23 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Know

Fortune

1. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

2. The most important decision you can make iswhere do you want to spend your time. You only have so much time, energy and ability to focus. That means, as much as you would like to, you can’t do everything. That’s a given. So is this: The places which receive your full attention will do better than the places that won’t. What follows from that is this: You need to make hard choices about what you will do–and what you won’t. And it is really is the important decision you can make, because everything else you do will flow from it…including the next point.

3. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, there is no such thing as work-life balance.  I am not advocating that you spend a disproportionate part of your life working on your company.  (I am also not advocating against it.) I am simply reporting that is what the most successful entrepreneurs do. I have never found an exception.

4. The best entrepreneurs don’t come up with great ideas, they solve market needs. You and I can come up with wonderful ideas all day long but unless they satisfy a large enough need, one that can support a business, they don’t do anyone any good.

5. The one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common is the desire to make their idea a reality. What entrepreneurs need most of all—above motivation, focus, hope, financing, marketing skills, a brilliant idea, etc.—is the will to bring their idea into existance. Unless you truly want to make something happen, the odds are nothing will. Without that desire, nothing else matters…or occurs. Your life will be filled in other ways

6. Action trumps everything.  Stop thinking and get underway.images (67)

7. Take small, smart steps towards your goals.  Contrary to the popular press, the most successful entrepreneurs are not swing-for-the-fences, bet-everything-on-one-roll-of-the-dice  types.  They are extremely conservative. They take a small step toward their goal; pause to see what they have learned from taking that small step and build that learning into the next small step. Then they pause to see what they have learned from that second small step, build that learning in and then take another small step and so forth. They don’t take large risks.

8. If you want to build a successful company give up control. You can try to micromange but: the business will never grow bigger than one person (you, the CEO) can handle effectively; the company won’t be able to move very quickly. Since everything will have to flow through you, you will create a bottleneck; you won’t get the best ideas out of your people.  Once they understand the company is set up so everything revolves around you, people are not going to take the time to develop their best ideas. “Why should I,” they’ll ask. “He is just going to do what he wants anyway.” And it’s exhausting.

9. Forget about working on your weaknesses, play to your strengths.  This is what will make you successful in the long-run.

10. You need to be able to turn every obstacle into an asset. Yes, every single one.

11. All you need to know about marketing in exactly 30 words? Marketing, when you strip everything away, is extremely simple: You figure out who you want to sell to, and then you determine what it is that will get them to buy.

12. Here’s the only market research you need: Get your product out in the marketplace and see if it sells.

13. If you insist on doing market research anyway, here’s the one question you need to ask. Show potential customers a prototype, or describe the service you are thinking of offering and then say: ”Is this something you would buy,” and if they answer yes, ask for the order then and there. If, as the cliché goes, they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, you are probably on to something. If they aren’t, you still have work to do.

images (1)14. You must figure out how you are going to collect what you are owed.  Nobody thinks about this before they get underway and suddenly they learn first hand what they phrase “cash flow crunch” means.

15. As much as you are going to fight it you need a (really smart) advisory board.  You want a board to: give you new perspectives and ideas; to give you people to talk to and to provide honest feedback.

16. If you want to get more done faster and better…create checklistsChecklists are a wonderful way to make sure you don’t overlook anything, and that it is true whether we are talking about the best way to treat someone in the emergency room or if you are about to make a big presentation to a client you really want to land.

17. How to motivate yourself and stay motivated. Starting anything new is hard and the number of obstacles you are going to encounter can easily get overwhelming. Click on the link here for proven ideas that can keep you going.

18. If the dogs don’t like the dog food it’s bad dog food.  You don’t determine what a good product is. Only your customer does.  And if they don’t like your product, it’s a bad product. Period. In others words, the customer is always right. Darn it.

19. If the customer doesn’t like the product, there isn’t much you can do about it with pricing or promotion or positioning. Unpopular products are going to remain so. It is better to come up with a different version, than to keep trying to sell–at a discounted price–the one people don’t like.

20.  If you are going to fail, and sometimes you will, fail quickly and cheaply.  Always take small steps toward your goal and pause after each one to make sure you are staying on the right track.

21. (Really) Learn from your mistakes.  You are going to make mistakes. That’s a) a given and b) okay, providing you truly understand what went wrong.

