Posts in ‘Entrepreneurship’

Week In Review: Oct 3 – Oct 9, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on October 10, 2010

Project Leadership #1: 7 Ways to have a kickass kickoff!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Oct 4, 2010

A project manager’s real purpose is to provide CLARITY to a project. That happens when all the stakeholders are on sync regarding the purpose and outcome of the project. Project kickoff is a golden opportunity to provide this CLARITY to the team. If you follow Himanshu’s tips in this article, you can make your project kickoff purposeful and it will lay the foundation for a successful project. more…

Chaos and Complexity #4: Push on or Regroup?

by Gary Monti, Oct 5, 2010

A hallmark of a complex situation is unpredictability. One doesn’t know where things are leading. That’s why the situation is “complex” or worse yet “chaotic”. A good project manager (PM) should enable the team to identify possible solutions that will help eliminate the complexity. That’s just the first step. Coming up with the right schedule, dealing with the politics, etc can put the project at risk. Ideally the PM should avoid these situations by staying with reality. more…

Social Media and Tribes #25: A tribe of foodies – Connecting food to life

by Deepika Bajaj, Oct 6, 2010

Still in India, Deepika has been exploring the various tribes. Food is an integral part of the culture, but the tribe works differently. Food is not a standalone interest, but it is tied with other local flavors like Bollywood and roadside stalls. more…

Flexible Focus #22: New degrees of freedom with a digital mandala chart

by William Reed, Oct 7, 2010

Owning a car does not preclude you from using your feet. Similarly, you can print out a Mandala Chart and use it. Or, you can access an online program to create, save and share them. http://www.mandalachart.net is an eMandala Chart website that you can leverage. more…

Alternate Sales Partnerships #4: Ways to keep a healthy sales relationship (Part-2)

by Tina Burke, Oct 8, 2010

When the head of Sales in an organization changes, there will be radical changes. The new person will shake things up. This may lead to loss of revenue for agents. So, it’s very important to have good contracts and have them reviewed by attorneys. It may not be cheap, but in the long run it will help save tens of thousands of dollars. more…

Week In Review – Sep 5 – Sep 11, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on September 12, 2010

The trap of entertainment!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Sep 6, 2010

It is common practice to get together and bitch about things because it is entertaining. What good does it do? It will be beneficial to everybody if we can engender something positive in these conversations. more…

Character and Personality #10: A simple honesty

by Gary Monti, Sep 7, 2010

What others observe with a leader who shows integrity regarding the character and personality traits discussed in previous blogs is a simple honesty. While the need for this simple honesty increases, achieving it is a daily challenge. You can achieve this by practicing moral and emotional integrity. more…

Social Media and Tribes #11: Leverage the language of the tribe

by Deepika Bajaj, Sep 8, 2010

During her recent visit to Spain, Deepika had a new observation of what a Tribe is in the context of Social Media: A Tribe is a set of people who communicate in the same language in any given conversation. Language is important for nurturing and maintaining your social media tribes and so leverage language to empower and engage your tribe! more…

Flexible Focus #18: Engage visual thinking

by William Reed, Sep 9, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words. Similarly, it is simpler to have a set of pictures to help keep our Mandala in focus. In this article, William has assembled images that can help you recall and recreate new ideas around the central theme. more…

Forget Project management. Let’s talk Project leadership!

by Himanshu Jhamb, Sep 10, 2010

There is a difference between managing a project versus leading a project. Leadership is out there… it screams responsibility and accountability. It is about reaching out and getting what you need to get the job done, fearlessly. This give an introduction to the genesis of this series. Over the subsequent posts, Himanshu will share his journey of how he transformed the way he did things in various areas… and will share the challenges, the fears & the situations. more…

Working Hard – Still no progress?

by Vijay Peduru on August 18, 2010

We all work hard but don’t seem to make much progress. In a lot of organizations, people seem to be praised high for working long and hard, but they never seem to get promoted or get noticed. Why is this. It is because the definition of “hard work” changed. A lot of people still believe in the industrial age definition that hard work is using your “body” to work hard , but if we look at our current situation, the majority of us do work sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

Many people are not aware that we have transitioned to an information age from an industrial age. According to most economic historians, the Industrial age ended about 20Yrs ago in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and the internet came up.

In the industrial age, working hard meant, using our body and working long hours i.e physical labor . That is how machines worked and humans had to work similar to machines and humans were rewarded for this.

Now though, the majority of us are not working with machines, we are working with computers using our mind more instead of our body. Now hard work means emotional labor.. exerting our mind. Sure, we still work on long hours and weekends, but this is still not working hard as hard work is still translating into long hours. As Seth Godin says ” Hard work meant more work in the past. But the past doesn’t lead to the future.The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that’s really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It’s about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.

