Category Archives: Business

Reflect & Keep Going: 3 Keys I’ve Learned This Year

This year has been by far one of the best years I’ve had regarding on growth. The amount of knowledge that I have acquired is twice as much as I did in the previous year. I am to say that I am happy with the amount of work I did and consumed, yet I still find more desire to grow from my capacity.

I want to give out three keys that I’ve learned that can help other individuals grow from where they currently are, and get to where they want to be. I believe they are a great starting point for those who want an advantage. The three key factors that I’ve learn that helped me grow this year are: people, books, and execution.

People:

This year I set out to spend more time with the people that were experienced with the area of expertise that I wanted to be. Examples of this are going to networking events that you are most interested in, conferences, seminars, it was all about getting in there and not be afraid of the outcome. It makes such a huge difference as you spend more time with them. Your mindset adapts, and you learn insights better than on your own. The saying of ” you are the average of the five people you spend your time with” is about right. You feed what they bring in, however; we can’t always be selfish, we as well have to bring something to the table and show them that we appreciate their time for giving us their time. It’s one of the best keys I could tell someone that has helped me so much this year.

Books:

Reading is nourishment for the mind, need I say anymore? Reading the books on the area that you want to further expand your abilities will give you the knowledge and confidence that helps you gain results you want them to be. There is something about reading I think that gets you way ahead of your competitors that don’t read. Of course you need to put in the time to get reading checked off, but there are alternatives. Some people read, while others would rather listen to the audio form. A great time to read I recommend would be first thing when you wake up in the morning. Your mind is empty, at peace, and having your brain consume what you picked up, is the first thing it will think about.

Execution:

Many of us have placed in mind that someday we will start a business, they keep procrastinating, and soon it becomes their habit that someday they will. This is quite irritating and frustrating for the person receiving these words and the one saying it. I know starting a business is hard, it’s not easy, but there are small methods we can do that can at least get the foot in the door so you can start a business. Worried about something going wrong? Get the knowledge on what to look for by meeting people or reading books. Starting something and doing it is all the experience you need. This is how I learned quickly. JFDI

These three key factors are a great starting point that helped me gain a vast amount of knowledge and skills in order for me to get ahead to where I want to get, and I believe this will help you out also. If you have any other key factors you would like to add, please do so as I would like to know what three factors have helped you further grow this year.

When Seeing Opportunities: Earl Nightingale-Recgonizing Opportunities (Video)

Stumbled upon this great video by Earl Nightingale where opportunities tend to be. Had to share with it with those that are looking for value.

Create Brand For Your Value

“Branding is limitless…”

This is quote aspect I completely agree on when it comes to branding your business. I had a discussion with close friends of mine about how most new up and coming business owners aren’t aware how big branding can be for their business. Many come to believe that branding is about a nice fancy logo or having a name that is relevant to what service they will be doing, but there is more to it that just that; that’s the minor half.

So what exactly is branding? Let’s put it into simple terms: branding is the value that the customer makes of it within that service or product. It’s what determines if they become loyal to a business and continuously use them. It can be very vital to a business if it grows fast or doesn’t grow at all.

What’s in the minds of a particular customer that follows a business often? The marketing has left the room, but branding is what stays behind and follows through in the thoughts of customers. Many large corporations I know spend large amounts of money to get across customers head that their branding is one thing while customers on the other hand think that business is another.

When we are used to something being the same, we are often are in auto-pilot mode. I finished reading a great book by Phil Barden titled “Decoded: The Science behind Why We Shop”.

In the book it gives out many scientific studies about what goes on in our brains when we shop. A vast majority of why we shop is due to a products brand. We carry ourselves automatically knowing what we want, where to find it, and how to properly distinguish it from other products. The way of a products shape, size, color, we can easily recognize with no problems at all because it’s been implemented in our brain that we can picture it even without looking at it physically.

If a well known product decides to do a complete makeover, it has a large chance of bringing that product’s brand to the ground. Loyalists of that product will question what is that product? They will stop what they’re doing and question themselves should they keep continuing using a certain product/business or is it best to try something different so that can find that comfort they had previously. It’s one of the things I look at that automatically can kill a product quick. The strategy to implement is by doing very minor changes and studying if there are any changes in mood with loyalists of that product.

Another intriguing question that the author asks are if emotions play a large part of branding? The correct answer would be no but we get carried away with it that as being loyal, we start to form emotions through time. We shouldn’t form strong emotions either way because business is not a living thing, humans have emotions towards living things, and quite frankly business doesn’t live but we make it live.

So what can we do to implement branding in our business?

One book I would highly recommend is by Scott McKee titled “Power Branding”. He gives out powerful insights on how small valued things can turn out  be widely beneficial for the brand of the business.

A great example would be the way Nordstrom handles their customer service. Many of their following know that they have remarkable service, it’s unbeatable. They go out of their way to bring value to you in the simplest form. It stands out from other retail stores and loyalist quickly have in mind what they represent.

