Tag Archives: Business

Dealing with our Failures

I’m sure most of us through our lives have failed once, the problem however, is how do you come to admitting it to your team? What are the first words you say to your team and how do you bounce back from it?

In churches or the business organization, it probably is about the most embarrassing thing to say up in front of your team with all eyes on you and have them note we didn’t accomplish it or are on a pitfall. So what do we do?

We all have to note that part of becoming a great leader is to willingly admit to your mistakes. We can’t hide them because they will build up and cause havoc amongst you and your team. Especially with pastors. Many pastors at church I have noticed will not acknowledge their errors with the congregation due to the fact many members may leave, and want to make believe that the church has a firm standing.

I think that’s not the case. Once we admit that we have failed in front of everyone, the congregation will not get up and walk away. Instead since we are a team, this creates a tighter bond and much stronger motivation planning out how to bounce back up.

And how do we bounce back up?

Well we already establish ourselves to be motivated so that’s done. The next thing to do is to strategize what we are looking to aim for. What are the goals for the month? The year? Three years from now and how are we going to do it? Is everyone committed to be on board? When planning out, we have to be specific and give details in order to not come across failure again.

Another thought we have to keep in focus is not to listen to those who keep bringing us down (naysayers). If some of the members of the team left and decide to talk about the rest behind their backs, don’t listen to them. Listening to them will only cause more fuel to fail.

As leaders, when we fail, we should most importantly learn from it. This is how leaders become great. We build experience and gain knowledge if the path we are taking is the correct one to succeed. And what I love about this is that when we start to admit to our failures and learn from them, we then will gain more respect from our team or congregation, and that strong bond will be difficult to break.

To conclude, as leaders, how do you handle yourself when wanting to admit to your team of your failures? Do you address everyone about it at the same time or individually have them aware of what’s going on? If you’ve already had them aware, what was the experience like bouncing back up?

One important thing to keep note is that we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Robert Kennedy quotes:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Coming with Ideas

Not everyone is creative in coming up with new ideas, especially when we’re thinking what business to start. I’ve struggled coming with new ideas but over time however, I have improved my ways on bringing in new ideas and yet I continue to expand myself even further for having a mind full of new creative ideas.

There are several ways I do that helps me come up with new ideas, and would like to help you out with the methods I use. These methods are the following:

Writing it Down: Doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I always tend to write down my ideas immediately. You can’t trust your mind to hold it throughout the day. Being at night or early morning, I recommend writing down any new idea you can think of, and looking back later on to see if you could add anything else to it.

Meditating: While being in a quiet room, I feel my mind is fully cleared and stressed-free. Being in this state, several ideas tend to pop out in an instant.

Jogging: I do this in the morning for 30 minutes to an hour. It clears the mind, helps stimulate the mind and doing this helps me come up with new ideas I have for a project or a business idea I want to look into.

Comfortable Setting: I enjoy being at a coffee shop. I concentrate better and and my focus on new ideas become on point. You could try sitting at the park or at a bookstore. Whichever you prefer, one of these settings I know will help you concentrate more on your ideas.

Reading: Perhaps this is the least of the bunch that happens, but while reading a business book and taking notes, my mind starts to randomly think of new ideas. I’m sure this may happen to you. I have been told reading a non-business book may also help you come with new ideas. Let me know if you’ve tried it.

Audio: And lastly which is one of my favorite ways to come up with new ideas, is by listening to an audio of either a seminar, lecture or podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and right in the middle while they’re speaking I pop out Evernote and write the many ideas that come to mind. These ideas however while listening to an audio, they’re more motivating than the other methods I use.

I hope these six methods help you gain better ideas you can benefit from if you’re stuck not knowing what business or project to start. If you have any other methods you use and would like to share, feel free to comment below.

The Power of Positive Thinking

What favorite quote do you use when you feel let down, that nothing can’t be accomplished? Is there something in particular you look at to set your mind to think positive? The reason I ask is because I think we should all stick to a quote we can look to motivate and carry ourselves up again. I want to write this post especially for a friend that hasn’t learned how big positive thinking is.

This came about on a good evening where I was minding my own business when all of a sudden she mails me a message asking for resources of websites she could look at for job postings.

