February 28, 2014 Leave a comment
December 21, 2013 Leave a comment
By Dave Rogers www.daverogers.net
In response to a wonderful question during our entrepreneur life shift
weekend in wellington, i was asked for some links to the wonderful
world of laughter.
“WHO” questions are generally a great question to ask a deal maker and
i am pleasure to recommend two of my favorite laughter teachers Jackie
Curran and Dr Kataria:
the following is an excerpt from Jackie Curran’s website and give some
of the benefits – Physical benefits of Laughter
Research has shown that laughter has both preventive and therapeutic values.
Laughter helps us keep healthy by enriching the blood with ample
supplies of oxygen, the lifeline of our system. According to the
science of yoga, life energy (prana) flows through the breath. By
controlled and deep breathing we can enhance our own well-being. With
the 15-30 minute package offered by the Laughter Club, participant
carry home the healthy habit of deep breathing at least 10-20 times a
day. This helps to increase the lung capacity, thus enhancing oxygen
supply to the body.
Laughter helps to remove the negative effects of STRESS, which is the
number one killer today. More than 70% of illnesses like high blood
pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, frequent coughs and
colds, peptic ulcers, insomnia, allergies, asthma, menstrual
difficulties, tension headaches, stomach upsets and even cancer, have
some connection to stress.
Laughter helps to boost the IMMUNE SYSTEM, which is the master key for
maintaining good health.
Other benefits include:
Helps control high blood pressure and heart disease. While there are
many factors for these like heredity, obesity, smoking and excessive
intake of saturated fats, stress is one of the major factors. Laughter
definitely helps to control blood pressure by reducing the release of
stress-related hormones and bringing relaxation.
For much more details I am happy to suggest you check out Jackies
website at http://www.laughter-yoga.com.au/index.html or connect with
Dr Kataria at http://www.laughteryoga.org/
With a hahaha and a hohohoh and a hehehheheh, have a few chuckled
filled day and laugh yourself to great health,
December 14, 2013 Leave a comment
By Mike Handcock
Hey, today is my birthday – and no I didn’t write this on the day. I have many better things to do…
- I never work on my birthday – that’s something I have held to for about 15 years
- I always do what I want – not what others want me to do
- I always take quiet time to reflect
- If I want to party like GOD and be sick tomorrow I will
- I always ask myself – what did I do this year that I am proud of and what were the golden moments
- I always ask myself what I want for next year.
- I eat any damn thing I want – 3 pizzas, 10 ice creams – go for it
Birthdays are anniversaries of the day of birth. The practice of marking an individual’s exact date of birth came into existence only with the reckoning of time by a fixed calendar. The custom of observing birthdays, although an ancient one and at present very popular in many countries, is far from being universal.
On someone’s birthday you should acknowledge them and hold fast to their wishes.
December 7, 2013 Leave a comment
By Gina Romero www.ginaromero.com
Our family are huge Lord of the Rings fans and we have been waiting for The Hobbit movie for what seems like FO-E-VA.
The big day finally arrived and we were not disappointed – the Jackson-Tolkien mash-up rocked as always and heaps of even more advanced special effects meant that the movie stole us away from the misery of the day’s reality for a sweet three hours of blissful fantasy realm escapism.
As I watched the epic tale of bravery and unlikely heroism unfold, I remembered a recent presentation by Grace Sai (local Social Entrepreneur and co-founder of The Hub Singapore) at Athena Cappuccino Connections meeting where she introduced the concepts of social entrepreneurship.
Inspired and awakened to the idea that socially responsible business is a necessity – not a choice, here are 9 quotes from ‘The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey’ that social entrepreneurs can relate to:
I’m going on an adventure! ~Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo (although initially apprehensive) bought into the romance and excitement of the journey ahead as well as the aspiration to be a victorious champion of a worthy cause. Although he lacks a natural propensity to heroism, the need to be part of something bigger encouraged him to step up as an unlikely hero.
