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How To Make The Best of a Business Opportunity

How To Make The Best of a Business Opportunity
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Eminem says you only get one shot, and you have to lose yourself in the moment. This would be true if life were a comic book. Unfortunately those moments are never-ending, and there’s no such thing as overnight success. The truth is you’ll take a minimum of ten thousand shots to truly master your craft.

When you have a business opportunity, you have to make the most of it in order to get the next one. Each step counts, and maximizing each individual opportunity is the only path to winning. Don’t half-ass your future – instead follow these tried and true steps to turn a business opportunity into a successful business.

1. Turn Losses into Wins

Every winner loses, but not every loser wins. Although Michael Jordan is widely hailed as the greatest basketball player in history, he got there by focusing on his failures instead of riding the wave of his own successes. The quest to overcome losses drives all champions, both on and off the court.

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If you lose a business partner, use that extra time to find a better one. Your energy levels rise as the fear of financial problems hang over you. Pour that energy into something productive – it’ll keep your mind occupied as you better your business instead of lamenting the loss.

2. Weigh the Risks and Rewards

A few months ago, I received an invite to hang out backstage with Snoop Dogg on 4/20. Initially this seemed like a great opportunity. As the date approached, I realized the risk wasn’t worth what it was going to take to get there. While it could’ve been a great experience for a fan, it wasn’t as beneficial to my bottom line as it was to stay at an event I was due to cover.

I ended up choosing business over pleasure. I made enough money by staying to afford a VIP pass to any concert I wanted, and the content I produced got my name in a variety of publications I wouldn’t have appeared in otherwise. My inner child was disappointed, but the adult me got ahead in my business.

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When you are presented with an opportunity, weigh the risks versus the rewards. If you’re risking more than you stand to gain, you’re giving yourself worse odds than a roulette wheel in Vegas. Never gamble what you’re not willing to risk, and never bet the whole farm to save one crop.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Anyone is capable of doing anything, but we all have certain skills and talents that are more dominant than others. I’m a writer because I love to research and talk. I’m a successful writer because I understand marketing and SEO. I write online because I’m tech-savvy.

Whatever you’re good at or enjoy doing, learn to incorporate these skills and talents into your work. If you’re out and about around town, keep an eye and ear open for opportunities you can help out with. You never know when one of these opportunities will evolve into something bigger.

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4. Turn Down Opportunities that Don’t Fit

I receive business solicitations all the time. There’s no shortage of people looking for a review, plug, or assistance. As a mortgage and insurance whistleblower, it gets difficult because many people assume I’m capable of helping them keep their homes. Although I understand how your house was fraudulently taken from you, I’m not an attorney, and my hands are tied to stop your foreclosure proceedings. As much as I hate doing it, I have to turn down these opportunities.

It’s normal to want to jump on every opportunity you’re presented with. It’s even more tempting when you’re just starting out or your business is struggling. Doing anything you’re asked will lead to you taking on tasks you’re underqualified for and aren’t capable of providing the level of quality required. You may want that business connection or income, but if you’re not giving your best, it won’t last very long. Hold out for your true passion.

5. Get on Your Grind

Business opportunities don’t just show up at your door. Opportunity doesn’t knock at all – you have to look up where opportunity lives, hit the streets, stalk, and bang on opportunity’s door until it lets you in. If it doesn’t, you go around the building looking for open windows. Climb the roof and slide in through the chimney if you have to.

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Whatever you do, don’t just sit around waiting for a business opportunity. Just because you wrote a song doesn’t mean a stadium full of people will show up. Jay-Z isn’t an Illuminati – you’re just an entitled, lazy human being who hasn’t put in more than a day or two of the blood, sweat, and tears Hova put into his career. Sean Carter is a legend because he earned it, so get on your grind or get left behind.

6. Put Your Eggs in Multiple Baskets

The most powerful lesson yoga teaches is to detach yourself from the results. If you define yourself as an executive and end up in an entry-level job, you’re nothing but a phony. Just because someone you admire hit it big off a certain event or contest doesn’t mean that’s your only entry point to your dream career, and no one opportunity defines you.

If you gain a meeting with a company or entrepreneur you admire, use that as leverage to gain a meeting with even more. If Walgreens wants to carry your product, sell it to CVS and Walmart. Instead of being the person who got into one store, you’ll be the person who got into every store. It’s easier to negotiate when you don’t reek of desperation.

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The business world is a wild one; you never know how things will turn out, but as long as you swing for every fence, you’re bound to hit a home run sooner or later.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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