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Finding the Right Business: 5 Things to Consider When You Have a Product Idea

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There is a massive difference between having a product idea and setting up a business. First and foremost, you need funds to kickstart the operations. Even if you are able to convince investors, there’s still a long list of tasks that you need to accomplish in order to establish a business, so how do know if the business is right for the specific product (or service) you have come up with?

There’s no particular tool to pinpoint the right business for a particular product (or service) idea, however, you can evaluate a few significant elements to learn if the business makes sense to the market it is targeting.

Here are the five areas that you need to consider while deciding the right business for your idea:

1. Acknowledge your strengths

Before you can even pitch your idea to the investors, you need to acknowledge the strengths you have. The success of a business often banks on the strengths of its owner. So it will be better if you choose a business that reflects the greatest strengths you possess.

Businesses often push people to move out of their comfort zone and grow individual skills, but if it’s in a totally different domain, it may not be wise to pursue that option in the first place.

2. See if your idea adds any value to the consumer

Your product (or service) idea may sound amazing to you, but that does not mean everyone in the market will like it instantly. You need to evaluate whether the product or service you are planning to market has any value to the consumers or not. If yes, then you can set up your business model after that. If it does not, it will be better if you start working on a separate idea.

It is better to face the facts in the earlier stages than setting up a business and finding out that consumers have rejected the product entirely. You can conduct a survey or even look at the latest trends to learn what the people need and how the product (or service) of yours can fit into their lives.

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”Howard Schultz

3. Pick the right market

If your product is a premium sports car, but 95 percent of the market consists of daily wager, perhaps the idea won’t bring you any success. Due to this, choosing the right market becomes a necessity for the business. Analyze your product idea and figure out who are the potential consumers for the product.

It’s not possible to set up a business if its target market is not defined. If you want to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur, you must identify the market and tailor your product as per the requirements. In most cases, it is the market that guides the operations of a particular business.

4. Identify your financial limitations

You need to be very mindful of the finances while setting up a business. A study conducted by Harvard Business School suggests that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. It clearly suggests that even if you have funds, the chances of succeeding are still very slim. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the failure of the startups is their lack of financial management skills.

Once you develop the product (or service) idea, it is better to determine the cost of setting up the business, when you can start turning a profit and how much funds will be enough to run the business for at least a year (before the next round of funding). The chances of landing a venture capitalist are quite low, so it will be wiser to start a business within your financial abilities.

“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.” – Peter F. Drucker

5. Look at the bigger picture

If you are looking for the right business, you set up something that serves a long-term trend, not a short-lived gimmick. The fidget spinners, which were quite popular in 2017, have already lost their charm. Similarly, if your business is based on such things, it may not be the wisest thing to do.

Your aim should be to establish a long-term business, which will be relevant even after 5 years. The challenge is to look beyond all the hypes and gimmicks that are unnecessarily hogging all the attention for the time being. However, if your product or service idea has the potential to stay in the market for long, it will be better if you build a business that can capitalize on that.

Starting your own business from scratch is certainly not child’s play, and one wrong decision can jeopardize all the planning that you have done for your product. Take your time to pick the right business as you can start as a small business in the beginning before expanding. You will be glad to know that more than half of the businesses in the US fall under the category of small business.

Have you started your own side-hustle or business? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Jedda Cain, an essay writer, is working with Essay Assignment Help since one year as a senior academic counsellor. She has developed excellent research and writing skills in these years and become capable of writing top-quality essays on any complex topic within the given time. Many students in Australia prefer her to be their academic advisor. Apart from that, she is passionate about penning blogs for variety of service sectors like education, health care, business, management and lots more.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Why Perfectionists Cannot Be Entrepreneurs

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Perfectionists have high standards for themselves and for others. In an office environment, as employees, they take their responsibilities seriously and never complete any task or project without double-checking even the minutest detail to ensure that it is perfect. They can be irritating to others, too, because they expect the same perfection from their co-workers.

When a perfectionist who has been amazing on the job decides that they want to strike out as an entrepreneur, there are personality traits that can really work against success. Knowing about these in advance may help a perfectionist avoid some of these pitfalls.

Here are five of those pitfalls:

1. I Have to Do It Myself

Perfectionists believe only they can complete a task or project exactly right. Due to this, they operate in two ways:

  • If they have a team with specific tasks, they will micro-manage every step of the way. Having done this myself, I can confirm that this is exhausting.
  • They don’t employ or outsource anything, because they must control every aspect of their businesses and spend whatever time is necessary to complete every task themselves. They must feel in control or things will go wrong.

The problem of course is that, as business tasks and processes expand, the perfectionist finds himself grappling with an ever-expanding list of tasks to perform. At some point, he “hits a wall,” because there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Ultimately, this means that there will be tasks not completed exactly right, and this is a “killer” for the perfectionist.

The solution is not an easy one. It will require admission that no one can be “perfect” in every facet of a business. For me, it was the accounting function. If a perfectionist can pick just one facet of the business that must be tasked to someone else, this is a major first step. After that major first step, it will gradually become easier to task out other facets. It’s gradual, and it is a process.