Being a social entrepreneur is all about connecting to your cause and the overwhelming urge to make a difference. Although perhaps initially inspired by the idealism of creating change, the journey itself will probably not be as glamorous as initially expected.
By the time you realise that what you have embarked on is hugely more challenging than initially expected, it may be too late to turn back.
“I do believe the worst is behind us!” ~Bilbo Baggins
After the initial thrill of being on the open road wears off, the reality of adventuring sinks in, a hero’s journey is a never ending grind. It’s an exhausting, treacherous and thankless job. It was only after Bilbo and the dwarves experience several dangerous encounters, that the enormity of the quest became apparent. As the budding hero begins to emerge, tenacity prevails over common sense – he embraces what is necessary over what is likely or possible.
Describing social entrepreneurs, Grace Sai said “they are very unreasonable people, they are a bit crazy, they are very stubborn and they think they know the future better than anyone else. And very often they also don’t have resources at hand, they just want to do it and they will make it work.”
With a mammoth task to tackle, few resources and little or no financial reward along the way – eternal optimism is essential for your survival as a social entrepreneur.
Elrond: So that is your purpose? To enter the Mountain?
Thorin Oakenshield: What of it?
Elrond: There are some who would not deem it wise.
No matter how well thought through, planned or justified, our heroes struggled to gain support for their expedition. The elves were previously unwilling to risk their people for a battle against Smaug in Erebor and against the orcs in Moria. The White Council were disapproving of the quest, dismissive of their cause and pessimistic about the potential outcome. The fourteen adventurers were forced to decide whether to take heed of the warnings or throw caution to the wind.
To be a socially responsible leader, our decision making must look beyond ourselves to the need in others. Solving larger social problems means going up against existing policy, being disruptive and breaking rules.
Weighing up when to take council and when to find the courage and conviction to take up arms is the bane of a social entrepreneurs existence.
Bilbo Baggins: Why don’t we have a game of riddles?
Gollum: And if he loses? What then? Well if he loses precious then we eats it!
If Baggins loses we eats it whole!
Bilbo Baggins: Fair enough.
Faced with a seemingly impossible situation (and having already narrowly escaped death several times) our heroic Hobbit needed to quickly weigh up the odds of outsmarting Gollum or finding his own way out of the depths of the underground lake. Recognising that his chances were dire either way, Bilbo had to make the best choice he could – and quickly.
Social entrepreneurs seem to be obsessed with their ideas, committing their lives to changing the direction of their cause, driven by the opportunity to uproot injustice and inequality despite the risks involved.
Just like an adventuring Hobbit, learning how to calculate risk over is a critical component of survival on the social entrepreneurship journey.
“I would take each and every one of these dwarves over the mightiest army.
Loyalty. Honor. A willing heart. I can ask no more than that.” ~Thorin Oakenshield
As the leader of the group, Thorin must inspire their loyalty and dedication to the cause, despite all the adversaries that lie in wait.
Although Thorin and his men initially thought very little of Bilbo and could not understand why he was Gandalf’s choice as the 14th member of the group, the Hobbit eventually earns their respect as a worthy member of the party after proving his bravery and honour.
Successful social entrepreneurs are visionaries and problem solvers who are capable of bringing their visions into reality. Essentially, they are evangelists for the cause and must persuade and influence others to be equally dedicated to the mission. In order to make change happen, leaders must select their team with great care.
Shared purpose and values, unlike skills, are pretty much impossible to train. Finding people who have ‘got your back’ are far more valuable and rare.
“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.
I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.
Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins?
Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” ~Gandalf
Bilbo was no great warrior, he had never even wielded a sword and in fact he was not even a burglar as Gandalf suggested. Why then was Gandalf so keen to have the humble Hobbit join the thirteen dwarves? Certainly for his stealth and nimbleness but Gandalf also remembered the eagerness and curiosity about the world outside The Shire that Bilbo possessed as a child. Perhaps more than anything he believed that Bilbo’s spirit of adventure and humility would be of great value to the group.
