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6 Tips To Create A Great Design For Your Startup

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In the last few years, I have seen a host of sites appear that help you with design for your business or personal brand. Seeing as I know nothing about the subject of design, I thought I would interview the founder of the very popular DesignCrowd business, Alec Lynch, to educate us all. Alec started the business because he saw a problem with businesses buying designs from traditional methods. He viewed the process as slow, expensive and even risky. The risk he saw was that it could take a few months and then after all that you could hate what you ended up receiving from the designer.

Talented designers struggled to break into the design industry. In Australia, for example, there are 20,000 designers employed full time but around 60,0000 have graduated from design courses and don’t have employment. The numbers are similar in other developed economies. DesignCrowd attempts to fix the traditional problems of the industry by allowing customers to get designs faster (first designs by the morning), offering better value for money, allowing more creative designs (with over 400,000 designers), allowing designers to compete on creativity as opposed to cost, and allowing more choice with an average of 60-100 designs for your project.

DesignCrowd was launched in January 2008 out of Alec’s mums garage in a design industry that now is now more than $50 billion dollars. The first 2 years of the company were funded my credit cards and loans from Alec’s friends and family, in 2009 they raised $300k AUD in angel investment and grew the business fourteen-fold over the next two years. In 2011, they raised a Series A venture capital round of $3 million with Starfish Ventures.

Since then they have grown the team from three people to thirty-five people. In 2013, they raised a Series A1 again from Starfish Ventures and then in 2015 they raised a Series B led by Airtree Ventures for a further $6 million AUD. Their current revenue run rate is $20 million per year, and more than 75% of their customers are outside of Australia.

“The main thing that separates a wannapreneur from an entrepreneur is action. Don’t get too lost in books and start your business on the side or buy a domain name, but just take action”

Similar to Blue Dot, who we interviewed earlier, Alec and his team approached dozens of venture capital firms before they found the right one. Some of these approaches were relationship building, and others were actual pitches. In order for them to raise a round of funding it typically took 3-12 months to put a deal together. Alec says, “the more firms you approach, the more chance you will have of being successful in funding your startup. If you end up speaking to a large number of firms and you don’t get much interest, it probably means you need to look at your pitch, the product or the even your team.”

Having multiple, interested investors through this process can also assist in creating that magical, competitive tension that works in your favour.

Time Square and Virgin have used the platform, and there have been quirky projects like a tattoo design that says who’s your momma and a snowboard design – the options are limitless. Expect to see DesignCrowd expanding further in the USA and UK as well as other geographies.

 

The secret sauce of online marketplaces

One of the hardest challenges to overcome in any marketplace business is getting both sides of the market onto your platform. DesignCrowd took the logical approach and started by getting the designers first. They did this by running a crowdsourced contest and offering some money to have their own logo designed. This contest was promoted at design colleges and universities to attract designers to the marketplace.

As they acquired customers and projects were put up on the site, more designers came to the site and started telling each other in a very organic way. The other way they have increased both sides of the marketplace is to make some small acquisitions of websites and design communities, which has helped inorganically, grow the bottom line.

Design Crowd Office Sydney

DesignCrowd Office Sydney

Many marketplaces have a natural “viral loop.” When a customer posts a project and requests a design with an offer of money, this creates content. Essentially this is a job listing that Google can now index, and it can be shared with other designers.

As designers respond by uploading designs, once the project completes each of those designs become public on their own page linking to the overall project and the designer who created them. This also creates content for Google and bloggers which helps attract designers and new customers.

 
Below are the six tips that Alec Lynch gave me for creating a great design for your startup.

 

1. Attract a good designer

To attract a good designer to your project you need to write a good brief, that’s not too long and not too short. Really short briefs signal to designers that you don’t really care or you might not be clear what you want. If your brief is too long, it can imply that your work is too difficult and is going to take a designer too long. In a marketplace context, a designer could be more inclined to gravitate towards a project that is easier. If you have lots of ideas about your design, you need to find the essence and the direction you want to go in a simplified way. Prioritise the parts in the design that are most important to you.

