You’ve paid dearly to start and grow your business; the steep tuition of success that only an entrepreneur will ever understand. So, you would never do anything to sabotage your businesses, right? Well, not intentionally. But in my own personal experience and in working with hundreds of startups it’s clear to me that there are at least seven critical areas where entrepreneurs make mistakes that may cost them their business or severely limit its value and chances for growth.
Among our greatest enemies, as individuals, as organizations, and as a society are the false biases that justify an attitude of “us and them” –in a word, discrimination. Fortunately it’s one of the areas where we’ve made the most progress over the past 100 years.
Yet, there is one area where even the most tolerant among us feels it’s totally justified to discriminate with utter abandon; millennials and Gen Z.
It never fails that the greatest innovations often come wrapped in obscurity and misunderstanding. I can imagine a scene in which the first wheel was met with head scratching, confusion, and comments along the lines of, “Yeah, but it’s going to keep rolling away on us! Square wheels are so much more predictable.”
Our greatest fear is uncertainty. We will do anything to avoid it, including lying to ourselves and trying to pretend that we can work around it by creating certainty through decisions that are based on the illusion of probability.
On any given day we are all making decisions based on probabilities. You decide to take an earlier flight because it will decrease the likelihood that you’ll be late for a meeting. You decide to invest in blue chip stocks because they are more likely to weather an economic downturn. These are all well-considered decisions to balance the odds in your favor. You do it, I do it, we all do it; all the time. As entrepreneurs we become experts at making fast decisions that weigh out the probabilities of success.
Prince’s passing reminds us of what it takes to live an extraordinarily innovative and fullfilled life
Prince’s passing is going to stir up an avalanche of celebrity worship, but there’s so much more to respect and learn from what this amazing entrepreneur accomplished as an individual.
There will be plenty said about the volume of his work and the enormous breadth of his talent, but for me the admiration is much deeper; it is about someone who saw no obstacles, only opportunities to innovate.
Hint: It’s not what you think it is.
Are you a gambler? The answer might surprise you.
Risk is part of being an entrepreneur. You are accustomed to taking risks, otherwise you wouldn’t be contemplating or running your own business, right? Well, perhaps, but it has to do with how you define risk and where you see its origins.
Life’s toughest decision really boil down to answering 5 simple questions
I was terrified, but I was comfortable.
That was the way it felt almost 30 years ago when I started my first company. I was gainfully employed, making an extraordinary salary, had all the perks and privileges of an executive position in a thriving company at the age of 27, and yet I knew it was not the place I was meant to be. But I was terrified by the prospect of the uncertainty in breaking out and following my passion and my dreams. I knew what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know how it would work. I could make the business plan show anything I wanted it to show, but that didn’t make it real.
Partnerships are choices that we make about the life we deserve.
I need to start with an admission, I am divorced. So, I stand in awe of any marriage that lasted 52 years, especially one that endured as much as what Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s did. The mutual support, caring, compassion, and commitment that they had to each other is something that should inspire us all, regardless of our individual political ideologies.
But there is more to this story that touches us, especially those of us who are builders, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Perhaps most of all those of us who still seek that uniquely powerful life partnership. There is much to be learned from the relationship that the Reagans had and the grace and dignity with which they approached life’s challenges.
No mater how smart or creative you are, this one skill is what sets all great innovators apart from the rest of the crowd.
Innovation is often thought of strictly as an act of creativity. The more creative you are the more innovative you will be. Not so. We are all creative. Yes, some more so than others, but in my experience in working with hundreds of startups, small businesses, and large companies I’ve found that the determining factor in how innovative a person or a company is has little to do with how creative they are. If that was all that was needed innovation would be washing over everyone and every organization like a tsunami. It’s not. Some people and companies are just better at it than others.
Have the courage to do this one thing and you’ll never look at giving up in the same way again.
Have the courage to do this one thing and you’ll never look at giving up in the same way again.
