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Always Protect The Downside – Darius Foroux

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What’s a big goal or dream that you have? Do you want to start a business? Become a fulltime author? Travel the world? Become financially independent? Change careers?I bet you’ve thought about it, and at some point thought, “I’m not sure I can achieve that.”If you’re anything like me, you always think about risks that are involved with making a big move in life. And that’s not a surprise. We’re collectively risk averse. We truly hate risk. I’ve never met someone who said, “I love to lose everything. But what can we do about our risk aversion? If you think about it, most of us are put off by fear. You think of doing something, consider the risks, and decide not to do it. Here are some examples……….

Read more: https://dariusforoux.com/protect-the-downside/

 

 

 

 

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Working From Home? No Problem Here’s How To Be Productive – Shelcy V. Joseph

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While many people would choose to work from home if they could, some actually prefer going to the office every day. One of the reasons being that they find it easier to focus at their desk, than when they’re in pajamas, working with a laptop on their bed. And it makes sense. When you’re left to yourself (without the scrutiny of your boss and other people at the office), staying disciplined and productive can be a challenge……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelcyvjoseph/2018/09/15/working-from-home-no-problem-heres-how-to-be-productive/#56f69a934a95

 

 

 

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7 Ways to Achieve High Levels of Classroom Productivity – Lee Watanabe-Crockett

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When it comes to classroom productivity, the ideal classroom is a happy one. It means students are creating solutions and projects that have meaning and purpose. They gladly take initiatives and assume responsible ownership of class time. Above all, it means students are loving their learning.

Achieving high levels of classroom productivity means making sure students are interested and invested in tasks that develop higher-order thinking and problem-solving abilities. Not only are they involved in constructive pursuits and being given mindful assessments, they are learning independence and accountability and having a blast doing it. Now that’s learning with a purpose.

The joy a teacher gets from knowing students look forward to coming to class is indescribable. It’s one of those things you have to experience to understand. The good news is every teacher can have that feeling. These classroom productivity tips are applicable to many classroom environments. Hopefully, they help you in yours.

7 Pathways to Better Classroom Productivity

It’s easy to confuse productivity with speed of output. That’s not the essence of being productive. We can complete 100 trivial tasks in a day and say we were productive, but is that really true? What do we have to show at the end of the day? What have we done besides waste time on unimportant matters? Can we say “I really accomplished something today” and mean it?

Productivity isn’t about “getting stuff done.” It’s about getting stuff done with purpose.

You can always tell the level of interest students have. It can be used to help you measure productivity levels:

  • Are students focused and engaged?
  • Are they happy and attentive?
  • Are they asking deep, meaningful questions?
  • Are they excited about showing the results of their work?
  • Are they talking about their work with peers and parents?
  • Are they challenging themselves and each other to improve?

These are all traits of a productive classroom. Granted, there’s no specific formula for higher productivity. You can, however, use critical observation to decide what approach you could use

1. Build a Safe Space

Everyone deserves the chance to learn in a supportive environment. This applies to both intellectual and emotional classroom elements. Any classroom should make every student feel welcome. Maybe this means a time for peer-to-peer orientation. You can give students time to get to know each other and connect personally.

It could also mean creating a class mission statement of some kind. The focus of this would be things like:

  • We always support each other in and out of class
  • We always encourage each other and remain kind
  • We are a judgement-free classroom where all are welcome
  • We show we care by setting an example for the whole school

Begin learning adventures with the notion that learning is meant to be enjoyable. Part of this is creating a comfortable and supportive classroom. Anything that impacts a student positively in your classroom will help boost their productivity. Take some pointers from Brian Van Dyck, a middle school teacher in Santa Cruz.