22. Creativity and innovation must be linked to a business objective. Creativity is wonderful. But creativity that isn’t tied to making money is just a hobby. It isn’t a viable business concept.

23. Get while you still have your marbles. You never want to stay too long at the fair, even if you own the fair.images (39)

 

 

 

 

Source :P aul B. Brown, Forbes

Open Up and Lead!

 

Leadership!

Leadership!

Several weeks ago we found out that the federal government tracks every phone call we make. On the one hand, it’s unsettling. On the other, if it helps stop terrorist attacks we may consider it worth it. In some ways what was most disturbing about the revelation was its secrecy. Our instinctive response is mistrust: our government wasn’t being open with us. And we all want open leaders.

That’s the lesson in business for companies that are striving to recruit and retain the best talent. When leaders are honest and forthcoming, people feel respected, engaged and invested in the enterprise. Unfortunately, too many leaders still don’t get it: open leadership is the foundation of 21st century success. We live in the age of the individual (some might say narcissist) and old-style, top-down, command-and-control leadership just doesn’t work. It makes employees feel devalued and wary. Just the opposite of what success demands: active, fulfilled employees who are bringing their full talents to work every day.

How can a leader achieve this open ideal?

1) Open door: Everyone in the organization should have access to their leaders. Leaders who welcome input change the entire atmosphere of an organization. Keep your door open, it’s a powerful metaphor for an open organization. And when someone walks through it, no matter who they are, welcome them.

2) Open mind: Brilliant ideas can come from anywhere in an organization. Open leaders listen carefully, welcome off-the-wall suggestions, and understand that clinging to the status quo will soon leave you behind the curve. Refresh and renew your consciousness. Take a class, talk to a consultant, explore a museum. Stretch your mind – like a muscle, it will grow stronger.

3) Open laptop: Many leaders still don’t grasp the power and necessity of engaging and enabling online. Find ways to integrate social media, expert networks, videos, forums, and blogging into your leadership toolkit. This is where employees live nowadays – open leaders must join them.

4) Open standards: Your mission must be stated, but more importantly it must be lived. You have to treat everyone by the same rules. And when a challenge arrives, keep people informed. Nothing undermines morale more than whispers and favoritism.

5) Open heart: All great leaders transcend the sometimes prosaic demands of their organizations and reach people on an emotional level. Make a list of the five leaders you most admire. Bet they all touch something in your heart and soul. I’m not talking about turning your company into a group therapy session, or saying you have to dispense hugs (though hugs can be a very effective leadership tool if done in a way that makes sense to objectives of course), but open leaders aren’t afraid to show some heart in how they lead.

All five of these Open Leadership tools must be employed with sincerity and follow-through. Paying lip service is worse than doing nothing. It’s hollow and people see right through it.

So open up and lead and build this into your company culture. 

 

Source: Meghan M. Biro

Hiring Great Sales People Now!

We have immediate Openings at my Company Rx Care Assurance and OPUS Medication Systems!images (41)

 

Cities Currently in Play:

Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston

Kansas City

Orlando, Miami

Join a team that is changing the face of the Pharmacy – Care Facility relationships

 

There are nearly 100,000 facilities in the U.S. that provide some level of long-term care and nearly all of them require a pharmacy partner. Identifying the right partner and maintaining an effective relationship with that partner is an ongoing challenge for care facilities. Rx Care Assurance consultants have a profound mission: Bring together pharmacies and care facilities in an integrated business solution that enhances the level of care for facility residents.

opus2

 

 

 

 

Desired Skills and Experience:

  • Proven Consultative Sales Performance
  • Motivated with Focused Goals
  • A College Degree
  • Ability to Travel Overnight
  • Experience Working Aggressively and Independently
  • Developed Long-term Business Relationships

images (91)This high potential position provides the right person with unlimited opportunity to create their own success with the support of a national firm. This is not a sit behind the desk sales job! We expect daily face-to-face meetings with potential and current clients and partners. If you need flexibility to perform at your best and want the variety thatcreating business opportunities across a territory can bring, please contact us. This position provides a base & commissions, auto and travel allowance, a health insurance plan, 401K, plus other benefits.
Please click here to email us your resume now. Reference Biz Owners Unlimited and we will move your resume to the top of the stack!

