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30 Things Only Entrepreneurs Would Understand

30 Things Only Entrepreneurs Would Understand

Sometimes you just want to be understood. That’s why entrepreneurs often hang out with other entrepreneurs – those who know their struggles and joys. If you work for yourself, or if you are in the process of building a business, see how many of these points you can relate to. If you know an entrepreneur, here’s a tiny peek into their brain.

30. You try to stay organized… but there is a lot of stuff

Paperwork, invoices, employee documents, to-do lists, project plans, meeting summaries… You have an ongoing goal to get more organized, but at some point you wonder whether it’s even possible with this much stuff.

29. You don’t mean to micro-manage, but…

Sure, you may love and trust your employees. You were probably even the person who hired them. But how can you really be sure they will perform a task properly (i.e. how you would do it)? You can’t help but micro-manage sometimes, just to ensure everything goes smooth.

28. The thought of a cubicle and a boss sends shivers down your spine

9 to 5 is no problem, as long as it’s on your terms. Having little control over what you do and how you do it has never appealed to you. You prefer to do work that matters to you.

27. You get bummed out when things flop

Being an entrepreneur has plenty of perks, but when an idea totally fails, you can’t help but feel defeated. After all, you put your authentic self into everything you do in your business.

26. You have a never-ending reserve of motivation

Even if things go wrong, even if there are setbacks, even if you make a mistake – you always keep going. Because if you don’t pull your business through, who else will?

25. You have to deliberately ensure emails don’t cut into your sleep time

It’s not hard to spend your entire day staring into the inbox abyss. There are the imaginary emails you totally forgot to send, the ones you forgot to read, the ones you are avoiding, the ones that are promising, and the ones that you have to re-read 10 times to understand. It never ends.

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24. You are used to people inaccurately judging your daily life

“You run a successful business with several employees? You must spend most of your time in a hammock, ordering your employees around via email!” Nope.

23. One of your top goals is to roll out of bed each day and do whatever the hell you want

Everyone dreams of this lifestyle, but you are actually willing to go for it. Not only this, but you actually believe it’s possible, unlike many people. You know from experience that persistence and hard work pay off.

22. You groan at the thought of content marketing

Unless you actually run a business that offers content marketing services, you usually groan at the thought of having to update your blog, website, or social media accounts. Hopefully by now you’ve hired someone who knows what they’re doing in this area.

21. You got 99 problems and differentiation is one

You’re always concerned about the impression your business is making… or not making. The internet is saturated with businesses trying to make their mark. There are undoubtedly a few people in your industry that offer the same things you do. Thus you know that your success is determined by how you can differentiate and let your individuality shine through to customers.

20. You’re perpetually looking for ways to “expand your business”

…whatever that means

19. You smile through your teeth at difficult customers, then vent about it later

Your friends and family might be concerned at the level of rage in your voice, but once you get it off your chest, you’re good.

18. You love when people ask, “So what do you do?”

Perfect bragging opportunity.

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17. You do a happy dance for every new client or customer…

Even if it’s just mentally.

16. You know that pre-launch anticipation all too well

It’s like a balled up mixture of pure excitement and terror. Awesome, right? There are a billion questions you have to ask yourself, and even more things to consider – like pricing, marketing, budgeting, designing,..

15. Your desk or bookshelf is filled with how-to books for entrepreneurs

There are just so many good ones… you have to read them all.

14. You can spot a problematic person a mile away

Whether it’s a potential partner, client, supplier, or anyone else, you can identify those red flags that hint at a person’s unreliability.

13. You’re used to hearing people tell you what they can’t do

If you’ve attained even a slight level of success in business, people probably ask you, “How did you do it?! I could never do that.” However you know better, because that’s how you felt when you first started down the entrepreneurial path. In this way, you may see potential in others even when they don’t see it in themselves.

13. You take charge when you see someone misconstruing your vision

Entrepreneurs are like parents – except their baby is the business. When an employee or anyone else jumps in with some not-so-positive ideas or actions, you don’t hesitate to (politely) shut them down.

12. You don’t let your flaws hold you back

Some people think of entrepreneurs as invincible. However, you know your own weak spots. They exist, but they don’t keep you from thriving and adapting in your business.

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11. You have a healthy stack of business cards from people you intend to collaborate with

Gather a few entrepreneurs together in a room and you’ve got ideas flowing in no time. Execution is a different story. If you could only find the time…

10. You are always waiting for an opportunity to mention your business

“We’re going to a rave? Should I bring my business cards?”

9. You don’t believe in the status quo

You are the boss of your own life. Why follow someone else’s path when you know there are other options? After all, you can’t possibly succeed when you are working to achieve someone else’s goals.

8. You are caught in a vicious coffee-nap cycle

Coffee, nap, coffee, nap, coffee, accidental nap…

7. Your business worries often leak into your personal life

You know you should stop thinking about it, but you tend to get caught up in little worries on your days off.

6. Time management is the bane of your existence

Family, friends, business meetings, social media, raising funds, product development, clients – is there any of your time that’s not booked to take care of all of these tasks? Hopefully you’ve learned to make time for yourself, or at least leave some blocks open now and then. When you allow for more free time, you automatically do less managing.

5. The other bane? Taxes

A snippet of your dreams around tax season: I owe money. I know I owe money. But the scariest part is how much? How much will I owe this year? How much? How much? (Then you wake up screaming and call your accountant at 4:00 a.m.)

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4. You get way too many offers for things you don’t want

Why do people think that because you run a business, you want to buy their crappy products and services? You’ll spend money when it makes sense, but not on spam offers. You listed your email as myname [at] business dot com on your website. How are the spammers still getting to you?!

3. You do whatever it takes

You’ve probably talked about starting businesses with several friends or acquaintances, yet when the time came to work through the challenges, you were the only one left standing. More than anything else, this is what qualifies you for entrepreneurship.

2. You want to utilize your talents for good

Your business isn’t just a route to financial stability; it’s the way you connect with people and contribute your talents to the community.

1. You have a strong desire to put something valuable out in the world

What better feeling than knowing your individual ideas and efforts have impacted the lives of hundreds or thousands of people? Or that you started from scratch, carefully working your way to a profitable platform you can be proud of? For an entrepreneur, there’s no better feeling.

Did we forget anything? What are some other things only entrepreneurs would understand?

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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