2. Give Students a Say

Students are no different from anyone else. They like to know their opinions count for something. Letting students weigh in on how to use their class time can be valuable to fostering a productivity mindset. Don’t worry, this approach doesn’t mean they’ll waste time without supervision. You can do this while still keeping the structured direction central to any classroom. Open with questions geared toward productivity with breathing room:

Open with questions geared toward productivity with breathing room:

  • How do you feel your time would best be spent on today’s work/assignment?
  • What’s the one part of (insert project here) that you feel you need to focus on?
  • If you’re ahead, how can you help someone else with today’s work?
  • What do you think should be done first, and last?

Obviously, you as the teacher have the final say. That said, some heartfelt answers from students can help you choose how best to spend the class time.

3. Focus on Guiding Questions

As the work begins or continues, keep them thinking. Our modern students love to be challenged. Keep them guessing and thinking by asking about their projects. Show an interest in what they’re doing.

  • Why did they choose to approach the project this way?
  • What speaks to them about it?
  • If they’re stuck, how can they switch direction?
  • Do they feel there is any way they can make it even better?

4. Always Be Available

From time to time, students will struggle and this will happen on many different levels. When it does, they’ll need support and encouragement. They’ll get stuck, and that will give rise to technical questions, concerns, and doubts. They’ll feel pressure to keep up with their classmates. They’ll feel inadequacy, confusion, and frustration. They’ll feel like what they’ve done has been a waste. They’ll feel these things and a lot more.

Students are no different from anyone else. They like to know their opinions count for something.

Sometimes they’ll look for every reason to quit when they know they should go on. It will feel to them like the world is ending. It can happen with schoolwork and with personal matters. Eventually, it will likely all find its way into the classroom environment. Fortunately, that’s the heart of change.

With an open mind and the right words, you can turn that all around. Never be far away, because you’re still the best guide students have in their school experiences.

5. Encourage Collaboration

This is a hallmark of the modern student. They are natural-born collaborators and love working in groups. The secret to successful collaboration is when students are drawing on their individual strengths. They then find ways to harmonize those strengths in a group setting. A group work aspect to any classroom almost always means good things in terms of classroom productivity.

6. Offer Good Distractions

Every teacher knows that too many distractions in class can be harmful. Distractions, however, can be beneficial depending on the type. If they’re scheduled in the process, it’s even better. In this sense, they become more like rejuvenators and focus-sharpeners.

Here are some examples of beneficial distractions in class:

  • getting up to stretch, move around, and focus on nothing for a moment
  • eye/stretch/exercise breaks if working on computers
  • have students quickly check in with where they’re at on projects
  • story/joke breaks for some quick comic relief
  • schedule an assignment-related Q+A with a surprise class visitor

Here are some more great “distraction” ideas from Dr. Lori Desautels.

7. Let Students Self- and Peer-Assess

Self- and peer-assessment support comes from both students and teachers. Encouraging reflection and self-assessment adds a powerful dimension to learning. It reduces a teacher’s workload and lets students effectively demonstrate understanding. Students are honest in their assessment of their performance and that of their peers.

With this kind of assessment, students’ insights and observations are valued. It helps them understand the process of their own learning. It also reinforces the importance of collaboration.

Reflective practice is something both students and teachers should engage in. It lets you consider your actions and reflect on decisions. It solidifies learning concepts. It also helps you consider and plan future processes and actions.

 

 

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What Leads to Profitability? In a New Survey, Successful Business Owners Share Lessons Learned – Victoria Treyger

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The entrepreneurial journey can be exciting but also one filled with missteps and regrets. While some mistakes are unavoidable, business owners can reduce their learning curve by following wise advice from those with seasoned experience and long-lasting success. Who are those people? Their peers.

That was the idea behind a new survey by our company, Kabbage. In collaboration with the small business research firm Bredin, we polled 500 small business owners in nearly every industry across America and across the various life stages of a business. Our findings revealed what we consider valuable lessons on key, growth-producing moves by small business owners.

These are moves that could give newer entrepreneurs actionable knowledge.

Finding 1: What it means to be “in the black”

So what’s the benchmark time frame for turning a profit? A resounding 84 percent of our respondents stated that they had achieved profitability within the first four years of business and that they viewed this window of time as critical to prove that their business was, and is, built to last.

