How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action

The best advice is easy to understand, but difficult to execute, according to Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

In a virtual keynote address to Inc. 5000 honorees this week, Goldsmith explained that while coaching leaders at companies such as Ford, Pfizer, and the Mayo Clinic, he learned that it’s easy to dismiss the simplest of leadership strategies because they sound too easy. But it’s often the simple strategies that make the biggest difference for founders because they’re easier to commit to long-term.

“You’re a CEO, you’re a very busy person, you don’t have a lot of time. If I gave you stuff that sucks up too much of your time, you’re not gonna do it anyway,” Goldsmith says, adding that this tried-and-true method is still one worth teaching today because of its proven success.

Here, Goldsmith shares a simple method to becoming a more effective leader.

1. Get in the habit of asking for input.

Goldsmith argues that leaders don’t ask one simple question enough: How can I be better? Leaders should get in the habit of asking how they can be a better manager, team player, and salesperson. Many times, your employees and peers will point things out to you that aren’t even on your radar.

Something he learned from management consultant Peter Drucker stood out to Goldsmith when it comes to asking for feedback. “He said, ‘The leader of the past will have to [explain] to leaders of the future when they ask why we manage knowledge workers when they know more than we do,” Goldsmith says. In other words, never stop learning from your employees and peers.

Read More:

2. Listen to the input–don’t debate it.

Once you ask for input, Goldsmith says to fight every urge to give your opinion and to instead listen intently. Whatever feedback you get, take notes, say thank you, don’t judge, and don’t make too many promises. Instead, Goldsmith suggests you say, “I’m going to involve you and the others involved and follow up with you.”

One important thing for leaders to keep in mind is that leadership is not a popularity contest, and therefore you shouldn’t feel obligated to satisfy everyone. “You never promised as a leader to do everything people suggest,” Goldsmith says. “You promised to ask and listen.

3. Follow up.

This is where you act on what you promised. The key to making change, according to Goldsmith, is that you have to follow up and stick with it.

“You don’t get better when you listen to a speech. You don’t get better because you read a book,” he says. “You have to work at it, follow up and stick with it.”

By: Teresa Xie, Editorial intern, Inc.@resate_z

Source: How to Turn Your Company’s Purpose Into Action | Inc.com

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Related Posts:

SoftBank Invests $200 Million In Brazil’s Largest Crypto Exchange

Brazil’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin raised $200 million from the SoftBank Latin America Fund, Mercado’s parent company 2TM Group announced today. The investment values 2TM Group at $2.1 billion and is SoftBank’s largest capital injection in a Latin America crypto company.

Following closely on the tails of SoftBank’s investment in the $250 million round raised by Mexican cryptocurrency exchange Bitso in May, the deal shows a growing interest in bringing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to Latin America.

“This series B round will afford us to continue investing in our infrastructure, enabling us to scale up and meet the soaring demand for the blockchain-based financial market,“ says Roberto Dagnoni, executive chairman and CEO of 2TM Group. “We want to be the main solution provider for corporate players.”

The São Paulo-based exchange aims to increase the number of listed assets (the exchange currently lists approximately 50 tokens) and grow its 500-member team to 700 by year’s end. Further plans involve regional expansion with focuses on Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia and growth acceleration across 2TM Group’s portfolio, which also include digital wallet provider MeuBank and digital custodian Bitrust (both are subject to regulatory approval).

Founded by brothers Gustavo and Mauricio Chamati in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country. In January, it scored its first financing round co-led by G2D/GP Investments and Parallax Ventures with participation from an array of other investors.

Like many of its counterparts, Mercado Bitcoin has seen significant growth over the past year, with its client base reaching 2.8 million in 2021 – more than 70% of the total number of individual investors on Brazil’s stock exchange B3. Approximately 700,000 clients signed up just between January and May.

Over the same period, trade volume on the exchange had increased to $5 billion, surpassing the total for its first seven years combined. “Every single month [of this year], we are trading the full volume of 2020,” says Dagnoni.

“Mercado Bitcoin is a regional leader in the crypto space and the leading crypto exchange in Brazil. They are tapping into a huge local and regional addressable market measured by potential use cases for crypto,” says Paulo Passoni, managing partner at SoftBank’s SBLA Advisers Corp. (which manages the SoftBank Latin America Fund).

“At SoftBank we look to invest in entrepreneurs who are challenging the status quo through tech-focused or tech-enabled business models that are disrupting an industry – Mercado Bitcoin is doing just that.”

Despite the rapid growth of the local crypto market, Brazilian regulators have been lagging behind. In 2018, Brazilian antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), opened an investigation into the country’s largest banks for allegedly abusing their power by closing accounts of crypto brokerages. The probe was ongoing as of last year.

In April 2020, Senator Soraya Thronicke proposed an extended set of rules for Brazil’s “virtual asset” businesses, custodians and issuers, consumer protection, crypto taxation and criminal enforcement, however no apparent action has been taken on the bill so far. Nonetheless, Dagnoni says the nation’s regulatory environment is favorable, and the company is closely working with regulators “to build a consistent framework for alternative digital investments in Brazil, in line with its vision of a convergence of the traditional and blockchain-based financial markets.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I report on cryptocurrencies and emerging use cases of blockchain. Born and raised in Russia, I graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi with a degree in economics and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I focused on data and business reporting.

Source: SoftBank Invests $200 Million In Brazil’s Largest Crypto Exchange

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Critics:

SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. The Group primarily invests in companies operating in the technology, energy, and financial sectors. It also runs the Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital, backed by sovereign wealth funds from countries in the Middle East.