2. Inability to Accept Feedback

Because a perfectionist truly believes only they can “do it right,” when positive or negative feedback comes along their defenses are immediately activated.

Perfectionists have difficulty admitting any weakness. While most entrepreneurs seek advice and counsel from others as they develop their business plans and steps toward a launch, perfectionists tend not to seek advice, believing again that only they can make the process work. They must strive to develop the perfect product or service, no matter how long that may take.

One famous perfectionist was Steve Jobs of Apple. He wanted control of every aspect of product development and insisted that every employee come to him for approval of every detail of a new product innovation. He was unrelenting and known for bursts of anger, often firing employees at will, and that led to his removal from the company at one point. However, he did have a transformation of sorts after he was brought back in to revive Apple, and his perfectionism did modify, especially after he became ill.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

3. Perfectionists Delay Launches

When a perfectionist decides to strike out on his own, he develops a product or a service for which he believes there is a customer base. He develops a business plan and establishes timelines, just as most would-be entrepreneurs do.

The difference between perfectionist and non-perfectionist entrepreneurs is this: the non-perfectionist is willing to develop an MVP, launch it, test the waters, and modify and improve that product or service as they receive feedback and data from marketing and sales efforts.

The perfectionist, on the other hand, cannot launch a less-than-perfect product or service. They fear rejection and failure. There will always be something that can be improved in some way. The result is that a launch is indefinitely delayed and so are marketing plans and the development of a customer base.

4. Perfectionists Suffer from Lack of Balance

Because of their obsession with both doing it all themselves and being perfect in everything, perfectionist entrepreneurs will find themselves increasing their work hours and spending every waking hour on business-related activities. Ultimately, they will sacrifice social activities, time with family, vacations, and even small previous pleasures, like a lunch or dinner out or shopping. They avoid phone calls from friends, forego meals and sleep, and often suffer from insomnia and chronic fatigue.

In short, work becomes the perfectionist’s entire life. These long, unrelenting hours, often combined with stress because of the never-ending list of tasks, lead to burnout. And when burnout is reached, it’s impossible to function effectively. The signs of this include inability to focus and forgetfulness – something that a perfectionist cannot tolerate.

“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green

5. Perfectionists Will Lose Their Creativity

One of the key ingredients of successful entrepreneurship is creative thought and problem-solving. This is how new products and services are developed or existing ones improved along with how new and unique marketing strategies are developed.

When perfectionists are so focused on those tasks at hand and dealing with the fear that things will not be perfect, they lose their ability to think “outside of the box.”

Even though Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, he was able to back off at times and to “dream” of what could be. This drove Apple to new heights under his returned leadership and his change in mental approach.

It’s not that perfectionists cannot be successful entrepreneurs, it’s that they have to work to accept that “done” can actually be as good or better than “perfect.” “Done” means that the company is launched; it means that products are out there and that marketing strategies are beginning to bring in customers. Often, the beginnings of this kind of success will modify a perfectionist’s behavior going forward. And the additional bonus is that the entrepreneur may actually find time for social and family time again.

Has the need to be perfect ever stopped you from accomplishing something you truly wanted? If this is true, let us know in the comments below how you overcame your perfectionism and kept moving ahead.

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Leadership and Life on Mars: Elon Musk Offers 3 Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

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Five, four, three, two, one — blast-off. Elon Musk is headed to Mars… eventually. The space-loving billionaire discussed his dreams of going into space and even life on Mars during the 2017 International Astronautical Congress.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” he said.

For many business leaders, believing in a future beyond their own hypothetical stars is what drives them forward each day. And with the majority of rapidly growing companies looking to increase their hiring this year, according to a January report by the team at Spark Hire, 2018 Growth Hiring Trends in the United States, leaders need more inspiration than ever to build up their talent and create a brighter tomorrow for their companies.

These 3 lessons from Elon Musk will help you map out long-term goals, learning and development opportunities, and even succession planning:

1. Creating goals for the future

You want your team to look toward the future of your company and believe it isn’t stagnant — nor are their careers. For employees to dedicate 100 percent of themselves to their roles, they need to see plans for the future. Even more important, they should be involved in the planning process. You wouldn’t create a civilization on Mars without consulting the first travellers, would you? Their opinions, expectations, and needs would be key factors.

Give your team the same opportunity to plan for their careers by developing an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Challenge each person to make a business plan for their current or future role at the company. Ask them to lay out where they see the company in five years and how they’ll help it get there.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great” – Elon Musk

2. Don’t make work about one miserable problem after the next

A difficult leadership lesson many of us learn early on is admitting our company has problems. The more important lesson is knowing how to efficiently and effectively overcome those problems, then move on.

The inability to do this results in employees hopping from one miserable problem to the next. After a while, employees become overwhelmed, and it’s impossible to believe the future will be better than the past.

Of course, work can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, so the key here is giving your team the tools to rise above problems and work smarter. When a problem occurs, jump into a team meeting or call to quickly resolve the issue. This shows employees you’re always available to help, which keeps morale high.

Afterwards, brainstorm ways to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again. Have employees note what they feel went wrong and how it can be resolved. Immediately implement these changes to show you’re focused on improving their work experiences.

