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Forget YouTube Fame; Social Responsibility is Key To Career Happiness.

career

Forget YouTube Fame; Social Responsibility is Key To Career Happiness.

American children and teens, when asked the age-old question of what they want to be as adults, lean toward careers that could bring personal fame or are just plain fun, rather than those that might contribute to the betterment of society or lead to scientific progress.

“While we’re focused on fame and fun, other countries are emphasizing discipline and a good work ethic,” says Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior.

The latest example came in a survey Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Lego, where American children ages 8 to 12 picked vlogger/YouTuber as their No. 1 career choice. Chinese children, in comparison, overwhelmingly chose astronaut.

The results are similar to a survey Chicago-based market-research company C+R conducted a couple of years ago. American teenagers were asked about career aspirations and the largest percentage, 20 percent, said they want to be an athlete, artist or entertainer.

Mintz says the emphasis on fame – combined with a trend of many employers trying to create a “fun” work environment for employees – is troubling.

“Is this really what success looks like in the U.S.?” he asks. “Can we reasonably be expected to compete with the Chinese in the 21st century by making the workplace fun when the Chinese, who will likely surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy within the next 10 years, have skyrocketed to the top through hard work and discipline?”

But eschewing fun for fun’s sake doesn’t mean employees can’t find happiness at work. Mintz says that is better accomplished by creating a socially responsible workplace, which he says meshes nicely with the passion millennials and Gen Z have for social causes.

Some ways to help employees find happiness and meaning on the job, he says, include:

Establish an ethical culture. Companies should strive to create an ethical workplace culture where employees are encouraged to serve the interests of the company’s stakeholders – customers, clients and suppliers – and to do so ethically, Mintz says. Creating an ethical workplace starts with ethical values: emphasize doing what is right not wrong; doing good things not harmful ones.

Coach employees on the workplace’s values. Company leaders should engage employees in regular discussions about workplace ethics and the procedures that are designed to uphold ethical practices, Mintz says. “Employers must coach employees so they do good by being good, which means commit to ethical values,” he says.

Tap into the social conscience many employees already have. A recent survey reports that nearly one in five business-school students would sacrifice more than 40 percent of their salary to work for a responsible employer. “Some will work for nonprofits where they are committed to the cause,” Mintz says. “Millennials especially seek out purpose in their employment. I believe that’s because each of us is searching for happiness and greater meaning in life and our jobs provide one of the best sources to enhance our well-being.”

“Although there are troubling signs in our society regarding attitudes about jobs,” Mintz says, “I am heartened by other surveys that show millennials and Gen Z really care about what a business does, whether its actions are ethical and trustworthy, and that a purpose-driven culture exists that puts benefitting society front and center in their mission statement.”

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Dr. Steven Mintz (www.stevenmintzethics.com), author of Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior, has frequently commented on ethical issues in society and business ethics. His Workplace Ethics Advice blog has been recognized as one of the top 30 in corporate social responsibility. He also has served as an expert witness on ethics matters. Dr. Mintz spent almost 40 years of his life in academia. He has held positions as a chair in Accounting at San Francisco State University and Texas State University. He was the Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at Cal State University, San Bernardino. He recently retired as a Professor Emeritus from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo.

social media

How Social Media Can Change The Whole Game For A New Business

To become a successful entrepreneur, the new business owner must find ways to reach customers. Social media can make that job easier.

The rise of social media as a marketing tool has had a major impact on businesses, particularly startups. Studies have shown that more people follow brands on social media than follow celebrities.

But while social media marketing can put a new business on the map, missteps can be made that are costly to the bottom line (and one’s reputation), says Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com), an entrepreneur who founded Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas.

“There’s good and bad social media marketing,” says Sciano. “As an entrepreneur, few of us are good at it. We can play around with it and learn about it, or throw a little money at it here and there.