Careers@rxcareassurance.com

rxcare[1]

Take A Risk: The Odds Are Better Than You Think

As you look back on your career and life to date, where do you wished you’d been a little braver, trusted in yourself more, and been less cautious in the chances you took?

Anything come to mind?  When speaking to people in their forties and beyond, many tell me that if they could do their career over again, they’d have taken more risks, settled less and spoken up more often. In short, they wished they’d been more courageous in the risks they’d taken.  Perhaps you relate.

Often we know what it is we want to do, but we still don’t do it. Why? Because we are innately risk averse and afraid of putting our vulnerability on the line. The status quo, while not particularly fulfilling, can seem like an easier, softer, less scary, option.  Indeed, advances in brain imaging technology can now verify that we human beings are wired to be risk averse. In other words, we find it much easier to settle with the status quo, keep our mouths closed and our heads down rather than make a change, take a chance,  or speak up and engage in what I call a “courageous conversation.”

When weighing up whether to take an action that could leave us vulnerable to failing or some other form or loss (of reputation, money, social standing, pride etc), we have an innate tendency to misjudge four core elements in assessing risk.

1. We over-estimate the probability of something going wrong.  As Daniel Kahneman wrote in Thinking,  Fast and Slow, when assessing risk, potential losses tend to loom larger than potential gains. That is, we tend to focus more on what might go wrong – what we might lose or sacrifice – than what might go right. Because what we focus on tends to magnify in our imaginations, it causes us to misjudge (and over-estimate) the likelihood of it occurring. Yet, as I wrote in Stop Playing Safe, the reality is that the risks of something not working out are often not near as high as we estimate them to be.

2. We exaggerate the consequences of what might happen if it does go wrong. This is what I refer to as ‘catastrophizing.’  We come up with  dire and dramatic worst-case scenario images in our minds-eye. Rather than assume that we would act quickly to head off or mitigate a situation if things started going off track, we imagine everything spiralling shockingly out of control while we passively stand by, conjuring up images of ourselves destitute, shunned by our family, ostracized by  our peers and forever shamed by our failure.  Okay, maybe I go too far. Maybe you don’t catastrophize quite so dramatically. But the point is, we are neurologically wired to exaggerate how bad things could be if our plans didn’t work out, and we fail to appreciate our ability to intervene to ward off further impact.

3. We under estimate our ability to handle the consequences of risk.  This goes hand in hand with the above, but is more focused on our capability over all.  And while I hate to say it, women are the biggest culprits when it comes to underestimating their abilities and buying into self-doubt. Too often we let our misgivings about whether we have what it takes to succeed get the better of us. The result is that we often avoid taking on new challenges (or proactively pursuing new opportunities) because we don’t trust sufficiently in our ability to rise to the challenges they involve.

While speaking at a women’s leadership event at a lead global consulting firm last week, the managing partner shared with me how she had declined an offer to take on the senior leadership role several times before finally accepting.  Each time she had turned it down, it was because she didn’t think she had the ability to succeed in the position. Looking back now, with the benefit of having been in the role for several years, she realized that she’d been gravely underestimating herself. She was fortunate that those who saw her potential didn’t give up on her easily. Still, how often do we fail to judge our own capacity for risks – like taking on a bigger role or pursuing a lofty goal – accurately?  In my experience, it’s far too often.

4. We discount or deny the cost of inaction, and sticking with the status quo.  I wrote about this in a previous column titled The Parmenides Fallacy: Are You Ignoring the Cost of Inaction?   We tell ourselves “It’s not so bad” and delude ourselves with the hope that our circumstances will somehow just get better over time and things will just ‘sort themselves out.’   We come up with excuses for why sticking with the status quo is a feasible option; why playing safe and not putting ourselves at risk of failing or looking foolish is ‘sensible.”  In reality, things that aren’t working out well for us now only tend to get worse over time, not better, and issues remain unaddressed in our relationships and lives tend to grow larger, not smaller.

These four different human tendencies working together help to explain why so many supposedly smart people find themselves living in such a restricted circle of their potential, feeling dissatisfied in their careers, stuck in their relationships, and living lives they would never have chosen, much less have aspired to.