3. Let them know you’re working to improve their lives

The negativity in this world is overflowing. Work should be a place where employees feel safe to be their genuine, creative, dreaming selves. Every leadership lesson should point back to employees knowing they’re important to the company’s success and that they belong. This is crucial for retention and attracting top talent.

According to a 2017 Globoforce report, Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance, and Life at Work, you can do this by focusing on your team as people who have lives outside of work. In fact, 54 percent of respondents said they would like more opportunities to celebrate life events — such as having a baby, getting married, or buying a house. Additionally, 90 percent of workers who celebrated more than five life events said they feel like they belong in their company.

“And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” – Elon Musk

Let employees know you care about their lives outside of work by celebrating their life events. If possible, give each person a day off for their birthdays and offer benefits to support important life events, like paid parental leave policies.

Which one of these lessons could you use most in your life right now? Let us know in the comments below so we can be of help!

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6 Ways to Knock Down a Door, From A Former Mr. World Canada

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Image Credit: Gordon Clark of Gordon Clark Photography (Pictured Frankie Cena)

A friend of mine introduced me to Frankie Cena a week ago. I spoke with him on Skype and listened to his story. How one person can achieve so much at a young age, against so much adversity blows my mind and he has a lot to teach you in this article.

As a child, Frankie Cena was happy but also underprivileged and unsatisfied. The cooperative housing unit where he lived kept him close to his family and fed his love of the spotlight—sharing a room with his sister, and performing for all the neighbours who’d stick around to hear.

But it also left him wanting more: more for himself, more for his family; more excitement and more opportunity; more chances for him and the people around him to become whatever they wanted to be.

At 26, Frankie’s desire shows few signs of ebbing. He’s the founder of a speech and debate academy, where he works together with his mother and sister. He has over 200 students whom he mentors inside and outside the debate room.

And in a debate circuit traditionally dominated by private schools, Frankie’s student-body cuts across social class, helping diversify Canada’s roster of international award-winning debaters.

He’s tried to redirect his newfound revenue back into the community that made him. Recently, he gave a 2018 dollar New Years prize to a local woman with down syndrome; and another 24,000 dollars in scholarships to several Burnaby students.

But Frankie is also a proud showman. In 2012 he was crowned Mr. World Canada and represented his country at the Mr. World Pageant in 2012—at 5’ 6”, the shortest contestant in the history of any major male beauty pageant.

He went on to win the competition’s talent portion, singing for millions; to co-host Mr. World 2014; and, in 2014, to join the hosting team for the even larger Miss World Competition. In 2017, Frankie was hired to help create and host the all new, Miss World- “Head to Head Challenge” a platform which gave viewers an in depth look at the 120 Miss World Contestants.

Now I can’t say I know anything about these types of competitions but that’s impressive. Between debate, performance, and his obsession with reality television, Frankie’s interests may seem far-flung.

But to him, chasing so many disparate things is just a part of discovering who he is, and doing justice to the people who fought so he could be there.

The advice that Frankie gives that helps so many people around the world is this:

“Whenever one door closes,” he likes to tell his students, “knock it down.”

Here’s what I learned from Frankie:

 

1. Find Your Passion—Then Chase it Down.

  • If you are not in love with what you’re doing, stop doing it. Almost no one has been successful doing something they do not love.
  • Love gives us creativity and energy, and the power to be ferociously positive after failure. Frankie has met a billion smart, charismatic people around the world who are doing nothing, because they do not know what they love to do.
  • To find their passions, Frankie tells people to do the Eat, Sleep, Poop Test. If when you’re doing something, you don’t think about eating, sleeping, pooping, or anything other than that thing—then that is what you’re meant to do.

 

 2. Cherish Every Person and Every Moment

  • When the moment that makes your dreams come true hits you, you’ll never see it coming. So keep your eyes and ears open, always. Cherish, value and engage with every moment and person because you don’t know what they’ll offer you.
  • When someone asked Frankie if he wanted to be Mr. World Canada, he had no idea that he’d eventually become the host of that international competition, or a face of Miss World—that’d he’d soon be a presenter for an audience of millions. His only thought was—“Let’s see where this takes me.”

 

3. Be “That Guy.”

  •  Give everything, not just what you were hired for. Show that you’re there for the vision, not just for yourself—and that you’re vital to making it all real.
  •  At Miss World Frankie went above and beyond to do more work, talk to more people, and make an impact on more areas and levels than was expected of him. Those around him knew that he would go above and beyond to meet the needs of the organisation and their collective ideal.

 

4. Don’t Be a Donald

  • The days of arrogant, selfish men, puffing out their chests and exploiting the people around them, are numbered. We’ve learned to see overconfidence for what it is: theatre, dishonesty, a cover-up for incompetence and abuse. Kindness and honesty inspire trust and suggest authenticity. They’ll propel you much farther.
  • Surrounded by chiselled, statuesque men, Frankie knew that he probably couldn’t compete, at Mr. World, based on the typical standards of a male beauty pageant. So he did what he knew he could do well: he projected happiness and kindness. He got to know the other contestants, the chaperones, the cameramen, the producers.