“Now that social media marketing is such a big business, you really have to find the right marketing company that fits you. Either way, through a company that focuses on it or doing your social media marketing in-house, it’s imperative to learn what to do, and what not to do, if you want social media to be an effective tool to attract and retain customers.”

Sciano suggests five ways to make social media work for your new business:

Know who and where your customers are. “Adopting social media tools must be a well-planned and researched step,” Sciano says. “It starts with determining who your target audience is – who would have a need for your product? – and their demographics. Then it’s vital to find out which platforms your potential customers are on before devising an appropriate strategy for each.”

Know what your message is. “This has to be specific,” Sciano says. “You need various angles in order to pull them into core message. There’s too much clutter and competition out there in social media for you to be general and bland about your product’s value. If you want to build more customers, you need to give them what they want and message it in a way they can relate to.”

Set goals on customer engagement. “The whole idea is creating curiosity in your product,” Sciano says. “How many responses should you expect in the early weeks, the third month, and so on? Is your message working or does it require tweaking? Setting a goal for number of responses is a metric you need to have.”

Find the right marketing company.  Social media marketing can be of utmost importance to entrepreneurs who do it themselves because they don’t have the large marketing budgets that more established companies have. But Sciano says those entrepreneurs who do hire social media marketing companies shouldn’t get aligned with a firm that has too many accounts to spend significant time with them. “Finding the right marketing team is easier said than done,” Sciano says. “They need to understand you and your message completely. They need to see your passion for the business and you must see their passion for getting your message out there effectively. The right marketing company becomes an integral member of your team, not just a vendor.”

Learn from failure. “This is often the best teacher,” Sciano says. “I fail every day but my company has come a long, long way. From losses come victories, creative solutions, more curiosity and optimism. All of that drives you and your company forward on various social media platforms.”

“Social media is a great way to create a buzz about your business,” Sciano says. “But it takes time, patience, flexibility and perseverance. And for many entrepreneurs, it’s become a daily part of their business model that they can’t do without.”

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Deni Sciano (www.ScoreGameDayBag.com) is the founder of Score! Designs, LLC, a women-owned designer handbag company based in San Antonio, Texas. A former teacher and marketing director, Sciano created her company and products with today’s heightened security issues at sports stadiums and arenas chiefly in mind. Her clear bags are sold in all 50 states.

assets

Protecting Your Assets: Easy ways to Ensure your Money is Kept Secure

What would you say are the biggest risks facing your business? Increasingly strong competition? The possibility of a global financial crash? The threat of global terrorism? Or the ever-present threat of cybercrime?

Some of these ‘risks’ might sound somewhat unlikely or implausible, but even the most optimistic entrepreneurs know that future success is never guaranteed. In order to safeguard future prosperity, proactive planning is absolutely essential, especially when it comes to protecting your assets.

But in spite of a growing list of business threats, sometimes the old ways are the best. More often than not, you can protect your assets with simple habits and age-old strategies.

Pick the Right Business Entity

The first step in protecting your assets is choosing the right business entity. For example, an S corporation or limited liability company provides more protection and will safeguard your money more than a proprietorship.

“There will certainly be multiple tax-planning considerations, but operating as a sole proprietorship definitely isn’t your best choice for asset protection,” says Mark J. Kohler, author of The Tax and Legal Playbook. “As a sole proprietorship, your personal assets are completely exposed to a potential lawsuit.”

Abide by Corporate Principles

From maintaining a separate bank account and checkbook for your business to maintaining records and logging annual meeting minutes, you need to uphold corporate professionalism at all times. 

Locking away the entity’s articles of incorporation in your drawer is all well and good, but it won’t save you if and when you’re subject to a lawsuit. 

Use Correct Procedure 

“One of the easiest ways for creditors to pierce the corporate veil and attack your personal assets is if you act negligently or fraudulently,” says Kohler. This can be avoided by:

-Having lease agreements for rentals

-Putting property and equipment titles in the company name

-Having subcontractor agreements in place

-Never hiring people under the table

-Only using licensed, bonded, and/or insured professionals

-Not relying on emails for terms

Define your Payment Terms

Getting paid and having a healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of every small business. Unfortunately, many invoices are paid late which can have an adverse effect on your business. 

