Posts by: Adam Kidan

Why Proper Goal Setting Is The Key To Success

- - Adam Kidan, Business

There is plenty of advice out there that can help motivate you or increase your productivity at work. While this advice is certainly important and can provide a real impact on your work life, if you are focused on achieving success, there is no substitution for goal setting. As this article points out, if you want to achieve business success then it is important to set goals for yourself and build your life around these goals. Here is a list of some important tactics that you should incorporate in order to reach your goals and the success that you desire.

1) Review Your Goals Every Day

Plenty of people have ideas or dreams for what they want to accomplish. What separates those that simply dream from those that achieve success, is that successful people take action on their ideas. One of the major obstacles for dreamers is that life goals can appear overwhelming and unattainable. However, if you break down your goals into a series of small, achievable tasks then overtime you can make real progress and eventually you will accomplish these dreams. At the end of each day, review what steps you took that helped position you to accomplish your goal.

2) Evaluate Your Goals Regularly

It is important to evaluate your goals regularly so that you can focus on what is actually important to you. Sometimes your goals may be different than what you are actually trying to accomplish. Evaluating your goals helps you determine if you are taking the right path. Suppose your goal is to run 10 miles a day but you have knee problems. You should ask yourself if your goal to run 10 miles a day is actually your goal or if you are simply trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. By evaluating your goals, it provides you the opportunity to take a step back and examine the bigger picture.

3) Zig Zag Your Way To The Top

You will be tempted to want to rush toward your goal as fast as possible. But on your path to success, you will inevitably encounter unexpected obstacles. These obstacles can provide an opportunity to take different courses of action that you may have never considered. These obstacles may be frustrating but at the end of the day, your business will be more stable because of your ability to adapt. Zigzagging requires you to be flexible and forces you to take advantage of different opportunities. When you encounter a roadblock, evaluate your goals and determine whether it may be more beneficial to pivot from your current model.

Healthy Habits to Increase Productivity at Work

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Adam KidanA productive work week is always reflected by how you choose to prepare, and starts with the development of healthy habits. Entrepreneurs especially tend to have a jam-packed work week and often forget the power that maintaining a healthy lifestyle has on their bodies and minds. Here are some tips to make sure that you have as productive a day as possible so you can effectively lead and grow as an entrepreneur:

First, make sure you prepare for the coming day the night before. This means knowing what’s on your calendar. If you have important meetings or any calls the next day, be sure you have your notes ready and have done your research for how you want to lead the call or meeting before you tune out for the night. This does not have to be done in depth, because you should have time at work the next day to prepare, but it just gives you more notice of what you expect your schedule to be like the next day.

In addition, you should prepare what you need for the morning so you don’t leave anything important at home. And yes, this includes your lunch. Make a healthy lunch the night before so that you have food to fuel you throughout the day and so that you don’t rely on the office vending machine to cure your 11 am hunger.

Adam KidanSleep plays an important role in determining your productivity for the day. As you probably already know, when you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, your brain tends to be foggy and you most likely won’t be as productive as you would be after a good night’s sleep. In order to ensure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, turn off your electronic devices that can be extremely distracting before bed. We all know that Netflix can be addicting, especially if you’re in the middle of a great show. But turn it off, it’s not worth the fatigue the next day.

Another great way to start your day off right is by getting up and moving – this could mean working out, walking your dog, or even stretching in your living room. According to an article published on Entrepreneur.com, “Getting out of bed and making your body move gets the blood flowing and the brain synapses connecting again. If you aren’t in the habit of moving first thing when you get up, this may feel a little strange at first but trust me, it works,” (7 Healthy Habits That Maximize Your Productivity Every Day). You will notice a near automatic surge in energy and a clearer head if you start moving first thing after you wake up.

Last, learn to tame your brain. As an entrepreneur, you will probably experience increased levels of stress and feel that you are overwhelmed at certain points throughout your week. To stay healthy and happy, learn to meditate. Meditating is scientifically proven to help people deal with stress and improve mind fluidity, allowing your brain to become more adaptable.

