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Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True

Revealed: Successful Young Entrepreneurs’ Secrets to Making Their Dreams Come True

Do you ever feel that you are investing in the dreams and success of others while neglecting your own? You punch a clock day in and day out, earn a meager pay-check for performing mundane tasks far beneath your capabilities, and for what–to help catapult someone else to success? If so, you are not alone. Many people are trapped in a cycle of chasing someone else’s dream for them, while theirs go unrealized.

Being an entrepreneur is the sexy new trend these days. Everyone seems to be doing it. What if you were to gain the necessary capital needed to launch your own business- would you? Or would the fear of failure stop you dead in your tracks?

If you chose to heed fear’s warning, you may be smarter than you think. Your fear is rational and not without merit. Building a startup is hard. That’s the tough reality despite all of the hype, glamour, and sexiness surrounding entrepreneurship. Statics show that over 90 percent of startups fail. [1] The odds are not in your favor.

10 young entrepreneurs show us how to achieve success

What about that small 10% who do manage to become successful? Their success is not accidental nor did it happen by chance. These young entrepreneurs prove that success is possible despite the odds. Everyone — from the young budding business person to the one looking to get out of debt — can learn something from these savvy upstarts.

1. William Zhou, Co-founder and CEO of Chalk.com

    Lesson: Connect and care.

    Chalk.com is described by Forbes as “Microsoft for teachers.” This education-based software company was birthed out of William’s desire to assist overworked, overburdened educators. His company has created software that simplifies lesson planning, assessments, and the evaluation process for teachers.

    The lesson we can learn from William is that it is important to connect and care about your customer. His primary motivation for starting this company was to provide a service to help teachers and not just to earn a great pay check. He ended up doing both.

    2. Brennen Byrne, Co-founder of Clef

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      Lesson: Keep the right people and stay away from the wrong ones.

      Clef is a replacement for usernames and passwords. The technology works through phone cryptography, eliminating the need for passwords and making logging in quick and safe.

      In an interview with AL.com,[2], Brennen cites hiring good people as one of the most important aspects that helps perpetuate his company’s success. This lesson applies in life and especially in business. You must keep good people around you. Conversely, once you find that a person doesn’t fit the company character and vision, nix them quickly. You can’t afford to wait for a person to bloom, nor can you afford to keep an employee who doesn’t support your mission.

      3. Adam Lipecz, Co-founder of Codie

        Lesson: Focus on one idea at a time.

        Codie is a toy robot and web app that introduces and teaches kids how to write code. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Adam describes Codie as being like Legos for architects.

        Adam is an idealist. He has tons of great ideas all of the time. His success has come from learning how to focus on one big idea at a time and incorporate smaller ideas into the larger one. He is confident that he will create a ton of innovative gadgets because he has the discipline to throw all of his time, energy, expertise, and resources into each idea at the appropriate time.

        4. Daniel Fine, Co-founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies

          Lesson: Passion and drive are essential to sustaining long-term success.

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          Daniel Fine is founder and CEO of Team Brotherly Love and The Fine Companies. These companies include a sunglass company — “Glass-U”, a medical app — “Dosed”, and a tutoring firm — “NexTutors.” Team Brotherly Love has raised over $2 million for Type-1 diabetes research. Glass-U makes fully-folding sunglasses and is licensed to hundreds of universities. It has been featured at events ranging from The Rose Bowl to Lollapalooza.

          In an interview with the Huffington Post[3], Daniel says that passion and focus are the two keys he attributes to his success.

          “Those are probably the two most important things that if anybody has they’ll be able to achieve something. You need the passion and the drive in order to achieve something. Early on, you can create things without being incredibly passionate about it but you can’t consistently create things without being passionate about it. Focus is probably the next thing by a very, very close shot. The focus and drive overlap are two things that are just so necessary for you to be able to create what you’re shooting for. “

          5. Sam Shames, Co-founder of Embr

            Lesson: Your must work hard, but your work should capitalize on your strengths.

            Sam Shames is not new to success. From his college days as a star wrestler at MIT to his inclusion as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30[4] in 2015, Sam knows how to win. As a student at MIT, Sam engineered the core technology for his signature product: Wristify. Wristify is a wearable device that helps regulate temperature. It recreates the relief you feel when you warm your hands by the fireplace in the winter, or the cooling sensation you experience when you pour cold water over your head on a scorching summer’s day.

            Sam believes that you should do what you love and it should be something for which you have a natural aptitude. He was built for everything he does. Sam believes in embracing and leveraging his unique set of skills, abilities, and aptitudes. He embraces hard work but believes that work shouldn’t go against your grain and should capitalize on your strengths.

            6. Nanxi Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Enplug

              Lesson: Go “all in” with your eyes wide open.

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              Enplug is technology that transforms any digital display (TVs, jumbotrons, billboards) from a static, one-way communication channel into an interactive and real-time display.

