Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. Mediocre ones, those who like to call themselves entrepreneurs and yet have nothing much to show for it, are everywhere. Real entrepreneurs, or those whose insights and actions prove their worth, are relatively few. Here are five things that set them apart. See if you’re one of their kind or simply be inspired by them.
- They’re Not Doing it for Money
- They Don’t Try to Be Someone Else
- They’re Obsessed about Their Calling
- They Weren’t Born Entrepreneurs
- They’re Not Solitary Leaders
They’re in it for the challenge. Money to them is just one of the many resources that help them realize their vision. But money, in itself, isn’t the end goal. If you want proof, look at those successful entrepreneurs who have made a dent in the universe: the Late Steve Jobs build Apple, Jeff Bezos continues to fascinate us with his flagship e-reader, Kindle. We’re told Bezos is takes big risks and lose money by keeping prices low. And yet investors and customers remain with the company. We know why. It’s the passion that’s reflected in the products they design.
Real entrepreneurs don’t fit the mold. That’s because they don’t adhere to external rules or have someone decide for them. From the clothes they wear to their modes of transportation, they don’t try to impress or be unique. They simply are. We can say that they deliberately design their lifestyles to match the kind of work they do. They don’t seem to leave anything to chance.
Once an entrepreneur finds his or her passion or mission, they’re in it to actualize it. Their presence or just the look in their eyes will tell you that something or someone working through them. It’s as if they’ve been possessed by an idea. It’s interesting that many of them believe they’ve been chosen or they’re the right person to implement an idea, no matter how odd it may seem at first.
Personal histories of real entrepreneurs reveal their humble roots. Many of them have actually experienced adversities and challenges while growing up. They turned their losses, material or otherwise, into sources of inspiration. Many of them have realized early on that they shouldn’t rely on anyone or anything. Their motivation comes from within and they’re never discouraged by external conditions. Their attitude and not their circumstances turned them into real entrepreneurs.
Are real entrepreneurs superheroes who do it all by themselves? Of course not. The entrepreneur as an iconic leader distorts reality. Successful founders of some of the world’s biggest companies have partners. Steve Jobs partnered with Steve Wozniak. Bill Gates had the support of Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Larry Page worked with Sergey Brin. The early days of these founders revealed that they’re more of collaborators than superheroes. It’s also not a secret that many entrepreneurs are good at founding and creating, not at running and maintaining companies. Unless, of course, if you’re Jeff Bezos.
As we enter the age of virtual offices, more and more entrepreneurs are developing freelance businesses. The corporate world was the model for the twentieth century, but following the market crash of 2008 there has been massive downsizing with both corporate and government jobs. Since then the economic recovery has been driven by small to medium business. Many people are avoiding their bosses and following their dreams of running their own companies. Within the self-employment realm is a growing number of freelancers who work from home.
Last century the idea of working from home used to have a stigma that often was perceived as “out of work” or “in between jobs,” but that misconception has been diminishing. In 2006, the last time the federal government researched the work at home population, thirty percent of the workforce operated home businesses. That was 42.6 million people. By the year 2020, the percentage of freelancers in the workforce is expected to climb to 40 percent, according to a study by Intuit. Another recent sign that people are moving away from traditional jobs has been a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that temporary work increased by 29 percent between 2009 and 2012. Even the 200 largest companies are reporting that 22 percent of their labor is temporary employees.
The most obvious growth in freelancing has been in the tech industry, since programming and web design can be done on a computer from any location. But the shift toward temporary work and home businesses connected with the knowledge economy has grown beyond tech companies. Some of the expanding areas for freelance opportunities through the collaborative company NextSpace include marketing, media, art, construction, law, healthcare and accounting. Not only does freelancing beat crosstown commutes and high gas prices, it saves time and allows you control over your schedule and livelihood.