Overall, staying healthy is the most beneficial thing you can do in order to increase your productivity rate throughout the workday. Make sure you are eating right, sleeping well, and getting enough exercise each day so that you can feel well-nourished and balanced for your brain to function properly.

Use Social Media Effectively To Grow Your Business

- - Business

Facebook has been a transformational company in terms of human social interaction and has changed the way friends, and even strangers, communicate with each other. A company which once began as a tool for people to connect at college has since grown and evolved into a company that is now an extremely influential tool for business marketing, particularly for small businesses.

In an effort to promote the use of Facebook and other social media tools by small businesses wishing to engage with consumers, Facebook recently hosted a “Boost Your Business” event. Around 250 local companies attended the event, which included Facebook analytics experts and a panel of local business owners who gave tips about advertising and marketing on social media properties.

Here are six important tips from Facebook experts and local business owner panelists discussed at the event:

1) Your Facebook page is your best online presence. Facebook allows businesses to make marketing personal by engaging with customers, posting business hours, sales, giveaways and upcoming events.

2) Create content that adds value to the customer. The Facebook news feed shows the most relevant and interesting content to individuals. This is an important tool for business owners to listen and respond to customers as well as feature your own stories about what is happening with your business.

3) Get to know your audience. Facebook tools such as Page, Audience and Ad Insights help you understand what kind of posts are performing best and at what time of day. Use them to find the best way to reach your audience.

4) Find the right people. Clean out the clutter and target the people who actually care about and want to invest in your business. Facebook has great targeting tools (Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences) to reach people who may have never heard of your business before.

5) Segment your audiences and groups. It is important to tailor your social media efforts to your various audiences and create posts that fit their specific needs, based on their interests, behaviors and demographics.

6) Measure and track your results. Find out what is working and what does not work and then look into why this is the case. Track your progress as you work to grow your business.

If you are a small-business owner looking to grow your customer base, these tips can definitely steer you in the right direction. To read more about what happened at the event, check out this article.

Business Tips: Goal-Setting

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Adam KidanRegardless of what type of business you own, setting reasonable goals is one of the most important steps you can take in ensuring that your business sees adequate growth. Many times business owners will set goals that are either too small or too big – for example, setting a goal that should take a year to reach in a one-month time span – which in turn hinders the success of their business. Here are a few ways you can make sure you are setting strategic goals appropriate for your own business’ well-being:

First, look at the hard evidence. Making adjustments to the way your business carries out certain strategies according to facts and results is the best way for your business to improve. According to an article published by Better Business Bureaus, “When things aren’t going well or as you had planned, take a step back and analyze why this may be happening. As soon as you realize that you need to make a change, consult with mentors and use the information you have to adjust,” (3 Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Business). If you notice that certain actions result in failure to deliver a desired outcome, make the changes needed to ensure those actions do not repeat.

Next, finding a mentor to emulate is a great way to see your business take off. It’s usually best to choose an idol who is either in a similar realm of business as you or whose success rate is admirable enough for you to look into and imitate. Looking deeply into a mentor’s hard work ethic, education, habits, and whatever else it may be that has helped them reach a high level of success is a great way to give yourself and your employees a role model to look up to. This way, you can set goals that revolve around this mentor’s road to success and hope that your business can show some sort of improvement after imitating.Adam Kidan

Finally, set goals that avoid taking shortcuts. Taking shortcuts often means that a business is skipping chances for professional development, which will often lead to undesirable outcomes. According to Better Business Bureaus:

“Your business must be build on ethical business practices, knowledge of your product and company, a desire to improve via professional development, and a commitment to representing your company and serving customers to the best of your ability,” (3 Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Business).

So, when you set business goals, be sure that they are always ethical and promote self-improvement and professional enhancement. Though it may take longer, when you reach these kinds of goals you will notice a strong, empowering change in your business’ success and the work ethics of your employees.