It is said that the purity of intention is what defines a social entrepreneur. By defining and rooting themselves in ‘why’ they do what they do and finding strength and courage in purpose social entrepreneurs will do whatever it takes to make change happen.
Letting go of the ego – which encourages us to put personal gain ahead of the higher, selfless purpose – will strengthen your conviction to make your dreams happen. And remember – big change starts with small change.
I know you doubt me. I know you always have. I often think of Bag End. That’s where I belong. That’s home. You don’t have one. It was taken from you, but I will help you get it back if I can. ~Bilbo Baggins
Bilbo was once perfectly happy in Bag End, smoking his pipe, stocking his larder with cheese and wine and quietly gazing over the rolling hills of The Shire. He knew little of the suffering of others and had very little empathy for the dwarves and their plight. Once his awareness was engaged and his eyes opened to see more than his own little world, he began to evolve.
Social Entrepreneurs look beyond themselves and relate deeply to the needs of others. They accept that they have a role in solving larger social, cultural and environmental problems.
Cultivating empathy is key to creating meaningful social change.
True courage is not about knowing when to take a life… but when to spare one. ~Gandalf
Despite his disgust for the loathful Gollum, Bilbo remembered the words spoken by the wise wizard and was overcome with pity for the creature. He chose to act with compassion and not hatred, and to spare his life.
Einstein said, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Understanding why people behave in a certain way is not enough. Social Entrepreneurship begins when we feel compassion for the pain of others.
May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks. ~Gandalf
It all started with the opening line of a book, ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit,’ the story enchanted readers for 75 years before being reborn onscreen this year.
Through their adventures, turmoil and tragedy – we were gripped with their fear, distraught with their losses and heartened by their victories. Aspiring social entrepreneurs and reluctant leaders can perhaps relate to our unlikely heroes – up against the odds, driven by purpose regardless of heartache, discouragement and failure. Perhaps on some level we all want to save the world.
Ferdinand Foch says it beautifully with this quote:
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
November 28, 2013 Leave a comment
By Raymond Aaron www.aaron.com
The key to double your income is a healthy and happy attitude. Have you ever wondered what makes a successful and happy person? If you double your income, will you feel good about things? There are millionaires that still live a lonely life. Then there are people that just can’t get what they want out of life, whether it is fame, fortune, jobs, or love.
Making your way in the world today doesn’t have to be hard. When you approach life feeling defeated, it is hard to know where to go. The first step to double your income is start doing what you love and accomplish the goals according to it. When you follow your true path in life, life becomes easy and harmonious.
1. Define your goals. We all have dreams. When you do what you love, you are living your life to the fullest. What is the difference between a dream and a goal? Goals are clearly defined dreams. For example, you want to double your income. That is a lofty dream without a clearly defined plan. Define the goal. I will double my income by starting my own pet sitting business. Now, you know what you want to do.
2. Know where you’re going. Figure out what you need to do. How much money will it take and when can you reasonably accomplish each step. For example:
a. Take a marketing class by September ($500).
b. Get license and insurance by October ($700).
c. Advertise in newspaper and online ($50).
By writing your goals down and making them as specific as possible with a deadline, you will know what you need to do to accomplish your goal of doubling your income in small steps.
3. Set your goals up for success. Eliminate all negative attitudes about why you can’t and won’t be able to do something. Don’t start your thoughts with “Someday, I’ll…” Know when the specifics of your goal are due, and step up to the plate and do it without procrastination.
4. Make your goals come true. It’s simple-start living the life you desire. Don’t think it, be it.
Let your old life of strife and struggle end, and start your new easy and effortless life. By changing one habit in a positive way or just accomplishing 1% of something with consistency, you are making a 100% change in your life. Every small step you make will help you accomplish your end goal.
Take immediate action, and you will see immediate gratification. With every milestone and accomplishment you make, celebrate your success. By selecting one long-term goal and setting a path for the things you can do NOW, you’ll be ready to take on the world.