Virtual offices further cut down on small business expenses. Aside from providing affordability they offer convenience and trust. Instead of a P.O. Box, which anyone can set up regardless of credibility, a virtual office offers you a physical address, which gives the impression of a more permanent business. This revolutionary concept is ideal for businesses that operate mainly on a laptop but need additional services for communicating with clients in a professional environment. It’s also a powerful solution for any business that needs to cut expenses on rent and overhead.
United Virtual Office is a company on the cutting edge of the new economy. They provide low cost virtual office space, virtual receptionists, meeting rooms, mail forwarding and courier services. Each of these elements becomes extensions of the home office to give a small operation more credibility and flexibility to conduct business with clients professionally. This business solution includes a physical address in prestigious locations and a business phone number that includes unlimited minutes, unlimited e-fax and a professional voicemail tree. United Virtual Office has physical office space with conference facilities in several states across America, allowing you to manage your business from anywhere.
Meetings don’t have to be boring for achievement of set goals. The importance of formal meetings cannot be over emphasized and this implies that measures and methods of making them to be maximally productive must always be sought. They are to ensure that participants are actually willing to be part of the team due to the fact that they enjoy.
- Avoid sitting down
- Be the boss of the meeting
- Have some kind of filter list
- Have some fun
- Reward team members
- Value every persons input
- Develop a culture with your participants
Standing in meetings make people go straight to the point and avoid wasting time on unnecessary discussions because of the discomfort of having to stand long hours. It is also likely that contributions will be mentioned in details to prevent the possibility of revisiting what is already done. Walking is also very effective especially for the people who have difficulties facing others squarely which most of the time hinders their productivity.
This method calls for some sort of measured control without being over bearing. It calls for the ability to act like a choir master where you are able to control the varying emotions and reactions of the different participants in the meeting. This ensures that all participants maintain their calm and keep tolerable levels of understanding. This is a sure way of enhancing understanding despite the fact that opinions could be conflicting.
This is a sheet where you record all the upcoming suggestions and discussion items. This will ensure that you remain within the limits of the set agenda and not wander away and end up discussing non related issues thus achieving no goal. The listed important topics could be scheduled for the next meetings.
Jokes are a great way to lighten peoples moods irrespective of how serious they are .meetings are usually intended for finding solutions and action plans. This does not mean that participants should not laugh for actually doing this could release tensions that come with the pressure of meetings and deadlines and should be encouraged.
The achievement of solutions through meetings should not be taken for granted. Organize some kind of celebration for all participants to show your appreciation of their input and results. This will challenge them to perform better next time since they know they are recognized.
This calls for understanding especially of the fact that people are differently and so is there response. Do not lock anyone out just because they take time to contribute. Instead encourage all people to chip in by making it a round table discussion and not one man based.
Coming up with routines that must be done in the meeting goes a long way in fostering a sense of belonging. Thing like specific rules on time that is well known by every participant will increase the meetings effectiveness. You could come up with penalties for late comers to discourage the behavior.
1. Be different
Being an entrepreneur means taking risks to build something that will improve the lives of the people in your market. You have to be different to stand out. No one is going to pay attention to a company that is doing the same thing as another company. You don’t need to have a physical product or app to make it big. Pete Cashmore started Mashable when he was 19. Today, his website is one of the leading technology sites on the web.
2. Don’t be afraid to change everything
Change is necessary and nowhere can this advice be more important than in business. Don’t be afraid to change your company or products to pursue an angle that will help you realize your goals. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s founder, had to adjust the app in the way that people used it.
3. Know when to stop planning and start doing
What sets entrepreneurs from the dreamers is doing. There is a time to plan and a time to do. Don’t overcomplicate matters. Start shipping as fast as you can and tweak your product as your market consumers it. Eric Ries outlines this notion well in the Lean Startup book.
4. If something doesn’t work, stop
No matter how much effort and finances you pump into your business, sometimes things will just not work out. Don’t be afraid to stop a product or even close down your company. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t waste your time and resources hoping things will change when it is clear they wouldn’t.