A lot of successful people work the same hours or less than we work, but they are still successful.  They get ahead because they do the new “hard work” As Seth Godin says

“Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.”

So, the easiest way to do hard work is to love change,train ourselves to love challenges and question the status quo all by using and exerting our mind.

From now on, let us start training ourselves in baby steps to do the new “Hard work” i.e “exerting emotional labor”.

Week In Review – Jun 13 – Jun 19, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on June 20, 2010

Buyers for your company: How to build a great list?

by Steve Popell, Jun 14, 2010

In a previous post, Steve discussed the fact that becoming an attractive strategic acquisition candidate should begin with learning precisely what prospective buyers think that means, and how to elicit that information in a series of telephone interviews.  But, an equally important element is determining whom to interview.  This post addresses that question. more…

Leadership and Mythology #6: Panic and Self doubt

by Gary Monti, Jun 15, 2010

When you leave your comfort zone, even little things take on much bigger significance and cause you to doubt yourself. But once you become comfortable dealing with uncertainty, the rewards will be tremendous. Leaving your familiar confines is like being touched by the Greek god Pan. Leaders are characterize by their ability to stand up to Pan.  more…

Social Media and Tribers #2: DEATH of Email; RISE of branded Tribes

by Deepika Bajaj, Jun 16, 2010

A while back, email was an effective medium to market your products. But not anymore. Because of the rise of junk mail people don’t trust the emails they get. New web marketing is based on the foundation of TRUST with our tribe. In this post, Deepika gives a high level overview of how to go about building trust within your tribe. more…

Flexible Focus #6: Peace in the Elements

by William Reed, Jun 17, 2010

A great way to gain flexible focus is to study elements of words, their roots, nuances, and varieties of expression. This can be done in any language, but in Chinese and Japanese you have the additional dimension of written characters (kanji), not only the elements or radicals which make up the kanji, but the remarkable range of expression made possible in writing with a brush. more…

Author’s Journey #26: Speak your way to book publishing success

by Roger Parker, Jun 18, 2010

Speaking is one of the best ways you can promote your book while planning and writing it. It creates a special bond with your audience, paving the way for book sales and lasting relationships. In this segment, Roger encourages you to speak your way to book publishing success by speaking about your book at every opportunity. more…

Week In Review – Jun 6 – Jun 12, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on June 13, 2010

NBA, NHL and your company’s Key Performance Indicators

by Brian Superczynski, Jun 7, 2010

Competitive sports industry lives and breaths KPIs. Everything is measured and compared with the other teams and actionable items created. This helps them to improve their game. Most companies measure KPIs, but find it difficult to do it at a more granular level within the company. Ask your management chain to identify metrics which translate to their group’s success. more…

Leadership and Mythology #5: Psychology and Entrepreneurs

by Gary Monti, Jun 8, 2010

Transitioning from a job to being an entrepreneur takes you through an interesting journey. Typically you start your career by following orders and delivering results. Then as you gain more confidence, you start expecting more and ultimately decide to go on your own. As you go through the various stages, the individual is transformed continuously. Is it challenging or threatening? It depend upon your psyche. more…

Flexible Focus #5: The Mandala Business Diary

by William Reed, Jun 10, 2010

The concept of time is something that many do not grasp. It is not a resource you control. Your quality of life and legacy depends on where and how you spend your time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a compass to guide you where you want to go? Mandala Chart can help you do that. more…

Author’s Journey #25: Using video to market and sell your book

by Roger Parker, Jun 11, 2010

Video is easier than ever. In fact, the cost of getting started has dropped to zero – it’s free! In this post Roger explains how you can start building your online video presence today, even if you haven’t had any previous video experience.  more…

Week In Review – May 30 – Jun 5, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on June 6, 2010

Quality #15: 7 tips for acting on customer feedback

by Tanmay Vora, May 31, 2010

Listening to your customers and getting their feedback is important. But if we don’t act upon it, we are wasting not only our time and resources, but also that of the people who took time to provide the feedback. In this post, Tanmay lists some simple tips to integrate customer feedback to deliver meaningful business change. more…

Leadership and Mythology #4: Sociology and Control

by Gary Monti, Jun 1, 2010

Some myths are propagated just so that leaders can exercise control. But there are limits to it. Remember Gary’s last blog? Instead of just beating the drums, what would happen if the leader asked everybody to sacrifice all they had? But if the Chief allows Newtonian mechanics to be embraced and lets loose his power, a new social order arises. Like Obi Wan sees, there are guiding principles that enable the leader to earn the trust and following of others. more…

