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8 Myths About Starting Business Which Prevent Success

8 Myths About Starting Business Which Prevent Success

Failure in business is not something most entrepreneurs are prepared for. Most entrepreneurs have their head high up in the clouds with the dreams of making the next billion-dollar business so it is truly a heartbreaking experience, but it’s a proof that we don’t learn from success. It’s the heartbreaking and the painful part that teaches people their lessons.

Besides the improper planning and wrong moves, here are some myths about starting business which may be stopping entrepreneurs from starting and thriving in the process.

1. You have to know everything about business

Is there anyone who knew everything that they needed to know to begin a business from Day One? Traci Des Jardins, one of the most well-known chefs around town, was trained by some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world. Traci launched her own restaurant Jardinière in San Francisco in 1997. When she expanded her restaurant empire, her biggest challenge was raising money. She had no formal training in business, so she leaned on a business partner to help her figure it out.

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If you think you don’t have idea for a business, think of problems. Yes, problems are opportunities.

A successful business solves problems. Business writer, Robert Jordan, said the ability to act without full information can be a strength when starting a business.

Every entrepreneur should learn to embrace the learning process, because if there is anything constant in business, it’s the changes along the way. Indeed, “skill and money isn’t the answer for the entrepreneur, it is knowledge from books, observing, and asking”. This is what Anita Roddick emphasized in her book Business as Unusual. While it’s important that you know enough about the industry you’re trying to build a business on, you don’t need to know everything.

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2. You should have a full business plan

Contrary to myth, a good business-person doesn’t need a detailed business plan to start a business. We’re often told that a business plan is a must to help guide the company, and to avoid losing focus. According to Garrett Moon, the co-founder of CoSchedule, it’s more like a safety net to make sure that you actually lose focus. Moon says, “When people do nothing but execute a plan, they lose the ability to innovate and adjust to the changing waters of business.”

3. You need to wait for the right time to get started

Indiegogo’s hard-earned success is a proof that you don’t need to wait for the right time to start a business. Slava Rubin, the CEO of Indiegogo, started the company months before the financial crisis of 2008. When the economy took a hit, many people advised them to shut down. Despite that, Rubin and his cofounders were so passionate about their efforts to democratize fundraising that they pressed forward at all costs.

4. You have to work 24/7

According to entrepreneurial urban legend, you need to work 24/7 to run a successful business. Andrew Wilkinson, CEO of MetaLab, has a different view on this. He emphasized that you don’t have to make yourself miserable to build a great company. What’s the use of working 80 hours a week and getting paid four times more than you used to, when you can’t even have a social life?

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Andrew knew what it’s like to work non-stop and decided to stop this kind of life for the sake of his own sanity. Now, Andrew enjoys being getting eight hours of sleep each night and spending more time with family, while still managing a successful company.

5. You need a lot of money to begin

Many businesses believe they need a venture capital to begin. But now that crowd-funding platforms allow people to raise money, it’s time to rely less on venture capital. The fact that crowd-funding also attracts a global audience, including potential clients, is a huge factor.

Satari Star Swivl, a movement tracking dock, presented the product to multiple investors in California. Although they got rejected every time, their Indiegogo campaign raised more than $24,000 in two months. A common excuse among people is: “I need money to make money.” In spite of that, it’s possible to start a business with little or no capital in many ways. One of which is through offering services instead of selling physical products. For example, Greg Miliates, founder of a consulting firm, started his business inexpensively.

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6. You need to spend money to make money

While it’s a known fact that it takes money to make money, many entrepreneurs have turned their ideas into profitable businesses without relying on a hefty marketing budget. Andrew Keller, vice president and associate creative director of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, shares that you could have successful marketing campaign provided that you know your brand extremely well. Keller says, “You’ve got to know you’re brand. You need to really know your brand. You’ve got to be 100% on brand all the time. So talk to the right people.”

7. You need to have control of everything

Who else in the world knows about your business but yourself, right? Most entrepreneurs feel the need to have control and knowledge about every single division and part of the operation. While it makes sense to stay on top of everything, many entrepreneurs struggle to scale their business because of this very issue. Wise entrepreneurs know when to give up on power and authority. They know when to delegate, so they can focus on much more important matters of the operations. Forbes contributor, Paul B. Brown, has highlighted the importance of giving up control in order to build a successful business as it allows the business not to rely on just one person. It also gives the business the ability to grow faster.

8. You have to under-promise and over-deliver

While it’s ideal for personal relationships, setting the bar low right at the start may prove to be unhealthy for the business in the long run. Instead of giving the customers the very best products and services right from the start, businesses that tend to provide so-so experience to its customer may actually hamper the business growth.  Customers will soon start fleeing when they find much better options that don’t hold up when it comes to quality and overall experience.

Many entrepreneurs struggle in turning their business ideas into a successful startup as they’re clouded with several myths that they may been told in the past. The best way to combat these myths is consciously commit to not fall into any of those above-mentioned.

Featured photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons: Cristian Bortes via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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