So are you ready to get started and double your income? There are many other factors that will help you build a successful life, but the most important thing is to keep sight of what it is you love and set goals you can accomplish. After that, building a bigger and better life should fall in place instantly.
November 21, 2013 Leave a comment
By Raymond Aaron www.aaron.com
For most people, owning your own business sounds like a dream come true. You get to be your own boss, choose your hours, and make all the important decisions about how you’ll allocate your resources. That’s how it sounds…
Any real business owner knows the truth. That running a small business is much more complicated, time-consuming, and challenging that most people make it out to be. Even worse, running a small business is often less profitable than those on the outside believe.
That vast majority of small business owners earn a salary of exactly how much is left in their bank account after paying all of the expenses. At the end of some months, that may amount to a nice living. On others, well, it’s not a pretty picture.
With out proper planning and management, those margins can easily go negative. Quite honesty, that’s exactly how most small businesses go under.
Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind
Now it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no reason why your business has to live month-to-month with no real guiding philosophy or mission. Here’s the secret: Running a successful business is not rocket science. Nearly anyone can do it.
Surly you’ve met some at least one successful business owner that you were certain that you were smarter than. You probably wondered, “How can this mental midget run a successful company, while I can barely stay employed?”
Frankly, I don’t know how your acquaintance does it — maybe he or she inherited the business.
What I do know is how I manage to do it. And trust me, I’m no brain surgeon. So what’s my secret? It’s simple: I rely on management consultants. Most business owners do. That’s why they’re still in business.
The way I see it, who needs a prepared mind, when I can rent one at a very reasonable cost? It’s the opportunity that I’m seeking, after all, I’m not trying to earn an MBA. Right?
Building a relationship with a good management is often the difference between a flourishing business and a dream that went splat.
Making you into a Manager
Most entrepreneurs jump into a business with big ideas and lots of optimism. Typically, it’s not enthusiasm that we lack, it’s discipline… and probably foresight too. I mean, why else would we have been so enthusiastic about starting a business? Just kidding.
That’s why it’s so important to seek wise council. A good small business management consultant can help you craft a plan that set realistic goals and benchmarks. A management consultant will plan for setbacks, refunds, and unexpected costs that an inexperienced business owner wouldn’t foresee or know to plan for.
More often than not, it’s not the product that drops a business dead in its tracks. It’s unexpected costs and unexpected revenue hiccups during the growth process. These are exactly the reasons most small business owners need a management consultant.
You can’t do it all yourself, so stop pretending that you can be all things to all people all the time. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you don’t score 100% in every aspect of management.
Believing that you somehow aced the management test is a sure sign that you’re in over your head. If you want your organization to grow, you can’t approach ever challenge alone. It’s a trap that you don’t want to find yourself in, trust me. If at no other times at all, every successful business needs management consulting during two phases.
Start-up and No Man’s Land
These are two of the most often written about stages of business development, but for very different reasons.
Most entrepreneurs love to fantasize about the start-up phase, mainly because it seems like the sky’s the limit and there are few if any limitations on where your business might be able to go. It’s an exciting time in the life of a business because it’s’ where you put your concept into action, finally getting real world feedback.
Obviously, start-up is also the time in which planning is absolutely essential. This includes staffing, strategic partnerships, and financial forecasts.
For any right-brained idea-man, or idea-woman, who’s launched a start-up, it becomes immediately apparent that you’re in over your head. If you’re overly meticulous, you may find yourself completely bogged down in routine tasks, never having enough time to develop new strategies and processes.
In either case, the clock is ticking and you’ll soon find out if you can hack it all by yourself…
Or you can do the smart thing and hire someone to teach you to become a better manager. Business management consulting is a great way to elevate your game quickly, by outsourcing the learning curve to someone who’s already been there and done that.