Mortgage Challenges for the Self Employed

by Guy Ralfe, Jun 2, 2010

Guy recently relocated and started his own business. He is finding it difficult to secure a mortgage for his new home as banks and lenders have a criteria of assessment for the self-employed that he does not yet meet. His advise to those who want to follow in his footsteps – secure the credit before you begin your new operation. more…

Flexible Focus #4: The eight frames of life: Health

by William Reed, Jun 3, 2010

The word Health has a narrow definition in most people’s minds. It usually has the connotation of eating well or exercise or avoiding sickness. But it is much more than that and it impacts not only you, but people you interact with and sometimes those you don’t interact with. Follow the Mandala on Health to get a handle on your health and lifestyle. more…

Author’s Journey #24: Building your expert network and Obtaining pre-publication quotes

by Roger Parker, Jun 4, 2010

It is never too early to begin marketing and promoting your book. One of the best methods is to seek out and build your expert network. Believe it or not, experts are willing to help you – endorsing your book helps reinforce their expert status. Networking brings a whole slew of benefits – so get started today. Read this article to find out how yo can do it. more…

Mortgage Challenges for the Self Employed

by Guy Ralfe on June 2, 2010

Another life lesson from my venture moving from the corporate world to self employment. So far a very liberating decision but filled with unexpected surprises. For the most part getting the business side set up and running has been relatively smooth, but personal finances have been a great challenge.

This has been made complicated by the fact that we are relocating to start the business, one of the drivers for making the change is to reduce the mortgage burden we have today by moving to a cheaper part of the country so that we did not overburden the business in its start up stages.

Having a solid credit score, 6 years of banking and mortgage history without any blemishes any yet when inquiring for a mortgage on a new house all the large banks would not even complete the application process because of being an entrepreneur  and self employed. Being self employed means the banks need 2 years worth of company trading records, P&L and Balance sheets. This requirement has been a result of the collapsed subprime market, but also driven by the fact that most banks want the option to sell the loans they originate to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two institutions, a little shy after the meltdown, have raised their criteria and this has flowed through the whole lending chain to the retail banks we approach for loans.

At first I found this very frustrating that I was being measured by the lowest common denominator, by someone sitting behind a computer asking yes/no questions until the computer told the operator to stop. Then I had a conversation with a good friend, he enlightened me to the reality of the current economic situation where so many people have lost their jobs and their only option has been to set themselves up as self employed businesses doing freelance work in their trade  – anyone can get a business incorporated and print business cards, but if they have not completed any regular business then they likely don’t have a secure business plan to lend against – thus the 2 years business record requirement.

During the application process, I began asking lots of questions and found this out about what it means to be self employed.

  • If you are listed as the owner of an incorporated company or LLC
  • If you have more than 15%  ownership you are self employed
  • Even if you have a regular salary, the fact that you are self employed means that you bring into the equation an element of risk in your ability to service a loan, until you have 2 years of accounting records to share.

If are thinking of relocating and are starting a new business, try and arrange some of your financing before you begin the new operation – loan officers prefer steady track records to the unsubstantiated hype of a new entrepreneur.

Another option is to explore local banks that originate and hold the loans themselves. While the general application criterion is much the same these banks take a little broader assessment of your projected finances for a sacrifice in interest rate.

Week In Review – May 16 – May22, 2010

by Magesh Tarala on May 23, 2010

How to avail of opportunities that you cannot see?

by Himanshu Jhamb, May 17, 2010

Himanshu had a thought provoking moment when a long time friend wanted to invest in one of his ventures. It brought home for him the question of how you can be an opportunity to others. The answer lies in providing what others are looking for, i.e., be of value to them. On the flip side, you need to do the same to recognize value in others and build relationships. The two work together to increase your capacity. more…

Leadership and Mythology #2: The mystical and co-opetition

by Gary Monti, May 18, 2010

Can you compete and co-operate with somebody at the same time? If you are having difficulty with this concept, think about Apple, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Yahoo, etc. Do they only compete, or sometimes co-operate too? To be an effective leader, you have to balance competition with co-operation. more…

Performance Procrastination

by Guy Ralfe, May 19, 2010

Guy, donning his new business owner hat, has to take charge and take action. He had to deal with an employee performance issue and concludes that bearing short term pain is good for the long term gain. Of course, dealing with employees is an art and science – there are way too many considerations in play. But ultimately, it all boils down to the question: Is the employee pulling his or her weight and, are you getting your value for the money you pay them.  more…

Flexible Focus #2: Are goals traps or opportunities?

by William Reed, May 20, 2010

Goals are overrated. Yes, you read that right. In the western world, there are several traditional ways people think of goals and work towards achieving them. Following them, you either miss the big picture or miss the details or simply follow a beaten path. Flexible focus, epitomized by the Mandala Chart, is the product of eastern spiritual thinking. It is a philosophy that enables you to be free of your goals. You are not goal free, but you approach them in a detached manner that removes your bondage to your goals. more…

