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Five Ways You are Limiting Your Success
by On December 28, 2016
Owning your own business can be very advantageous. However, getting to that point can be difficult for some people. Sometimes an entrepreneur has psychological issues that hold them back from succeeding. Let’s talk about the most common obstacles business owners face and how to prevail over them.

Financial Strain=Stress

First of all, starting a business is no cheap endeavor. The average small business can be pretty expensive, upwards of $30,000 to launch. In addition, there are operating costs that drive that price up even further. Working a steady job ensures that you get a salary and benefits. A lot of people who dream of owning a business get stuck because they are comfortable. Stepping out of that comfort zone can be stressful. Especially when you know that making money is completely reliant on you. Even more, it can be terrifying trying to estimate when your business will turn a profit. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover any personal expenses. Most businesses won’t see a profit for about two years. While having two years of savings may not be practical, it could give some piece of mind.

Personal vs. Company Value

Becoming a business owner is a venture that can be extremely personal. When your business starts to flourish, it’s easy to get caught up feeling like you’re a success. But, entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. It’s not just a walk in the park. Try to separate your personal achievements from business. There are going to be many challenges along the way. A large chunk of start up businesses don’t last longer than a decade. Don’t let this fact bring you down. Make a list of all your personal achievements that are separate from your business. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself what you’re capable of in moments of hardship. Your business may not meet the expectations you set up, but that doesn’t mean you are a failure. Keeping an optimistic outlook will affect your business in a positive way.

Perfection

Also, a huge enemy to the success of your business is staying at a stand still. Being an entrepreneur means you should be quick to react and solve problems. Life is not perfect. Don’t wait until you think everything is perfect down to the last detail. Sometimes, it’s better to jump in and take risks. Otherwise, you may find yourself too scared to start. Let go of the need to be perfect. It may take time to work out all the imperfections, and lessons are learned from failure. Taking action sets you up for the possibility of huge success.

Lack of Guidance

One hurdle that many entrepreneurs face is not knowing where to start. If you’ve worked a job where you had a manager, most likely they give guidance. Usually, you’d have duties you were expected to do, and a manager that would keep you accountable. On the other hand, when you’re the boss, that becomes your responsibility. A great way to stay on top of things is by making a list of duties. Keep a clear, organized schedule of all upcoming activities. You could even seek guidance from other entrepreneurs.

Exhausting Yourself

As an entrepreneur, you may find yourself working very long hours. However, this could lead to exhaustion and feeling burnt out. In turn, you may start making unhealthy lifestyle choices. Keeping yourself healthy is essential for a healthy business. If you are constantly on the go, you may skip a meal. Conversely, you may find yourself over eating. Either route could have negative affects to your health. Also, you may find that your work performance is lacking. Additionally, you could lose sleep and may find yourself skipping workouts. All of these things in combination with stress may cause serious heath problems. Try and make sure you are taking care of yourself in addition to your business. Even if it means putting work down sometimes, or scheduling a time to work out or sleep. Your doctor can also help keep you accountable for making healthy choices.
Translating cultural differences
by On December 21, 2016

Businesses are eager to expand across borders and technology is making this process easier. Many companies are taking advantage of opportunities in the global market and conducting business on a multinational level. These businesses have learned that there are important cultural differences that affect their communication and business strategies both at home and abroad. Even businesses that don’t operate abroad will encounter cultural differences and diversity. Language is an obvious barrier, but simply translating your messages will not be enough to bridge the cultural gap. It’s important to understand how culture impacts the way society approaches nonverbal communication, time management and speech patterns.

Nonverbal communication

First impressions are often solidified before the customer, business partner or employer opens his or her mouth. Nonverbal communication and body language say a lot about someone as an individual and about the culture from which they come. Think about the difference between someone who uses big hand gestures in conversation versus someone who is more reserved and timid. Some cultures value eye contact, while others view it as disrespectful and aggressive. South American cultures generally stand close to people. This proximity can make people from the U.S. or Northern Europe uncomfortable. 