So how do we know which risks are worth taking?  Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What would I do if I were being more courageous?  
  2. How will inaction cost me one year from now if I do nothing?
  3. Where is my fear of failure causing me to over-estimate the size of risk, under-estimate myself and holding me back from taking risks that would serve me (my business etc)? 

Whatever answers come into your mind, take notice!  They are pointing you to a brighter future that you can only create when you commit to taking bolder, more decisive and courageous actions.  Will there be risks involved? Of course!  But remember that you are wired to both overestimate the size of them and to underestimate your ability to handle them.  The truth is, as Lao Tsu wrote two thousand years ago, “You are capable of more than you think.”

Fear regret more than failure – history has shown that we fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring.

“Fortune favors the bold.”

 

Source: Margie Warrell, Forbes

Increase your Happiness!

What specifically impacts our happiness and how can we shift it? Happiness
The three greatest predictors of happiness are optimism (the belief your behavior will eventually matter), social connection, and how we perceive stress (as a challenge or as a threat).  If we want to raise happiness we need to make both mindset and behavior shifts.

What are the five key steps that we can take each day to increase our experience of happiness?

1)      Bring gratitude to mind – Write down three things that you are grateful for each day

2)      Journal – About a positive experience you’ve had recently for 2 minutes once a day

3)      Exercise –  Engage in 15 minutes of mindful cardio activity

4)      Meditate – Watch your breath go in and out for 2 minutes a day

5)      Engage in a random, conscious act of kindness –  Write a 2-minute positive email thanking a friend or colleague, or compliment someone you admire on social media

Do these steps for 21 days, and you will begin to see a lasting shift in your mindset towards more positivity.

How are you using this information to increase the success of organizations and leaders?
Happiness is a choice, but leaders and companies can make that choice easier by providing education about how to raise positivity in the workplace, creating social engagements, authentically praising individuals.

What is the Happiness Advantage exactly? 
Your brain works significantly better at positive than at negative, neutral or stressed.  Every single business and educational outcome improves when we start at positive rather than waiting for a future success.  Sales improve 37% cross-industry, productivity by 31%, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, nearly 10 times more engaged at work, live longer, get better grades, your symptoms are less acute, and much more.

How do we help ourselves get there?
Genes and environment will define your happiness, UNLESS you make conscious changes to your mindset and habits. If you do the latter, your happiness will no longer remain under the tyranny of your genes, childhood and environment.

In the end, happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change.  It is the belief that we can.

* * * *

How is your level of positivity and happiness shaping your success?  Take these five steps for 21 days and share with me what transpires for you. 

How (And When) To Take A Risk: Graduation Wisdom From Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph

Netflix’s co-founder and former CEO Marc Randolph enjoys mentoring new waves of entrepreneurs.   In the process, he’s come to the conclusion that colleges don’t produce nearly as many good entrepreneurs as they could.

An avid rock climber and mountain climber, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph says one key to entrepreneurship is to be able to set out without having the summit clearly in sight.

“If you look back at what the students were taught, the reason why is obvious,” Randolph says.  “The risk tolerance has been bred out of them.”  Students at the high-school level avoid challenging courses that could wreck their odds of getting into a selective college, he says—and once in college, these students shy away from challenging and novel courses that might tarnish their GPAs.

Randolph set about looking for ways to turbo-charge the preparation of aspiring world-changers.  Along with serving as a board member of organizations such as the promising Santa Cruz-based startup Looker and the career-networking firm Readyforce, he’s been active in mentoring entrepreneurs at Middlebury College and his alma mater,Hamilton College.

A few key principles guide Randolph’s mentoring work:

1.  Now is better than later. 

When’s the best time to take your first risk as an entrepreneur?  Yesterday, ideally.

In a perfect world, Randolph says, an entrepreneur has been building up her risk-taking muscles since childhood.  He says that a large number of natural-born entrepreneurs take to candy arbitrage as grade-schoolers, or go on to run small businesses out of their dorm rooms.  The advantage of these experiences is that the young entrepreneur learns real-life business lessons in a relatively low-stakes way—before her decisions might have huge impacts on the livelihoods and futures of large numbers of people.

But if you weren’t an entrepreneur yesterday, remember that today is still better than tomorrow.  Risk-taking never gets easier, Randolph says, and delaying your entry into entrepreneurship till the “ideal” moment may reinforce your risk-avoidant side to a point of no return.

