viernes, 27 de mayo de 2016

5 Mentors Every Successful Entrepreneur Needs

The fastest way to become the best is to learn from the best. But there's more than one way to reach new levels of success. That's why you need more than one mentor to help you along the way.

I recently reached out to Nadine Dumas, a former accountant who later became a swimsuit model and fitness expert. As someone who's career took such a sharp turn, she knows the importance of mentors firsthand. 

Dumas is a self-made entrepreneur whose work involves providing online nutrition and training programs.  She's passionate about helping others and she's expanding her programs all over the world. 
Dumas says these are the five types of mentors who could skyrocket your career:

1. The established professional
Look for someone in your career who is ahead of you, like a former boss who believed in you before you believed in yourself. "I find that an established colleague has a lot of compassion, because they have 'been there and done that' already and almost see themselves in you," says Dumas.
A mentor who knows the ropes can guide you with their knowledge and teach you how to avoid making the same mistakes they did.

2. The lateral colleague
Find a colleague who is in the similar phase of growth. You can bounce ideas off one another and compare stories.  "I find these types of mentors need to be mentally strong and not walk into this 'relationship' fearing you are going to take their ideas," Dumas says.
When you trust and support one each other, you can push each other and question ideas while also understanding what each other is going through.

3. The outspoken individual
Team up with someone who isn't afraid to offer a pessimistic perspective. This person can remind you of the challenges and worst-case scenarios you might be tempted to overlook when you're really excited.
"They give blunt feedback," says Dumas and sometimes you might need to listen to those things you don't always want to hear.

4. The friend who knew you before you took the leap
Spending time with people who knew you before you ever launched your entrepreneurial adventure can remind you of how far you've come. In talking about her own mentor, Dumas says, "They are not interested in my entrepreneurial skills. We meet up and talk about everything besides my coaching."
This type of mentor can remind you there's a life outside of work. Regular conversations can remind you to separate what you do from who you are.

5. The liaison
Collaborating with a liaison mentor is the key to connecting with valuable people who can help you grow your network. But your relationship shouldn't be about asking for introductions.

"I find that you must be authentic for these relationships to work and it requires a lot of time to build these relationships," says Dumas. You must take time to show them that you offer value to your industry.

CREDIT: James Patrick

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

Stay motivated in 10 Steps

Platitudes won't help you. I know, I've tried to implement them all. They're frustrating.  

Go for it! Live for today! Stay motivated! 
No kidding. 
I'm more interested in how we can radically improve our lives.  How can we stay truly motivated? How can we maintain hyper-efficiencies?  How can we stay happy at work? How can we find true fulfillment by cultivating the most attractive aspects of your personality? 
Here are ten unexpected things you can do daily to radically improve your life: 

1. Don't obsess over "how" you'll do something. 
Four years ago when I launched my agency Silverback Social, I just did it. I knew that I wanted to create a digital agency that led with social media. I had no idea how I was going to do it.
I still remove the "how" from most of our agencies issues. We continue to grow, over perform and excel in every endeavor. Winning awards and working with some of the most compelling clients.  
Obsessing over your "how" will only lead you to full on panic. Define your "why" for sure, but let go of the "how."

2. Invest in clothes that fit.  Yes, seriously. 
My dress shirts, and suits are all custom made. This isn't as extravagant as it sounds. You can order custom clothing for about the same cost as off the rack clothes from Banana Republic. You just have to be patient for the clothes to get delivered after you've been measured. 
When you have clothes that fit well, you feel better. When you feel better you perform better. Removing the stress of selecting a shirt that will fit in the morning frees up psychic energy.
I can select any shirt in my closet and know that the fit is perfect and I will feel and look great all day. It may seem superficial, but I think it helps me to perform my best. 

3. Meditate
Meditation can reduce stress, improve your concentration and increase happiness. But you don't have to sell all your worldly possessions and live in a cave to meditate. Meditation can be anything.
When you're washing your hands today. Slow down and really think about how you're washing your hands. Feel the sensation of the water. Smell the aroma of the soap. Enjoy it. You're meditating! 
Realize that your thoughts and feeling aren't you. Acknowledging that you're having a thought is a powerful way to separate yourself from the thought. I recommend HeadSpace APP to help. 

4. Buy a stand up desk.
We've all read the news and heard the grumbling of how bad sitting down all day can be for us. It's worse than smoking etc.  I do think that my new stand up desk can be a healthy alternative.
I'm also smart enough to know that you can overdo anything. US News Health says that there are some ways in which stand up desks can do more harm than good.
The gist? Don't stand still all day long. Alternate positions throughout the day. Also, some tasks are more well suited for sitting.