 

2. Pay your designer a fair price

You should be offering an amount of money for your design that your startup is comfortable paying and think is good value. Ideally you want to be offering more than the average amount of money in the marketplace, and then you will naturally attract the best designers that are on the site. It’s also worth handpicking designers from the directory that’s available.

On a platform like DesignCrowd, you can offer small participation payments to top designers that come off your budget, to encourage them to work on your project. Designers typically put more effort into these projects and prioritise them over others, which can help you get the best design.

 

3. Consider using the same designer again for future work

Sites like DesignCrowd allow you to work one to one so once you find a designer you like, this can be an easy way to move forward without having to run contests in the future. Around 20% of projects on DesignCrowd are follow-up projects. Even if the designer you used two years ago is not active, there is usually a 95% chance that they are still available on the site, so you can reach out to them again.

This was something that I found very comforting to hear. In the real world, you would normally only have a relationship with one designer that could be risky for your business if they become busy or go full time with another client. With a marketplace, you can go to other designers quite easily and basically have an unlimited design team. All the designs are also submitted to the site with industry-standard source files so that designs can be easily manipulated by other designers if need be.

 

4. Get all the elements of your design right

You want a design that is effective and helps you achieve your business goals. If these goals are related to growing revenue, then your design needs to match those goals. Brand awareness, brand loyalty and brand association are all things that you should aim for. In terms of colors, if you look at the top 100 brands in the world through interbrand, the most popular color is blue and then followed by red. While you don’t have to use these colors, it’s worth knowing what the best use.

If it’s a website your designing, then you want a design that helps convert traffic into sales. Understand the different elements of your website like your calls to action, your design / layout, your colors and your copy and make sure they are all based on converting traffic. All these elements need to be continually tested and improved in order to get the best result.

Collage of designs made on Design Crowd

Collage of designs made on DesignCrowd

David Ogilvy Quote “Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving”

 

5. Use all the tools of a marketplace

On DesignCrowd, you have access to a directory of designers where you can go and look at their portfolio. There is a polling tool that allows you to poll your customers, friend’s family and employees about what they think of your design. For those of you who are looking to hide your projects from Google and competitors, there is also a function that allows you to do this. In terms of social media, make sure you use it throughout your design phase to gather opinions on what you’re doing and see if you are on the right track.

 

6. Avoid common design errors

Don’t make your design too complicated or have too much detail. If you’re getting a website design, don’t have too many things on the page and keep it simple for the user. You should try not to make the mistake of having a design that is effective to you or meaningful to you, rather than what will resonate more with your target audience. To uncover what will work, you can try testing your brand or design using Google Adwords to see what get’s the best outcome. You could also look at trying different domain names at the same time.

 

Final Tip

“No matter how good your idea is there is a fairly probable chance that someone else in the world has that idea. It may be the case that no one else has acted on that idea, but there is always a chance that they will if it’s a good idea. That said, you will always have competitors”

Alec Lynch from Design Crowd talks with Tim Denning about great designs

Alec Lynch founder of DesignCrowd

If you are working on a design for your startup check out DesignCrowd for some tools that will help you stand out from the rest.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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Startups

‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

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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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

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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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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stuck in a job you hate

Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap? (more…)

Vanya Lazarova is a certified professional coach, specializing in helping people create their life's work by starting with purpose and authenticity. She loves writing, reading, psychology, philosophy, arts and all forms of self- expression. She co-founded a personal development podcast called "The Coaching Journal", where she offers thought provoking concepts to empower people intentionally design the life they want to have. You can find more about Vanya and the work she does on her website www.LiveAuthentic.net and at her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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5 Steps to Regaining Stability After Your Million Dollar Business Idea Fails

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business failure

You probably must have heard that seven out of ten businesses fail within the first ten years of their conception. While this revelation might seem alarming, the fact remains that business failure is like a cake from which every entrepreneur must have, at least, a bite.