I gave her a listing and she told me she was scared of going to work for the first time, and didn’t know if she could handle the pressure of both school and work. I told her it doesn’t seem quite scary of going to school and having a job at the same time, but after you throw yourself in, you won’t know how it feels until you’re in it.

Later she complained she wasn’t confident enough and started putting herself as a let down. I told her no that’s the incorrect way to think. Anyone can be confident it’s not hard at all, it all takes practice. Her sister is a very well prepared and confident person but what I saw in her was that she is afraid of asking for help.

She later told me that it’s easier to say it then to do it. But what’s the problem here?

Of course it’s easy to say it, but it’s also easy to make it difficult. This is something that I’ve learned from the great Jim Rohn. It’s a habit that we create to make it easy for not doing anything.

When we let ourselves down and get stuck there, it’s one of the worst things we as humans can do. Our mind plays a very powerful role, that it affects how we choose to live our lives everyday.

Several things I’ve learned is that we should try having our minds set up high. Meaning we should always tend to keep ourselves positive. When you are positive and you get your mind influenced, you tend to do better things you thought couldn’t be possible.

For example if we lack in confidence, we should foremost focus on what is it that I’m good at in my social skills. If you’re good at listening, then obviously asking for help isn’t a problem. But again, what if asking for help seems terrifying? The only thing I have to say is that no man becomes successful in an island. It’s a great quote I heard from Og Mandino.

We all need help at some point in our lives and if we want to reach a certain skill or goal, we have to look at others for guidance resulting in a much higher percent success rate compared to going at it alone.

Again going back to the positive thinking of the mind, it can become very powerful and controlling. If we picture something we want, say a job for instance. If we focus on a particular job we want in our mind, it won’t be too long before we acquire it.

The reason being is because we then start to focus on the skills that is involved in that position, and soon instead of asking why can’t I have this job, you’ll be asking how can I get it? Who should I look for? What skills are necessary and how do I get started? You’ll put yourself even more closer to getting to where you want to get by preparing instead of sitting somewhere wishing for it.

Today’s post is something I wanted to discuss about to help a friend in need that hopefully now becomes motivated to start. By concluding this post I want you reader to ask yourself how has putting your mind on positive thinking helped you along the way? Has it overcome struggles? Has thinking big been a great success? If so, please feel free to share your experiences.

Breaks May Cause Barriers

I woke up one morning on a weekend thinking to myself that after the whole week of studying, working and focusing on goals, I wanted to take a break. Most people enjoy taking time off when over a period of time they’ve been consistent, and l consider people should do it when they face exhaustion. I took that time to relax, clear my head and get away from what I usually do.

Heading down to the park visiting friends, it felt great and made me forget just about everything. However; after getting back into focus that following week, taking these breaks frequently I tended to feel too comfortable with it and I felt that it dragged me off course of what I was originally doing.

The problem that occurred here is that when we start to feel too comfortable, we tend to not let go and returning back to what we did before becomes difficult.

It may ruin your following week or perhaps even your month because the comfort of not doing anything starts to become a habit. Your mind is filled with distractions and it’s lost somewhere else. I think we all know how controlling habits can be, and how difficult it is changing one to another.

How do you put your focus back into that mindset you’ve been having?

One of the critical things I do is try self motivation. Finding things that bring me back into that mindset. Listening to audio, or videos in relation to what I was doing before. It’s a big help and I’m sure it can help you too.

Another method that helped being me get back to that mindset is by making a list of what I will be doing the following week; I have a small whiteboard by my bed, you may say it’s a goal setting form for the week if you wish. This helped me also because it is in physical writing and by hanging it or displaying it somewhere you can easily be reminded of what you should be doing if distractions arise.

We all love taking time off its a good thing, but when we tend to love it too much it can become a negative thing loosing consistency and carrying you somewhere else you didn’t intended it to go. What do you do when you lose interest in what you were doing before? Is that method your number one thing you do that instantly snaps you back into your focused mindset? Have you tried sharing it with others that may be in the same situation? If so, has it worked for them?

Bringing A Mentor

For some time now, I’ve began to start wanting to have a mentor. A mentor who gives you more specific guidance into the direction you want to go. A mentor who has faced the experiences, and informs you what is to come. There seems to be like there are great benefits when you bring a mentor into your life.