5. Shut off electronics for short increments. 
I worry about the effect of electronic devices on my children. The best way that I've been able to remove this concern is to carve out play time without any devices around. This means that I leave my iPhone behind as well. 
My girls are eight and five.  My five year old decided to try golfing with me recently. She loved it. Just the two of us, with my undivided and undistracted presence.  
I felt my self reflectively reaching for my iPhone to take photos of her golfing.  
Instead I soaked in the moment. We don't need to document every waking hour. Later that day my eight year old and I had a dance party. We danced to and sang the Beatles.  We spun and sang and giggled.
No electronics needed. Just my own private little memories with my girls. It makes my heart swell just thinking about it. Radical life improvement! 

6. Get up early.  
I hate the morning. Really, I do. So much so that on my wedding day, my brother referenced my inability to wake up to an alarm clock in his best man speech. The crowd erupted in laughter.  Super. 
The benefits of waking up early are vast. For me, it's more about self mastery than anything else. By waking up early I've taken control of my day. Now I regularly wake up at 5am to work. I find that I do my best thinking at that time of day.
I don't have to like it, but I know that I'm hyper productive in the morning. I use apps like SleepCycle to help me manage my normal aversion to mornings. You should try it too.   
7.
Reading can help improve problem solving, expand your vocabulary, and even cultivate exposure to different ways of thinking. If you really feel that you don't have time to read, I recommend you try Audible for a free 30 Day Trial and listen to audiobooks.  
If audiobooks are too tedious, try educational podcasts, or TED talks.
Really what we're looking for is a removal from pop-culture and fear mongering news feeds as entertainment. I want you to enrich and challenge your brain. Not numb, and over stimulate. 

8. Live in a different city at least once in your life. 
When I was twenty years old,  I studied in Leuven, Belgium, and traveled to 14 different countries. That travel allowed me to grow in ways that I can't quantify. I was able to find my way around an airport, train station, and bus terminal without incident. I ate different foods, and experienced different religions.  
Awareness, education and respect for other cultures will enhance your life in untold ways. It will also expand your business and social circles. When I was twenty six there was an opportunity to live and work in London.
Because I had already traveled, I jumped at the chance. It catapulted my career, and helped me earn more money than I had ever seen in my short career.  

9. Write. 
Sharing your thoughts is a powerful connector. Start with a blog, or create on LinkedIn or Medium. I wrote my first blog post and earned $260,000. I also used writing to help me get the attention of new clients, new jobs, and my television career.
Write every day and share what you know. Learn how to write better along the way. If you don't want to share your thoughts with the world, start a journal.
I began a journal when I was nineteen and traveling through Europe. Now I read my entries to my daughters as bedtime stories. 

10. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.  
I'm an over sharer extraordinaire. To some people it's an turn off. Guess what? I don't want to associate with those people. It's the way I'm wired, and I'm not about to change because it makes you uncomfortable.
I blog about everything from my family, to my friend who was murdered. Vulnerability in life and business cultivates trust.