              The entrepreneurial life is notoriously filled with risks, stresses, and sacrifices. Investing your life into a company at a young age is risky but the idea of taking risks is the fuel that propels successful entrepreneurs to keep moving forward. They don’t want, nor do they expect, failure but they understand it is a part of the process. To them, failure is a bump in the road- not the end of it. Expect it. Embrace it.

              7. Becca Goldstein, Co-founder and COO of Fever Smart

                Lesson: Always look to learn.

                Fever Smart is a non-invasive, real-time temperature monitoring system. It is a preventative solution that enables users to head off potentially dangerous health issues through early detection.

                Becca is a bit different from our other entrepreneurs. She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life so instead of staying in college she took a year off to travel. Why? According to her, she knew she wouldn’t find the answer to the question, “Why am I here?” in a classroom. Becca, like most successful young entrepreneurs, will tell you that she doesn’t know everything but she is open to learning. Her secret to success? She is a true connoisseur of knowledge.

                8. Gabe Blanchet, Co-founder and CEO of Grove

                  Lesson: Master the art of creating win-wins.

                  Grove is built on the belief that all people — regardless of location, climate or season — can grow their own healthy food right where they live. This business empowers people to actively participate in eating healthier while eliminating negative effects to the environment such as soil erosion and contamination of water runoff, and helps slow down the effects of climate change.

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                  Gabe believes in having the best of both worlds. He and his partner are concerned with the state of the environment, mitigating hunger, and providing people with the technology that allows them to be proactive and productive in sustaining their health. They do all of this and they turn a tidy profit. He believes in helping mankind while building a powerful brand through savvy business processes. The takeaway from Gabe’s model is that your business should be a win-win.

                  9. Sarah Tulin, Co-founder and CEO of Oxie

                    Lesson: Don’t discount small ideas.

                    Oxie is an air purifier that you wear. It couples aerodynamic technology with a sleek design to protect users from air pollutants such as traffic smoke, pollen, and germs.

                    This genius idea was birthed after Sarah was assaulted by a huge cloud of bus smoke on her way to work one day. That one event has changed her life. She was able to combine her love and appreciation for fashion while simultaneously fulfilling a need. She believes that ideas — even the small ones — should be explored.

                    10. Caroline Pugh, Co-founder and COO of VirtualU

                      Lesson: Believe in yourself.

                      VirtualU integrates 3D human modeling technology with fitness and healthcare. It enables people to accurately track how their bodies change as they work out. It shows you exactly where you are losing weight and gaining muscle — in 3D! It also is being adapted to help people make more accurate selections when shopping for clothes online.

                      Caroline’s company’s mission is “to blur the lines between virtual space and reality to make the online experience as real as possible.” That is a pretty lofty goal, even for the most tech-savvy individual or company. Yet she states it with conviction and chases it with tenacity. Her mission statement truly is her mission and not just a group of words used to build a smoke screen brand. She believes in herself. She believes in her mission. She surrounds herself with those who believe in her and who push her to work harder and be better. Her belief in herself is what pushes her to keep going and makes the impossible plausible.

                      These are the secrets of ten young entrepreneurs who have beaten the odds. If you have ever felt that you are investing in the dreams and success of others instead of pursuing your own and you decide to start your own business, there is much to learn from these ten successes.

                      Reference

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                      Denise Hill

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                      Published on March 20, 2019

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

                      Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

                      As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

                      While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

                      What is a Mission Statement?

                      Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

                      In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

                      “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

                      In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

                      Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

                      While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

                      First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

                      While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

                      While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

                      “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

                      This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

                      What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

                      When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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                      Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

                      When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

                      • What we do?
                      • How we do it?
                      • Whom do we do it for?
                      • What value are we bringing?

                      Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

                      After all, that did check off all the boxes:

                      What we do? Provide widgets.

                      How we do it? Online.

                      Who do we do it for? The consumer.

                      What value we bring? The best widgets.

                      The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

                      Compare that mission statement to this one:

                      “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

                      What’s the difference?

                      Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

                      Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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                      You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

                      A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

                      Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

                      1. Keep It Brief

                      Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

                      You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

                      2. Have a Purpose

                      A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

                      Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

                      3. Include a “How”

                      Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

                      How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

                      4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

                      This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

                      Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

                      5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

                      It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

                      Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

                      6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

                      Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

                      7. Think Long Term

                      A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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                      8. Get Feedback

                      This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

                      Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

                      9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

                      You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

                      First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

                      And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

                      For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

                      The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

                      It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

                      First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

                      If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

                      Strategic Planning

                      A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

                      Measuring Performance

                      By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

                      Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

                      Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

                      Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

                      As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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                      Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

                      To Hold Management Accountable

                      By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

                      So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

                      If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

                      To Serve as an Example

                      This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

                      After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

                      Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

                      Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

                      Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

                      That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

                      By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

                      More Resources About Achieving Business Success

                      Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
                      [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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