Entrepreneurship – Look Before You Leap 23

Have you alentrepreneurship[1].jpgways dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?

Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.

What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.

Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet. Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?

Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.

If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com

The Way We Manage is Changing – Are You?

management-training-1[2].jpgI’m old enough to remember working in the 1960s. (Yes – I’m that old.) Back in those days, you didn’t question authority. When management told you to jump – the only question you were allowed to ask was how high. Social Psychologist Douglas McGregor branded that style of management as Theory X. Management believed that people were inherently lazy and needed to be bullied or brow-beaten into performing their work. Unfortunately, there are still managers out there who use that style in an attempt to motivate their workforce. Times have certainly changed. What you need to decide now is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will get you to where you need to go? Would you work for you?

There’s been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes towards work. Worker’s wants and needs have changed. For the newest generation, life outside of work – is just as important as life at work. Today’s managers and business leaders must manage differently to keep pace with that change if they want an engaged and productive workforce. Productivity is still the name of the game and that equation will never change. Management’s role is to minimize input and maximize output. Unfortunately downsizing, another word for layoffs and thin margins have put added pressure on managers to hold the line on the expense side of the ledger while still growing the profit side. In order to accomplish both managers must switch from being task-focused to people-focused.

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – Working with Emotional Intelligence, said it best. “We are being judged by a new yardstick: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle our selves and each other”. If you can’t make an emotional connection with the people you work with and interact with, you stand little chance of managing or leading. The good news is that managers and leaders aren’t born – they’re made. You can learn how to communicate and interact more successfully, build collaborative teams, problem solve, negotiate win-wins and motivate others to perform at their personal best. It just depends on how willing you are to change. Trust me – If you don’t, you’ll go the way of the dodo bird and dinosaurs.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Are You Ready For Generation Z ?

Are you ready for Generation Z? If you thought managing and leading Millennials was a challenge – Generation Z is a whole different ball game. Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2005, are the first truly wired generation who adopt quickly to new technologies. The leading edge of this generation are just entering the workforce. According to the most recent stats they now make up 40% of the working and consumer population. Chances are they are already working for you. The data suggests they will soon out number millennials. Are you ready?

The good news is that people are just people. Everyone wants to feel that they are valued and are treated with respect. They want to be included – not excluded – on matters that will impact them personally or professionally. They want to know that they have been heard and that their contributions to team success is not only encouraged but are appreciated. They want management to take a vested interest in their development by equipping them with the skills set they’ll need to take advantage of any opportunites for advancement.

No one likes to be micro managed. You need to inject some autonomy and allow them do their thing their way as long as it accomplishes the task on time and on budget. Timely face to face communication is important. They need to know how they are doing – good or bad. For the first time in our lifetime we have the potential of working with 4 different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates and interacts differently. Each generation is motivated by different wants. Each generation manages and likes to be managed differently. However, when you get right down to it the common denominator is that people are just people. Treat them accordingly and the challenges managing and leading each generation won’t matter.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith, Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and how he can help you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Without Trust You Can’t Lead

TrustTrust and respect do not come automatically just because you’ve been given a title or own the business. You must earn both – one person at a time. Establishing trust with the people you work with and interact with is a 3-step process that you must go through when meeting someone for the very first time. Some will go through this process easier than others, while others will have to work at it. Why establish trust? Because sometimes you need others to take you at your word. They will be more inclined to do that if they trust you. They will trust you if they believe that you have their best interest in mind. Walter Winston may have given us the best reason why establishing trust is so important when he said – “In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity”.

Establishing trust with the people you work with and interact with is a 3-step process, often referred to as the 3 R’s. – Rapport, Relationship and Respect.

Worth Remembering … You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie. 

Rapport: If you want people to be interested in you-you must be interested in them. Get to know the person for more than the job they do. Get to know them on a personal level. Find out what they like to do outside of work. Do they have a hobby? Are they married, do they have children? What do they like to do for fun? To establish rapport you need to show genuine interest in them. You need to be able to carry on a conversation about them.  You stand little chance of developing a relationship without first establishing rapport.

Worth Remembering … What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Relationship:  Once you have established a rapport you are ready to take the next step in establishing mutual respect. People quit managers they don’t quit companies. How much fun are you to be around? People like to work with and hang around with people they like. Friends don’t like to let their friends down. If you have built your relationship on a solid foundation by creating a friendly environment to work in then people will want to perform well for you.

Worth Remembering … They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carl W. Buechner 

Respect: The final step in establishing trust is respect. You will never respect anyone that you haven’t developed a relationship with first. How often have you heard someone say that they didn’t agree with what was said but they respected the fact that they had a right to express their opinion? People who respect one another can agree to disagree and move on. If I respect you – I will trust you even if I don’t agree with you.

Worth Remembering … I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. – Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you have navigated the three-step process successfully you will be able to establish trust in your relationships based on mutual respect. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. Trust is important because sometimes you need others to take a leap of faith. Establishing trust is important because sometimes you need people to follow you even when you don’t have all the answers. They will if they trust you. They will trust you if they believe you have their best interest in mind. Without trust you can’t lead.

Copyright (c) 2018. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a Professional Speaker or Seminar Leader who can inform and entertain on a variety of soft-skills topics? Give Brian a call – he will work with you one-on-one to ensure your event is an overwhelming success. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit http://briansmithpld.com