Cross cultural greetings

Greeting people from another culture is the first test when it comes to cross cultural interactions. Do you introduce yourself with a kiss, a bow or a handshake? The answer depends on the person with whom you’re meeting. In Latin American cultures, expect some kind of physical contact. Kissing on one or both cheeks is a normal greeting in Spain, Belgium and France, but the number of kisses will vary. People from Japan often include a slight bow as part of their customary greeting. Some countries exchange gifts, while others place a high value on business cards. 

Time management

Time management is another area that reflects cultural differences. Some people tend to view time as a rigid structure where deadlines and appointments are highly valued. Tardiness comes across as offensive and rude. Other cultures have a more fluid appreciation for schedules. People from this cultural background see meeting times as a guideline. They are less likely to be prompt and more likely to understand if you’re running late to an appointment.

Linear vs. circular time conceptualization

There are two basic concepts of time. People generally either view time in a linear fashion or a circular concept. The linear frame is characterized by future-orientation and compartmentalized schedules. Time is something you can save, waste or borrow.  People who view time from a circular perspective tend to be more flexible and focus on the present. Instead of thinking about a timeline, cultures that conceptualize time as circular think about seasons and the circle of life.

Speech patterns

Cultural differences are vocalized in the way people speak. Language barriers aside, some cultures are more likely to raise their voice and passionately discuss their ideas as opposed to having quiet conversations. Business owners who are not aware of these differences between speech patterns can come across as rude and loud or timid and weak. While some cultures value direct verbal communication, others prefer a softer approach.

Mitigated speech

Mitigated speech is an indirect approach to communicate using soft words. This kind of speech tries to lessen the impact of your words so they seem less harsh. “Maybe we should turn left” sounds a lot different than “Turn left.” People who mainly communicate with mitigated speech can easily be overpowered in business negotiations. People who do not use mitigated speech can easily come across as intimidating and unpleasant, potentially damaging business relationships.   

Businesses are connecting with consumers and markets around the world. Whether they’re expanding their strategies to a multinational level or reaching out to an increasingly diverse population, business owners need to understand the role of cultural differences in professional and personal relationships. There’s no direct translation for communicating cross culturally. Immersing yourself in the nonverbal communication, time management and speech patterns of another culture will help you bridge cultural gaps to form meaningful business connections.

Don’t filter “f-words” out of business conversations
by On December 14, 2016
There are a considerable number of factors that wear down your thoughts and emotions as an entrepreneur. In order to stay on top, however, it takes a quick mind and mental stamina. Entrepreneurs learn to articulate their goals and strategies, but some words can cause them to stumble. There are a lot of “f-words” in a business owner’s vocabulary, especially when the business is just getting started. You might feel overwhelmed by finances, fatigue and failure, but these mental obstacles can be overcome. You’ve already talked yourself into starting a business, now let’s discuss how to keep it moving forward.

Finances

In addition to startup costs, small businesses have operating expenses and unexpected challenges. As an entrepreneur, one of your main roles is to build revenue. Initially, this can be a slow and daunting task. Financial frustration can either motivate you to work harder or crush your business dreams. Many adults say that finances are one of the leading causes of stress in their lives. An ideal solution is to make more money, but confidence in your money management skills will also help ease financial stress.
Before diving into business ownership, research all the potential risks. It’s more fun to dream about success, but being prepared for the worst will have more practical benefits. Another way to ease your mind from financial worries is to build a safety net for your savings. This might happen over years of careful planning or through income from a side job. This layer of financial security will bring peace of mind and allow you to grow your business.

Fatigue

As an entrepreneur and a leader, you’re working from the ground up, and it’s exhausting. You’re the one who puts in extra hours and pours your heart into the business. All these long days and late nights can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle that affects your personal and professional life. When you’re devoting all your time to growing a business, other areas of your life often suffer, such as eating right and exercising regularly. These habits will have long-term negative health effects. Fatigue can build up and lead to burnout. It takes innovation and drive for an entrepreneur to get established. Tiredness is normal, but extreme fatigue can hurt your business.
Investing time in your personal health is difficult because it seems so simple. The best ways to avoid fatigue are exercise, eating well and getting a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, when you’re busy, it’s easy to skip a workout, grab a fast food meal and stay awake all night. These shortcuts will only lead you to fatigue and overtiredness faster. Giving yourself a break is a strategic move that will benefit your personal health and strengthen your business.