When defining your payment terms, make sure to include details like accepted forms of payment (e.g. yes to business checks, no to credit cards) and late-payment penalties. This will go a long way in protecting your assets and keeping money secure. 

Purchase the Right Insurance

“Insurance is an important part of your business and should be included in your startup budget,” notes Kohler. “Insurance gives you the ability to take care of an incident in your business and gives plaintiffs another target.”

You should also look into umbrella insurance, which can be personal or business and provides $1-2 million in coverage for just $300-500 a year. Just bear in mind that it doesn’t protect you or your assets in every instance including fraudulent, criminal, reckless, or negligent action.

crisis

How to Motivate Yourself When You’re In A Business Crisis

It happens to everyone: Periods of low motivation and productivity, known as decline. There are two big problems when there is a decline in the home business. First, breakdowns can become an endless cycle of low motivation and inactivity. The more you give in to the decline, the more you will fall on your head. The second problem is that if you meet your crisis, your income will go down.

What causes a decline?

Before you take action to get out of the crisis, you need to find out why you are in it. In many cases, finding out the cause can reveal a solution. Some common factors that lead to a decline include:

-Overwork and stress leading to burnout

-Seasonal affective disorder

-Boredom

-Fear

-Failure or disappointment

-Disconnect from your goals

In the case of seasonal disorder, moving the office to a place where you have natural light or getting a special lamp can improve your mood. However, if your lack of motivation is due to other reasons, especially if you have experienced failure or disappointment or are no longer excited about your goals, it can be difficult to pick up and start moving again.

How to motivate yourself when you are in crisis

Action is the best remedy for a motivational crisis. In many cases, any activity is useful unless you plan to rock all day on social media channels.

Of course, during the crisis, it is extremely difficult to take positive action. Here are some tricks you can try to recover from your enterprising mojo.

Nutrition of your mind: If you can’t motivate yourself from the inside, let external factors arouse the desire to achieve your goals. Here are some ways to do this:

Reading: Most successful people who have a morning routine include reading as part of the ritual. Reading can give you new ideas to try your hand at business, solve problems, and inspire you.

 Listen to podcasts: If reading requires more effort than you can, listen to the podcast or watch the video. Like books, you can learn new strategies to use in your business and draw inspiration from the successes of others.

Release negative energy by writing: You don’t have to be eloquent or grammatical. You don’t even need to know what you’re going to say. Just take a piece of paper or journal and start writing whatever comes to your mind. It shows writing 3-page chunks each day to clarify, prioritize, and synchronize the day. Even if you don’t want to take on everyday journalism, writing while you’re in the pound is a great way to release negative energy, unload your thoughts and frustration on paper, and get clarity about what is on your path. To offset the negative, you can also spend time remembering and appreciating the good in your life and business. Releasing negatives and refueling gratefully can give you the energy to take positive action.

Networking with your tribe: Networking is not just about making connections that can grow your business. Through your network, you can also express your appreciation, receive feedback and help, and get inspired. If possible, connect to the network in person. The level of activity required to get out of the house, stay in a new environment, and receive positive energy from your surroundings can increase your motivation. But if you can’t leave, connect over the internet.

Listen to Music: Believe it or not, music is good for the brain. According to a Berkeley article at the University of California, research shows that music can raise the mood, which is an important factor in getting out of the crisis. Music can also reduce stress, improve health, support memory and make us want to move (another way to get out of a funk).

Movement: Lack of motivation can become a spiral of lower and lower activity. Moving around is a great way to counteract this. You don’t have to do the vigorous activity at the gym. Instead, you can go for a walk or bike ride, stretch or practice yoga, dance or clean the house. Moving causes blood flow, which supplies more oxygen to the brain and muscles, which is important for improving your mood. Getting started can be difficult. One of them is playing with children (e.g. Tag in the yard) or asking a friend to go for a walk with you. People are more likely to follow if they have committed to someone else.