By  CHRIS DESSI, CEO, Silverback Social

lunes, 18 de abril de 2016

Your Resume Is Never Enough to Get the Job You Really Want

Maybe you haven't started a business yet. Maybe you're a serial entrepreneur in between startups. Or maybe you're trying to gain additional skills while you launch your venture.
So you send in your resume. You include a hopefully eye-catching cover letter. You ask someone to put in a good word for you.
Then you wait. And you wait. And you don't get the job.
Why? You didn't put in the work.
There are many things you can't control about the job seeking process. Cumbersome application systems, automated filters that identify keywords instead of talent, lazy hiring managers content to simply find round pegs for round holes, people who make the biggest hiring mistake of all....
But there is one thing you can control: the amount of work you put in.
If you're struggling to land the job you want, don't complain. Don't blame other people. Sure, the system often sucks -- so accept it sucks and then figure out how to beat it.
Commit to doing more. Commit to doing what other candidates aren't willing to do. That's how you stand out. That's how you get the job you really want.
Try this:
1. Determine the company you want to work for.
Obvious, right? Not really. Many job seekers play the numbers game and respond to as many job postings as possible.
Shotgun resume submissions results in hiring managers sifting through dozens of potential candidates to find the right person. (Good luck emerging from thatparticular pile.) To show the hiring manager you are the right candidate, you have to do the work.
Instead of shotgunning your resume, put in the time to determine a company you definitely want to work for, and then...
2. Really know the company.
Pretend I'm the hiring manager. "I would love to work for you," you say to me. What I actually hear is, "I would love for you to pay me."
You can't possibly know if you want to work for my company unless you know a lot about my company; that's the difference between just wanting a job and wanting an actual role in a business. Talk to friends, relatives, vendors, customers... anyone you can find. Check management and employees out on social media. When you know the people, you know the company. Learn as much as you can.
Then leverage what you learn and...
3. Figure out how you will hit the ground running.
Many companies see training as a necessary evil. Training takes time, money, effort... all of which are in short supply. An ideal new hire can be productive immediately, at least in part.
While you don't need to be able to do everything required in the job, it helps if the company can see an immediate return on their hiring investment. (Remember, hiring you is an investment that needs to generate a return.)
Identify one or two important things you can contribute from day one. Then...
4. Don't just tell. Show.
Put what you can offer on display. If you're a programmer, mock up a new application. If you want a sales position, create a plan for how you'll target a new market or customer base or describe how you will implement marketing strategies the business is currently not using.
A show and tell is your chance to prove you know the company and what you can offer. Your initiative will be impressive and you'll go a long way towards overcoming concerns that you're all talk and no action.
Is it fair you're doing a little work on spec? Should you have to create a mockup or plan in order to get the job? Not really and probably not... but doing so will definitely set you apart.
Never let "fair" -- when the only person "disadvantaged" is you -- get in the way of achieving your goals.
5. Use a referral as a reinforcement.
Business is all about relationships. We've all made made bad hiring decisions, so a referral from someone we trust is like gold.
You may have to dig deep into your network or even forge new connections, but the effort will be worth it.
Knowing that someone we trust is willing to vouch for you is a data point that often tips the decision scale towards giving you an interview... and even giving you the job.
6. Be the one who knocks.
You don't have to wait to be called for an interview. You don't have to wait for an opening to be posted; after all, you've identified ways you can immediately help the company you want to work for. Wrangle an introduction, meet with someone who can actually influence the hiring decision, and pitch away.
Think it won't work? It will -- as long as you show the person you contact how they will also benefit. Say, "I really want to work for your company. I know you're in charge of social media marketing and I've developed a data-driven way to analyze activities, ROI, brand awareness... I'd love to take you to lunch and show you. If you hate my ideas, at least you got a free lunch. If you love them, you learned something. What do you have to lose?"
A friend of mine who runs a tech company has hired four people in the last six months who approached him in a similar fashion. He's a go-getter; he loves hiring go-getters. And he loves when they find him.
Just make sure you go straight to describing how the company will benefit from hiring you. Say, "Your website is good but it could be a lot better. Here are changes I will make in the first month and here is how those changes will improve conversions and SEO results. And here's a mock-up I created of a new site design."
Approach them right and people will pay attention -- especially entrepreneurs and small businesses. I don't know any smart people who won't drop everything to learn how to improve their business.
7. Assert yourself.
Many people are poor interviewers. That's especially true for small business owners; many are terrible interviewers. (As a friend of mine says, "I don't work in HR. I run a business.")
So be direct and to the point. Explain what you can do. Describe your background. Don't talk about what the job will mean to you; talk about how the company will benefit from hiring you. Show you know working for their company is different (every company thinks they're different) and how you're excited by the challenge. Sell yourself: use what you know about the company and how you will make an impact to back up your pitch.
8. Ask for the job.
Most people don't mind being closed. Plus a decision put off until tomorrow is a decision added to the to-do list; no one wants more on their plates.
If you truly know you want the job -- and you should by this point -- ask for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Who knows: if you've worked hard to truly set yourself apart, you might get hired on the spot.
I know what you're thinking: That's too much work to put in, especially if there's no guarantee your extra effort will result in a job.
Flip it around. Doing what everyone else does is very unlikely to result in a job. Decide you will be different -- and then work hard to actually be different. Then you will stand out. Then you'll have a much better chance of landing the job you really want.
Source: Jeff Haden, Contributing editor, Inc.

viernes, 8 de abril de 2016


1. Start talking; blogging and participating in various forums, social media profiling, add tools to share, move the contents to the outside. Examine whether the content is worthy of enthusiasm.

2. Listen; track voices and key forums for your business, search daily.

3. Participate in networking conversations.

4. Devise a subject worthy of enthusiasm, without further complications, simple and direct, easy to understand.

5. Make a free Newsletter or monthly Newsletter that customers and speakers can access to.

6. Trace the word of mouth easily; Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

7. Make private sales for your speakers and special clients.

8. Identify who's talking, keep her/him motivated to talk.

9. Partner with a charity.

10. Be nice, apologize for errors and fix them quickly.

lunes, 4 de abril de 2016

When a Small Business fails. What to do?