To get more deeper into how we can implement branding into our business. Let’s think of Starbucks. When we walk in what’s the first thing we see, hear, or smell?

In my mind when I walk into a Starbucks, I first smell that fresh coffee aroma in the air. My mind gets to a state of being happy ready to sip on some coffee. I am then followed by the view of the environment. I see a calm, laid-back atmosphere where people sit down, enjoy their coffee and either talk with friends or work on their computers. To me, they don’t need advertising. There is no need for it because the thought has already been implemented in my head of knowing where to go when I want to sit back and get coffee on a warm afternoon.

Most startups need to understand that to exceed that growth fast, a good branding strategy has to take place.

Concluding this post, what branding strategies have you implement in your business? Or what do you think can be implemented that can help grow your business to a new level? When you think of a certain product, what is it that makes you think of that product, and what can you learn from it to get inside the minds of other customers?

Love You Too: Relationships & Entrepreneurship

Relationships in our journey for success have the capacity to break us down or give more fuel to our engine. Unhealthy relationships often seem to slow you down and it’s more complex to get back up after having to deal with that situation. It seems many are not new to this area and go through the same battles day in and out. How do you handle yourself when being in a relationship? Are there expectations or roles that would be assigned?

I began to have a discussion with a great professional that has thorough knowledge in this environment and reached for his advice; knowing that I’m young, about dating and entrepreneurship. He gave me great links to articles that review over the pros and cons of it but we got down to the deeper side of things.

I’ve learned that relationships for entrepreneurs can turn into one of the hardest things. It’s a lonely road we get it, and we need as much support as possible. The chances of hitting depression are high and your spouse or loved one needs to understand the risks, and pain you are willing to take to fulfill your idea and get it done.

He or she needs to have a clear understanding of why you are doing this. If you are married with kids, the risks are much higher and therefore should execute a plan before moving into action. One of the most recommended readings is by Steve Blank called “Epitaph for an entrepreneur”. Where he explains what he did when he was running several companies and raising a family at the same time.

As a young guy I don’t have spare time to go to the mall and buy new clothes to please other people. I understand there will be days where I will wear the same shirt for a week and not notice it. No surprise there.

Unhealthy relationships creates more work, more stress, and destroys you little by little your ambition for getting your company going. Distractions come into play and mess around with your mind, should you have done this or that? And take you away from what you should really be doing.

Having the correct person that is willing to understand what you’re doing is key. With so many talks about divorce, and many people embracing their relationships that of a celebrities (majority lasting a few years), there really is no time for that.

Acknowledge there will be many risks and failures. Will they hang on when we start with nothing? Will they hang on when we have so much we lose everything? Their support to what you’re doing is the fuel that keeps you going.

Strategize for what each other’s roles will be. Set it up so that it doesn’t have to be confusing or too business-like, but let it flow smoothly.

Relationships during our entrepreneurship journey can be either good or bad depending how it fits the person in that situation. How has your experience been with have a relationship and business at the same time? How did you balance it out? And what would your advice be for those figuring out how to handle the balance situation?

Defining What Value Is: How We Use It

What is the meaning of value to you? What is it mean to your team? It seems we often get confused with what the true meaning of value is upon giving it to the customers. We get distracted with our businesses that we tend to focus more on the money and if the money will be there at the end of the financial quarter. When this happens it’s mostly likely our customers start to decline or better yet, when we are starting to plan for a business, we often go into this mindset of asking ourselves if this market we are getting into will bring us a good amount of ROI. Upon this brainstorming phase, we get ourselves stuck and it starts to get painful because the indecisive thinking we can’t get out of.

I have a great friend of mine who is planning to launch his business but he asked me recently about what I thought about the product he was going to release to  public. I liked the idea and told him he should go for it, why is he worried or not executing it right away. He was worried that he wouldn’t make enough profit and all the time putting into it would be wasted, instead he’d be focusing on something else.

It came to me that this issue he was dealing with is very common. Many people who want to start a business have the idea that the only purpose for them to start a business is to make large amounts of money.

Perhaps some is true, but most of whom I’ve spoken with have stated the sole purpose of entrepreneurship is not to make money, but rather to give value to customers. Making customers’ lives easier by solving their problems.

This is the mindset we need when we plan to start a business, we have to deliver value unto customers instead of putting money in our minds. That value people will love and of course will trade in their value (money) in exchange, which will duplicate in time. A history lesson I was taught was that before there was paper as a way to exchange for currency, people would trade something valuable they had in exchange for something they wanted from the other person. This made complete sense; now people are taught to worry more about money thus creating mind full of selfishness and greediness.

Y Combinator’s own Paul Graham says it best in his essays about the true meaning of value and what it really is. How much value is worth is determined by how we and our customers see it. If it doesn’t solve a painful problem they face, that value isn’t worth much. But if the value you create solves their pain and makes their day go by better, that value becomes worth millions.