No Man’s Land is an entirely different story. Just as the name implies, this stage in the growth of a business is not so fun or exciting. It’s the point at which you business has grown large enough to no long be considered “small,” but is far from being “big” either.
No Man’s Land is the point at which you have to scale up and go big, or else begin to atrophy. In many ways, it’s a lot like the start-up phase, without all the illusions that made it so thrilling.
Because it involves even more fundraising, organizational efficiency, and staffing, No Man’s Land is where a business management consultant becomes no longer necessary, but mandatory.
Creating the Business You Want to Run
The best part about a good business management consultant is that they become an asset, rather than a cost. The changes they suggest should make you money, or at the very least free up time or money that can be better leveraged elsewhere.
After a basic, surface level analysis, it’s easy for any veteran consultant to spot the weaknesses in your market position. I hate to burst your bubble, but they’re there, even if you can’t see them.
A consultant should be able to analyze the marketplace your business operates in and offer up suggestions that will put your business in a better competitive position.
With better positioning, you company will become more marketable. With redundancies and other bottlenecks eliminated, your business will reduce costs, increase production, and become more profitable.
That’s why I always tell people that a good small business management consultant is a business asset. Rather than costing you money, a good consultant will make you money. Over the long run they’re advice will be worth exponentially more than it cost to acquire it.
With the right management and guidance, your company can become a mission driven machine that runs smoothly and rallies around the cause or purpose you initially envisioned. Businesses that are built to deliver on a clear purpose or goal are actually much easier to grow and maintain than a hastily cobbled together organization.
It’s really not all that surprising, when you think about it. Many of the biggest, most profitable companies in the world, the Apples, the Nordstroms, the Whole Foods, etc. are also the most inspiringly single-minded.
That’s the kind of business you originally wanted to own anyway.
November 14, 2013 Leave a comment
By Raymond Aaron www.aaron.com
It was not that his business plan was terrible or even wildly unrealistic. He just straight up didn’t have one.
Let me bring you in on a little secret in the Business Coaching Services industry. “It’s in my head” is the adult equivalent of, “My dog ate it.” It’s just not going to cut it in today’s business world.
Here’s the thing, you’d be surprised how often situations like this come up with first time entrepreneurs. However, Jim doesn’t fit into that category at all. What if I told you that he had already started a dozen small businesses in his 20-year tenure as an entrepreneur?
Just like all the other companies Jim started, the one I was coaching him on was caught in the small business undertow, fighting just to stay afloat. None of Jim’s companies had ever produced annual revenues of over a million dollars.
Sadly, many of Jim’s companies eventually failed and he was forced to shut them down after a few unprofitable quarters.
Does this mean Jim is a terrible businessman?
Yes and no.
No, because he’s obviously a very prodigious entrepreneur with good ideas that will actually be profitable with a good business plan.
BUT, yes, because he suffers from a mentality that’s all too common in the world of start-ups…
Many entrepreneurs are borderline adrenaline junkies, who enjoy flying by the seat of their pants. That’s another way of saying they don’t understand the importance of creating a good business plan and then reviewing it regularly.
Entrepreneurs like Jim love to think of themselves as “self-made men.” That’s exactly why they’re hesitant to seek out business coaching services. Truth be told, they don’t want to share the credit if their business takes off.
It’s purely a vanity move for many entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, sharing the spotlight isn’t what they should be afraid of. It’s the downward spiraling feeling of their business crashing into the turf that should be guiding their decisions.
Those Who Don’t Plan To Grow, Won’t…
Sure, lots of successful entrepreneurs love to talk about how they just lucked their way into success…
That may work for some, but it’s absolutely NOT any kind of plan. For every one of these guys, there are tens of thousand more who crashed and burned, simply because they lacked a plan.
If you don’t develop a plan for growth, you may still grow, but your growth will inevitably be unbalanced and disproportionate — putting you organization in a very dangerous and unsustainable position.
That’s what most people don’t realize. Uncontrolled growth can actually put your company at risk. That’s why planning for growth is essential.