“…never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” – Winston Churchill
If you’ve followed me on inc.com you’re well aware of my attitude towards giving up; in a word, DON’T. I’m ridiculously tenacious–and it’s not always a good thing! But I just had a conversation with a friend that caused me to reframe my view. Stick with me for a few minutes and I’ll share a story that might just change the way you look at giving up.
Follow this 30-day program and you will forever look at disruption as the gateway to innovation.
Disruption is one of the least well understood aspects of innovation and life in general. We see it as something that comes from the outside, an unwelcome visitor that steps into our lives unannounced to rock our world when things are going just fine. What if I told you that disruption is not about existential factors, but that it comes only from inside of us? Hard to accept, right? Read on.
5 things that will bring your dream to life and keep it alive.
At the risk of sounding arrogant my view is that the world consists of two fundamental personalities, those who persevere and simply refuse to give up on their dreams, and those who give in to fear, uncertainty, and doubt and walk away from their dreams. That’s not meant to be arrogant, it’s accurate.
So, what’s your biggest, boldest, most important dream–the one you will never really let yourself off the hook for? It may be personal or professional. Go ahead put it out there, no need to light it up in neon, just jot it down as you read this and then test it against the “5 ways to keep your dream alive” below.
Still wondering what to give that special person this holiday season? Try this.
It’s that time again when many of us struggle with what to get those special people in our lives. Not surprisingly these next few days are when the highest volume of overnight shipping occurs as we panic to get that last-minute special something. Thanks to Amazon Prime the logistics of Santa circumnavigating the globe overnight have finally been solved.
They say there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, whoever “they” are, they likely never tried to build a business. Because in business it’s always about finding something new that somehow allows you to differentiate and capture an advantage-fleeting though it may be. So, for 2016 here are five critical trends that will give you that edge. And if you find yourself saying, “Hey, that’s not new!” you may want to reconsider because all too often we look at the future through the lens of the past, and that’s a great way to miss the biggest opportunities!
Distraction is always the enemy. Here’s one simple technique to maintain focus on what’s really important.
So, if we are going to talk about productivity we need to get one thing straight from the outset; busy does not equate to productive.
Do this for 60 days and you will always think like a champion.
Champions, those people who define success on their own terms, know that they can make choices that create and shape their lives; sometimes simple choices which each day move them closer to their goals. It’s not rocket science but it is a discipline. You see, our habits and our behaviors are shaped by our thoughts. They are shaped deep within our unreasoning basel ganglia and brain stem, according to Reza Habib (as recounted by Charles Duhig, in his book The Power of Habit). Think the right thoughts often enough and you shape your behavior in a positive way; you expect success. Think the wrong thoughts and you expect failure.
Business is a numbers game. Here’s how to make sure the odds are always in your favor!
How to avoid being a statistic on the journey to success
Life is a numbers game, and so is business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about how you play the numbers. Much of that is understanding where the risk lies and what you can do to minimize it.
A Culture Of Innovation doesn’t just happen. It has to be built. Here’s How.
I’ve often had CEOs tell me, “I want to build a culture of innovation. Can you come in and put one in place?” I feel like a Navy Seal called in to somehow covertly free the company from the shackles of it’s founder. Inevitably that cry for help points to a classic problem that I call “The Founder’s Dilemma.” Here’s how it works.
Starting and building a business is filled with uncertainty. Rather than try to resolve it, accept it and do this.
Starting a business is often one of the hardest decisions anyone can make. Very rarely is the path to success lined with yellow bricks or marked with street signs, and it definitely isn’t on any GPS. The uncertainty, risk, setbacks, and effort are all part of the journey. Yet, if the desire is there I can assure you of one thing, it can not be squelched. You can’t douse the fires of passion with any amount of rational well though out argument; perhaps for a short time, but not permanently.
It may not feel like it at times, but you live in the most fortunate sliver of humanity.
If you’re reading this, then
- You actually woke up this morning with a heartbeat; 150,000 people never will again.
- You have clean water to make a cup of coffee or tea, and a toilet to flush; nearly a billion people don’t.