Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Traits of Entrepreneurs

Traits of entrepreneurs
Compare Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.

It’s obvious that they’re all entrepreneurs, all successful, and all very famous. What other commonalities do they have? Very little actually.

So how did three so diverse men all come to be successful entrepreneurs? Passion and drive. All their all personality characteristics, backgrounds, and leadership approaches become completely secondary. They are first and foremost passionate about what they do, and secondly they have an unparalleled drive to achieve what they want to in their businesses.

After the passion and drive we can start listing hard work, motivation, commitment, sacrifice and all other behaviours which enabled their success. Their traits include relentlessly pursuing what they want, never accepting rejection as a final answer, and thriving on change.

The traits of an entrepreneur are diverse and yet incredibly alike. All pursued their passion as if there was nothing else in the world that mattered. By creating their own possibilities and luck, each successful entrepreneur created their own reality, and thus impacted our reality in such a way that their products colour our world.

 

“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Nolan Bushnell

Email Etiquette: How to keep things professional

pablo-24Twenty years ago if someone wanted to put something in writing, they considered their words. They sat down with either a pen and paper, or used their typewriter, and they crafted their message with intention and deliberation.

Today, however, we have email. Email is probably one of the greatest technological advances in communication over the last century. It enables speedy and efficient messenging in a matter of seconds, and is how the world does business.

Enter netiquette.  Netiquette is “network etiquette” – the dos and don’ts of online communication.

The increase in informality in email messages has created panic in many businesses.  More and more businesses have started implementing professional standards to leverage email communication effectively, cutting out small talk, and facilitating speedy decisions.

Email best practice includes the following:

  • Golden rule. Don’t say anything in an email that you would not say face to face
  • Company image: Remember your emails impact on the company image
  • Personal relationships: There is an impersonal element to email (although email contact is better than no contact)
  • Don’t hide behind email and avoid face to face contact: Do not give good, or bad, news via email
  • Email is not confidential: Emails can be retrieved, forwarded, examined, and used in a court of law
  • Do not overuse group email: ‘Reply all’ should be used conservatively
  • Email is tone deaf: It is extremely difficult and tricky to communicate tone in an email, and for it to be understood correctly
  • Copying others on your email: The “CC” field is for copying in people who need to stay informed, but do not need to take action.
  • Subject line: Make sure your subject line captures the essence of your email
  • Don’t make assumptions: Do not assume the recipient knows the background to your situation
  • Concise messages: Get to the point
  • Be prompt: Reply within 24 hours
  • Professionalism: Always use a professional email signature
  • Include a disclaimer

 

Leadership Styles

Leadership styles

One of the greatest questions about business is whether the leader at the helm of the company really makes such a difference to the success of the business.

Leaders build, inspire and motivate. If you consider your own life and career, how many people have built, motivated, or inspired you? And how many of those people were leading the company that you worked for at the time? True leadership is a rare quality, and driven employees seem to work productively with or without an effective leader.

Decades of leadership studies contemplate personal attributes, traits, varying styles, followers’ perceptions, and leadership outcomes to determine what makes an effective leader. The reality is that it is the situation that decides what makes an effective leader.

The person who is able to make use of the resources available to them while building, inspiring and motivating their followers is the person who is an effective leader – regardless of age, experience, behaviour and so forth.

We have two clients who both run successful businesses. These two men utilise completely polar opposite leadership styles.

The one is an authoritarian who dictates how things must be done and by when. His staff cower when he walks through the business and a ‘thank you’ from him is highly prized.

The other is completely consultative and embraces a transactional approach of give and take between the business and the staff. The staff feel comfortable to confide in him, speak to him and make suggestions.

Both business leaders have frustration, failures and successes. The staff in one business are motivated by fear and to please; whereas the staff in the other business take ownership of their results. Both businesses face challenges and both business leaders have human resource issues.

The bottom line is that no one approach is correct. The leadership style that works is the right one, at the right time, in the right business.

In the words of Scott Hammerie: “People don’t follow you because you are nice, they follow you because they believe the place you are taking them is better than the place they are.”

Why Do Businesses Fail?

Why do businesses fail?

There are a thousand expressions that talk about working hard yielding rewards. Unfortunately, many people in the business world will dispute this philosophy. Hard work is certainly admirable and brings results, but it is not the only ingredient required to ensure business success. 

Business fail because of a myriad of reasons. The simplest being that there is no demand or perceived need for your product. Sometimes we come up with a brilliant idea but it is either just before the wave of popularity strikes, or as brilliant as the idea is, there is no perceived value in the market – meaning that people don’t think they need it – even if they really do! Competition, substitutes, and pricing are also factors which impact on the success of a business.

Looking internally, business success depends equally on people and processes. Both the people in the business, and the processes running the business, need to be competent. If the people are not in the right positions, or if the systems and processes are not effective, the business will ultimately collapse.

It is most important to realise that business failure is not a personal failure. It is simply feedback from the market to tell you that something in your business needs to be changed.

This is the only way a business person can grow and mature their business when they do not succeed. In the words of Ron Holland:

“Failure can either be a stepping stone to success, or a stumbling block to defeat.”

Don’t ever let business failure defeat you!

Who can you trust in your business?

 

Who to trust in your business There’s an expression that says: If you want loyalty, get a dog! Many ‘people-people’ would gasp at this, and many ‘task-oriented people’ would nod their heads knowingly. The reality is that one person cannot build and run a business completely on their own.  Whether they expand inside the business, or outsource externally, at some point there is a need to develop trust so that certain aspects of the business run without the direct involvement of the business owner.

So who can you trust? Trust is an aspect of relationships which can take years to cultivate, but sometimes a business does not have that kind of time. The bottom line is this:

Trust those who are trustworthy.

Actions speak louder than any form of promise or commitment, so trust those who do not watch the clock; who do not only do their job description; who do not complain about work. Trust those who work proactively for the best interest of the company; trust those who are there when you need resources to help; trust those who display honestly and integrity in their dealings; and most importantly, trust those who your gut tells you to trust.

To trust another in your business is to take a risk, because with trust comes certain liberties and power. But without that trust the business can never grow.

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”

Thomas Moore