According to Michael Gerber in his book The E Myth Revisted, small businesses tend to be born from a core necessity of its owner. The necessity of independence, of doing what we know and are good at. That´s how we become entrepreneurs. The most common mistake we do: taking the work we love and turn it into a job. Work becomes a chore, among less familiar and pleasant chores.  

The worst part is when business owners become three people in one: the Entrepreneur, the Manager, the Technician. Conflict begins when each one of this personalities wants to take control. 

 be three people in one

The Entrepreneur turns any trivial condition into an exceptional opportunity, motivated by the creative engine and change. The Manager is pragmatic, a planner, clings to the status quo, sees problems to solve and roots itself on an idea. The Technician is the doer, lives in the moment, does one thing at the time. The Entrepreneur gets into his way with new ideas, which mostly don´t work in the real world, frustrating him, Manager represents a problem by reducing him to a part of “the system”, dehumanizing him.
Entrepreneur vs. Manager vs. Technician

Small Business owners get swamp by all this personalities, trying to be a whole, an individual, a business. Coming from initial exhilaration to terror, and from there to exhaustion and finally despair, with a terrible sense of loss, of purpose and loss of self. 

Most common mistake is becoming one single entity, owner and business together. This might be a good idea at its beginnings, but not viable in a future stage of business. Usually we tend to think “I´ll do it myself, because no one´s willing to work as hard as me for my business”, “no one has my ability, judgement or interest to do it right, so I do it myself” even when having people who are getting paid to do the job. Worse part of it, is getting into a vicious circle, because the more “I´ll do it myself”, the less they´ll do when you interfere with their jobs. But hey! You´re “The Boss”!

At this point you as owner have gone beyond your Comfort Zone, the boundary within which you feel secure in your ability to control your environment and start to lose control. Desperately you abdicate your role of manager and pass accountability to employees, hoping they will bring back control over the business. Really? Haven´t you thought they have needs of their own? They know how to be Technicians, so far they need to know why they are doing what they are doing, what they are accountable for, the standards against which their work is being evaluated, needing to know where the business is going.

At this point the business can take 3 courses of action; shrinking as its beginnings, broke, or surviving by beating employees and customers, ranting and raving at your family and friends because you have to be there all the time for it to survive.

If you´ve encountered this situation or are willing to avoid this reality there´s hope, but most of all clearness: Your business is not your life.


By creating a model of your business as a prototype that can be replicated effortlessly as many times as you wish by following 6 simple rules:

1) Provide consistent value, to customers, employees, suppliers, investors beyond what´s expected.
2) Get Simple. Make your business be operated by people with the lowest level of skills as possible.
3) Focus in Order to Stand Out.
4) Document all the work done in Operation Manuals.
5) Provide a Uniformly Service to the Customer.
6) Seek uniformity in the use of color, dress and facilities.  

Your Business is NOT your Life

Building a prototype of your business is a continuous process, we refer to it as the Business Developing process, founded in three main integrated activities: Innovation, Quantification and Orchestration.


Innovate - The way you do Business
Innovation has to do more than with a creative factor with the way a business does Business essentially. A mechanism for finding and keeping customers in a differentiated manner, where the business is the product, putting itself in the consumers mind by how it interacts more than what it sells

Innovation might be slight changes to your business that don´t require much spending, such as the way you greet or interact with costumers or the way you dress. Always counting in the customer’s point of view and always simplifying the operations. Everyone can be involved in it by asking which would be the best way.


Innovation has to be paired to quantification, if not it would be a lost effort.

Your business may be lacking the process of quantification when it comes to innovation and this should be done at the outset of the Business Developing Process by beginning to quantify everything related to how you do business, going from how many customers do arrive in the morning to the afternoon, to how many people call your business each day, how many of your products are being sold to which days of the week are the busiest. This is a good way of diagnosing the health of your business, to know where you are and where you are going to.


When innovating a process and quantifying the innovation´s results you will be ready to orchestrate your business, this means eliminating discretion or choice when operating.

You´ll be able to plan and anticipate by creating order instead of chaos, producing a consistent, predictable results every single time, no matter what business you are in.

Giving your customer what he/she wants every single time in your unique way will project the perception you want for your customers to become loyal to your business.