The common assumption of most entrepreneurs is that businesses with no solid ideas are the ones that fail. So instead of taking their foot off the ground, they spend years trying to come up with the “million-dollar” idea they believe won’t fail.

No doubt, bad business ideas lead to failure often. But the truth is, business failure isn’t a tale that only organizations with bad ideas tell. Because, in most cases, good ideas fail too. In fact, several good ideas executed by some of the world’s most successful business leaders in the early stages of their careers, failed.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, once started Traf-O-Data alongside Paul Allena data-analyzing company that failed. Steve Jobs, while he was CEO at Apple, launched Apple Lisa, Apple III and other great products that failed. Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, earlier launched two automotive companies that failed.

Although these entrepreneurs encountered failure, they never allowed it prevent them from working towards success.

In case your good business idea has failed and you’re about quitting, below are five actionable steps you can take to regain stability:

1. Accept the truth

Many entrepreneurs are suppressed by their failures because they keep running from the truth. When a business idea fails, it’s pointless shading the truth or shying away from the reality. A failed business idea is a failed business idea, period! Microsoft, for example, came into existence as a result of Gates’ ability to accept the truththat Traf-O-Data had failed.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, once said, “If I try my best and fail, well I have tried my best.” Once business owners learn to accept the bitter truth that their excellent business idea has failed and cease investing their time, money, and energy trying to breathe life into it, getting back on track will become less difficult.

“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” – Bill Gates

2. Take responsibility

One of the many wrong steps business owners and executives take after their great business idea fails is playing the blame game—that is, giving excuses for their failure. Whether you head an Inc. 500 company or a mom-and-pop store, you have to take responsibility when your good business idea fails.

Taking responsibility, in the case of a large organization, doesn’t mean avoiding to discipline anyone whose incompetence directly led to the failure. Rather, it means spending less time on passing blames and giving excuses, and focusing more on the way forward. Instead of shifting blame when a good business idea fails, take responsibility for the failure and ensure you prevent similar failures from reoccurring.

3. Ask “why?”

For every failure a business experiences, there’s always a cause. Most times, good ideas fail due to poor execution, improper planning, wrong managerial decisions and the absence of professional hands. Knowing every failure has a cause, you need to ask yourself, “Why did ‘X’ business idea fail?”

Bill Gates, one of the world’s most successful business leaders, once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” When you know the cause of the failure, you will be able to extract a lesson or two from the unpleasant event. These lessons, in the future, can serve as a mapguiding you on the pathway to success when you embark on a similar quest.

4. Avoid negativity

In entrepreneurship, failure is one ingredient that makes the journey worthwhile. Therefore when a business idea fails, entrepreneurs are left with only two options: to come up with a new idea or modify the existing one, and get going. Although this is the norm, many entrepreneurs never make it back up because of one thing: Negativity.

Negativity (or pessimism) alone can ravage any entrepreneur’s business journey. Embracing self-doubt, spending time with toxic individuals, and submitting one’s self to chance are loopholes through which negativity steps in to ruin an entrepreneur’s career. To gain stability after your good business idea fails, you must abstain from pessimistic thinking and build relationships with positive, like-minded individuals.

“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.” – Bruce Lee

5. Take the punches and keep moving

The ability to get up and keep moving after experiencing multiple failures is what differentiates real entrepreneurs from “aspiring” entrepreneurs. Or borrowing Steve Jobs’ words, “I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.”

You are an entrepreneur. One with a goal, vision, and mission. You didn’t start out as an entrepreneur believing the journey would be filled with rainbows and unicorns, did you? When your best business idea fails, remember that you are an entrepreneur. And in entrepreneurship, throwing in the towel sooner than necessaryeven after experiencing failureis against the rules of the game.

How do you recover from a set back?  Comment below!

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‘Computer Says No’ Type People Are The Problem.

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Saying no without listening is the problem.

It’s the cause of why we fail to innovate. It’s a form of arrogance that focuses all of our energy on our own selfish thoughts. This never-ending pursuit of one’s self-importance is the cause of everything, as a human race, we do not want.

