneurs? Or maybe not encourage them, because we want them to make their own decisions, but at least give them the right ground?

Boost their self-motivation

When doing homework with my 10-year-old I sometimes feel that he thinks he is studying for me or his teacher. Children do not understand yet that they study for themselves; you have to keep repeating it to them. This will boost their self-motivation.

Encourage them to find their own solutions

Sometimes it’s easiest to give our kids ready-made solutions to their “problems.” I’m guilty myself. But unfortunately we are not doing them a favor. If we want them to grow up to be self-thinkers, they need to learn in the early years to find their own answers. And, yes, you might refer them to YouTube or Google, because that’s what we do when we try to find answers, right?

Push them to think outside the box

Unfortunately, creativity is not always welcome at school. Children need to study and then regurgitate. So every now and then just let them know that there’s also other approaches than the one the teacher teaches them, and that being able to “think outside the box” is a good skill to have.

Teach them how to manage their own money

As small business owners we manage our own money. A lot of businesses fail because of bad financial management. If you teach your kids to manage their own money from as early as the age of 10, you will not only help them to understand the value of material things but hopefully also make them into better accountants. As a kid I had a little book in which I wrote down all my “Income” (pocket money) and “Expenses” (candy, toys, and later clothes) and my son is now doing the same thing.

Tell them not to take things for granted

In our materialistic society it’s easy for our kids to get a little spoiled and take things for granted. Two thirds of my son’s classmates have an iPhone. They think it’s their right. As a small business owner you can only buy the fancy new iPad if you made enough money that month. Explain that to your children. I know I do!

Show them that failure is part of success and encourage them not to give up

Teenagers nowadays give up too fast if things don’t come easy. And they think failure is a permanent state. It is your role as a parent to explain that failure is part of any success path. Encourage them to get up again if they fall!

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill Tweet this

Make them independent

I know we constantly worry about our children. So we sometimes overprotect them, give them a ride when they could take the bike instead, pack their suitcase for camp when they would be old enough to do it themselves. Again, we’re not doing them a favor. If we want them to become independent and responsible human beings, we need to let go a bit.

I know a lot of fellow entrepreneurs and I’m sure if I did a survey about their upbringing a lot of these statements above would get confirmed. So why not try them out? It can’t hurt.

How to Be a Successful ‘Mompreneur’

working-mom-and-child

Starting a business is no small feat. It takes a lot of time, money and energy to launch a successful startup, even if your business is your only focus.

Reprinted from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5560-mom-entrepreneur-startup-tips.html

Mothers who decide to become entrepreneurs have to balance the equally demanding roles of parent and business owner, and anyone who has taken this path will tell you it isn’t an easy one.

“Mompreneur,” a portmanteau of “mom” and “entrepreneur,” has emerged as a term for mothers who take on the daunting task of juggling motherhood and a startup. These ambitious female entrepreneurs tirelessly strive to achieve both personal and professional success, and often prove themselves true masters of work-life balance.

Rachel Katz Galatt and Lara Galloway are two such mompreneurs. Katz Galatt, CEO and founder of Maternal Science, Inc., launched healthy mama, a brand that makes safe, natural remedies for pregnant and nursing women, after her own experiences during her first pregnancy. Galloway, founding member of online counseling service MommyCoach, wanted to provide other moms with the support, help and understanding she wished she’d had when she first became a mother.

Katz Galatt and Galloway were both inspired to go into business by their motherhood experiences, and each has her own unique perspective on “mompreneurship.” They offered thesetips for women starting a business and a family simultaneously:

You can’t do it all

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is assuming that they can and must do everything themselves. Mothers, who are often the primary caretakers, errand runners and planners in their households, are especially vulnerable to this mistake. Katz Galatt said that knowing and admitting you can’t do it all — and allowing others to fill in the gaps — is important to succeeding as a mompreneur.

“Don’t have that ego,” she advised. “I surround myself with people who are smarter and have skill sets that I don’t. It’s better to do a few things really well than do a lot of things just so-so.”

Similarly, Galloway noted that mompreneurs can’t be afraid to ask for help in any area of their lives, whether it’s at home or in the office. When it comes to your business, she recommended focusing on the profitable aspects of your company and outsourcing the rest.

“It doesn’t make sense for me to worry about website issues when I can pay someone,” Galloway told BusinessNewsDaily. “I don’t get paid to spend my time doing that. It can be tempting to try to do everything yourself, but you’ll spend all your time doing things that don’t make you money and wonder why you’re not seeing a profit. Just do what you do best.”