5. Looks matter
Design is everything and this is what sets brands with similar products apart. Think about design right from your product to your marketing materials. Having your office, shop, brochure, logo or website looking good will give you the much needed boost in the beginning.
6. Learn how to follow up
No man is an island and so is no business. Relationship building is important especially when you are just starting up. You want to be on the good books of suppliers, industry influencers, product evangelists and so on. This can provide you with the publicity you need for your business to take off.
7. Always be learning
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and learn new things. Take insight from other businesses and apply it to your situation. Tweak the information you get to fit your business and challenges.
8. Be confident in your product
Cyrus Massoumi, the founder of ZocDoc (the doctor-appointment scheduling site) went door-to-door hawking the product and was kicked by security guards out because he seemed not confident in his offer.
Entrepreneurship starts with drive and a strong work ethic. As a parent, you will want to foster within your child that spirit of independence and desire for success that motivates successful entrepreneurs. Of course, it is not always easy to pass on life lessons and this one may call for some amount of creativity on your part. Here are some tips for helping your children to become entrepreneurs:
- Put Them to Work
- Encourage Decision-Making
- Find Business Opportunities
- No Free Money
- The Value of Teamwork
- Marketing Skills
Teach them to write out their goals. This is one way to help them think in detail about what they want to accomplish and take serious steps to towards fulfilling their dreams. They should not only think about their goals, but also about the various steps they will have to take to get to them. They should start taking those steps as soon as possible.
Hire them at your business. If you are an entrepreneur yourself, this gives your children the opportunity to learn from one of the most important people in their lives. The fact that they are learning from you may help them to better grasp the principles on which business operates. Working for you will provide them with real-life examples of how entrepreneurship works.
Provide kids with the opportunity to make decisions. Being decisive and knowing the principles of good decision-making are essential for successful entrepreneurship. You can start out by allowing them a small amount of independence in managing their spending-money or ordering for themselves in restaurants. The goal is to help them to consider all the ramifications of a particular choice.
teach them to take advantage of business opportunities. Selling is the core of business and an entrepreneur will need to be comfortable with concept of commerce. The earlier you start teaching your children about selling, the better; they should be encouraged in small enterprises such as their own lemonade stand or a table at a yard sale. These things will help them to discover the basic principles on which all businesses operate.
Allow your kids to earn from chores. They should not be provided with an allowance for doing nothing; instead, pay them for being productive around the home or in your business. Not only will it encourage a strong work ethic, they will also be more careful spending money that they had to earn themselves.
Teach them the value of being a team player. Most of business involves working well with others; success often requires that an entrepreneur be willing to cooperate and delegate, and requires strong people-skills and leadership abilities. Skills at networking and developing contacts are needed to build a strong customer-base.
Teach them to market. Get them to pay attention to professional advertising efforts such as those used on television and the Internet; help them to see and learn from the various marketing principles used in those advertisements.
You know that old adage about the three most important things when it comes to real estate, don’t you? Those three key factors are: “Location, location, and location!”
Well, the same holds true for business! Where your business is located matters to your potential clients and customers. Whether or not it is fair, the fact is that if you run an entertainment company, people want to see a Los Angeles address; if you run a government contracting firm, people expect to see a Washington, DC area address. And if you run a business in a whole host of fields, from finance to import/export to theater and more, your clients are simply going to take you a lot more seriously (and perhaps even give you more business!) if your offices have an address in New York City.
But guess what? You no longer have to have offices located in New York City to have that coveted NYC business address! Thanks to a virtual office in New York, The City can be your company’s mailing address, your phone’s area code, and where your clients send faxes, while you can remain located wherever you want! With today’s technology, you can have an office wherever you want, from sunny Florida to the West Coast to even clear across the globe! You can work from home or on the road, and you certainly don’t have to be stuck in NYC traffic or subway lines all the time just to maintain that respected zip code.