The company is known for the leadership by its founder and largest shareholder Masayoshi Son. It operates in broadband, fixed-line telecommunications, e-commerce, information technology, finance, media and marketing, and other areas.

SoftBank was ranked in the Forbes Global 2000 list as the 36th largest public company in the world, and the second largest publicly traded company in Japan after Toyota.

The logo of SoftBank is based on the flag of the Kaientai, a naval trading company that was founded in 1865, near the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, by Sakamoto Ryōma.

Although SoftBank does not affiliate itself to any traditional keiretsu, it has close ties with Mizuho Financial Group, its main lender.

See also

 

3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business

3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business

If the pandemic deepened the challenges of dealing with long-felt issues among business owners of color, the recovery is putting them in focus. Access to capital and racial inequity in America continue to weigh on underrepresented small-business owners.

That was the key takeaway from a recent virtual briefing dubbed “Back to Business: Restarting Main Street in the Wake of Covid-19,” which was hosted by Reimagine Main Street, a project founded last year to lead small businesses toward an inclusive economic recovery. The discussion convened business leaders and officials, who offered their own ideas for how to resolve these longstanding issues so that minority-led businesses can get back to business.

Here are their top three tips:

1. Help people get vaccinated.

As the pandemic fueled much of the recent difficulty hitting underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs, a good first step is to do all you can to overcome the pandemic, which can be achieved by helping people get vaccinated. “You can’t get the economy back on track without beating Covid,” says Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to President Biden. Specifically, he suggests offering vaccine incentives to employees, customers, and the communities you serve.

He proposes offering paid time off for employees to get a jab, and providing compensation for missing work because of vaccine complications as motivation. “So many people can’t afford to lose a day or two of work,” says Richmond, therefore servicing the needs of your employees is a crucial part of getting the economy up and running again.

As for customers, the more people who are vaccinated, the quicker it is you’ll return to normalcy. So consider rewarding consumers who are fully vaccinated. United Airlines, for instance, last week launched its “Shot to Fly” campaign, offering the chance to win a year of free flights to vaccinated customers. “We just appreciate the business community partnering with us to get it done,” says Richmond.

2. Create an inclusive recovery.

Ensuring Black and Latinx business owners continue to receive financial support is vital, says Tammy Halevy, co-lead of Reimagine Main Street. Passing the American Jobs Plan, Biden’s nearly $2 trillion plan to shore up the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and boost green jobs, would be a start, adds Halevy. Additionally, it would be helpful to offer new grant programs and to “push the [Small Business Administration] to process forgiveness applications faster” to Black and Brown business owners, who need help accessing capital.

But you can’t just rely on the government for help, says Richmond. It is important for all small-business communities to help one another. Yes, you need to focus on supply chains and other internal matters. However, intentionally supporting other ancillary businesses, such as law firms, accountants, and even the local car wash, is an important step in getting minority communities as a whole back in business.

3. Demand greater access to capital.

For many minority-owned small businesses, federal relief was not accessible throughout the pandemic, says Chiling Tong, president and CEO of Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce. “Sixty percent of AAPI businesses, who did not apply for federal relief, did not apply because they did not think they were eligible for relief.”

Tong notes that a lack of awareness was a problem. But also, she adds: There was a potential language barrier. She says that information regarding some federal aid programs was not translated into other languages, at least initially.

These technical disadvantages pervaded long before the pandemic, she adds. The government at all levels needs to partner with various chambers of commerce to disband technical disadvantages these communities face, making sure they have the capability to apply for and maintain the same access to capital that other businesses have, says Tong.

Through investments targeted toward an inclusive recovery, vaccine incentives, and expanding access to capital, small businesses will thrive, says Richmond, and “as [small businesses] succeed and flourish, we know that the economy and the country will do the same.”

By Alicia Doniger

Source: 3 Ways to Get Minority-Led Small Businesses Back to Business | Inc.com

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Critics:

Marketing plan

  • Market research – To produce a marketing plan for small businesses, research needs to be done on similar businesses, which should include desk research (done online or with directories) and field research. This gives an insight into the target group’s behavior and shopping patterns. Analyzing the competitor’s marketing strategies makes it easier for small businesses to gain market share.
  • Marketing mix – Marketing mix is a crucial factor for any business to be successful. Especially for a small business, examining a competitor’s marketing mix can be very helpful. An appropriate market mix, which uses different types of marketing, can help to boost sales.
  • Product life cycle – After the launch of the business, crucial points of focus should be the growth phase (adding customers, adding products or services, and/or expanding to new markets) and working towards the maturity phase. Once the business reaches the maturity stage, an extension strategy should be in place. Re-launching is also an option at this stage. Pricing strategy should be flexible and based on the different stages of the product life cycle.
  • Promotion techniques – It is preferable to keep promotion expenses as low as possible. ‘Word of mouth’, ‘email marketing’, ‘print-ads’ in local newspapers, etc. can be effective.
  • Channels of distribution – Selecting an effective channel of distribution may reduce the promotional expenses as well as overall expenses for a small business.

References

How Founder Coaching Can Lift Humanity up in the VC World

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The global entrepreneurship landscape is buried under the avalanche of news stories about founders securing multi-million-dollar funding to live out their dream of taking the world by storm.

But the heavy snowfall of cash falling from the venture capital sky may be blinding us to the struggles of startup owners along the way, especially those who are undertaking this expedition for the first time.