 

Ciggies, Panadol and Coke Zero enter the room.

Last week, I had a profitable business idea squashed by one of those computer says no types that this article is based on.

She entered the room.
Before I opened my mouth, she looked like she was pissed off and acted superior.

She then placed her half-smoked packet of ciggies, her full bottle of Coke Zero (who’s fooled by this so-called ‘healthy option’) and a fresh packet of Panadol on the table. If that’s not a cocktail of problems right, there then I don’t know what is – back to the story.

I explained the business proposition, and before I finished, she said no.

“That’s not how we do things.”
“Let’s create a project.”
“Let’s write a strategy.”
“We don’t have the resources.”

When is it ever the right time? When will we ever have the right strategy? From what I’ve seen, a project equals taking our time and wasting our competitive advantage. Success is about moving quickly. Success is about listening. Success is about trying new things and not following the old way.

 

It’s the lack of emotion that is the problem.

This story above was disappointing for the fact that there was no emotion. It wasn’t two people having a conversation; it was one person being unemotional like a computer and spitting out a generic answer, while the other person just wanted to be heard.

 

No one has all the answers.

The computer says no mindset suggests that there is a hierarchy. It suggests that some people should be worshipped while others should bow down. This old model of the business world died a long time ago.

“We’re all global citizens that are equal and deserve to be heard”

The very answers these computer says no people think they have are what needs to change. Their answers are built on old models and need an upgrade. There is no one answer. The solution to different problems is never the same and the solutions are forever changing. The market is forever changing. People are forever changing. Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

 

They don’t listen; they just say no.

Listening is where everything begins. You’ll never be successful unless you learn to listen. Listening is a skill and it’s forgotten way too often. Less is more. Understanding the problem and being brilliant is in the listening.

“Most of the answers you seek are hidden in the dialogue you’re currently ignoring”

 

Next time the computer says no, tell the computer you’re only accepting yes.

Let’s not make this a whinge session. What can we do about these computer says no people? Tell them that you’re only accepting yes. Be relentless. Challenge them and make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t allow yourself to be ignored. Do all of this with respect.

Part of what causes these no responses is laziness. It’s easier to say no than it is to exuberate energy and try to say yes. Now I’m not saying the Panadol, Coke Zero and ciggies were the entire cause (or am I?) but energy sure plays a part. When we’re living in a state of perpetual tiredness, we make dumb, computer says no, decisions.

You do have energy though. Your energy can break through the no’s and somehow find a way to get to a yes. Don’t accept defeat. Refuse to fail.

 

It’s easy to say no.

No requires very little thought. No says “Let’s just remain the same and not change anything.”

No is the easy way out for these computer says no people. Don’t let them win so easily.

See their weakness for saying yes and challenge it.

 

Make them work for their no.

Get them to give you clear and articulate reasons as to why the answer is no. Don’t let them get away with being lazy. Force factual evidence to be provided. Bring other people in to support your rationale for them to say yes. Go up the line. Speak to their boss if you have to.

Whatever you do, make them work for their no. Don’t allow them to get away with being lazy.

Don’t let the human race fail to progress because someone is not willing to use critical thinking and spend time tackling issues head-on.

 

No doesn’t mean no.

No means not right now.
No means I’m scared.
No means I don’t understand.
No means I might be threatened by you.

Try to find the true meaning of why you’re being told no. Computer says no type people are often fearful and scared of uncertainty. They look for proven ways rather than going into the shadows and searching for the unknown – also known as a new approach.

 

All is not lost.

These people can be changed. We can change their mindset. All of us need to be part of the solution to stamp out this epidemic. Pointing out the problem is not enough; we must empower each other to be part of the solution.

 

***Final Thought***

Computer says no people are tearing apart good ideas. They’re preventing innovation and they must be stopped. You have the power to force them to change and to listen. It begins and ends with each one of us not allowing this mediocrity in our communities, companies and social lives to continue on.

I declare Computer Say’s No Behaviour unacceptable.