Listen to others

Some entrepreneurs make all their decisions based on intuition. They have a great idea and simply run with it, relying only on their own instincts. While many business leaders advise following your gut with the big decisions, there’s a lot to be said for taking the time to listen.

“Bounce ideas off people you trust, and be open to their input and criticism,” Katz Galatt told BusinessNewsDaily. “Sometimes, you hear something that gets you to a better place by looking at it differently.”

Know your priorities

It’s critical to establish clear personal and professional priorities before starting your business, Galloway said. Before you start working on your business plan, it’s important to lay out your goals for both the present, and for the next two to five years.

“You absolutely have to consider your business goals along the timeline of your life,” Galloway said. “Other entrepreneurs can sacrifice sleep and their health, and put all their focus into the business. With kids, you can’t do that. Determine what you can do at this stage of your life. As your kids and your business grow up, your life and work won’t have to be sacrificed.”

Find a support system

Because you can’t do it all as a mompreneur, the only way to succeed is to have a solid network of trusted individuals to take over when you can’t be there. Whether it’s your spouse or partner at home or a great manager at the office, you need to have someone to share some of the weight.

“I want to be a present mom and be sure that I’m doing what I need to make my business successful at the same time,” Katz Galatt told BusinessNewsDaily. “It’s all about finding a support system, people you can trust to fill in for you. I’m lucky to have a husband who is very supportive and really helps with the kids.”

Do it for you

No matter what kind of business you decide to start, it’s important that you’re pursuing it because it’s fulfilling and you’re passionate about it.

“I needed to start my business to make me feel balanced as a mom,” Galloway said. “Work doesn’t take away from who I am as a mom; it adds to it.”

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Working at HOME: Strategies for Success

work-from-home

Working at home sounds great until you try to do it. It’s amazing how many issues and obstacles can pop up between you and your original goals. Creating a smooth blend among home, family, and business can be tricky at times. Here are some suggested strategies:

Reprinted from: http://www.newsfix.ca/2013/12/04/working-at-home-strategies-for-success/

Take yourself seriously. This is probably the most important key to your success. If you don’t take your work seriously, no one else will. When working, try to look and act professional, even if it’s just you and your kids at home. In conversation, refer to your work as a business, rather than a hobby or pastime.

Have a family meeting. Your family needs to know that your work is important, and that you need certain amounts of uninterrupted time to do your work well.

Working at home: Strategies for success

Delegate responsibilities. Stop trying to do it all! Let other family members shop for groceries, plan menus, do laundry, drive kids around, etc. Certainly, you can do some of that, but there’s no reason that you should do it all.

Be flexible. Setting strict work hours often leads to frustration when family life cuts into your schedule. Aim instead for a number of hours per day, and feel good if that total number is met.

Will power! When you find time to work, get to work quickly. Resist the temptation to watch a little TV, get a snack, or make that social phone call.

Keep an organized office. You will probably be interrupted throughout the day. A neat and orderly office means you can return quickly to the task at hand, rather than searching through piles of papers, trying to figure out what you were doing last.

Be efficient. Organization leads to efficiency. Have supplies stored where you can find them. Deal with paperwork and mail right away. Develop a filing system, so that you know what’s coming in, going out, and where you can find things in the meantime.

Value your time. You’re at home, so you’ll still get phone calls and visitors. Be polite but firm. Tell friends you’ll call back when you’re not working. Firmly explain to telemarketers that they have interrupted you at work, and you have no time to listen to their sales offers. Ask visitors to drop by later, when you’re not working.

Avoid the “Neighborhood Mom Syndrome.” If you work at home, there’s a good chance that you’re on more than one or two “emergency contact cards” for neighborhood schoolkids. Don’t allow friends and neighbors to assume that just because you’re home, you’re available to drive, babysit, or otherwise care for their kids.

Be there for your own kids. They will be happier, and that will make your life happier. If you find that your work is cutting too deeply into time with your kids, it’s time to reevaluate your goals, your schedule, or how your other systems are working. Are you getting enough support from your spouse? Should you hire extra help? Where should you cut back, to make your life better? Work? Housecleaning? Cooking? Decide where your priorities lie. If you can fit good work and good parenting into your day, but the breakfast dishes are still in the sink at dinnertime, who cares? You’ve done your two most important jobs. The rest is fluff.

Ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence. If the above-mentioned “fluff” starts getting you down, it’s time to ask for more help from the family. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to hire some outside help. Go professional, or hire an older child to be a “mother’s helper” for babysitting, washing dishes, or light housework.

Involve your kids. Your older children can stuff envelopes, apply labels or stamps, or do simple filing. Your younger kids can play quietly in your office, read books, color. Check out “Child-Proof Your Home Office” for more ideas.

Take time for you. One problem of working at home is that your work is always there. Home workers often work through meals, or work late at night, after the kids are in bed. Don’t let your work take over your life. Make time for fun, for relaxing, for being by yourself or with your partner.

Mompreneur- 7 tips for building a strong support system

toddler_large

Reprinted from Maya Rahal.

Here are a few tips for making it all work while running a business or working at a startup:

  1. Find a full time nanny. Making a living is hard, and for people in their late 60s with no retirement plan, it’s even harder. Unfortunately, in our societies, there are many women in this situation, hidden away without a lot of interaction in their communities. Ask around in the area you live in. Take initiative and suggest the job. It can be the neighbour of your friend or the relative of your neighbour. Her schedule- and salary- might be more flexible than a young nanny.

  2. Live near relatives. If you decided to go live as far as possible from your parents during your wild teenage years, it’s now time to move back. Living in the with extended family around is a luxury you should learn to make use of and appreciate. Older relatives usually have shorter work schedules and often love your kids, which allows them to babysit at different hours of the day and for different purposes. If you manage to live next to your parents, uncle or aunt, you can exploit these benefits.

  3. Make friends with your neighbours. Your neighbours, whether you like them or not, can be your last minute saviors. May they be single, newlyweds, already parents, or grandparents, most of them won’t mind giving you a hand, by helping to grab the kids from the school bus if you are running late, or keep the kids for a bit if you need to have a 30-minute call. Remember, everyone loves babies.

  4. Find a daycare next to your house. Some moms work long hours and need more babysitting time than a nanny alone can give. You can start by dropping your kids at daycare in the morning and having the nanny pick them up later, until you are back home. If the daycare is a walking distance to your house, a relative, nanny or neighbour can grab the baby and walk to your house without the extra drive and need for a car seat.

  5. Engage in activities to meet other families and other entrepreneurs. Moms who face the same struggles as you are the most qualified to understand your needs, share ideas, and trade the help. In the context of social activities centered around the kids, it’s easy to ask for help, knowing you will undoubtedly give it back. Go to a nearby playground or start small discussions with other moms who are dropping their kids at daycare. You never know- you may end up babysitting each others’ kids in a pinch.

  1. Use technology. You do not have a minute to waste. You want to exercise, buy a dress for that urgent business dinner, grab a gift for a friend’s birthday, and find an activity to take your kid to this weekend, all alongside running your business. Often, you won’t have time to step out of the house for any of this, so go online. Download exercise apps, visit e-commerce sites, and use local online event guides. Technology can make your life easier in so many ways. Use it.

  2. Your team can be a support too. Being an entrepreneur and mother is tough. But it’s also becoming more and more normal, and everybody knows kids get sick and emergencies happen. Show your team that the work is done even if you are stuck with a sick kid at home or need to leave early for a doctor’s appointment. Make sure they are aware of the fact that daycares close at 5pm and you need to pick up your kid before that time everyday. Once you make them familiar with the needs of a mother who’s an entrepreneur, they might be more supportive of other working moms, or maybe even help out with babysitting on one of those days when you have no alternative but to bring your kid to work.

Some days, no matter how much help you get, your whole system will crash and you will have to skip some work opportunities, or fun moments. But the most important thing is to embrace the feeling of not needing to do everything by yourself, and to not feel guilty. You’ll be able to let go of guilt trips as soon as you realize your children are happy even if more than three individuals take turns at babysitting them in one day.

Children spending time around other people then their own parents, grow a feeling of being independent, a quality most successful entrepreneurs have. You might just be raising a future entrepreneur!

http://www.wamda.com/2013/08/mompreneur-7-tips-build-strong-support-system

We are very excited about the new Scout Guide publication.

-The Scout Guide is an annual publication that highlights Knoxville’s best of the best locally-owned businesses. We encourage you to keep loving local, building up our town, and supporting local artisans in all of the cities that you visit!

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