This is a trap that even the best of investors can fall into. Elite coach Ariane de Bonvoisin has experienced first hand that many venture capitalists and business leaders treat founders as superheroes who can brave anything without having a clue about their personal journeys.

“They’re investing in the company and not investing in the founder,” says Bonvoisin, an executive coach to top CEOs, startup founders, and VCs, who aspires to help clear the vision of investors so that they can better see the importance of coaching.

In her view, it is easy to forget that people are humans. “You give people the label of entrepreneur or founder, but it’s still just a role that people are in. You peel back the role, and that’s where you find the truth,” she told 150sec.

As someone who has sat on both sides of the table—having been an investor and an entrepreneur—she knows well that separating the founder from the business leads to a “dangerous” path that could threaten the survival of the business while sapping the morale of its owner.

Bonvoisin is a swimmer, a ski instructor, a long-distance runner, and a climber who has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and accompanied a group of students to Antarctica.

What perplexes her is that a professional athlete would never get a sponsor without having a coach because “it implies that they have talent” but a tech startup can attract millions of dollars in investment without any coaching attached to it.

“When you look at the acting world, you see that even multiple Academy Award winners still have acting coaches. They are still given a coach for every role they take without any question. It’s the same in the music industry,” she said.

Normalizing coaching.

Ariane has come across investment firms that refuse to invest in a company unless they have a coach but believes there is a long road ahead for coaching to become mainstream among investors.

However, as a wise man once said, even the longest journeys begin with a single step. And who knows it better than Bonvoisin who is featured in a documentary that follows a motorcycle excursion through the highest passes of the Indian Himalayas.

In the case of founder coaching, she argues the first step is to start shattering the taboo against seeking help.

“The perception is if you need a coach, you’re worried or scared or incompetent or are dealing with something you don’t really want to tell your investors,” Bonvoisin said, adding that she has worked with founders whose investors refused to pay for their coaching.

Asked what needs to be done to reduce this stigma, she said using facts and statistics to demonstrate the true impact of a coach can go a long way toward normalizing coaching “because we’re still in an industry that values results, money, growth, and success.”

For instance, she says, a founder can tell the investor they would have raised $1 million without a coach but managed to raise $5 million with the help of a coach or that they taught they were at the pre-seed stage without a coach but raised a Series A round with a coach.

Another example, according to her, is when the entrepreneur can explain they could not hire a VP of sales but a coach helped them bring someone on board that secured new clients and elevated the company’s position in the market.

Celebrating role models.

The other thing is to ask founders to talk about their personal and work-related struggles without shame or fear of judgment, added Bonvoisin, an author who has given a TED talk and keynoted Oprah Winfrey’s O You conference in 2013.

She thinks celebrating successful people who hire coaches—including famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors or executives at companies like Google or Facebook—is another link in the chain that can cause cracks in the taboo surrounding coaching.

Bonvoisin also feels the need for increased awareness about different types of coaching that exist.

“When people think of coaching in this industry, they think of it as life coaching or business coaching. To me, coaching is a lot broader than that. For example, investors can give founders a health coach. And there are people who have parenting coaches to help them build a startup with two kids at home that need home schooling.”

Return-on-coaching mindset.

Dedicating even 1 percent of the fund to facilitate founders’ access to coaching is a “brilliant” use of money, added Bonvoisin, who has been invited to Google, Amazon, the World Bank, and Red Bull to teach about navigating change and founder and startup wellness.

“It is a very small contribution that has the ability to massively affect the quality of your investment,” she said, emphasizing that there needs to be a return-on-coaching mindset—not just a return-on-investment mindset.

In her opinion, founders should be given the freedom and trust to choose their own coach without having to report the details of how they are using the coaching money because it would be an intrusion on their privacy.

However, investors can make some coaches available or put them on retainer for when founders are having a panic attack before an important meeting or need immediate help with a decision.

She maintains that coaching is crucial because it is a role entrepreneurs do not get from their family, friends, spouse, co-founders, or investors “from which they are usually hiding things.”

“When humanity gets lifted in both the investor side and the startup side, a very different conversation is possible, which is not just about ROI, KPIs, or fundraising goals. And what I’ve seen with the founders is that when the VC shows they care about the founder, the founder will run 10 more marathons for them.”

There needs to be a return-on-coaching mindset—not just a return-on-investment mindset.

~ Ariane de Bonvoisin

Common misconceptions.

As a Tony Robbins certified trainer who assists in a leadership capacity at his events around the world, Ariane can talk for hours and hours about common misconceptions about coaches and the process of coaching.

Many are under the assumption that coaching is expensive, she said, adding that it is also a false perception that a coach is all about the psychology of people and not the real guts of the business.

“A coach can have a bit more of a 360-degree view of the situation, ask questions that no one else is asking you about your business, and add tremendous value even without having direct experience in the industry in question.”

There are a large number of coaches who have worn many hats as founders and investors and can share their knowledge about different aspects of a business, she added.

Another thing she says some people get wrong is that a coach is “very soft and is like a friend that cheers you on or you cry with when you fall apart.”

But the reality is that coaching can be “direct, brutal, and honest” while offering “a very loving, kind, warm, trusting, and safe place to land” at the same time, added Ariane, who landed on the list of Silicon Alley’s top 100 people to watch a few years ago.

Coaching is not ‘surgery.’

Another prevailing myth, according to Bonvoisin, is that a coach is a temporary resource and is for when things are going badly.