Instead of focusing if a business idea will make us rich, focus more on if this idea will bring in value to customers with their everyday needs. In other words: value=profits.

I think this is why starting a successful business again for entrepreneurs who already had success with one or more of their businesses is easier because they tend to think more about what is the next value they want to give out to customers and serving them with their needs. It’s something I’ve learned now as I’m maturing more into this leadership phase and this mindset of value can actually be applied to anything we do.

When we work for others as an employee, don’t put yourself with a negative attitude about not doing a certain role because it’s not what the job description stated. Let’s remember that anything we do at work, let’s do it with the cause of value. Not because it’s for the company itself, but for us as well. You may not notice, but others will notice the value you start to give. The more value, the more profit.

As my friend got into that mindset, we began to brainstorm more thorough ideas on how this business would give better value instead if the profits would be there. There is profits everywhere, millionaires know how to make profit anywhere because they understand that giving value first turns it into money in the end.

Now thinking of great ideas to solve customers needs are much simpler, the next part would be having your mind set only on that idea.

As this post comes to conclude, what is the meaning of value for your business to customers? Have you had the thought of value being the same as you previously thought? What would your advice be for someone that is solely focused on a revenue driven mindset?

I Am Growing: Put it in Your Mind

Recently I’ve been reaching out to other leaders and trying to get that momentum going. The response time didn’t come as expected, but I knew many of these figures can’t reply to everyone on time due to the available time they may be having.

When I did get a response it felt very great, a flow of positivity going through my body. However, upon having the courage to reach out to them, I did feel nervous replying back to them. Not sure if you feel nervous yourself when beginning to form relationships with others you most admire, but I began to experience this numbing feeling of what should I say next.

When starting to form relationships, this experience is both nerve racking and exciting at the same time. I do consider it very important to build relationships with people who may help you further down the road, but getting rid of this nervousness seems difficult to handle. How do you work this?

I spoke about this and asked for advice dealing with this situation. He batted off a few but I captured one important advice that I thought was extremely helpful to ease up the nervousness I was getting. First off, that feeling we get of being nervous is quite normal. But the main reason for getting nervous is due to the uncomfortable level we are in. When we feel uncomfortable in an action we are doing, we seem to go numb or question ourselves if we should continue going (self-doubt).

This leader that I spoke with explained to me that if it continues to occur; keep in mind whenever you begin to feel the doubts or nervousness, implement in your head that nervousness or uncomfortableness means you’re directing yourself towards growth.

With this in mind, it helps ease up those nerve-racking feeling one gets and that’s because we are doing something not many people are willing to do. Since that great advice I now focus on implementing it when reaching out, and I hope this advice benefits you as well.

I know there are other helpful ways when dealing with these situations, what helps you the most when dealing with that nervous feeling? How has it improved yourself and how can we implement those strategies?

Is Important? Should Leaders learn Everything

Ever feel like you have to know all the skills relevant to your business? Do you feel it’s a necessity to learn every vital thing? I’m sure we all felt this way; we are focused into our business, we want to be informed a little more about the overall roles of those areas. We go off course of what our roles are and instead take the time to study another area and learn as much possible. Trying to learn everything however, may not be suitable for leaders, it’s instead stealing us taking our time from what we should really be doing.

There are mixed feelings about learning everything, but I’ve came across blog posts and spoke with several leaders indicating that most don’t need to or should know everything. Many who responded to this rather told me that it’s not about what you know, but what you should ask. Asking the correct questions about your organization is one that should be learned. I picked up quickly three important questions: What are the steps needed to fulfill our organization’s vision? Why are we delivering it to the public? And how will our purpose bring an impact to those who use our services?

I recently wanted to learn new skills from another new area. It’s exciting learning new things and demonstrating those new gained skills to friends and associates. The capability of what our minds can capture is astonishing and it’s great to see how we progress even more. However I asked myself why did I want to learn these skills? It came to responses such as saying to myself I want to be able to understand how other areas work. I feel like perhaps there will be a day where a team member and I have trust issues, and his work isn’t what it’s ought to be.

From what I understand now, this could be a waste of time. Instead of trying to spend that time wondering what could go wrong or spending time learning that skill, I should be sharpening more the skills I already have. We have to own what we already have.

The key part here is by surrounding ourselves with people that know more than us relevant to that business area. Our role is to keep the organization at hand running smoothly and keep maintaining that vision we seek. I understand also that we want to seek new skills for pleasure, but what we do is create a team that leaves a brand behind that people will love.

It’s a very opinionated topic for many whom I’ve spoken with. The start-up community, some investors will question what the founder knows in relation to what they will be starting. Would you agree knowing everything from your business’ task are important to learn? How has that experience been? If you look back when starting your organization, would you spend that time again trying to learn those tasks?