December 29, 2010

Guest Post by Kristen Bradley

Struggles Many New Small Businesses Owners Face
Most individuals would love to start their own business if they had the necessary time, financing, and experience available. The opportunity to flee the 9 to 5 rat race, be your own boss, and set your own hours are just a few attractive perks. However, new businesses owners first must overcome a number of challenges.
  • Financing. Small business owners sometimes find it difficult to find the necessary funds needed to start up a business. Furthermore, you'll have to have a sufficient cash flow to meet future expenses. Additional funds will need to be allocated for marketing and advertising so that your business can attract clients.
  • Employees. Entrepreneurs fight to find and keep good employees who will help the company succeed and grow. Initially, small business owners may not be able to afford to offer employees medical benefits, paid vacations, and profit sharing. Thus, finding—and then retaining—reliable and dedicated employees from the beginning can be difficult.
  • Management. The proprietors of fledgling businesses often end up working much longer hours than they did when they worked for someone else. They must perform many behind-the-scenes tasks daily, including sales and marketing promotions, legal paperwork, and product development and research.
  • Technology. A small business may not have the resources to take advantage of new technology, placing them at a competitive disadvantage. Effective web sites are key for getting your business's name out there.
  • Legal regulations. Entrepreneurs have a number of legal hoops to jump through before they start their first business. Name registrations, seller permits, surety bonds, and tax clearances are just a few examples. Oftentimes applicants must prove their professional reliability and financial stability before meeting such regulations, which can prove challenging for younger professionals.
Starting up a new enterprise can be very exciting and rewarding, but success is not usually achieved without first confronting and conquering many roadblocks along the way. With a little perseverance and a knowledge of the industry you're going into, you, too, can succeed.
This article was written by Kristen Bradley, an agency that helps entrepreneurs and new business owners get their enterprises started off on the right foot. aims to give new professionals an insight into industry restrictions that help regulate businesses in all 50 states.

December 14, 2010

Do You Know Who's On Top?

After you get your mind out of the gutter, when it comes to your career this question is serious business. Regardless of where you are in your career, who's on top matters. 

The "trickle down" effect. Take for example, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Recently there were reports that he heckles his players when they're not performing up to their potential. Not exactly a motivational speaker huh? Whoever is on top bleeds their personality and core values to everyone within the organization. As an employee, it's vital you get to know as much about the person in charge. Even if you never meet him/her face to face, you will know what they value based on how you are treated.

Choose respect over like. That means it's more important that you respect your boss than actually like him/her. It's not what they say, but what they do. Actions speak louder than words. If you truly respect your boss, there should be times you don't like him/her because they'll do what's best for the company, not just for you. On the other hand, if you really like your boss, but don't respect him/her, most likely you don't give 100% effort and the company suffers.

Look for growth opportunities. What is the company culture like? There's no harm in taking a lesser position if you know there's room to advance. On the flip side, if you are in it solely for the money, it will come back and bite you. A learning culture provides multiple ways to continuously grow their workers such as: coaches, workshops, conferences, training, etc. (Take a look at Google, Zappos & Dreamworks as examples) 

We've been told great organizations are flat, but that's a myth. All organizations need some form of vertical leadership to accomplish anything. The leader of a company drives the culture. The culture affects workers more than any other factor. Take some time to look up and figure out if you like respect what you see. What's on top will determine how you feel "below."

I'd like to hear your personal stories about good and bad leadership you've experienced. Please leave your comment below.

December 7, 2010

How Successfully Do You Fail?

Define success. Each definition is unique. 
Define failure. Any time you don't reach the intended goal. 

The most successful people in the world fail the most. 
Yes, I said it. Successful people aren't afraid of failure because of how they view it.

After your next failure (that's right, it will happen), try asking yourself these questions:

What can I learn?
We learn the most from losing, not winning. There's teachable moments in every setback no matter how painful they are. It's not what happens to you, but how you respond to it. 

What's my next move?
There's no harm in evaluating what happened (collecting data), but don't dwell on your mistakes. Pick yourself up and move on. If you "keep score" based on wins and losses, you'll become depressed. One great win can offset many losses.

What's my goal?
After you get up off the canvas and start fighting again, re-focus on your desired target. Think of a mosaic (credit to my friend Josh Allan Dykstra). Instead of being consumed with the individual pieces, step back and view the big picture. Don't let setbacks stop you. Stay persistent and the results will come.

Being successful is about learning to fail forward. Learn from your mistakes. Move on. Fixate on your target. Failure isn't a bad thing, if you know how to "see" it.

Are you ready to fail forward?