While overnight success isn’t commonplace, a surprising 68 percent reached profitability within the first year while 16 percent did so between years one and four. Only 8 percent reached profitability after their fifth year in business, and only 7 percent of respondents said they still were not profitable.

The strong indication was that the first four years are truly make-or-break years for any new company.

Still, it’s worth noting that these levels of profitability varied among 23 of the top industries in America that took part in the survey. While some entrepreneurs in fields such as medical equipment, personal services and publishing said they had yet to reach profitability, other industries, including advertising/marketing services, architect /engineering, automotive and banking/insurance reported having reached 100 percent profitability.

Two notable industries — restaurants and retailers — showed more staggered growth on their path to profitability; the reason might be both industries’ highly competitive and seasonal nature.

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The takeaway. Regardless of the industry, the four-year mark is a good time to take stock of your business. Is it profitable? Is it close to that status? If not, business owners should consider changes to their business model, from finding new ways to acquire and engage with customers, and reducing operational expenses, to changing products or services, or perhaps even hiring more employees.

Whatever the solution, the four-year factor in entrepreneurship common among our respondent may be helpful for you to compare your business against.

Finding 2: What “the cost” of doing business actually costs

The survey also uncovered a disconnect between business owners’ personal expectations, versus real-life examples of the costs and the level of credit required to do business.

Respondents stated that they needed to access as much as $10 million  of working capital during certain phases of their business, to support growth; the majority said they actually needed less than $500,000. However, these entrepreneurs as a whole fell short of anticipating the amount of capital their businesses would use in the future, versus the amount established businesses actually borrow:

  • 27 percent of business that that were in their first year (at the time of the survey) didn’t think they’d need to borrow funds — whereas, 38 percent of older companies borrowed in their first year
  • 57 percent of businesses that were in their first to fourth year of business didn’t think they’d need to borrow funds — whereas, 29 percent of older companies borrowed between their first and fourth years
  • 50 percent of businesses that were in their fifth to ninth year of business didn’t think they’d need to borrow funds –whereas, 26 percent of older companies borrowed between their fifth and ninth years
  • 74 percent of businesses that were in their tenth to 19th year of business didn’t think they’d need to borrow funds — whereas, 17 percent of older companies borrowed between their tenth and 19th years
  • 84 percent of business that were in their 20th-plus year of business didn’t think they’ll need to borrow funds –whereas, 14 percent of older companies borrowed during these years.
  • Years 20-plus: 14 percent accessed capital — versus 84 percent who expected to borrow

The finding: While the need for capital declined over time, a sizable percentage of businesses in the survey still required access at every age of the business.

Overall, there was a misconception of how much money companies believed they’d need in order to build a long-lasting company. As many as 67 percent of respondents said they would not need to borrow capital in the remaining years they expected to be in business; and 84 percent expected to be in business from five to 20-plus years.

Even though most businesses reach profitability in their first four years, our research showed that businesses still needed extra capital for unique opportunities or challenges they encountered This might mean capital to bridge cash-flow gaps, make strategic purchases, increase marketing spend or open new locations.

The takeaway. To reach high growth, capital is a vital tool to help you scale your business and take advantage of unique business opportunities.

Overall takeaways

While reaching profitability is a commendable achievement for any business, owners may find extra capital a great help for something like a wave of marketing initiatives if their acquisition of new customers has slowed or the retention of existing ones is not at the level needed.

Our research made a case for starting and building marketing programs early, even when budgets for these steps are minimal or nonexistent. In that case, a focus on PR, customer reviews and social media can help. These alternative forms of PR can help an owner make a big impact, just starting out, because online outreach helps the owner tell his or her unique story to a broad audience at a low cost.

Small businesses can also use Facebook as a customer-relationship management tool. It’s the perfect forum to both build a one-to-one experience with customers and to demonstrate to potential customers how responsive those businesses are to their needs.

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