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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Process And Red Tape Does Not Equal Progress.

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The corporate world has taught me the truth about process and red tape:

“Process creates people who follow it and believe they are superior for doing so. The reality is that the people who question the process are the true heroes”

Obviously, some process is needed, but the traditional way makes no sense.

Here’s how to rethink process:

 

Most processes lack critical thinking.

Ask yourself “Why are we following this process?”

Modern business requires you to think and know why you do what you do. Just because it’s the way it’s always been done, does not make it’s functional or practical. My grandpa’s horse and cart was functional back in the 1920’s and today it’s a useless pile of junk.

Critical thinking is needed with respect to “process.” Don’t become a process sook.

 

A lot of processes are kept beyond their expiry date.

The challenge is that the digital world is moving so fast. The moment you invent a process, the customer starts to do something different. That’s why a flexible process with minimal framework is ideal.

The process must move with the market and the people who use the process.

” Too much process turns people into critics that ridicule anyone who goes ‘outside of process’ “

Process can quickly become a means for people to become critical and insult each other. Going outside of the process to make business happen (which pays the bills) is not something that should be looked down upon. Instead, when this happens, we need to ask why the process wasn’t suitable.

 

Every process should regularly be reviewed.

Okay, so you have to have a process for something. It needs to be continually challenged.

Why do we have this process?
What do customers think of it?
Is it still timely?
Are there any steps in the process we can remove?

Out of date processes are destroying your business and if you are working for a company that has to follow them, you become de-motivated quickly.

There’s always another business you can work for that doesn’t have the same dumb process, so keeping people becomes hard as well thanks to too much process.

 

Rounding up things together like sheep.

You can’t round people and businesses up like a flock of sheep.

No two people are the same.
No two businesses are the same.

Unfortunately, very few business and people are the same. I rejoice that fact otherwise life would suck big time. We’d become even more bored and spend more time looking at a not so smartphone.

Embrace individuality. Let people think outside the process box. You’ll be amazed by the results. You might even build the next Facebook by doing so. When I see a black cat, with a white spot on it’s back, walk under a ladder, I shout out loud and do a dance!

Praise the heavens for the fact that the black cat is busting an ancient superstition. It’s time to sing Superstitious by Stevie wonder and get back in the groove.

 

Process kills innovation.

For the record, I hate the word innovation. It’s a buzz word that is frequently used and rarely practiced. Innovation can only thrive when we have a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that nobody is right and nobody is wrong. We’re all right in our own way and we are all continuously learning.

You can’t have an innovative culture or workplace if you suffocate it with the lethal gas that is too much process. Process turns dreamers (innovators) into deranged zombies that can’t wait to get home and get drunk.

 

Imagine if Uber followed the process.

That’s right: What if Uber did what every other taxi company did? We’d have the same broken system that doesn’t serve the customer or the driver. We’d never know what it was like to book a service, and then walk away without pulling our wallet out.

 

Frustration with “the process” is good.

You know why I love it when people get pissed off at too much process? Because it creates the seed of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t take too much process and they end up proving people wrong by going and doing something better themselves.

If people didn’t get pissed off by out of date process, then we wouldn’t have a lot of the tech giants we have today. So again, don’t let the negativity take over. Take the negativity that is process and go and fix the problem, and charge money for it.

For those that do, I look forward to your email in the future that says thank you. Your welcome for these words I write which encourage you to stand up to BS process that makes no sense. Rebels move the world forward with their passion and they spit in the face of being suppressed by mediocrity.

We all have potential.
We can all do crazy, awesome stuff.
Don’t let too much process ruin the fun party!

 

In conclusion….

Process kills dreams.
Process kills companies.
Process kills ideas.
Process kills people and their potential.

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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How To Create Exponential Growth In Your Company Using This Simple Strategy

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company growth

When it comes to business, the more of it you have, the easier it is for the business owner to see where the business will be in five, ten, even fifteen years. Good business is what we want, but great business is what we dream of having.