“Some think that coaching is like a surgery and is just for a specific period of time when they are dealing with difficult decisions,” she said.

But coaching is a relationship where “you build something together with someone who is your raving fan”, added Ariane who has had her own coach for 17 years and says almost 80 percent of her clients have been with her for more than a year.

Another misbelief she knows from experience is that a coach should be older than the coachee or “is someone like you”.

Elaborating further, Bonvoisin said, “Some people think only coaches who have the same gender, race, or background can understand, coach, and relate to them and that someone totally different to them probably won’t be able to enter their world.”

This is a total myth as “someone who is different often stretches your identity, offers a new perspective and worldview, helps you see blind spots, and expands your beliefs,” Bonvoisin added.

In her world, coaching is like traveling.

“The more you travel to different places, the more you learn, grow, and expand your awareness and consciousness. If you take a plane to a faraway destination where you don’t speak the language and people look different to you and eat different things, what you learn will be exponential.”

People often look for what they are familiar and comfortable with so they gravitate to individuals who are like them, she said.

“It’s easier for people to fly from New York City to Miami for a ‘change of scenery’ than to Delhi. And yet Delhi will change them far more. The same metaphor applies to going on the adventure of coaching,” commented Ariane, who has lived and worked in different countries.

Coaching can be “direct, brutal, and honest” while offering “a very loving, kind, warm, trusting, and safe place to land” at the same time.

~ Ariane de Bonvoisin

As for gender-related misconceptions, she says some are under the impression that female coaches are too soft and emotional.

“But a female coach can sometimes read a situation much better, whether it’s intuitively or emotionally. I think, depending on different times in your life, you might need one or the other.”

Over the years, Bonvoisin has met people who want “really complicated things” and “strange techniques” to improve their performance.

“As human beings, we have resistance to the simple things. And sometimes the most simple tools in your toolbox are the ones that you’re not using—like drinking enough water or sleeping properly,” she noted, bringing to mind a quote from American author Jim Rohn that says “what’s simple to do is also simple not to do.”

How to choose a coach.

On how to choose the right coach, the CEO of Ariane Media said the best way to find a good one is by word of mouth.

While acknowledging that some coaches have gotten a bad rap, she maintains “it doesn’t mean all the apples in the coaching basket are rotten.”

“Definitely interview more than one. Most coaches offer a free introductory session. Do some due diligence on the coach. Ask them who they have coached, ask for testimonials, or ask to speak to other clients they’ve coached,” she told founders.

Bonvoisin says it is important to understand why they are a coach, what they love about coaching, what training they have had, what aspects of coaching they appreciate, why they think they have been an effective coach, what their gift is, and how they choose their coaching clients.

Entrepreneurs can also ask a coach whether they have any specific industry experience “if that’s important to you”, and how much they want to be involved in “your life aspect versus your business aspect,” she added.

Bonvoisin insists people should choose “a person that you’re going to trust more than anyone in your life without feeling judged by them.” She says it is not a good sign if “you don’t look forward to speaking to your coach or getting an email from them or if the coach is trying to impose a change on you and has too many strong opinions.”

“And then the ultimate thing I always go to at the end with everything is: What does your gut tell you? It really is an intuition thing. You can hear that someone’s been trained at Harvard and coached the founder of Google and has done a TED talk, but if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s a no.”

‘You can’t fix what you can’t see.’

Reiterating the significance of coaching, Bonvoisin said some people “keep doing what they’ve always done and keep getting poor results because they can’t fix what they can’t see.”

“For example, you may not be able to see the way you’re asking for money. It may appear like you’re getting a lot of money until you work with a coach who’s going to show you not what your verbal communication is, but what your energetic communication is.”

She says a professional coach can help people realize their inner life is determining their outer life and that the way they are viewing the world is what is impacting the world they see.

The elite coach sees entrepreneurs as “master storytellers” who are telling a story to the outside world, to the press, to their clients, to their investors, to their colleagues, and to people they want to hire.

“And yet the most important story is the one you’re telling yourself,” Bonvoisin said, adding that a coach can help founders break free from the shackles of limiting beliefs and tell themselves a more “empowering” story.

Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.

Source: How Founder Coaching Can Lift Humanity up in the VC World

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References

Grant, Anthony M. (2005). “What is evidence-based executive, workplace, and life coaching?”. In Cavanagh, Michael J.; Grant, Anthony M.; Kemp, Travis (eds.). Evidence-based Coaching, Vol. 1: Theory, Research and Practice from the Behavioural Sciences. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Australian Academic Press. pp. 1–12. ISBN 9781875378579. OCLC 67766842.

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

Nothing propels a company more quickly than innovation, and nothing stifles it more quickly than a “that’s how we’ve always done it” attitude. News startup Axios is an excellent example of a company breaking barriers and thinking outside the box. The company is making a big bet that other companies will pay to learn how to write like Axios reporters.

The new communications platform, AxiosHQ, launched in February and enables companies to send Axios-style, just-the-facts internal newsletters. Its cost? At least $10,000 annually. It remains to be seen whether executives will be willing to invest that kind of money, but it’s a fascinating proposition.

Related: Why Your Marketing Team Should Be Journalists

What does it take for organizations to vet, approve and develop similarly innovative ideas? The answer is not simple, and it varies from company to company. Innovation efforts get plenty of lip service, but it’s much harder to perfect a process for selecting and implementing top ideas.