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Failure

In spite of your best tactics and business models, failure is a possibility. The best entrepreneurs understand that not only is failure part of the process, but it can also lead you to success. When you encounter setbacks and challenges in your business, they become defining moments that will either make or break you. It may be the only “f-word” that never enters your vocabulary, but being honest about failure will help you and your business over come it.
The reality is that failure, or even multiple failures, are common among startups. Perhaps more important than the failure itself is how you respond to it. If you have a plan for failure, you can provide steady leadership for your employees. Preparation means you won’t have to make difficult decisions in the heat of the moment, because you will have everything thought out and ready for action. With a plan, you will spend less time in confusion and more time in recovery. This means you can review your mistakes and start fresh, armed with knew experience. It’s also important to recognize when to ask for help and whom to ask. Accepting support and guidance can prevent your business from reaching the crisis level.
Failure, like fatigue and finances, are some of the taboo “f-words” commonly used among entrepreneurs. These words cause dreamers and leaders to hesitate when they’re articulating their business goals and pursuing success. Your business outcome depends on how you overcome these mental barriers. Talking through these challenges will ensure that your business continues to grow.
Time management tips
by On December 7, 2016
There are many people that could benefit from managing their time better. Time management seems like an easy enough concept. Then why do so many seem to struggle with it? If you struggle with time management, right off the bat you’ll need to invest some time. You’ll need to prioritize and organize, and after that just applying some of these tips will help you.

Write in a planner

First off, invest in a planner. Every morning before your day gets started, write your plan for the day. Sometimes just writing it out will help you keep on track and remember your tasks for that day. Stick to it as best you can, and you shouldn’t get caught off guard.

Set time limits

Another great tool, is setting time limits for each task. If you say that a particular task is due to 12pm, you’re more likely to get it done on time. This will also ensure that you’re not spending too much time on one thing. Also, you won’t eat into reserved time for other activities.

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Use a calendar

Using a calendar is a very fundamental step to managing your time properly. If using a calendar on your phone, in most cases it can be synced between multiple devices. For example, if you add an appointment on your computer calendar, it will also show up on your phone. This will ensure that you are always aware of what you have scheduled or tasks that need to be done.

Know your deadlines

Also, make sure you know when deadlines are. Use your calendar to mark when the deadline of a project is. That way you’ll always know what is coming up and plan accordingly. Don’t take on more work than you can handle. In other words, create realistic deadlines for yourself. Learn to say no to the distractions, and you’ll be able to meet your deadlines every time.

Plan to be early

It’s better to be 15 minutes early than rushing and being right on time. If you set yourself up to get somewhere right on the nose, chances are you could be late. Many variables can come into play. So leave a buffer when planning, and arrive early. Or make sure to get a deadline done early.

Set reminders

A lot of people can get distracted by their day to day activities. Setting reminders can help you prepare for what’s to come. If you have an important meeting, having time beforehand to get her anything you might need can be extremely helpful.

Focus

There are those that think multitasking is an efficient tool for time management. However, multitasking doesn’t work for most. If you spent time focused on just one thing, you are more likely to get it done quicker. Do not distract yourself with social media, email, or open browsers. Close out of everything except for that one task you’re working on. By focusing on one thing at a time, you’ll be much more efficient.

Track your time spent

Another great tool, is tracking your time. Set a timer before starting a task. When you’re finished, you’ll have a better idea how long something takes you to complete. Consequently, you can better organize your calendar and set more realistic deadlines for yourself in the future.

Prioritize

Don’t get caught up doing something that isn’t as important as other things. Learn to prioritize your tasks. You’re never going to get everything done in a day, so putting the most important at the top of your list will make you more successful.

Delegate

Additionally, you can delegate tasks. If you are in a position to do so, delegate your less important task to someone else. That way, you can focus on the important things you need to get done. Or if someone just happens to be better at a certain task than you, there is no harm in asking them for help.