“They wanted him back not necessarily because he was the most talented or the best host, but because he had an aura that people had faith in”   

 

5. Learn to Fail Well

  • Any failure, in the big-picture of your life, is nothing but a split-second detour. But in our world of instant gratification—of Facebook, of Twitter, of having everything at our fingertips—they tend to take an outsize importance. We get sad and moody and refuse to move on from failure. But you will have a million failures in your life. And if you fall apart whenever one happens, you won’t have much time left to try again.
  • Frankie has had to swallow rejection on a daily basis. He has heard “you’re not good enough,” “sorry, not this time,” “close but no cigar”—at debate and public speaking competitions, during X Factor auditions—more than he can count. But if he or his students let those failures slow him down, they wouldn’t have had the time or the energy for any of their victories.

 

6. Dream Big

  • If you limit your aspirations you will limit what you can visualise, and hence what you can produce. And it’s not enough just to dream every once in a while.Dream consistently and constantly—and set your standards so high that you make a habit of being absolutely excellent.
  • When Frankie would talk about coaching, he’d claim that his students would one day be the best debaters around. When he’d talk about becoming a singer, he’d tell people he’d be bigger than Bieber. And when he’d talk about hosting television, he’d say he’d outdo Ryan Seacrest. Because he knew that if he didn’t see himself in those positions, no one else ever would.

<<<>>>

 If you’d like to connect with Frankie then visit http://frankiecena.com/

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The Gentle Art Of Negotiating And How To Do Exceptionally Well.

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I seem to be teaching a lot of people in their 20’s lately about negotiating. There’s an art to creating a mutual win also known as negotiating.

Negotiating is a skill many people never learn. That’s why we say yes to an offer we’re not happy with or have regrets that we could have gone the extra mile and requested more money/people/resources etc.

Here’s how to negotiate properly and do well:


Never go first.

No matter what happens, never go first in the negotiation. Think of negotiating like a game of poker.

You want to see what cards they have first before you make your move. The moment someone knows what cards you’re holding, they may choose to take advantage of you (they may not as well).

Leave it to the other side to make an offer first.


Always be respectful.

The biggest problem with negotiating is people’s egos get in the way. Lead with respect and you’ll get what you want. Respect means understanding their point of view and trying to see things from the other side of the fence.

“Listening and rebutting their arguments with respect is how you master the gentle art of negotiating”

No one wants to see and hear your big fat ego and be spoken down to. You may have more money, a bigger company or more success, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t show respect.


Counter-offer.

Many of my millennial friends make the mistake of thinking that the first offer is all that’s on the table. The first offer is normally what is referred to in sales as a “low ball.”

The first offer is where the other side is testing the water to see what you’re thinking. Don’t fall for the low ball. Think of the first offer as research and not as genuine and final.

Once the first offer is out there, it’s time to counter-offer. They’ve tested the bottom and now it’s time for you to test the top.

Go with a really high ‘ask’ or number. Observe their reaction carefully. They’ll probably hit you back with an offer that’s in the middle or lower than yours.

There’s no magic trick here other than keeping the idea that mutual value is a must for a successful negotiation.

If you get all the wins, then the deal could fall over later on because of it. When both sides are happy, you’ve mastered the gentle art of negotiating and mutual value.


Walk away from the deal.

There will be times when the other side only wants to give you one offer or won’t go any further. If you haven’t reached a point of mutual value, walk away. If your gut feeling doesn’t feel right, walk away.

There will always be another deal, another opportunity.

Having regrets is far worse than any other outcome that can stem from a negotiation.


Sleep on it.

Walking away doesn’t end there. You can always re-join a negotiation even though you probably think you can’t. You have to battle this mental block and see blue sky and opportunity.

Nothing is ever final. The other side will almost always come back to the deal table. If they don’t, the deal wasn’t meant to be.

After you’ve walked away from a deal, my recommendation is always to sleep on it. I have the same advice for making important decisions, dealing with haters online and deciding who your next romantic partner will be. Always sleep on it.

When you have loads of energy after a good night’s sleep, you think differently and you act differently. I walked away from a deal that meant a lot to me and after I woke up the next day, I realized I wasn’t grateful for the offer I had received or the relationships I had built.

I rang up the other side and told them this flaw from the negotiation we had been going through. They were so happy that I had come to this realization and offered me something even better than what we were discussing previously.

Always reset that million-year-old brain of yours before making any negotiation or decision final.


Try a different angle.

If the negotiation is not going your way, then try another angle. Think of something that is totally counter-intuitive and different to what you pitched previously. Find another way. Change your thinking.

Sometimes the best negotiations are ones where both sides realize they were thinking about the deal wrong.


Allow the other person silence to think.

People that understand silence are superhuman. In a negotiation, when you make an offer, you need to shut up.

The worst thing you can do is keep talking. You need to allow the other side to think about what you’ve said and the offer you have put on the table.

Big gaps of silence in a negotiation are a good thing. It means you have the other side’s attention. It’s a sign that you’re reaching a middle ground — also known as mutual value.


Don’t ever answer your own questions.

Questions are the main tool you use in every negotiation. Don’t say something dumb like “Would you accept my offer of $20,000 to do the project? That offer is probably too high though isn’t it for you?”