No magic wand for innovation

In the same way that data-driven decisions run many aspects of an organization, leaders need to use data to create a rubric for vetting innovative ideas. This enforces discipline and keeps everyone on the same page.

Without an evaluation process, innovation programs become short-sighted and may fall out of alignment with long-term organizational goals. Having an organized process also removes emotion from decision-making to keep project focus and dollar spend as data-driven as possible.

For innovation to succeed, leaders also have to be aligned around critical factors. This forms a living rubric that can be adapted throughout the organization as business needs shift and evolve. Generally, some sort of innovation leader — a chief innovation officer, a chief strategy officer or a business unit leader — will lead this team to ensure the process runs smoothly and stays on track.

When we developed our rubric at Coplex, we struggled to find a technical solution that was flexible enough while still enabling us to manage our ideas. We ended up building one ourselves. We now use this tool to drive the underlying engine of our entire idea management process, and it works because effective innovation strategy always starts at the top. Bring your entire leadership team together from the beginning of the process to discuss priorities and foster conversations about ideas, outlining your concrete vision along the way.

Related: Did Someone Reject Your Idea? Because of Coronavirus, They Might Reconsider

Here are three ways to evaluate your innovation ideas and create a framework to make them a strategic reality:

1. Create an innovation blueprint

Before you begin to gather ideas from your team, you have to first come up with a blueprint — such as Google’s Eight Pillars of Innovation — that defines the initiative’s overall structure. This helps put up guardrails around the problem spaces the organization is willing to play in and, more importantly, which problem spaces are off-limits.

An innovation blueprint consists of three distinct components: statement, antithesis and thesis. Your statement defines your company’s ambitions and outlines why you believe in what you’re doing, why now is the best time to do it and what makes you the best candidate for the job.

From here, develop an antithesis that defines the problems, business models and core technologies you don’t intend to address. Why? It removes distractions and keeps the focus on priorities. Finally, create a thesis that gives you a clear lens into how you’ll invest in problem spaces, business models and technologies to create the change you want to see.

2. Define innovation themes

Once you’ve developed a solid blueprint, it’s time to identify the themes of problem spaces you intend to solve. This step will define the categories in which your innovation ideas should fall while clearly outlining how your solutions could come into play.

Think of this as similar to how the National Association of Engineers (NAE) outlines the many challenges left to overcome in its field. In its report on the grand challenges of engineering, NAE defines themes (e.g., joy, sustainability, health and security) as areas ripe for innovation and abundant with opportunity.

The core reason for taking this approach? It allows you to consider potential ways to innovate beyond what the organization had imagined before — and to set goals with those parameters in mind.

Related: What Sustainable Innovation Might Look Like in 2021

3. Map measurement criteria back to a rubric

Once you’ve defined your innovation themes, it’s time to develop the criteria you’ll use to measure your success. Global design firm IDEO made it a goal to quantify innovation by looking at its clients’ internal team dynamics as well as other companies focused on innovation.

The firm identified six areas key to innovation and then sent its survey, coined “Creative Difference,” to larger organizations to understand how team members were performing when it came to innovation. Once the survey was complete, IDEO sent results with tangible innovation metrics and recommendations on how to follow and meet them moving forward.

As you define how you measure innovation and create your unique rubric, keep in mind that you aren’t limited to traditional metrics. Feel comfortable being creative and innovative as you decide on those! It’s possible to measure everything from societal impact and economic value to organizational scale and new market discovery.

The process of pursuing innovative ideas requires much more than a quick brainstorming session or selecting an appealing idea from a list. By creating an underlying philosophy and structure governing the prioritization of ideas that flow through an organization, you can retain control over your innovation program’s outcomes instead of leaving anything to chance.

Business ideas that solve problems are fundamental to developing the world and companies such as Curemark are one of many who do this. Curemark is a biotech company founded by Joan Fallon, who noticed that a lot of the children she treated were low on an enzyme for processing protein and since then she has quit her job and has built Curemark to solve this problem. Curemark has now raised $50 million and is on its way to solving a problem that truly exists.

Profitability is a business’s ability to generate earnings compared to its costs over a certain period of time. This is possibly the most important aspect of any business idea in the long term, as this is what makes a business survive in order to keep having the impact that it has. Profitable ideas need a strong revenue stream against its costs and this tends to create the success of the business, however, some companies defy this and make losses to begin with, yet are still exceptional business ideas that are worth billions.

Brenda Schmidt

By: Brenda Schmidt / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

 

Source: How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

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References

Newcomer, Eric (30 June 2015). “Uber bonds term sheet reveals $470 million in operating losses”. bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

5 Ways to Keep Your Business Going in Hard Times

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Keeping a small business afloat in difficult economic times is challenging, and the coronavirus pandemic has definitely roiled the waters on which owners must sail. Unfortunately, there is no set playbook to follow to ride out the storm and right the ship. Every small business is different, and each carries its own risks and rewards. These differences make copying another company’s turnaround strategy to the letter unrealistic. Still, there are some general strategies business owners can follow to help them stop taking on water and start bailing themselves out.

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping a small business afloat in challenging times can be difficult, but extra attention to detail can help ensure that a business survives.
  • Because every small business is different, and each carries its own risks and rewards, there is no set playbook to follow for survival.
  • Some useful advice that applies across small businesses includes looking at the big picture, inventorying the staff, making sure the business has ready access to cash, sweating the small stuff, and avoiding a sacrifice of quality.