Change the schedule: If you are a hero because you are bored and do not feel like it, changing routine activities can make them interesting. As a home business owner, you’re the boss, which means you can organize your day as you like.

Change the environment: As your schedule again, changing the environment can also accelerate the crisis. One option is simply to go to work somewhere else, for example to a cafe, park or museum. Another option is to renew your home office. Moving the desk and changing the place can make you feel like you are in a completely new place. Consider adding some office facilities that have shown that research can help improve health, mood, and productivity.

Reward: Motivation research suggests that in the long run, hanging a carrot doesn’t work to inspire motivation. However, it can work in the short run. If you’re having trouble getting to your desk to get the job done, give yourself a reward when you do it. Choose something you want and it will work. An example would be, after completing quest A, you’ll have coffee with a friend.

Do something, something: Newton’s first law regarding motion states than an object at rest (falling) remains at rest (fall), and an object in motion remains in motion. Activity is the best remedy for a crisis. Forcing yourself to do something, even one simple little thing can give you the beginning of a leap into further activity. It can be as simple as checking email or calling a customer.

Recognize that this streak is too slow: life is filled with flowing and flowing energy. Although external and emotional causes of decline may occur, sometimes there is a decrease in energy and motivation. The key is not to give in, instead to move until you get through it.

FCPA

How You can Certify 100% FCPA Compliance Based on New SEC/DOJ Requirements

Now that the SEC has gotten involved with FCPA along with the DOJ they have interpreted the FPCA statute to mean that a company must maintain a system of internal accounting controls that monitors FCPA Compliance not only internally within the organization, but for all its third parties including customers and  suppliers

With the average Fortune 50 company having over 75,000 suppliers and 300,000 large customers the enforcement is nearly impossible and deemed as “sneaky.”

Even former DOJ Leadership acknowledges the incredible challenge around FCPA Compliance, especially now that the SEC is stepped up its enforcement (See video like below at around the 14:40 mark).

https://youtu.be/xpo9d4CbHG0

However, there is a solution to avoid or mitigate FCPA  fines/actions as well as damaging public press-releases by the DOJ/SEC due to third party violations.  A robust but straightforward certification program can significantly mitigate this risk.

A Certification Program is primarily an attestation or assertion document that is acknowledged or signed by an employee/and all third parties delivered by email, a simple workflow software or even post mail. It is generally language-specific but is translators are not available English only works. The attestation or assertion document is asking an individual/entity/official to certify that they are Understand FCPA, Are FCPA Compliant, and Unaware of any violations.

You might be asking yourself that there is no way that all of my hundreds of thousands of suppliers/customers/colleagues will comply, and we will have with exposure? 

In the case of colleagues, its a more straightforward answer as the certification process should be mandatory using internal email or workflow tools driven from the top of the organization. In the case of third parties where there is less control, the recommendation is to send the certification communication (via email/post) up to three times in  90 days.  If there is no response, this is OK!

The key to this entire process is a robust documentation and controls process over the certifications – this includes the third parties that have not responded despite three attempts.

Essential elements to an FCPA  Certification process are:

-How the Certification is written ensuring that there is an emphasis on full disclosure and awareness and understanding of the FCPA Statute and any potential violations

-Process for Disseminating to third parties and internal employees

-Tracking and reporting

-Frequency

It is proven that a robust Certification Program implemented in advance of a certification program has lead to reduced penalties and even eliminated penalties as well as damaging Public Relations from the announcement of an SEC/DOJ Investigation.

A robust FCPA certification program may be the most significant cost avoidance and reputation damaging you can implement within your organization.