Answering your own question takes the offer you’re proposing off the table straight away. If you know the offer you’ve pitched is dumb, then you probably shouldn’t have pitched it in the first place.


Create urgency through deadlines.

Some negotiations, like Slack conversations, never end. They go on forever and an end is never in sight. You need to create urgency so that the negotiation will come to an end. Even if the endpoint is made up, you must have one.

If you’re waiting for the other side to respond to your offer, then give them a timeframe. Tell them a legitimate reason why your offer is time critical. Say this why thinking in your head “Everything is time critical including life itself.”


Bring in a third party that they can never talk too.

The deal may be going too fast as well. If you need to buy time you can slow everything down by introducing a third-party that the other side can never meet. The classic example of this is in the home improvements business.

A builder may go to visit the home and provide a quote. At the end of the quotation, they’ll ask for the business and the homeowner will say “I need to talk to my partner to see what they think.”

The builder can’t talk to the partner because they’re not there, so it slows down the negotiation. The same can work in business, your career and your personal life.


Finish the negotiation on a high.

No matter the outcome, finish the negotiation on a high. Tell the other side how much you respect their position. Finish with this line:

“I’m always open to opportunities, so if you see something that may interest me, my door is always open.”

If the negotiation is in the other parties’ hands, finish with this line:

“Whatever you decide, if the deal is not right, I’ll shake your hand and wish you all the best.”

Those two lines are how you finish a negotiation on a high.

“In a negotiation, people remember the person you are, not the deal you’re negotiating”

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Stay Cool in Difficult Situations

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We all face challenging situations at work and in our personal lives, yet few of us deal with these experiences in a systematic way. We encounter obnoxious bosses, rude customers, and infuriating family members on a daily basis, yet we often don’t articulate the best way of dealing with these situations. Over time, these strains on our emotions and our mental resources take their toll, so it’s important to find ways to deal with challenging experiences efficiently and with the least about of work. (more…)

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Reasons Why Perfectionists Cannot Be Entrepreneurs

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Perfectionists have high standards for themselves and for others. In an office environment, as employees, they take their responsibilities seriously and never complete any task or project without double-checking even the minutest detail to ensure that it is perfect. They can be irritating to others, too, because they expect the same perfection from their co-workers.

When a perfectionist who has been amazing on the job decides that they want to strike out as an entrepreneur, there are personality traits that can really work against success. Knowing about these in advance may help a perfectionist avoid some of these pitfalls.

Here are five of those pitfalls:

1. I Have to Do It Myself

Perfectionists believe only they can complete a task or project exactly right. Due to this, they operate in two ways:

  • If they have a team with specific tasks, they will micro-manage every step of the way. Having done this myself, I can confirm that this is exhausting.
  • They don’t employ or outsource anything, because they must control every aspect of their businesses and spend whatever time is necessary to complete every task themselves. They must feel in control or things will go wrong.

The problem of course is that, as business tasks and processes expand, the perfectionist finds himself grappling with an ever-expanding list of tasks to perform. At some point, he “hits a wall,” because there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Ultimately, this means that there will be tasks not completed exactly right, and this is a “killer” for the perfectionist.

The solution is not an easy one. It will require admission that no one can be “perfect” in every facet of a business. For me, it was the accounting function. If a perfectionist can pick just one facet of the business that must be tasked to someone else, this is a major first step. After that major first step, it will gradually become easier to task out other facets. It’s gradual, and it is a process.

2. Inability to Accept Feedback

Because a perfectionist truly believes only they can “do it right,” when positive or negative feedback comes along their defenses are immediately activated.

Perfectionists have difficulty admitting any weakness. While most entrepreneurs seek advice and counsel from others as they develop their business plans and steps toward a launch, perfectionists tend not to seek advice, believing again that only they can make the process work. They must strive to develop the perfect product or service, no matter how long that may take.

One famous perfectionist was Steve Jobs of Apple. He wanted control of every aspect of product development and insisted that every employee come to him for approval of every detail of a new product innovation. He was unrelenting and known for bursts of anger, often firing employees at will, and that led to his removal from the company at one point. However, he did have a transformation of sorts after he was brought back in to revive Apple, and his perfectionism did modify, especially after he became ill.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

3. Perfectionists Delay Launches

When a perfectionist decides to strike out on his own, he develops a product or a service for which he believes there is a customer base. He develops a business plan and establishes timelines, just as most would-be entrepreneurs do.

The difference between perfectionist and non-perfectionist entrepreneurs is this: the non-perfectionist is willing to develop an MVP, launch it, test the waters, and modify and improve that product or service as they receive feedback and data from marketing and sales efforts.

The perfectionist, on the other hand, cannot launch a less-than-perfect product or service. They fear rejection and failure. There will always be something that can be improved in some way. The result is that a launch is indefinitely delayed and so are marketing plans and the development of a customer base.

4. Perfectionists Suffer from Lack of Balance

Because of their obsession with both doing it all themselves and being perfect in everything, perfectionist entrepreneurs will find themselves increasing their work hours and spending every waking hour on business-related activities. Ultimately, they will sacrifice social activities, time with family, vacations, and even small previous pleasures, like a lunch or dinner out or shopping. They avoid phone calls from friends, forego meals and sleep, and often suffer from insomnia and chronic fatigue.