1. Look at the Big Picture

People have a tendency to attack the most obvious immediate problems with vigor and without hesitation. That’s understandable and might make good business sense in some situations. However, it is also advisable to step back and look at the big picture to see what is still working and what might need changing. It’s an opportunity to better comprehend the size and scope of existing problems and further understand your company’s business model—determining how its strengths and weaknesses come into play.

For example, suppose a small business owner discovers that two employees are consistently making mistakes with inventory that cause certain supplies to be overstocked or understocked. While an initial reaction might be to fire those employees, it could be wiser to examine whether the manager who hired and supervises them has properly trained them.

If the manager is to blame, that person could be fired, but this might not be the best approach. If the manager’s relationships with existing clientele have a history of bringing in repeat business and substantial revenue, they are likely someone you’d want to keep. Retraining might be a better alternative than termination.

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While businesses have been hurting financially, Steve Leondis’s air freight company has remained strong and prosperous. .. The Christian Broadcasting Network CBN http://www.cbn.com

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By thoroughly scrutinizing the strengths and weaknesses of the employees, the owner is looking at the issue from a top-down perspective, reducing or eliminating the chance that the problems will recur while avoiding a change that could adversely impact future sales.

Fix a similar kind of lens on analyzing how your product or service fits into the marketplace now, how the economic crisis has affected your customers and suppliers, and all the other key aspects of your business. You need to know how well your business model fits the current environment and forecast what various alternative scenarios of the future might mean for it.

2. Inventory Your Staff

Payroll is often one of the top costs a small business owner has, so seeing to it that the money is well spent makes sense. This may involve a thorough review of the staff—both when a problem arises and during the normal course of business—to make sure the right people are on board and doing their jobs effectively.

Both small business owners and large corporations tend to be penny wise and pound foolish when they hire the least expensive workers. Sometimes the productivity of those workers may be suspect. Hiring one worker who costs 20% more than the average worker but works 40% more effectively makes sense, particularly during periods of crisis. By constantly seeking résumés and interviews from new people, business owners can make changes to staff when needed to increase efficiency.

3. Ensure Access to Cash

Small business owners should take steps to ensure that the company has access to cash, particularly in periods of crisis. Visiting a bank loan officer and understanding what’s required to obtain a loan is a good first step, as is opening a line of credit in advance to fund possible short-term cash-flow problems. Establishing a good relationship with a banker is always useful for a small business. For example, business owners who had such relationships had an easier time accessing PPP loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.1

Small business owners should have other potential sources of capital lined up as well. This might include tapping into savings, liquidating stock holdings, or borrowing from family members. A small business owner must have access to capital or have a creative way to obtain funds to make it through lean times.

4. Start Sweating the Small Stuff

Although it is important to keep an eye on the big picture, a small business owner should not overlook smaller things that may have an adverse impact on the business. A large tree obstructing the public’s view of the business or the company’s signage, inadequate parking, lack of road/traffic access, and ineffective advertising are examples of small problems that can put a big dent in a business’ bottom line.

Considering and analyzing the numerous factors that bring customers in the door can help to identify some problems. Going through your quarterly expenses line by line may also help. Owners should not be checking for one-time expenses here, as those items were most likely necessary charges. Instead, they should look for small items that seem innocent but are actually draining the accounts.

For example, the cost of office supplies can quickly get out of hand if they are ordered improperly. Similarly, if your supplier increases product prices, you should consider looking around for a cheaper supplier.

5. Don’t Sacrifice Quality

Keeping a handle on costs is crucial in tough times. Owners need to stay on the offensive and get employees on board with changes that are being made. However, be cognizant of not sacrificing quality when making these product changes.

Business owners seeking to improve profit margins should be wary of making dramatic changes to key components. For example, if a pizzeria is going through a dry spell, the owner could seek to expand margins per pie by purchasing cheaper cheese or sauce ingredients. Note that the strategy could backfire if customers become dissatisfied with the taste of the pizza and sales decrease. The key is to make cost and other cuts that don’t compromise the quality of the finished product. Perhaps there is a way to cut the price of takeout boxes or paper napkins instead.

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Source: 5 Ways to Keep Your Business Going in Hard Times

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Want A Successful Business? Focus On These 5 Things

It shocks me to see how many entrepreneurs continue to get in their own way by focusing on the wrong things in business. There’s no reason to make success hard when it’s easy.

Don’t focus on what you don’t know at first you’ll just get frustrated and stuck. Focus instead on what you can do and keep going to gain momentum. This means focusing on the easy parts first, then coming back to the more difficult aspects of building your business. Hopefully, by then you’ll have built up enough momentum that it won’t break your productive focus.

The following are some of the basic business skills (especially soft skills) that drive you to success with ease. These basic skills are what truly set you up for success.

  1. Focus on what works for easy success. Many entrepreneurs believe they’ll succeed, but they lack the basic business skills and common business sense to back up that belief. They waste a lot of time focusing on expensive details.

For instance, when I work with entrepreneurs in building or reinventing their businesses, I help them develop or re-create their branding. Occasionally, I get a client who gets stuck on such details as perfecting the font on the logo when he should be focusing on areas of the business that generate profits. People like this make it hard for themselves, instead of making it easy by trusting the process.

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Introducing how to succeed in business. 6 Secret steps to success. Part 2 – How to achieve your dreams in real life – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHwxR…

Obsessing over perfection or the wrong details isn’t cost-effective. You must learn how to prioritize. Know how much time to spend on each aspect of your business, and don’t waste time on less important tasks.