Author’s Journey #22: Use one sheets to sell books and build your profits

by Roger Parker, May 21, 2010

One sheets are single page, 8 ½ by 11-inch, marketing documents used by authors to promote their books and build their profits by attracting speaking invitations and promoting their coaching and consulting services. In this post, Roger tells you all you need to know to create one sheets.  more…

Performance Procrastination

by Guy Ralfe on May 19, 2010

We have all been in that situation where there is someone that is not pulling their weight, which places a constraint on the group’s overall performance. We often like them as people but not as much their performance, but we humbly tell ourselves things like “rather the devil we know than the devil we don’t” or “it would be too much of a disruption to replace them now”

To share a recent event, we hired a support staff that was pleasant and capable of most of the tasks required of the role but just not able to grasp the importance and flows of the business. What resulted was them performing the tasks they understood and all the things they struggled with were reassumed by those that were performing the tasks before their hire.

From a management perspective, some components of the operation were running smoother as there was a dedicated resource working the admin function; however from an operational perspective we had increased our operational overhead without increasing our service delivery to the clients which was the core objective of the hire.

After more than 4 weeks of training, the employee resigned. We wondered where we were going to find another employee and the loss suddenly felt enormous considering the investment to educate the recruit. Time to start again…

A quick search of craigslist.org produced a resume, a quick call the following day had the interview  and hire conducted before  noon. The following morning the replacement employee began – a mere 48 hrs and a new employee was in training. Within a week the replacement employee is competent at all the required tasks and adding depth to the operation in areas not considered possible with the earlier recruits.

To our clients there is a noticeable improvement, to the operations staff a confidence that the back office will be taken care of and a new capacity to produce has been facilitated – exactly the original objective of the hire.

On the flip side, do not forget that if the employee is not able to perform, they will know it and it will also be producing a stress for them always being behind or not knowing if their position is secure or not.

In these situations it is both beneficial to the organization and the employee  for the employee to be  relocated or replaced. The longer you procrastinate taking action, the more the focus is on the cost incurred as opposed to the cost of lost opportunities and the decision to take action becomes insurmountable.

Be decisive for your organization and your customers  when selecting and assessing performance in a role.

How to avail of opportunities that you cannot see?

by Himanshu Jhamb on May 17, 2010

We all have opportunities knock on our doors every now and then. Some might feel they have fewer than others and that might be true to some extent; but I’ll go out on an arm and a leg and claim that we all have our fair share of opportunities in our lives. The differentiating factor is how many do we make the most of. The genesis of this post was from a discussion I was having the other day with my fellow co-founder (Active Garage), Deepika Bajaj. We were talking about a dear friend of mine who is interested in investing in one of my ventures. My perspective in the conversation was that one of the key factors of my friend’s willingness to invest was the fact that it was ME who was involved and not entirely the venture. Put another way, what I was saying was simply that “People Invest in People”!

Although Deepika agreed with me on that, she offered another perspective that resounded with me at a level that compelled me to write this post! This is what she said to me:

“Yes. I agree. Your friend is investing in you but this opportunity would not have come about had you not taken the step to get out of your comfort zone and started your venture. Your friend has been your friend for a long time, and probably has had the resources to invest for a while now. However, what was missing was that you did not have an Offer in which he could consider investing in, until now. And once the offer showed up in your life, so did your opportunity!”

The not-so-obviousness of the above dialogue got me! We go about in life without realizing the number of opportunities we have in our lives, around us, all the time. We go about saying to friends, family and countless people that this is not for us and that we are happy wherever we are. What we do not pay attention to, or notice, is that even within this close network, we have opportunities that have the ability to lift the entire community (family, friends, all of it) with us! Yes, opportunities do have a strange way of showing up in our lives. They show up (or manifest themselves) through our offers. It follows that though we (and this is the obvious part, now) do not have control over the opportunities that will come our way, we do have absolute control over the number of offers we have – which (if I look at the flip side of the coin) are really opportunities for others!

The Question to ask

Suddenly, the question to ask transforms from an elusive “How to avail opportunities that you cannot see?” to a more fathomable “How do you become an opportunity for others?

Here are the top 3 answers:

  • Feel good factor: Are you in relationships that only make you feel good OR is there a real value in the way you mutually help each other?
  • Be a student: Learn something new, today. Everyday. If you do not have enough offers then the place to look is lack of education.
  • Build capacity: By building powerful relationships you essentially build capacity to do more.

… and last but not the least, while you go about doing all this, don’t forget to have loads of FUN along the way!