Thanks to your virtual office in New York, NYC will remain your “headquarters” as far as anyone knows. They will dial a New York City number and can either have their calls automatically answered and forwarded, or can have a real live attendant answer the phone 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, who will then take messages or forward the call on to you or your associates. Faxes can be sent to a New York City number by your clients and then automatically forwarded to your location, no matter where you are! The same goes for regular old USPS “snail mail” and FedEx or UPS packages — they can be sent to your specified virtual office in New York and then will be automatically sent on to a location of your choosing, and your client never has to know!
And perhaps the best option that comes with your virtual office in New York City is an actual office in New York City whenever you need it! Your virtual office managers can provide you office and even conference room space for when you need to meet with your clients face to face. And office space can be yours at fees so low they’ll even make New Yorkers smile! Why pay the exorbitant rates it costs to rent offices in NYC, and why make the grueling commute into and around the busy metropolis when you can have all the benefits that come with the prestige of a New York city business with none of the headaches!
Although some economists have called an end to the recession that began in 2008, many business owners continue to be stressed in 2013 over financial issues. Some owners wonder if they can stay in business, given the volatile economic climate around the world. Others stress over health care or personal issues that have manifested from uncertainty. Stress itself can be damaging, which is why it’s important for people to manage stress. The following tips can help reduce stress while creating a positive attitude and increasing productivity.
Identify the causes of stress
Think about the root of your stress by reflecting on situations and writing them down. Use your own method, whether it involves writing down situations in story form or generalizing events with bullet points. Make a timeline of how problems unfolded then summarize the issue with a word or short phrase. Possibilities may include financial matters, miscommunication, upcoming deadlines or illness.
Change the way you work
Sometimes falling into routines can become dull or make you feel trapped. Figure out a new schedule that breaks the pattern. Analyze your priorities and rearrange them if possible. Shifting your focus can help develop goals that may have fallen through the cracks. By experimenting with new ways to accomplish tasks you will gain a fresh perspective that may open new doors to success.
Take some exercise
Physical exercise, as well as eating healthy food, can raise your energy level, which can improve your self-confidence. Even walking or jogging around the block can help make your blood circulation flow better, giving you a feeling of well-being. Something to consider if you want to improve your health even more is join a physical fitness program in your neighborhood, which can also expand friendships and opportunities. After a work out try taking deep breaths then relax.
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Take time out
All work and no play is simply not the best way to enjoy life. If you find yourself working around the clock day after day, figure out how to inject recreation into your schedule. Take a short vacation, even if it’s just for a day. Visit art exhibits with friends or see local entertainment. Music and comedy are two of the best remedies for stress.
Presentation skills are an essential facet to business operations, no matter how trivial. This is as much a universal truth as is the sun rising in the east, but while countless people accept its ideology in the corporate world, few truly understand it.
Presentations have a tendency to hide behind convenient labels, like “promotion.” In truth, if you have a desire to be the brightest star among your co-workers, you must present yourself in a way that ‘promotes’ your highest abilities. At its core, setting out to win your boss’ approval is nothing more than a presentation of your strengths.
Should you find yourself in a position where profit rides on the communication of important ideas, it is important to bear in mind that presentations can make or break a multi-million dollar sale. Corporate sponsors place a high responsibility on presenters, for their financial success is dependent upon the organization and subsequent communication of key points.
One of the leading causes of stress in the workplace is misinformation. Sharpening up your presentation skills will ultimately play to your advantage, as in order to lead a team, one must possess extraordinary communication skills.
While many presenters fail to communicate key points before losing the interest of their target audience, still others have managed to reduce 30 minutes of information to as little 90 seconds. Learning to identify key points saves time not only in presentation but in preparation, leading to further stress reduction and better communication.
In order to lead a team in the achievement of a common goal, one must be able to effectively communicate a singleness of purpose in a way that informs, motivates and calls to action. Here, communication of key issues becomes tantamount to professional success.