Staying Proactive at Work

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Let’s face it – we all get off-track at work sometimes. From unexpected client phone calls, to catching that unique strand of flu that comes out once a year, trying to meet a deadline can catch up on you. But luckily there are many ways to stay proactive at work so you can be on top of your game and show your boss how hard you truly work. Here are some tips for getting back in the work-groove, meeting deadlines, and being an overall great employee:

Adam KidanFirst, write down a to-do list, don’t just make one in your head. To-do lists are great because they allow you to see everything that should get done either daily, weekly, or monthly. Seeing the work that’s in front of you will give you a better grasp on which tasks you should prioritize, and which you can get away with spending less time on.

Next, once you’ve sorted out which tasks should be weighed more heavily over others, focus on those. There will be time to get the little things done later. In order to focus on your priorities, you must close out of all other screens, stop checking texts, and tune out whatever else it is that distracts you. An article published by Entrepreneur.com states:

“That email inbox on your phone/computer screen is like crack. Once you check on, you just can’t stop… or compulsive deleting kicks in… So minimized distractions by not even going there so you can focus on the things that you have deemed more important,” (Chan, 7 Habits to Work Proactively, Not Reactively).

Adam KidanIn addition, you should practice getting in the habit of putting your personal phone on airplane mode in the morning and only checking it at lunch. This will help immensely when it comes to distractions.

Last, stop overthinking things – just get them done. This may sound way more harsh than it actually is. Think about how many times you sat at work thinking about what you had to write or get done, gradually becoming more distracted as each minute went by. Just start writing, don’t think as much about it – there will be time for you to edit. Whether it is a 5 minute email that you’ve stretched to 30 minutes, or an hour-long report that you’ve taken all day to write – getting into the habit of just starting without thinking too much will help avoid future distractions so you can get more done and stay caught up at work.

If you need more advice on how to stay proactive at work and get what needs to be done, done – check out Entrepreneur.com’s article here.

Finish 2015 Strong! Five Important Business Tips

- - Adam Kidan, Business

As a approach the last several months of the year, it is a good time to reflect on where you are business wise and what you have accomplished. Have you reached your goals for the year? If not, what steps are you taking to to ensure you reach these goals by the end of the year?

I stumbled upon this article, that offers up some great tips for business success and I think they offer up some valuable lessons for those looking to meet and exceed the goals they have outlined for their business. Here are five tips from industry leading experts on how to make 2015 as successful as possible.

1. Treat customers like guests in your home

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“While there will always be customers who have decreased attention, are in a hurry, or appear to be frazzled, you want to still aim to deliver strong customer care despite customer scenarios. One way to do this is to treat customers as if they are guests in your home.” – Kirt Manecke, customer service expert and author of the book “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service”

By treating customers with amazing customer service you are positioning yourself to turn these people into repeat customers. Also, a customer who is treated well by a company will be more likely to recommend the business to a friend or family member.

2. Belong to at least three professional organizations

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“I always suggest to business owners that they belong to at least three professional associations. First, you should belong to your local Chamber of Commerce or downtown business association. That is where you business is and where your employees often live. Moreover, you should belong to your specific industry trade association. And last, you should belong to a statewide association because most legislation happens at state level, and you need eyes and ears looking out for you business. In most cases, a retail association will fill that role.” – Curtis Picard, Executive Director of the Retail Association of Maine

Professional organizations are an amazing place to network and grow partnerships within the community. Not to mention, you can learn a great deal from other business owners in the area as well. Joining professional organizations truly is a great way to help you better manage and grow your business.

3. Participate in e-commerce

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“The future of e-commerce belongs to small businesses. This is the biggest opportunity for retailers since farmer’s markets began hundreds of years ago. People often believe setting up an online store is expensive and difficult, but this is not the case.” – Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer at Shopify.com

Opening an online store will open you up to markets that you were previously unable to reach or maybe did not even think would be interested in your product. In today’s modern world, more people are choosing to make purchases in the comfort of their own home, so it is important to be able to cater to these individuals as well. If your business is not based on retail, consider building a website to inform potential customers about your service and market to them online as well.