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  1. Avoid “Squirrel Syndrome.” It’s not uncommon for a business owner to spin their wheels and lose focus. When this happens, many people start looking for the next bright, shiny object to grab hold of. This is called Squirrel Syndrome.
  • Squirrels have a severe inability to focus.
  • Squirrels often dart back and forth—doubting their deci­sions—unable to choose a direction.
  • Squirrels have something to teach us: what not to do.

The Squirrel Syndrome may cause abrupt dashes from one idea to another or one project to the next. When this happens, you become unfocused and may even become frantic about not getting things accomplished. The result is, you delay or never complete important projects to reach your goals.

You can avoid Squirrel Syndrome by learning to recognize when a squirrel shows up in your life. Refocus by taking the time to define the project or direction in which you need to go. Then stay on task and turn off all distractions. Remember, every time you stray off course, it takes that much longer to reach your goals.

  1. Focus on activities that create results. Focus is one of those basic-but-critical, habits you need to master if you want to be successful. Improve your focus on the day-to-day basic business activities you do best, and from which you produce extraordinary results. If you don’t, you’ll create higher stress levels and may experience burnout. When you spend most of your time and energy doing the business tasks you’re brilliant at and allow others (like employees or subcontractors) to do the rest, you reap the biggest rewards.

For example, don’t try building a website unless you’re a webmaster, and don’t try learning technical skills if that isn’t the best use of your time. Outsource those things instead, and focus on running your business so it can grow and prosper.

  1. Multitask mindfully. The key to multitasking is to do it strategically and mindfully. Mindful multitasking means that you check in with yourself and determine how you need to focus in each new situation.

Mindful multitasking allows you to stop reacting to distractions, such as the automatic reflex to answer the phone or read an incoming text. It allows you to focus on the actions that provide the best results and disregard everything else. After you set your intentions for the day, create a to-do list that you can tackle using mindful multitasking, allowing yourself to be present in each action you take for the day.

  1. Focus on developing one big project at a time. Don’t try to start multiple projects at once—it fragments focus and time. Entrepreneurs are creative people, often with many good business ideas. And it’s hard turning off the desire to act on multiple ideas at one time. But if you split your attention between more than one big project at a time, you’ll run into trouble completing anything at all. You’re going to need all your energy and focus to get your one new project off the ground.

Here are five ways to remain focused on whatever your task at hand may be:

  1. Write out what you need to accomplish each day so you don’t forget important tasks. When a new idea comes to mind, don’t stop what you’re doing. Simply make a note of it and come back to it at a more convenient time.
  2. Focus on your overall ideas and then implement an effective action plan. Keep your top three goals in mind and commit to achieving them each week. Write down the specific actions you need to take to achieve those goals.
  3. Tackle creative work first. Mindless work will drain your energy, lower your focus, and waste your time. When you start with creative work at the beginning of the day, you can work on the most complex projects when your energy is highest before moving on to simpler tasks, such as answering emails or returning calls.
  4. Understand what’s worthy of distraction. Don’t allow last-minute, nonemergency issues to kill your focus. Stay on task and stick to your commitments. Prioritize other tasks and put together a timeline so you’re not needlessly distracted.
  5. Unplug from email, social media, and phone calls. Take a break from all outside distractions and focus on the task at hand. You’ll get a lot more done when you’re not constantly interrupting yourself.

Debbie Allen

By:Debbie Allen / Speaker, Business Mentor & Author

Source: Want a Successful Business? Focus on These 5 Things

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3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.

Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training

Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.

1. You are not a manager, you are a leader

Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness

True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

2. Get lean

Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”

The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process

Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management

3. Invest in real business efficiency review

Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent.

The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

By: Samuel leach / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Director of Samuel & Co Trading

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TakingTheBiz

In this revision tutorial for A level Business students we examine how to improve the efficiency of a business by improving its labour productivity. Efficiency and labour productivity are topics on the new A level Business specifications for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. TakingTheBiz is a channel dedicated to A level Business revision. See more of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/TakingTheBiz…​ Stay in touch with TakingTheBiz via social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakingTheBiz/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheBiz​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/takingthebiz/

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How to Overcome Your Most Pressing Network Challenges

Today’s IT networks must change. As businesses adopt more modern, cloud-native apps and support a fast-growing remote workforce, they can no longer rely on traditional network architectures that use legacy hardware and bolted-on security. They need flexible, high-performance networks that can connect and protect applications across a multi-cloud environment.

Adopting a software-defined networking approach will be key for transforming networks. By using software as the primary means of directing and optimising network traffic and managing security, organisations can support modern applications and empower a remote workforce—all while streamlining management and cutting costs.

Though network transformation is essential, organisations do not have to launch a single all-or-nothing project. No enterprise would be willing to rip and replace a network that reaches from the data centre to the cloud and the edge. The cost to the business would be too high if anything goes wrong, and the investment in time and resources could be enormous.

Instead, organisations can start by addressing what matters most. They might be focused on delivering applications to employees and customers from multiple clouds. Perhaps they must support a suddenly larger remote workforce, providing high-performance connectivity to employees working from home. Maybe they’ve been shaken by a perimeter breach and need to implement Zero Trust security within the data centre immediately. Or they might want to accelerate provisioning of network services and gain more of a public cloud experience in the private data centre.

The VMware NSX® family of networking products helps organisations address these and other critical priorities. By drawing from modular NSX products, organisations can overcome immediate challenges while beginning to build a flexible, scalable and secure modern network that can handle evolving business requirements.