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...
There is no better time than now for aspiring entrepreneurs to hone their craft, Randolph tells new college grads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There may be no better time than college graduation to dive whole-heartedly into entrepreneurship.  “Now is the time to work for nothing, now is the time to learn,” Randolph says.  “Take any job in a growing, exciting company.  You’ll learn so much.  You’ll see people who do it well.  You’ll learn from going out to drinks with people from other companies.”  In this hyper-charged environment the young entrepreneur exchanges and tests ideas, and also gets to see “how the sausage is made.”  She gets thrown into responsibilities that exceed her abilities and which force her to sink or swim.

2.  Swim in environments that promote risk-taking and innovation.

Move to a San Francisco or a Boulder or a New York,” Randolph says, to capitalize on active startup cultures.  “Opportunities are being created there so quickly.  New jobs are being created every few weeks.  And if you don’t like a job, just wait six months and a better one comes along.”

 

3. Be willing to get your hands dirty. 

In the early stages, being an entrepreneur isn’t about being your own boss, Randolph concedes.  “You need to be able to do anything that someone asks you to,” he says.  But over time, “It’s one of the best ways to have control over what you do every day.”

4. Get moving, now, even though the summit isn’t yet in sight.

“Just do something,” Randolph advises.  As he once advised an audience of Hamilton students, “Do something crappy, and get it out there.”

An avid rock climber, Randolph notes that a climber’s path only becomes visible gradually, once the first steps have been taken and the climber is a few feet off the ground.  If an entrepreneur refuses to budge until she can see the entire way forward, she’ll never leave the safety of the ground.

He notes that Netflix evolved in ways the founders never could have imagined at the outset.  And given how it’s so much easier for a person to create a company today than just 15 years ago, he says there are fewer reasons than ever to resist taking a chance on a new enterprise.

“There’s no time like the present,” Randolph says. “It only gets harder as you move further from your education.  You’ll have a nice car, rent to pay, and then maybe a mortgage.  If it seems scary now, it’ll be doubly or triply scary later.”

In the end, Randolph distills his advice and his experiences to one observation about risk-taking, which he offers to college graduates this spring:  “It’s worth it.”

 

Source: Forbes.com

The Most Successful People Take Small, Smart Steps Toward Their Goals

Is there anyone anywhere old enough to work who has not had an idea for a new company? Who has not said on at least one occasion  “someone could make a fortune if they’d just…”

So how come we have so few entrepreneurs?

Study the type of ideas on which highly successful growth companies were originally based, and you will have to conclude that the reason there aren’t more successful entrepreneurs is that there aren’t many people with the need or nerve to try out their ideas in the marketplace.

What you wantThe successful entrepreneur is the person who makes an idea happen, even if there are a lot of unexpected problems, and even if it’s not a very good idea in the first place.

But they don’t do it with one roll of the dice. The most successful entrepreneurs we know are extremely risk adverse.They don’t do it by taking large bets.  Instead they:

1. Start with desire. You find/think of something you want. You don’t need a lot of passion, you only need sufficient desire to get started. (“I really want to start a restaurant, but I haven’t a clue if I will ever be able to open one.”)

2. Take a smart step as quickly as possible toward their goal. What’s a smart step? ProcrastinationIt’s one where you act quickly with the means at hand. What you know, who you know, and anything else that’s available. (“I know a great chef, and if I beg all my family and friends to back me, I might have enough money to open a place.”) You make sure that step is never going to cost more than it would be acceptable to you to lose should things not work out. And you bring others along to acquire more resources, spread the risk and confirm the quality of your idea.

3. Reflect and build on what you have learned from taking that step. You need to do that because every time you act, reality changes. Sometimes the step you take gets you nearer to what you want (“I should be able to afford something just outside of downtown”); sometimes what you want changes (“It looks likes there are an awful lot of Italian restaurants nearby. We are going to have to rethink our menu.”) If you pay attention, you always learn something. So after you act, ask: Did those actions get you closer to your goal? (“Yes. It looks like I will be able to open a restaurant.”) Do you need additional resources to draw even closer? (“Yes. I’ll need to find another chef. The one I know can only do Italian.”) Do you still want to obtain your objective? (“Yes.”)