4. Introduce commerce and charity

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“Research shows that 83 percent of customers want to buy products that benefit a cause. Combining your business with a charity of your choice is a great way to gain consumer attention while increasing sales.” – Dan McCabe, Director of SixDegrees.org

If you can own your business and give back to the community or a group in need, that is truly a remarkable feat. Consider partnering with a local organization, not only will you giving a helping hand to those who really need it but you will build a better relationship with the community as a whole.

5. Embrace the cloud

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“The cloud is here to stay and Windows is dead. Over the next three to five years, the cloud will really come of age for small businesses, and Windows-based POS (point of sale) and other operations will disappear. Retailers and small businesses must think about upgrading their technology – with cloud being the obvious choice.” – Jason Richelson, founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS

Cloud technology is not only affordable (or free), with options such as Google Drive, but it also gives you the flexibility to access your work documents from anywhere at anytime. The cloud also makes collaboration between coworkers extremely easy helping to boost productivity.

The Importance of Transparency in Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Transparency is a key element to successful businesses that is often overlooked. Everyone who plays a role in a company should know the who, what, when, how, and why of big decisions so that they can continue to feel important, because the truth is – they are. When employees and others involved with certain business endeavors feel like they are not being included when important decisions are made (or not made), they are less productive. Clarity leads to productivity, and nobody likes to feel like they are being left in the dark.

Adam Kidan

Being transparent is vital to running a company – no matter how big or small. Your customers will also immensely appreciate honesty. An article written by Chuck Cohn and published by AmericanExpress.com created a great analogy; he states:

“Think about the last time you went online to book a plane ticket. Was it annoying to arrive at the last page and then discover all the extra fees that were added on to your final price? It would be simple to put that information at the beginning of the process so the customer feels less ambushed,” (4 Ways Transparency Can Boost Your Business).

That being said, transparency should not be limited to in-house operations (meaning, what goes on internally), extend your business’ transparency to all those who are involved – customers, investors, etc., and your business will sure to have a positive improvement.

Adam Kidan business

In addition, in order to run a strong business, make transparency one of the company’s biggest priorities. According to Chuck Cohn, “Communicate that the more everyone knows, the better you can work as a team. Line up goals with your vision of the company and let everyone see it,” (4 Ways Transparency Can Boost Your Business). This is especially important from a CEO’s perspective so that all employees – new and old – can be on the same page and know that they are working for a singular vision. Transparency creates unity, and vice-versa, so make sure everyone knows they are on the same team, working for the same goals.

For more information on why transparency is a key aspect for running any successful business, please read Chuck Cohn’s article on AmericanExpress.com here.

Most Creative People in Business: Written Word Edition

- - Business

Here at the blog, I write a lot about entrepreneurship and business. But even if you’ve got all the tips and suggestions in the world, the best lessons still come from people who are out there putting it into action. Creativity is an integral component to success in business and, lucky for us, Fast Company realized this in their list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2015. Check out some of the honorees below, and learn about some great habits of the successful. I’ll be doing several posts of coverage, but first up are some standout from the writing and publishing crowd.

For these individuals, the pen is truly more powerful than the sword. With their creative minds, they have been able to build entire empires and drive businesses that fight injustice, create a more informed public, or fight pain with humor.

Dao Nguyen (Publisher, Buzzfeed)

Under the data-driven leadership of Nguyen, Buzzfeed has boomed. The viral platform demonstrated an amazing ability to actually listen to the data in order to make their user experience as enjoyable as it could be. Nguyen’s primary responsibility is growth, and so far the results have been of home-run caliber: After realizing that email was a valuable referral tool, an overhaul of their system doubled email sharing; she has led the distinct Buzzfeed style into Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat; and Buzzfeed has now grown to an $850M valuation. Oh, and the rumor mill has been churning talk of an upcoming IPO.

Jermaine Affonso (Editor, Clickbait)

If you’re an active member of the internet community, there’s no chance that you’ve missed Clickhole. The Buzzfeed spinoff, which on the surface is a parody of viral news sites (here’s looking at you, Buzzfeed), has become a staple of internet humor. So, how does he create, curate, and organize so much information? Deadlines. Affonso admits that they are the only way that he can get anything done. It’s a classic example of ideas needing action. Waiting around for the perfect opportunity is never worth it, because something will always come up.