In short, work becomes the perfectionist’s entire life. These long, unrelenting hours, often combined with stress because of the never-ending list of tasks, lead to burnout. And when burnout is reached, it’s impossible to function effectively. The signs of this include inability to focus and forgetfulness – something that a perfectionist cannot tolerate.

“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green

5. Perfectionists Will Lose Their Creativity

One of the key ingredients of successful entrepreneurship is creative thought and problem-solving. This is how new products and services are developed or existing ones improved along with how new and unique marketing strategies are developed.

When perfectionists are so focused on those tasks at hand and dealing with the fear that things will not be perfect, they lose their ability to think “outside of the box.”

Even though Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, he was able to back off at times and to “dream” of what could be. This drove Apple to new heights under his returned leadership and his change in mental approach.

It’s not that perfectionists cannot be successful entrepreneurs, it’s that they have to work to accept that “done” can actually be as good or better than “perfect.” “Done” means that the company is launched; it means that products are out there and that marketing strategies are beginning to bring in customers. Often, the beginnings of this kind of success will modify a perfectionist’s behavior going forward. And the additional bonus is that the entrepreneur may actually find time for social and family time again.

Has the need to be perfect ever stopped you from accomplishing something you truly wanted? If this is true, let us know in the comments below how you overcame your perfectionism and kept moving ahead.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Entrepreneurs

Leadership and Life on Mars: Elon Musk Offers 3 Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

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elon musk
Image Credit: Solar Tribune

Five, four, three, two, one — blast-off. Elon Musk is headed to Mars… eventually. The space-loving billionaire discussed his dreams of going into space and even life on Mars during the 2017 International Astronautical Congress.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” he said.

For many business leaders, believing in a future beyond their own hypothetical stars is what drives them forward each day. And with the majority of rapidly growing companies looking to increase their hiring this year, according to a January report by the team at Spark Hire, 2018 Growth Hiring Trends in the United States, leaders need more inspiration than ever to build up their talent and create a brighter tomorrow for their companies.

These 3 lessons from Elon Musk will help you map out long-term goals, learning and development opportunities, and even succession planning:

1. Creating goals for the future

You want your team to look toward the future of your company and believe it isn’t stagnant — nor are their careers. For employees to dedicate 100 percent of themselves to their roles, they need to see plans for the future. Even more important, they should be involved in the planning process. You wouldn’t create a civilization on Mars without consulting the first travellers, would you? Their opinions, expectations, and needs would be key factors.

Give your team the same opportunity to plan for their careers by developing an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Challenge each person to make a business plan for their current or future role at the company. Ask them to lay out where they see the company in five years and how they’ll help it get there.

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great” – Elon Musk

2. Don’t make work about one miserable problem after the next

A difficult leadership lesson many of us learn early on is admitting our company has problems. The more important lesson is knowing how to efficiently and effectively overcome those problems, then move on.

The inability to do this results in employees hopping from one miserable problem to the next. After a while, employees become overwhelmed, and it’s impossible to believe the future will be better than the past.

Of course, work can’t always be sunshine and rainbows, so the key here is giving your team the tools to rise above problems and work smarter. When a problem occurs, jump into a team meeting or call to quickly resolve the issue. This shows employees you’re always available to help, which keeps morale high.

Afterwards, brainstorm ways to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again. Have employees note what they feel went wrong and how it can be resolved. Immediately implement these changes to show you’re focused on improving their work experiences.

3. Let them know you’re working to improve their lives

The negativity in this world is overflowing. Work should be a place where employees feel safe to be their genuine, creative, dreaming selves. Every leadership lesson should point back to employees knowing they’re important to the company’s success and that they belong. This is crucial for retention and attracting top talent.

According to a 2017 Globoforce report, Bringing More Humanity to Recognition, Performance, and Life at Work, you can do this by focusing on your team as people who have lives outside of work. In fact, 54 percent of respondents said they would like more opportunities to celebrate life events — such as having a baby, getting married, or buying a house. Additionally, 90 percent of workers who celebrated more than five life events said they feel like they belong in their company.

“And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” – Elon Musk

Let employees know you care about their lives outside of work by celebrating their life events. If possible, give each person a day off for their birthdays and offer benefits to support important life events, like paid parental leave policies.

Which one of these lessons could you use most in your life right now? Let us know in the comments below so we can be of help!

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6 Ways to Knock Down a Door, From A Former Mr. World Canada

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Image Credit: Gordon Clark of Gordon Clark Photography (Pictured Frankie Cena)

A friend of mine introduced me to Frankie Cena a week ago. I spoke with him on Skype and listened to his story. How one person can achieve so much at a young age, against so much adversity blows my mind and he has a lot to teach you in this article.

As a child, Frankie Cena was happy but also underprivileged and unsatisfied. The cooperative housing unit where he lived kept him close to his family and fed his love of the spotlight—sharing a room with his sister, and performing for all the neighbours who’d stick around to hear.

But it also left him wanting more: more for himself, more for his family; more excitement and more opportunity; more chances for him and the people around him to become whatever they wanted to be.