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For more information and learning more please contact Ation Advisory Group  (www.ationadvisory.com) or at (917) 821-2147.

success

How To Make The Mindset Change That Creates Good Habits — And Success

Achieving success or struggling depends on many factors, but habits go a long way toward determining either outcome, research shows.
Breaking bad habits and cultivating good ones can be difficult, and willpower alone isn’t enough, says Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com), a leadership coach and author of Self-Defined Success: You Already Have Everything It Takes.
“You can’t create the life you want unless you replace bad habits, and that happens by developing a new mindset,” says Nguyen. “These are new thought processes that are linked to your new clarity of vision for your life.
“Usually, some sort of stimuli triggers our habits. Breaking a habit requires changing the action that we take when the stimuli appear. Repeated over and over, these new, more constructive thoughts and resulting positive actions automatically become the new habit.”
Nguyen offers the following tips to transform bad habits into good habits that lead to success.
Clarify your life vision. “Reassessing what we want out of life can provide a more efficient roadmap of goals and how to reach them,” Nguyen says. “Translate your longings and discontents into an actionable, crystallized vision that propels you forward. If you feel stuck, a powerful vision that’s in alignment with your core values is the most critical first step in liberating yourself and creating the results you want. Good habits flow from an energizing new life vision.”
Don’t let doubt or worry hold you back. “Distinguish between believing if you deserve to live your dream life, and whether or not it is possible,” Nguyen says. “You don’t want to talk yourself out of the vision you have crafted for your life based on whether or not you think it is possible. It is absolutely possible, because if you can imagine the outcome, then there is a way. Knowing that, your new habits stay consistent.”
Replace negative beliefs with positive, empowering thoughts. Nguyen says habits that hinder success often stem from negative thoughts. Some common ones are beliefs about ourselves, other people, money, and success. “People think, ‘I’m not good enough, not smart enough,’ or, ‘Other people will deceive me,’ and, ‘Money is scarce and hard to earn,’ ” Nguyen says. “Changing our beliefs to positive is what will allow us to access ideas and allow new positive perception to enter our consciousness. If we recognize that a thought doesn’t serve us, then we can choose to think differently when a stimulus to think negatively occurs. Over time, it becomes easier to think differently because new neural pathways are strengthened with our persistence.”
Analyze your stories. “Stories are how we live our lives,” Nguyen says. “The way we each live is guided by our beliefs, habits, values and emotions. It becomes destructive when patterns repeat in our lives that we do not desire, like always having problems with money or the inability to have a fulfilling relationship. If similar patterns play out that we do not like, we can identify what the underlying belief is by taking an objective look at the story.”
“It is when your beliefs, thoughts, and emotions completely align with the person who is living their new, clarified vision that the life they want becomes possible,” Nguyen says. “New, good habits become second nature, and while success is never automatic, good habits make it far more likely.”
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Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com), author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes, is the founder/CEO of Cintamani Group, an executive coaching and consulting firm. Nguyen coaches on leadership and empowers entrepreneurs as an intuitive strategist, incorporating actionable concepts to achieve higher goals. With over a decade of business strategy experience as an advisor to Fortune 100 companies, Nguyen is also a certified master-level intelligent leadership executive coach with John Mattone and was an analyst for McKinsey & Company. Nguyen graduated with a double honors degree in biochemistry-biophysics and bioengineering from Oregon State University and completed a research fellowship at MIT in nanotechnology.
B2B

Keys to Success for B2B Relationships

In my 25-year career in business, I have serviced a wide range of industries, professionals, and businesses. I have operated in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and ‘business-to-business’ (B2B) spaces, and have learned much about how to engage with different types of clients and their various needs.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that being in a B2B industry is less complicated than a B2C, because your client intrinsically understands general business principles. However, I find B2B can often be more complicated than B2C, because each organization you serve has a highly variable set of needs, values, and processes.

Below are six questions you should ask when assessing a new B2B client that will help you understand how you can best serve them.

 What are their core values and mission statement?