My father has been the great mentor in my life so far. He’s taught me so much about life, leadership and business, but now I feel that it’s appropriate to add someone else into my life to guide me even further to push me. I believe in order to go after what you want, you should also seek the help from another who’s been through that direction. You may ask why do I need one?

One of the reasons I look at it is because of further motivation. They seem to know the process clearly and hearing what they have to say will give me a much more needed boost in motivation, telling myself “now that I’ve committed to something, it has to be done.”

Secondly, because of the knowledge they contain. Some mentors are so informative that they soak your brain with all this knowledge you didn’t know existed. By taking notes and capturing their experiences I think you start to think (except for their experiences) in the mindset of their level.

There’s always that fear within us though, of being trapped and lost because we are nervous about whether if we are making the correct choices or not. We shouldn’t shy ourselves from finding further help, instead we should make it a habit to find it. That’s why I began analyzing myself that I should bring a mentor in my life, but where do we find them?

I know most speakers are such great mentors. Having a great relationship with them opens up opportunity. Business owners that I’ve spoken with have offered to give guidance as well. Looking for mentors isn’t a difficult task but finding the correct one is.

Have you included a mentor into your life to help guide you more towards the goals you want to accomplish? Has it benefited you immensely? What did you learn about having a mentor and what opportunities have you gained or created? Remember that we shouldn’t isolate ourselves; no man is on an island alone.

Quote

Mark of A Leader

“The true mark of the leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action – an unconventional business strategy, a unique product-development program, a controversial marketing campaign – even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in steps with status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that in an era of hyper-competition and non-stop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.” – Bill Taylor

Planning Your Business

Planning your business is essential in order to keep it stable and successful. Either big or small, we can’t go out into the world and introduce our service/product without putting any organization into it. I’ve been asked what are the steps to planning, and I want to help you with a simple list to give you a better idea of how you can structure your business plan.

The reasons why you may need a business plan even if you think you don’t need it and you’re small, is because it’s something you can look back at to stay organized. Some of the questions you could ask when preparing this is, what do you want to do five or ten years from now? What are your dreams and vision with this? The length of this plan varies, it usually should be ten pages long, some may say it’s thirty pages, but that lands when a business is already formed and looking to expand even further.

Here’s a quick list:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Market Analysis
  3. Management Team Description
  4. How you plan to Market
  5. Analysis of Company Strength
  6. Cash Flow Statement
  7. Revenue Projections
  8. Exit Strategy

From my understanding and the people I’ve talked with, your executive summary should stand out the most. Most startup’s probably only need this and investors will likely only observe this to determine if your business is worth investing or not. Your executive summary is basically an overview of what your business is. The mission statement, vision, what it serves, how it’s different, how it plans to market, it’s all described briefly in that summary.

Next is market analysis. You may spend a lot of time here studying your competition and where you and your product may fit into the market.

Management team description is describing about the team you will have. Their experiences and success’, who the key members will be, wages, and the number of hours they will contribute.

How you will market your product or service will also need to be examined. It narrows down to who your main target audiences are and how you can reach out to them.

When you analyze your company, you have to list down what it’s strengths and weaknesses are, alongside with any threats the business may face and how you may overcome them.

Cash flow statement demonstrates where the cash is going. It’s the accounting process of the business. Some may not be attracted to this, but this really helps you stay organized with looking at where your money in the business is.

Revenue projections is trying to estimate how much you will sell and gain during a period of time. I call it forecasting. Although it may not always predict correctly, it still gives you a good idea of what you want to aim for and what can be expected.

Lastly you want to have an exit strategy. Perhaps not the most prettiest part of the plan people are looking forward to, but planning this will have you prepared just in case something goes wrong. It can be either liquidating your assets, merging with another company or being acquired.

Hope this guide helps you gain a better idea when you’re preparing to create your business plan. I know most that I’ve talked with have skipped this process and would rather just dive in the water, but there is less risk when we prepare ourselves. If you are seeking more help and or are lost about your area, contact a professional CPA or lawyer to give you more details on taxes, regulations, and additional information on what’s needed in the process.