4. Repeat.

Act. Learn. Build. Repeat. This is what defeats uncertainity…providing that you actually start and try to make your idea a reality.images (6)

 

 

 

Source: Paul B. Brown is co-author of Just Start published by Harvard Business Review Press.

 

The 4 Marketing Messages That Cheapskates Are Powerless To Resist

Penny

 

Sales is is the Life-Blood of all Companies. Here are a few Marketing Messages to help you maximize your Sales! 

Trust
If your doctor tells you need a new liver, you’re going to believe him, right? You’re not going to go home, mull it over, make a pros and cons list (I’m sure the old one has at least a few more years in it!), sleep on it, are you? No, you’re going to put your name on the transplant list ASAP. Your doctor is trained in these sort of things and knows what he’s talking about. If he says you’re in bad shape, you’re going to accept that and follow his advice to make it better. If you want to get a reluctant spender to spend, they have to trust you and your offer. In my case, I’m not buying into a diagnosis from my MD, I’m investing in, let’s say, a tap dancing workshop. And it’s the city’s preeminent tap teacher who has recommended that I attend. She knows my skill and ability level, knows the kind of dancer I am and when she says I’ll get a great benefit from this workshop, I trust her assessment and the 30 years of tapping behind it enough to buy in. But what if you don’t have 30 years of step-ball-change under your belt? How do you gain the trust of your buyers without impeccable and long-earned credentials? You win that kind of trust and assert that credibility by being able to speak knowledgeably and empathetically to customers about their pain points and demonstrate the thought you’ve given in making sure that your product or service is designed to meet them. For example, I regularly consult with companies that market to Millennials, because they understand what a fickle audience they’re dealing with and realize they need someone with insider intelligence and the ability to create relatable, authentic messaging that will attract this target demo rather than earn their apathetic eye-rolls over how out-of-touch a given brand is.

Permission
Reluctant buyers may have issues around parting with their cash that go deeper than just the desire to save it for a rainy day. If you’re selling something with a hefty price tag, you have to do the heavy lifting on not only justifying its value, but also granting would-be buyers the permission to spend that kind of money on something that isn’t a home appliance. You need to take a page from L’Oreal’s book and convince buyers “you’re worth it.” Your sales pitch (whether in person, on the screen or in print) shouldn’t downplay the cost, but it should play up that the buyer can afford this product or service, that the purchase will make them happy and not anxious and that only good things will come from spending. If you’ve ever seen HGTV’s Property Virgins, you’ve seen the host cannily convince first-time home buyers that they can actually up their budget that extra $10K and that having their dream home and all of the emotions attached to it is worth a few bucks more on their monthly mortgage payment. She gives them permission to spend beyond their comfort zone, which, when you’re taking about a miser, is pretty narrow in the first place.

Expertise
What you’re selling has to be positioned as something that your reluctant customer can’t do, learn or achieve for themselves or can’t do it as efficiently as you can. How many of us sew our own clothes? Build our own homes? Heck, even do our own oil changes? If there’s a way for your hesitant buyer to easily do what it is you do or create or to easily learn how to do or create it, they probably will. You need to define how what you’re providing is superior to what their own efforts would yield. And that superiority has to be according to metrics that matter to your customer. The fact that your restaurant’s $85 steak special tastes better than anything a frugal home cook could whip up is not going to open any cinched-shut wallets. Create and market a unique dining experience that cannot be replicated outside your restaurant and is only available for a limited time and to a limited number of customers and you might stand a chance. Maybe.

Savings
I’m not talking discounts here. Will what you’re offering save your customer time or money in the long run? If so, do the math for them. In my case, I could take a two-day tap dancing workshop that would increase my skills to the level they would be after six months of weekly lessons. If the workshop costs $500 and weekly lesson cost $25 + an hour of my time for the lesson itself and another 30 minutes in travel, I’m saving myself $100 and six months of my time by investing the $500. This bargain become even more attractive if I can start earning money from my skills sooner. Say that workshop was about Photoshop and not tap dancing and in two days I pick up enough knowledge to hire myself out as a photo retoucher for local actors, yearbook photographers and real estate agents. Instead of gleaning the requisite knowledge over a six-month period, I learn it all in one shot, save time and money and begin earning an ROI immediately.