The core values and mission statement of an organization create their guiding principles; their ‘north star.’ It is as important to understand this information when you are making a B2B sale as it is when you enter a business relationship with any of your clientele. Understanding your clients’ core values and mission statement will allow you to relate your services to what is important to them; and it will help your client more easily see the value you bring to their organization.

How are they funded?

Are they self-funded? Do business decisions have to run through a private equity firm? Understanding how your client is funded will help you better understand their internal processes, and will also help you understand how to most effectively communicate with them. Understanding their source of funding can also reveal an abundance of information about the internal dynamics of the organization.

What regulatory pressures are they facing?

This may seem out of left field, but understanding the regulatory burdens of the company or industry you are working with will help you gain an understanding of the outside pressures and complications of running their business. It is also important to know how your client stays updated on any regulatory changes. Many companies subscribe to association or lobbying groups to address and/or advocate for positions and policies on the company or industry’s behalf.

What are the relationship dynamics between the company and its leadership?

This may seem like a sensitive area, but it will help you better serve your clientele in the long run. For companies with medium-to-large sized workforces, find out what the employees’ views of company leadership are. Has leadership been promoted from within, or hired from outside? For smaller companies, find out whether the business owner hired has friends and family. How invested are the employees in the success of the organization, and what drives that investment?

How many employees does my client have?

While this seems like a relatively simple question, this can tell you more about a client than you think. A large employer, for example, will likely have more infrastructure to support a B2B relationship than a company with only a few employees whose culture is more ‘all hands on deck.’

When considering this factor, you can also elaborate and understand better who you should be communicating with, who should receive important documents, and how their internal processes work.

How can my services or product help them grow?

It is of chief importance to learn the customer’s business or industry so you can clearly articulate your business’ value proposition and how your product or services can help them grow. Learning more about their business and the life cycle of when your product or services will best serve their needs and how they can articulate it to their team.

Overall, there are many questions you must ask when entering into a B2B business arrangement. Taking steps to enhance your own understanding of the complexities of B2B clientele relationships and asking the right questions at the right time can and will lead to a successful and mutually beneficial business relationship.

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Vincent Ney is the Founder and President of Expansion Capital Group, a business dedicated to serving American small businesses by providing access to capital and other resources, so they can grow and achieve their definition of success. Since its inception, ECG has connected over 12,000 small businesses nationwide to approximately $350 million in capital.

management

5 Traits Today’s Leaders Need to Revolutionize Their Management Style

The rapid rate of change and innovation brought about by the digital age is putting many large corporations in peril as they realize they are in an “adapt-or-die” era.

But for a business to change, its leadership must be willing to change as well, and that doesn’t always happen, says Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com), a global thought leader and consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and is the author of the new book Leaderology.

“Old strategies and approaches are not sufficient anymore,” Konovalov says. “Unfortunately, we are stuck in the Dark Ages of management, in which we fall back on the old ways of leading people, rooted in the patterns, metrics and expectations of the past. We are in desperate need of a management revolution.”

Put simply, he says, a leader’s hesitation to learn and adapt to new realities kills any chance of spotting opportunities and being innovative.

“We have memories of such giants as Kodak and Borders,” Konovalov says. “Both used to be on the Fortune 500 list, but passed away because they were stuck in the old paradigm of thinking. A dogmatic way of thinking and acting won’t get anyone far in business.”

Konovolav says over the years he has learned numerous lessons about what separates extraordinary leaders from the ordinary. Here are just five of the traits true leaders possess:

They are involved with their teams. Managers who just monitor from afar what employees are doing tend to think they are good leaders as long as everything seems to be going well. “This is wrong,” Konovalov says. “Are you giving input to the team? Are you present when things are going well or only if things go poorly? The amount of effort and energy the leader puts into the work defines the actual role and status of the leader.”