Our Company Culture cont.

What shapes a company’s culture? Have you found out yet? Earlier this week I wrote about the top three keys I think make and shape a company’s culture. The first post was about values. I had so much to say about it because I believe it makes a large portion up of how it shapes the culture. Have you found out what the values of your business or organization are?

The second key that makes the culture of a company is vision. We have to have an aim and believe ourselves going for it. When we have no vision of where we want to go, we become lost. Everyone that is on board will dive out because there is no direction.

When vision is planned, don’t get too carried away with the dream that it starts to look as a fantasy with the rest of the team-members. I think it should be reachable, consistent, and realistic.

Churches for example tend to set a vision but may never achieve it. Reasons because those visions are far out of reach and unrealistic.

Before we made huge changes, my church tended to fit in the category. We had a vision. Our vision was to get a bigger building that everyone could attend. The size of this place was seen as having 100 acres. I’m thinking to myself, is that even possible? Of course the leader always has to share his vision with his members in order to move forward, but this casted vision seemed out of the ball park. I think we had to be realistic here and cast a more reachable vision. The members all agreed, they all believe in this vision and hoped on board. Throughout the year it was mentioned consistently, and people were motivated by it. They kept inviting other people to hear the greatness. They were excited knowing that their vision was such a positive feeling.

As we got through the year we kept on hearing what we were aiming for. A downside started turning, people were starting to get tired of it. In my opinion, I think most of these members started getting frustrated of the usual hearing and the leader never taking any action for it. The reason being because the vision felt like a direction that isn’t reachable. People started to hop out of the boat, we had to look at the vision the church was aiming for. Dramatic changes had to be made and the vision had to be re looked at.

The third and final key that shapes the culture of a company I think is to invest in your team. When we invest in our team we are showing them that we care for them, they mean a lot to us and they are our assets. Now I know some of you may say, “But why should I invest in my team when they don’t do nothing on their part?” Well you hired them, doesn’t that make you a fool for that process?

Investing in them brings loyalty, it’s similar to recognition towards them. So you may ask what I mean by investing? We don’t invest in them by inviting them to barbecues or giving them discounts from our own company, that’s relevant to taking advantage. We invest in them with ways they can improve their skills being used at work. Meaning we send them off to seminar or courses and we pay for them. This type of investment towards them acknowledges that the leader cares for them and wants their strong qualities to be improved.

In organizations, when the leader cares, he doesn’t fear the risk of regrets. You are family, and when the leader sees you having a difficult time, he will see that. Example being the leader at our church. He invested in our musicians. Hired a music teacher to further improve them. When those musicians gain more skills, they invested back into the leader by bringing loyalty and commitment. However, not all of them had that in thought. One of the members was having an awful time. He was struggling financially. There was a day where we went grocery shopping and left those purchases on his door step. It felt really good that we made that happen so he had food to feed his kids. Closer into the year he made the choice to leave the organization. He took those skills gained and left nothing behind him. Asked if the leader regrets giving him the time and investment, he said no because he knew in the future it would pay off. The whole congregation took notice and respect for the leader grew at a high level. The culture in the air felt warm and loving. They all were taught that when we give, we may not expect nothing in return, but our lives are that much better each and every day.

Values, vision, and investment are what make the culture of a place. What has your company visioned striving for? Has the leader invested in their team? Going back to our precious post, how were you valued at a company? And lastly what makes the company culture where you are at?

Our Company Culture

Company culture is one of the traits I look at in businesses, especially the place I’ve worked in and church organizations I’ve been involved with. As I continue to develop my growth each and every day, I’ve observed how company culture is different in many places. I see it as how it shapes the place and how people interact with each other. It’s the vibe you feel as soon as you walk into their space and the culture truly affects those involved around it. If someone were to ask you to define your company’s culture in two words, what would it be? Commitment and quality, engagement and energetic, honest and reasonable, these are a few examples. But what is it really?