According to massive business coaching services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, a full two-thirds of all fast growth companies develop some type of business plan. Of the other third, I’d hazard to guess that two-thirds of them WISH they had developed one.
Here’s what most people don’t realize: The exercise of actually drafting a business plan is often more important than the plan itself.
Developing a business plans and writing it in pen forces you to focus on the fundamentals of your business. It makes you think through your next steps and specific strategies and tactics.
Most importantly, this exercise forces you to face the cold hard facts. It may sound a little cheesy, but the most important entrepreneurial/executive skills is being able to face the facts, all the time…
Not just the pleasant, happy facts — the cold hard facts.
In my career, I’ve known so many highly intelligent business owners whose businesses failed because they refused to acknowledge the struggles their business faced. Almost all of those enterprises could have been saved with a good business plan, or a small business coach.
The Eight Key Business Coaching Basics Of A Business Plan
1) Executive Summary: The executive summary is a clear and concise statement about what you want as a company. Make it a synopsis of the entire business, what you’re offering, how you’ll produce it, financials, etc. It should be no more than one page, tops!
2) Market Analysis: This is where you can get into the particulars of your market and how your company will gain a competitive advantage.
Once again, this is a great exercise. A market analysis pushes the entrepreneur to become familiar with all aspects of the market, so they can clearly define and understand their target market.
You can begin by defining the market in terms of size, structure, growth prospects, trends and sales potential.
Once you’ve accomplished this, you can work with your business coach to position your company for success.
The market analysis stage also forces you to get realistic about pricing, distribution and marketing strategies. Not the ones you scribbled down on a cocktail napkin… the real ones.
In addition, a thorough market analysis will give a glimpse of the health and growth potential within your industry, giving you the necessary ammunition to develop a reasonable forecast for your organization’s future.
3) Company Description: This section is basically the bird’s eye view of how all the different elements in your business fit together. A good company description should include information about the foundation of your company, how it will produce revenue, as well as the unique factors that you as an entrepreneur believe will help your company be a success.
4) Organization and Management: Just like it sounds, this section is where you’ll outline your company’s organizational structure, including all the details about the who owns your company, the functions of your management team, and the qualifications of your company’s leadership.
5) Marketing and Sales Strategies: Clearly, this is the real lifeblood of your company. Your marketing and promotional efforts create customers and those customers will generate the sales that bring cash in the door.
In this section, you’ll want to define your company’s primary marketing strategy. You’ll start with strategies, tactics and channels that have thus far created your greatest successes. After that, analyze other tactics that may be working for your competitors.
This section is constantly evolving as your business finds new ways to be successful.
6) Service and/or Product Line: This is the section in which you lay out your service and product. In other words, you define what is it that you are actually selling.
This one’s usually a big eye-opener, because it’s requires business owners to discern between benefits and features — a biggie. Benefits, not features, will allow you to establish your unique selling proposition.
If you’re still a little unclear on what the difference between a feature and a benefit is, consider this: A feature may be what makes your product different from the competition, but a benefit is what makes it BETTER.
7) Funding Requirements: This is where a small business coach is worth his or her weight in gold. A coach can help you determine the amount of funding you will need to start or expand your business.
They’ll help you analyze the best and worst case scenarios and keep you realistic. It’s not as difficult or painful as you might think.
Financials: There’s a reason that this is step #8. That’s because you can only develop your financial plan AFTER you have analyzed the market and set clear objectives. You should include three to five years of historical data.
Here’s the big takeaway: A good business plan is never meant to be written or read once. You have to revisit your plan quarterly at least, but monthly is even better.
Any good businessperson understands that plans evolve and change as your business grows and your market environment changes. It’s a lot like pruning a rosebush. You’ll cut off branches that don’t produce in your business, and those changes should be reflected in your business plan.
As a veteran in the business coaching services industry, I fully believe that if you take all of these 8 steps to heart, you literally CAN’T fail.