*When I talk about penny pinchers and cheapskates I’m referring to reluctant and infrequent spenders who will shill out under exactly the right circumstances, not folks who reuse tea bags and tip a generous 10% for outstanding service. You don’t want to cater to nickel and dimers like that. The effort it takes to get their business is not worth the headache of retaining it.

 

Source: J. Maureen Henderson

5 Trends You Will Want to Pay Attention to in 2013

Leaders are often easy to pick out from a crowd — they’re charismatic, driven people who simply stand out from the rest. However, there’s much more to leadership than taking charge and giving orders. The strategy involved in excellent leadership is tricky, and it’s always changing. To that end, here are a few up-and-coming trends to consider

1.     We will witness the continued rise of women leaders and groups.

It wasn’t too long ago that a woman CEO was atypical. Now, I always expect to meet wfemale company leaders when I go to conferences and other events. The coolest way this trend is growing so quickly is found within the groups that support and promote women as CEOs, COOs, and other top executives. Organizations like the Women’s Information Network,Center for Women in BusinessGirls in Tech, and a variety of others are providing incredible platforms to connect. When you combine these groups with the passion women leaders have to help others, it’s easy to see that this trend will continue to grow exponentially. It’s important for male executives to recognize and support these efforts — and not let pride or antiquated views get in the way of company growth.

2.     Thought leadership will be crucial, but increasingly difficult.
Thought leadership has been a buzzword, especially in the last year or so, but it’s never been more important than right now. People like to throw the phrase around and might not 1123933understand exactly what it means, but it’s essentially this: conveying your expertise and thoughts in the media to build your credibility. The problem is that the cat’s out of the bag — people are realizing that thought leadership is one of the best ways to differentiate and build credibility around a company. People want to work for and with the best, so the more you can position yourself and your company as industry leaders, the more quickly your business will grow. With companies putting massive budgets toward thought leadership, the playing field is about to get incredibly crowded. Publications will have pipelines full of expert contributors, so it will be more difficult to get content published in the right places.

3.     Combining social good with your business model will become expected.

It’s natural to want to buy from a company if you feel that your purchase will help society in a meaningful way. Businesses are quickly catching on. What they’re doing is not just admirable — it’s also very profitable. Companies like ONEHOPE Wine determined that they could combine the passion of wine with giving back to the community. Fifty percent of the profits from all wine sales go to one of their charity partners. It clearly differentiates them as a company that cares, and at the same time, they’re able to grow in a remarkable way. Look at your core business and think about how you can include social good in the business model. You don’t need to go out and attempt to save the entire world at once, but a simple and relevant cause tied to your business can draw attention in a natural, positive way.

4.     People will start high-growth businesses from anywhere.

Ten years ago, you’d have had to move to Silicon Valley, New York, or another “big” city toimages (39) join or start a high-growth company. Now, small business incubators, accelerators, and other resources are sprouting up all over the place — not just major cities. You can start a successful business anywhere, and much more easily, now that we’re all connected through technology. You could get your startup off the ground in your pajamas from a trailer park if you wanted to. It’s interesting to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them my company is based in Columbia, Mo. — it’s like they thought we didn’t even have Internet connections. With one of the best journalism schools in the country in our backyard, we are able to get top talent without big-city overhead. Keep an eye out for opportunities outside of the major cities in 2013, and don’t miss out on a potential job or investment opportunity just because you don’t recognize the town’s name.

5.     Marketing strategies are becoming more closely related to high-quality content.

The value of high-quality content will become even clearer in 2013. Companies are starting to see that a content marketing strategy can be a great catalyst for other marketing strategies. It will provide a method to reengage your audience through social or marketing materials. Quality content will gain you authority links on credible sites, and those can be extremely helpful in building your online search rankings and reputation. Most importantly, it will help you get information out about the type of company you are and build the story behind your products or services. Creating a content marketing budget line item could save you a substantial amount of money on other line items that have eaten up your budget in the past.

Being a leader is about more than your take-charge attitude or your engaging charm — it’s also about the choices you make each day. Consider whether one of these trends might impact your company in 2013; it could be the best leadership move you make all year.

 

 

Source: John Hall, CEO of Digital Talent Agents