I’ve read several great book by authors that talk on the issue of company culture and after reflecting on them all, I’ve applied and listed three keys that make a company’s culture. Note that you may or may not agree with it, so your opinions are appreciated, but the following are:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Investment

This is one of the biggest keys I’ve seen pop up when someone determines how the culture is shaped. Picture in your head that someone comes up to you and asks, “What is it that your company values?” Maybe it’s already happened, so what was your response? Sometimes we even have to pause and think because we’re not sure what the company really values the most. Do they value their customers? Work quality? Team-members? Their vision? And I know perhaps in church, those attending would come with the response that they value God, but excluding Him, what else do they value that makes their culture in the organization so great?

I believe we should value each other. I remember one of the first jobs I had, the values in putting customers first was great, but there was little to no value in the members bonding together. It was laid back but no one was putting as much time getting to know each other. The only way you’d get them talking was if you walked by coincidentally or if I needed them for help with a task. During lunch it felt awkward, everyone grabbing their meals in the kitchen and going their separate ways. The only ones staying there would be the ones having no where else to go and casually watch television. Having a decent conversation would be two people, and these two obviously are the only two connected well. And now I’m asking myself why didn’t they valued each other more as a team? The result was the leader. Sure we had a manager, but what I saw in the manager, I saw in the leader as well. Both weren’t fully engaged with the team. The leader is what determines this value.

There were problems. It was disorganized and the blame game would occur often. The manager would come late and didn’t know what was going on. The leader was unheard of. The only time you got to have a talk with him was at the time of being hired or doing overtime and seeing him leave. Other than that, he’d come in around the afternoon, waive at you and head upstairs to his office. That was it! So did that same quality transition unto team?

I felt bad with what was going on with this new team-member we had. We didn’t know his name because he didn’t get the proper introduction at the time because of our hectic work schedule. We only found out who he was by another member stumbling upon knowing his name. The guy was quiet, but he seemed hard working and getting by. There was a day that a tragic event occurred involving his wife. We all were called into the manager’s office. He gave out the situation and what could be done to help, but the faces on everyone seemed clueless on who he was. They called for a small charitable donation, and looking back now, I’m not sure if he received a good amount. Wherever this guy is now, I hope him and his family are blessed and doing well.

Why are values needed in being part of a great company culture? How does the leader affect it? As I mentioned, the leader was hardly to be found. Very friendly but had no involvement with the team and felt as if we were all partially abandoned. We were all very skilled at what we did, but weak bonding as a team. We needed to be improved.

I will break this down into two posts for you readers. Company culture on vision and investment you can expect for Friday. Until then some questions for you to think about are in simple words describe your company’s culture? What do they value the most and value the least? What are ways you think it can improve?

Funding The Project

There are many ways you can do to fund your business. Many people who I’ve spoken with had been fortunate enough with getting funds from venture capitalists and began building their projects from there. If you’re wondering or clueless of where to look to finance your starting business, I’ll give you a quick list of what I accumulated that helped me look into, that hope it can help you as well.

  • Bootstrap funding
  • Crowd funding
  • Loans
  • Family & friends
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capitalists
  • Grants

This list demonstrates the the options you have to finance your starting company, but me on the other hand, I find it difficult to see myself going to a venture capitalists or angel investor giving them my pitch of the company. You may ask why? Because I know I’m just a young guy with no experience owning a big company yet, asking for a certain amount of funds puts them at a much greater risk than one whose already create two or more businesses in the past. But I will keep in mind that having a great relationship with them can lead to great investment in the future. Banks? Nope, banks won’t do, I can for sure say they apply interests on their loans and you’d be lucky if they actually grant you one. Avoiding debt should be one of the things to keep in mind. Family and friends? I love my family and some friends may be so-so, but I’ve read about and witnessed this. The advice is that most of the time, doing this could result in conflict ending relationships with them. The only outcome I have as planned is bootstrapping my business.

What is bootstrap funding? In short words it’s personal money you’ve saved up. There are also several methods of bootstrap funding, but I personally have made the route of saving some income to accumulate it to a certain goal I made earlier this year. I find it complex because it’s the sweat and tears approach and I feel it takes longer than that of raising capital from investors. Yes I’ve heard the usual that you can start a business with up to a minimum of $350 cash, but what I’m willing to achieve is getting over that amount.

How do you come to this approach? What are your experiences with raising money to fund your business? Did you experience similar problems? How did you overcome this process?