The Business Development process is dynamic, looking for the world´s changes and adapting to them. You may call it differently; Reengineering, TQM, Kaizen or Excellence. Nevertheless a way of doing something, quantifying it and orchestrating it, will take you necessarily to improvement.

This will be the step by step process in which you transform your existing business into a perfectly organized model for thousands more just like it. Building your prototype.
First of all you have to find yourself, by deciding who you will be, how you will live, what your expectations are. Once you come out of your comfort zone, once you decide your PRIMARY AIM, what makes you tick, you may go on with the next steps:


This is a clear statement of what your business will do for you to achieve your Primary Aim. It is the vision of a finished product. Remember that your business is a vehicle to enrich your life rather than one that drains your life. It´s a product of your life plan, as well as your business strategy and plan (they provide the structure within which your business is intended to operate over time to fulfill your life Plan).


Shapes the direction where your business is going to, how it will get there, specific benchmarks it will need to hit to be able to work. Also it will be useful for marketing your business with bankers, investors and alliances in the business community. Designed for implementation, it is a template for your business, to make certain that the time you invest in it produces exactly what you want from it.

You´ll have to answer specific questions such as:

How much money is your business going to make for you? Your vision translated in gross revenues, gross profits, pretax profits and after tax profits. Answering this questions will serve to your Primary Aim. How much do you need to live the way you wish, to be independent of work, to be free. Your business needs to provide you a return of investment. 

Is it an opportunity worth pursuing? Does your business has a realistic chance of achieving those standards? If you assume that it can it is worth pursuing.

Who´s my customer? You´ll need a Demographic Model, to answer who would be your most probable customer, defined by age, sex, income, family status, education, profession. This will help you determine why your customer buys and who she/he is, how many opportunities you have (your customers demographics) and how successfully you can satisfy the emotional or perceived need (your customer psychographics).


Creating an Organization Chart has a profound impact on a small company more than any other Business Development step. It will help to give direction, purpose and style of the business, which will be balanced, interacting and progressing with each other toward a cohesive whole marked by the strategic Objective and the Personal Aim on the top.

Organization should be around accountabilities or responsibilities more than around personalities. Make sure you look for:

  • Defining the Position Contracts. 
  • Thinking as shareholders with employees, always done as a corporation more than as a partnership.
  • Prototyping the position by replacing yourself with a System that distinguishes the following from each other:
1.      Tactical work; the one that technicians do.
2.      Strategic work; the one that managers do.

  • Working on the system as working in it. Create manuals.
Create the blue print of your business

Creating a management system will be your management strategy. This means solving the problems provoked by the unpredictability of your people, through the process of management development which will give you marketing results by finding and keeping customers through efficient and effective processes described in operational manuals. It´s important to have a clear picture by hearing your clients.


How do I get my people to do what I want? A question that small business owners continuously ask. The answer: By creating an environment where “doing it” is more important to your people than non-doing it, where it becomes a way of life. Creating a workplace culture is essential to the business. Work is a reflection of who we are inside, it´s an idea, if positive your business will reflect that optimism, if negative it will reflect that as well.

By creating a clearly defined structure of acting in the world, people will work for you not just because it excites them, but because of this structure through which they can test themselves and be tested, like in a game. They will buy into your game on how well you communicate it at the outset of the relationship. It´s communicated through beliefs on what your business needs to become -for your customers, for your people, for yourself- it needs to be more than just a place to go to work.

The hiring process is the medium of communicating the workplace culture, the idea and the beliefs. This first relationship has to be not a dehumanizing experience, but quite the opposite. Hiring, developing and retaining people should require a strategy built on an understanding of people completely foreign to most businesses and the system should be the solution.

By setting a Management System all managers are expected to produce results and inspire people to commit to the standards that are set by the business, from and for the business. You want people who want to play your game, not those who believe they have a better one.

The marketing strategy starts, ends, lives, and dies with the customer. Keep in mind that what your customer wants is probably significantly differently from what you think he wants. Define his needs by looking at who he is -demographics- and why he buys -psychographics will help-.

Ask your customer. Make a questionnaire. Ask the colors they prefer, shapes, words, brands of perfume, food, restaurants, automobiles, clothes, jewelry. Match brands and commercials that sell them, what messages are being send to them by companies who are successfully selling to them. 

Make a list of those customers who fit your Demographic Model in your geographic perimeter where your customers mainly live or work.

In small businesses you can´t afford to spend the money big companies do, but you can afford to spend the time, the thought and the attention on the same questions they ask.

Source: The E Myth Revisted by Michael E. Gerber.