While in terms of advertising, presenters are the men and women behind the curtain, scrutiny from the media determines the validity of key points. It is an unfortunate reality that your reputation is dependent upon what you do and don’t do in front of the camera, but it is a reality that you must bear in mind.
While becoming a better presenter may not find you in the corporate job that you’ve always dreamed of, it may or may not give you a leg up over the man or woman standing next to you. What do you have to lose?
Few of us would have predicted, just a few years ago, that telecommuting would become such an integral part of America’s business culture. Worksimple found that, as of 2010, more than 26 million American workers were categorized as teleworkers; this represented fully one-fifth of the total adult working population. In the same year, almost two-thirds of companies reported that at least parts of their staffs were working remotely either full-time or part-time.
The virtual office has clearly arrived. It would not have been so widely adopted if it did not have obvious benefits. Virtual offices remove many of the fixed costs that plague businesses but they also seem to foster greater productivity. A recent study, found that 63 percent of New Zealand companies are reporting higher levels of productivity because they instituted flexible working practices, including telecommuting and virtual office spaces.
The mechanisms that make the virtual office into a buzzing hive of productivity haven’t been precisely worked out. But there is one thing most every worker, regardless of his/her position (or location) can agree on: coffee can further augment your natural productivity. A recent survey found that more than 40 percent of coffee drinkers say they are less productive than they are without it. Many of us, it would seem, can’t function as well as we would like if we are deprived of our morning (or afternoon) brew.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that coffee does exactly what we caffeine-fiends have long claimed: it makes us better workers. A recent study by the Leeds University Business School, in Leeds, England, argued that there are considerable benefits to offering employees coffee. Employees, the study found, tend to work harder, solve more problems together and share resources in a way conducive to getting things done. Coffee, these researchers contended, was an essential ingredient to a business’s success.
That’s something any caffeine addict could have told them.
So, if you are looking to turn your business into a hyper-efficient profit engine, abandon the brick-and-mortar and let your employees go virtual. They will reward you with enhanced productivity and will be happier and more invested in your enterprise, as a result. But if you really want to see all the benefits associated with a virtual office – don’t skimp on the caffeine. Your employees will thank you.
Plants in an office or on a desk can brighten up a room, make the air fresher and provide a needed dose of nature in an otherwise
sterile environment. But so often, those big plans for a healthy and verdant fern shrivel and die along with the fronds leaving you with an eyesore that makes you feel guilty for your lack of a green thumb.
Part of what leads to plant neglect comes from the plants you choose to bring into the office in the first place. Plants that will thrive indoors, in the middle of cubicle mazes, have specific qualities.
Before choosing a plant, first evaluate the conditions of your office.
- Lighting: If your office has a window or is near one, your plant options increase and you can choose a plant that does well in full or partial sun. If not, choose a shade tolerant plant. It will get enough light from the overhead lights.
- Temperature:Some plants don’t do well indoors because it’s too warm or they can’t withstand the temperature fluctuations between day and nights or weekends. Look for hardy plants if the temperature varies a lot in your office.
- Humidity: This can affect the soil, either keeping it too moist and promoting mold or drying out the soil too quickly, leading to overwatering.
When it comes time to make the choice for your office, a few plants will do better than others.
- Jade (crassulaovata): The bright, waxy leaves and interesting shapes add a eometric quality to your office. Technically asucculent, jades are vibrant green, thrive in shade and have a hardy constitution. Keep them well watered.
- Philodendron: These traditional indoor plants do quite well in a variety of office environments. As an added bonus, they will climb up walls — or drape down if in a basket. Plus, they can take a little neglect and still remain healthy.
- Peace lily (spathiphyllum): If you’re looking for a showstopper (and a plant known for cleaning the air), hoose a peace lily. These plants have large, broad, deep green leaves and will grow stunning flowers as well. They also tolerate low light. However, if you have a coworker with pollen allergies, you should clip the flower before it blooms.
You can pick up these common houseplants at most home improvement stores and garden centers to transform your office today.