Deliver applications consistently across multiple clouds

IT groups must deliver apps consistently to employees and customers—no matter where those apps are running and how users are accessing them. Maintaining high performance is critical even as demand and usage patterns change. Employees should be productive whether they are remotely accessing a cloud-native app or using a workstation at headquarters to access an enterprise app running in the data centre. And customers should experience responsive apps even during peak usage periods.

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer™ is a software-based multi-cloud application delivery service that helps organisations maintain high performance. It provides fast, scalable and secure application experiences, whether applications are delivered from the cloud or from on-premises data centres.

Empower remote workers with a secure, high-performance network

The traditional branch office is a thing of the past. While physical workplaces will never disappear, the virtual office is here to stay. Organizations need to empower employees to work from anywhere—providing performance comparable to headquarters, even if employees are working from their living room couch. At the same time, organisations must enhance security so that remote workers do not put the enterprise at risk by using unsecured networks.

VMware NSX SD-WAN™ delivers reliable, high-performance access to cloud services; private, public and hybrid data centres; and software-as-a-service (SaaS)–based enterprise applications. To strengthen security at the edge, VMware also offers a comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) solution, which integrates NSX SD-WAN with Zero Trust network access capabilities, a secure web gateway and an AI-driven intelligence, all delivered through a SaaS model. The VMware SASE Platform™ provides next-level security and peace of mind for supporting distributed workforces.

Secure the data centre from the inside out

As businesses expand their networks and run apps in new cloud environments, they must also fortify security. IT groups need ways to secure traffic for virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads, safeguarding against lateral movement of malware and ensuring ongoing compliance with strict regulations.

VMware NSX products help establish intrinsic, built-in security to protect apps and data wherever they reside. For example, the VMware NSX Service-defined Firewall™ is a distributed scale-out internal firewall purpose-built to protect east-west traffic across virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads. This solution architecture enables a fundamental shift in network security by placing a software-delivered firewall inside the data centre, close to apps, instead of using a traditional perimeter firewall at the data centre edge. IT groups can now thwart lateral movement of malware through advanced threat prevention while controlling costs and complexity.

Gain public cloud agility across all clouds, public and private

To keep up with new business imperatives, many organisations are looking to speed provisioning of networking services and security capabilities. They want the same level of agility they experience with public cloud environments, even as they bring together private clouds, public clouds and edge clouds in a single, integrated network.

VMware NSX products can accelerate delivery of consistent, multi-cloud networking and security capabilities by providing the foundation for software-defined networking. For example, VMware NSX Data Center is a complete layer 2 through layer 7 platform that reproduces the entire network model in software. IT groups can create and provision any network topology—from simple to complex—in seconds. They can consistently manage networking and security policies across data centres and cloud environments from a single console.

Start your network transformation now

As businesses adopt new apps and support new ways of working, they need to transform their networks. Deploying a software-defined network enhances agility for continued change. VMware NSX products enable businesses to create a modern network—built for the cloud, delivered as software and services. As modular offerings, NSX products allow businesses to select the best starting point now and incorporate new products within a unified framework as their network transformation continues.

By VMware

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Moxa

Today’s remote ITS networks are more critical than ever. Upgrading an existing TMS to ATMS network is no longer solely focused on connectivity. This webinar covers 4 major network challenges and how to overcome them. 1. Connecting existing legacy assets 2. Skills Gap 3. Network Complexity 4. Network Security and Management #MoxaConnects#IntelligentTransportation

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How to Ensure Love Doesn’t End Your Business

Surely you have ever heard that mixing love and business is not a very good option, which is not necessarily true, since the success of a business will always depend on how its owners manage it and not on their kinship.

The simple fact of starting a business is a great challenge that generates fear, and if your idea is to start with your partner, this can become an even greater challenge, which few dare to try. According to figures from the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Annual Report, approximately 34% of entrepreneurs are afraid of failure.
So that this does not happen to you, it is necessary that you take into account the following tips, which will be very useful when starting a business together with your partner:

1. Define objectives: before starting your business, it is important that you define the objectives you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term, as this will help you to have a guide for decision making.

2. Make a budget: it is essential that from the beginning they consider what expenses they will have month after month and that they keep an updated record of their income and expenses. To do this, I recommend you download the Monthly Budget format for free, with which you can significantly improve your business finances.

3. Establish their functions: discuss and agree on what functions they will have, the position they will carry out and the specific and general objectives. This will help them to have a better organization and avoid conflicts.

4. Separate personal finances: when they have defined what functions they will perform, it is necessary that each one has a salary assigned, since one of the worst financial mistakes they can make is to take the money that is destined for the business to pay your personal expenses.

5. Emergency fund: they must take into account that if they decide to work in the same business, all income will depend on a single source of work, so if the business stops operating, the income of both can be seriously threatened. For this reason, they must have a cash emergency fund that allows them to cover at least three months of their monthly expenses and which they only use for a true emergency.

Remember that love should not be an impediment for a business to grow and be maintained, undertaking as a couple can also bring you great benefits that improve your relationship. The only thing that must be maintained is communication and organization.

By: Alejandro Saracho

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TEDx Talks

Community growth expert and business mentor Best-selling author and business strategist Jadah Sellner believes that all business is personal, and that love has a very important role in the workplace. Why You Should Listen: At no other time in our history have humans been so connected — and so lonely. And companies that can tap into our innate need to be part of a tribe will stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

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