They are a coach and receptive learner at the same time. “This is a good combination because, on the one hand, you help people to grow by sharing your expertise,” Konovolav says. “On the other hand, not learning from other people is equal to ignoring them.” In the best scenario, he says, there will be experts on the team from whom the leader and everyone else can learn.

They understand leadership is not a dictatorship. People in leadership positions possess power and influence, but they should use that power to serve people, Konovalov says. “If you do that, you’ll be paid back threefold with respect, support and loyalty,” he says. “Make your leadership worth following. Be an example by working for others, rather than acting like you’re king of the mountain in a kids’ game.”

They over-deliver on promises. When true leaders pledge to do something, they are able to calculate the risk and understand the effort needed to achieve what they have said they will do. “Real leaders know they will be judged against actual deeds and fulfilled promises,” Konovalov says. “Unfulfilled promises work against them and people who counted on them will leave. Promising too much is for incompetent leaders.”

They know that winners breed winners. It’s a leader’s duty to help people feel like winners even in small achievements, and to convince them of their ability to succeed despite past failure, Konovalov says. “People trained to win will win,” he says. “People trained to fail will fail.”

“The modern leader needs to combine meticulous planning with flexibility,” Konovalov says. “The wrong decisions and actions can lead to the whole organization losing sight of customer needs as well as quality, harming the long-term sustainability of the organization.

“Making the right decision means thinking of more than the company. It means considering the values and needs of customers and employees as well.”

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Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com) is a thought leader, author, business educator and consultant with over 25 years of experience operating businesses and consulting Fortune 500 companies internationally. His latest book is Leaderology. His other books are Corporate SuperpowerOrganisational Anatomy and Hidden Russia. Konovalov received his doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of business schools, a Forbes contributor and high in demand speaker at major conferences around the world.

community

3 Ways To Build A Community That Leads To Business Success

In the business world, making new connections and interacting with people — commonly known as networking — is essential in achieving and sustaining success.
But Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com), an intelligent leadership coach and author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes, says taking the next step beyond networking is where some people stumble. She calls that next step “community-building” and it can only happen with consistent relationship-building.
“Networking means little if strong relationships aren’t built for the long haul, sustained, and other connections don’t spawn from those relationships,” Nguyen says. “Being open and available for when opportunities come is what positions us to move forward. But you really can’t do so if you haven’t done enough relationship-building in order to build the community you need around you.
“Weaving a wide net of connection is the essence of community-building, which provides a solid foundation of true support to help you keep moving forward in business. It’s taught to a degree in networking, but building a community requires much more than honing that perfectly scripted pitch, going to countless networking events, talking to as many people as you can and handing out your card. What is required is the ability to build, foster, and hold relationships.”
Nguyen offers these ways to build relationships and a community of support around you:
Believe in the value of you. “Inwardly and outwardly, be clear about who you are and what you offer as a person,” Nguyen says. “Fully believe in the value of you, before your product. When you embody the confidence of your message, clients will clearly see your value and be more likely to buy.”
Seek to give, not to pitch. “Giving to others genuinely creates goodwill, and as you show you care for others, you build a rapport and they naturally are drawn to you,” Nguyen says. “Scrap the elevator pitch. Be real and someone people want to know. People will refer people they like, people who had an impact on them with their kindness. It’s much more effective than the salesperson at a networking event circling the room and handing out cards.”
Be in the right place, right time. Nguyen says one needs to trust their intuition to find the right networking places where long-term relationships can spawn. “You hone your intuition so it guides you to the right place, where you can be in the perfect opportunity that will skyrocket your success,” Nguyen says. “People do business with people they know, like, and trust. To find an environment that fosters this, seek out events that are more likely to attract a culture of giving and fun so it is more likely to build friendships. Then, business can happen naturally and organically.”
“The miracles and best things in our lives are often influenced by other people,” Nguyen says. “To build influence and a community of people who support you and constantly send you referrals requires relationships that keep growing, and much of that depends on what you put into it and how sincere you are.”
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Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com) is the author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes, and the founder/CEO of Cintamani Group, an executive coaching and consulting firm. Nguyen coaches on leadership and empowers entrepreneurs as an intuitive strategist. She is partnering with Secret Knock and WeWork to bring a major networking event to Boston on Dec. 11 for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
With over a decade of business strategy experience as an advisor to Fortune 100 companies, Nguyen is also a certified master-level intelligent leadership executive coach with John Mattone and was an analyst for McKinsey & Company. Nguyen graduated with a double honors degree in biochemistry-biophysics and bioengineering from Oregon State University and completed a research fellowship at MIT in nanotechnology.
business