At 26, Frankie’s desire shows few signs of ebbing. He’s the founder of a speech and debate academy, where he works together with his mother and sister. He has over 200 students whom he mentors inside and outside the debate room.

And in a debate circuit traditionally dominated by private schools, Frankie’s student-body cuts across social class, helping diversify Canada’s roster of international award-winning debaters.

He’s tried to redirect his newfound revenue back into the community that made him. Recently, he gave a 2018 dollar New Years prize to a local woman with down syndrome; and another 24,000 dollars in scholarships to several Burnaby students.

But Frankie is also a proud showman. In 2012 he was crowned Mr. World Canada and represented his country at the Mr. World Pageant in 2012—at 5’ 6”, the shortest contestant in the history of any major male beauty pageant.

He went on to win the competition’s talent portion, singing for millions; to co-host Mr. World 2014; and, in 2014, to join the hosting team for the even larger Miss World Competition. In 2017, Frankie was hired to help create and host the all new, Miss World- “Head to Head Challenge” a platform which gave viewers an in depth look at the 120 Miss World Contestants.

Now I can’t say I know anything about these types of competitions but that’s impressive. Between debate, performance, and his obsession with reality television, Frankie’s interests may seem far-flung.

But to him, chasing so many disparate things is just a part of discovering who he is, and doing justice to the people who fought so he could be there.

The advice that Frankie gives that helps so many people around the world is this:

“Whenever one door closes,” he likes to tell his students, “knock it down.”

Here’s what I learned from Frankie:

 

1. Find Your Passion—Then Chase it Down.

  • If you are not in love with what you’re doing, stop doing it. Almost no one has been successful doing something they do not love.
  • Love gives us creativity and energy, and the power to be ferociously positive after failure. Frankie has met a billion smart, charismatic people around the world who are doing nothing, because they do not know what they love to do.
  • To find their passions, Frankie tells people to do the Eat, Sleep, Poop Test. If when you’re doing something, you don’t think about eating, sleeping, pooping, or anything other than that thing—then that is what you’re meant to do.

 

 2. Cherish Every Person and Every Moment

  • When the moment that makes your dreams come true hits you, you’ll never see it coming. So keep your eyes and ears open, always. Cherish, value and engage with every moment and person because you don’t know what they’ll offer you.
  • When someone asked Frankie if he wanted to be Mr. World Canada, he had no idea that he’d eventually become the host of that international competition, or a face of Miss World—that’d he’d soon be a presenter for an audience of millions. His only thought was—“Let’s see where this takes me.”

 

3. Be “That Guy.”

  •  Give everything, not just what you were hired for. Show that you’re there for the vision, not just for yourself—and that you’re vital to making it all real.
  •  At Miss World Frankie went above and beyond to do more work, talk to more people, and make an impact on more areas and levels than was expected of him. Those around him knew that he would go above and beyond to meet the needs of the organisation and their collective ideal.

 

4. Don’t Be a Donald

  • The days of arrogant, selfish men, puffing out their chests and exploiting the people around them, are numbered. We’ve learned to see overconfidence for what it is: theatre, dishonesty, a cover-up for incompetence and abuse. Kindness and honesty inspire trust and suggest authenticity. They’ll propel you much farther.
  • Surrounded by chiselled, statuesque men, Frankie knew that he probably couldn’t compete, at Mr. World, based on the typical standards of a male beauty pageant. So he did what he knew he could do well: he projected happiness and kindness. He got to know the other contestants, the chaperones, the cameramen, the producers.

“They wanted him back not necessarily because he was the most talented or the best host, but because he had an aura that people had faith in”   

 

5. Learn to Fail Well

  • Any failure, in the big-picture of your life, is nothing but a split-second detour. But in our world of instant gratification—of Facebook, of Twitter, of having everything at our fingertips—they tend to take an outsize importance. We get sad and moody and refuse to move on from failure. But you will have a million failures in your life. And if you fall apart whenever one happens, you won’t have much time left to try again.
  • Frankie has had to swallow rejection on a daily basis. He has heard “you’re not good enough,” “sorry, not this time,” “close but no cigar”—at debate and public speaking competitions, during X Factor auditions—more than he can count. But if he or his students let those failures slow him down, they wouldn’t have had the time or the energy for any of their victories.

 

6. Dream Big

  • If you limit your aspirations you will limit what you can visualise, and hence what you can produce. And it’s not enough just to dream every once in a while.Dream consistently and constantly—and set your standards so high that you make a habit of being absolutely excellent.
  • When Frankie would talk about coaching, he’d claim that his students would one day be the best debaters around. When he’d talk about becoming a singer, he’d tell people he’d be bigger than Bieber. And when he’d talk about hosting television, he’d say he’d outdo Ryan Seacrest. Because he knew that if he didn’t see himself in those positions, no one else ever would.

<<<>>>

 If you’d like to connect with Frankie then visit http://frankiecena.com/

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Entrepreneurs

The Gentle Art Of Negotiating And How To Do Exceptionally Well.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

I seem to be teaching a lot of people in their 20’s lately about negotiating. There’s an art to creating a mutual win also known as negotiating.