If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup company, or maybe you’re an old pro cultivating business every day, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Having more business and creating more success within our business would be a great end result at the end of this year.

But what is the secret? It seems some people blast out of the entrepreneurial gate and people immediately gravitate to them, while others get lost in the crowd and struggle for six months before finally giving up their dream. While this is a sad depiction of what could be in store for your business, it doesn’t have to be like this.

Enter Rohan Sheth, a self-made success who used to work the counter at McDonald’s but now runs the CEO desk at Rohan Sheth Consulting, a multi-million dollar company helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. If anyone knows the secret of creating exponential growth within their company, it’s Mr. Sheth, and he explains these well-known, but little practiced strategies that can explode your business.

1. Stay Consistent

First and foremost, Mr. Sheth described consistency as one of the key parts in building a successful business. He says, “Legitimate consistency with engagement for your business will show relevancy with your audience and allow them the opportunity to connect with you on a personal level.”

Being consistent within your target audience begins to build a sense of trust and expertise within your community and it’s important to understand what your target market wants and needs and sticking to a plan which delivers on these needs daily/weekly.

If your priority on social media marketing is your Instagram account, then make a plan and stick with it. Post consistent and valuable content which will plant a seed within your congregation making you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Remember, if you’re constantly selling to them, they’re not going to listen. It takes perfect timing to understand when to sell and when to continually deliver content that will meet their needs.

Eventually, your consistency will begin to be shared by your audience. When this happens, they will begin expecting something from you at certain times throughout the day or week. For instance, let’s say you have a YouTube channel where you always upload a helpful video every Friday. After you have consistently shown your viewers you can deliver on what you promise, they will pounce on your video’s every time you upload them.

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” – Dwayne Johnson

2. Build the Relationship

In the online world of business it can be very tempting and even easy to fall prey to data and statistics. Sometimes you may even find yourself pouring over data sheets and getting excited when a line goes up or down.

While statistics are a reliable way to grow your business, it’s not the way to build a personal relationship with that one person who needs your services. No one person is unimportant. Each individual within your reach has the power and the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands of their friends when you take the time to show them you really care. So how does this part happen?

This is when you get down and dirty and jump in the mix in your social channels and your email list. Reply to comments, answer questions, reach out and offer your services and advice when you see someone in need. These are all barrier breakers in the relationship building process and can mean the difference of someone walking away and becoming a high value brand ambassador for your business later.

I realize once your business grows on social media, you will begin to have more people than you’ll know what to do with. Nonetheless, it’s still important to reach out as much as possible and show the face behind the brand. When your audience does start to get large, think about creating opportunities with your channels or pages which can provide a sense of belonging to your target market.

For instance, give the mass of followers you have retained a name. This will make them feel like they are part of the bigger picture and will draw them in and help the relationship building process grow between them and your brand.

3. Solve a Problem For The Masses

In order to encourage exponential growth within your company you need to be making use of the technology around you.

Technology is enabling organizations to reach entirely new markets in massive and viral ways. As the world’s population approaches 7.5 billion, companies and organizations with exponential business models can help close the gap between our growing population and the resources they need.

Many companies start with one core offering to customers to serve one need—like Uber and personal transportation—then expand their services to meet other needs, like UberEATS or UberHEALTH.

Mr. Sheth says to learn about your audience through the data and statistics and develop a plan which can solve these bigger problems they are having. This is more like relationship building on steroids and works well when you have a larger audience. Because the audience is larger, when you do solve the problem, they feel the need to tell their friends about it and here comes the flood of new visitors to your business.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

In Conclusion

Every entrepreneur wants to realize their dream of owning a successful business which can touch the hearts, minds, and wallets of every person in their target market. But you cannot do that until you have a plan which will keep you and your team on track. Mr. Sheth’s strategies can help you develop these techniques and when you apply and tweak them according to your personal goals you will start to see your business growing exponentially within your niche.

Is it your goal to own a business or grow the business you’re currently in? If so, share with us in the comments how you are going about it so we can help everyone.

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