4 Tips For Steering Your Business Through Tough Times

Good times come with this certainty: They never last.

For businesses, that means formidable challenges (a weak economy, new competition, a sea change in the marketplace) are always just around the corner, and unprepared business leaders face the potential for disaster.

“You don’t have the luxury of resting on your laurels,” says Alyssa Rapp (www.alyssarapp.com), CEO of Surgical Solutions and author of Leadership & Life Hacks: Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur & Executive.

“You have to keep battling, innovating, out-innovating, and outworking your competition.”

She knows something about that. From 2005 to 2015, Rapp served as the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes Inc., charting a course for the company through the turbulent years of the Great Recession. During her time at Bottlenotes, Rapp was named one of Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30” coolest entrepreneurs in the U.S. Starting in 2015, she served as the managing partner at AJR Ventures, which advised privately-held companies and private equity firms on their digital-marketing strategies.

Rapp offers four tips for helping business leaders meet the toughest of times with a resolute attitude:

Acknowledge fear, and move through it. Fear gets a bad rap, but it’s there for a reason: to protect you from something. “Just like standing on a balance beam is scary because your life or limbs are at risk, so, too, is making business decisions that carry huge risks,” says Rapp, a former competitive gymnast who knows something about balance beams. Your job is to acknowledge the fear – to take note of its presence – and then push through it. “Fear is a normal human response,” she says. “The trick is in not letting it dominate your psyche.”

Commit to finishing what you start. You have to commit before you even begin. “If you start anything knowing you probably won’t succeed, then you won’t,” Rapp says. “You’re setting yourself up for failure. You must show up with full commitment, having faith, true grit, and belief in yourself.”

Know that all great ideas start with ‘what if.’ Never be afraid to ask what if, over and over, until you find a solution, Rapp says. She points out that most of the best entrepreneurial innovation in the United States over the past 20 years has been born out of Silicon Valley, precisely because of the constant willingness to ask and re-ask this simple question. “Some people’s responses to challenges or obstacles are to stop asking questions,” Rapp says. “If you want to solve a problem, you have to open yourself up to the possibility that change is inevitable, and reframing the problem will present an otherwise undiscovered solution.”

Remember that you have to be present to win. You can’t win a race if you’re not competing. “So before you do anything else – before you commit to finishing what you start, before you acknowledge your fear and move through it – you have to show up,” Rapp says. “Remember that saying that 80 percent of success is showing up? There’s truth to that because showing up matters.”

It’s inevitable that, regardless of how well you think you’ve planned, life will throw you curveballs, Rapp says.

“They will come at you in every area, every industry, every walk of life,” she says. “I’ve faced them as a mom, wife, entrepreneur, executive, friend – you name it. But I don’t run from them. I’ve learned to apply my brother’s advice: ‘The only way out is through.’ The truth is, I love curveballs because each one comes with a question: What are you going to do about it?”

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Alyssa Rapp (www.alyssarapp.com), author of Leadership & Life Hacks: Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur & Executive, has been CEO of Surgical Solutions since 2018. Previously, from 2015 to 2017, she advised startups and private equity-backed companies through AJR Ventures. Prior to that, Rapp ran an e-commerce business called Bottlenotes. She has been named one of Crain’s Chicago’s “Notable Women in Health Care.” Rapp also teaches at Stanford Business School and has recently been named Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School.