Negotiating is a skill many people never learn. That’s why we say yes to an offer we’re not happy with or have regrets that we could have gone the extra mile and requested more money/people/resources etc.

Here’s how to negotiate properly and do well:


Never go first.

No matter what happens, never go first in the negotiation. Think of negotiating like a game of poker.

You want to see what cards they have first before you make your move. The moment someone knows what cards you’re holding, they may choose to take advantage of you (they may not as well).

Leave it to the other side to make an offer first.


Always be respectful.

The biggest problem with negotiating is people’s egos get in the way. Lead with respect and you’ll get what you want. Respect means understanding their point of view and trying to see things from the other side of the fence.

“Listening and rebutting their arguments with respect is how you master the gentle art of negotiating”

No one wants to see and hear your big fat ego and be spoken down to. You may have more money, a bigger company or more success, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t show respect.


Counter-offer.

Many of my millennial friends make the mistake of thinking that the first offer is all that’s on the table. The first offer is normally what is referred to in sales as a “low ball.”

The first offer is where the other side is testing the water to see what you’re thinking. Don’t fall for the low ball. Think of the first offer as research and not as genuine and final.

Once the first offer is out there, it’s time to counter-offer. They’ve tested the bottom and now it’s time for you to test the top.

Go with a really high ‘ask’ or number. Observe their reaction carefully. They’ll probably hit you back with an offer that’s in the middle or lower than yours.

There’s no magic trick here other than keeping the idea that mutual value is a must for a successful negotiation.

If you get all the wins, then the deal could fall over later on because of it. When both sides are happy, you’ve mastered the gentle art of negotiating and mutual value.


Walk away from the deal.

There will be times when the other side only wants to give you one offer or won’t go any further. If you haven’t reached a point of mutual value, walk away. If your gut feeling doesn’t feel right, walk away.

There will always be another deal, another opportunity.

Having regrets is far worse than any other outcome that can stem from a negotiation.


Sleep on it.

Walking away doesn’t end there. You can always re-join a negotiation even though you probably think you can’t. You have to battle this mental block and see blue sky and opportunity.

Nothing is ever final. The other side will almost always come back to the deal table. If they don’t, the deal wasn’t meant to be.

After you’ve walked away from a deal, my recommendation is always to sleep on it. I have the same advice for making important decisions, dealing with haters online and deciding who your next romantic partner will be. Always sleep on it.

When you have loads of energy after a good night’s sleep, you think differently and you act differently. I walked away from a deal that meant a lot to me and after I woke up the next day, I realized I wasn’t grateful for the offer I had received or the relationships I had built.

I rang up the other side and told them this flaw from the negotiation we had been going through. They were so happy that I had come to this realization and offered me something even better than what we were discussing previously.

Always reset that million-year-old brain of yours before making any negotiation or decision final.


Try a different angle.

If the negotiation is not going your way, then try another angle. Think of something that is totally counter-intuitive and different to what you pitched previously. Find another way. Change your thinking.

Sometimes the best negotiations are ones where both sides realize they were thinking about the deal wrong.


Allow the other person silence to think.

People that understand silence are superhuman. In a negotiation, when you make an offer, you need to shut up.

The worst thing you can do is keep talking. You need to allow the other side to think about what you’ve said and the offer you have put on the table.

Big gaps of silence in a negotiation are a good thing. It means you have the other side’s attention. It’s a sign that you’re reaching a middle ground — also known as mutual value.


Don’t ever answer your own questions.

Questions are the main tool you use in every negotiation. Don’t say something dumb like “Would you accept my offer of $20,000 to do the project? That offer is probably too high though isn’t it for you?”

Answering your own question takes the offer you’re proposing off the table straight away. If you know the offer you’ve pitched is dumb, then you probably shouldn’t have pitched it in the first place.


Create urgency through deadlines.

Some negotiations, like Slack conversations, never end. They go on forever and an end is never in sight. You need to create urgency so that the negotiation will come to an end. Even if the endpoint is made up, you must have one.

If you’re waiting for the other side to respond to your offer, then give them a timeframe. Tell them a legitimate reason why your offer is time critical. Say this why thinking in your head “Everything is time critical including life itself.”


Bring in a third party that they can never talk too.

The deal may be going too fast as well. If you need to buy time you can slow everything down by introducing a third-party that the other side can never meet. The classic example of this is in the home improvements business.

A builder may go to visit the home and provide a quote. At the end of the quotation, they’ll ask for the business and the homeowner will say “I need to talk to my partner to see what they think.”

The builder can’t talk to the partner because they’re not there, so it slows down the negotiation. The same can work in business, your career and your personal life.


Finish the negotiation on a high.

No matter the outcome, finish the negotiation on a high. Tell the other side how much you respect their position. Finish with this line:

“I’m always open to opportunities, so if you see something that may interest me, my door is always open.”

If the negotiation is in the other parties’ hands, finish with this line:

“Whatever you decide, if the deal is not right, I’ll shake your hand and wish you all the best.”

Those two lines are how you finish a negotiation on a high.

“In a negotiation, people remember the person you are, not the deal you’re negotiating”

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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