Kelly Sue DeConnick (Comic Book Writer)

In a world where the archetypal comic book geek is a man, Kelly Sue DeConnick is looking to shake things up. Her most well-received project is running a Captain Marvel comic series. Captain Marvel, a female super heroine, has disrupted the male-dominated comic book landscape to such an extent that there is now a film in development. And if we’ve learned anything from the past decade, it’s that superhero films really bring in the revenue! For inspiration, she turns to “things I feel very passionately about and things I have incredibly mixed feelings about.” DeConnick is also a morning person: she rises each morning between 3am and 5am.

Megan Amram (Writer, Parks and Recreation; Science… For Her!)

After spending years writing for the acclaimed NBC show Parks and Recreation, Megan Amram turned her attention to the destruction of stereotypes. Tired of gossipy and gimmicky magazines like Cosmopolitan, she set to work on her own masterpiece– a parodic textbook titled “Science… For Her!” It has been well received, and is a perfect example of using your creative tendencies and business acumen to understand your market, deliver sharp humor and wit, and advance a positive change. She stays well caffeinated, and maintains many lists with small, doable tasks. As a extrovert, she seeks “sensory overload” in a crowded space when she needs to be refreshed.

Happy Birthday, Registered Trademark

- - Adam Kidan
Adam Kidan Happy Birthday

A 1922 songbook featuring “Happy Birthday”

“Happy Birthday” is one of the most well-recognized songs in the world, translated in numerous languages and sung at just about every birthday party out there.  While it might be sung for an estimated 19 million different birthdays every day, “Happy Birthday” is actually private property.  However, a federal lawsuit filed by a group of independent artists is looking to change that.  In a filing last week, lawyers in the case found evidence in a nearly 100 year-old songbook that proves the song’s 1935 copyright is no longer valid.

A judge may have a rulin in the case in coming weeks.  If the song does become part of the public domain then it would cost the Warner Music Group, who holds the rights, millions of dollars in lost licensing fees.  While it’s survived anybody involved in its creation, the “Happy Birthday” song is still owned by a corporation that charges for its use.  By this point, the song is almost like a folk song, probably the first song you ever heard as a child that feels like it should have no owner.

The case over this classic tune highlights the centrality of copyright claims to media businesses, including the music industry, where the issue of who owns a song is worth millions.  Back in March, a jury verdict in a case involving Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” rattled the music industry and ruined a one-hit wonder’s one hit after finding that it copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got to Give It Up”.  Part of the dispute over “Happy Birthday” derives from its old publishing history; its familiar melody was first published by a kindergarten teacher in 1893 as “Good Morning to All”.  In the 1900s, birthday-themed variations began to appear, so that by the 1930s the song “Happy Birthday to You” had become a phenomenon.

The song was copyrighted in 1935, and in 1988 Warner acquired it after buying the owner, Birchtree Ltd.  According to some estimates, the song now generates around $2 million in licensing income every year, mostly through its use in television and film.  While it’s widely sung at private gatherings, its copyright status requires some peculiar workarounds in public settings.  Restaurants often substitute public-domain songs such as “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to avoid licensing fees, and on live television impromptu performances are often silenced by producers.  The song has been a prime target for critics of copyright law for a long time; thanks to an extension made under the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the song remains under protection until 2030.  However, the song’s copyright may not have been properly renewed when its initial term expired in 1963.  However, the situation has been complicated by a 1922 songbook containing “Happy Birthday”, which predates the 1935 copyright, that appears through “special permission”.  Under the 1998 law, anything published before 1923 is considered to be part of the public domain.

The Importance Of Trust In Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

handshake-220233_640When discussing business leaders, often times you will hear the words passion, hard work or determination as the keys drivers for success. But maybe the most important factors of all, is slowly become overlooked. These factor are ethics and trust.

As Arthur Gensler discusses in a Fortune article, the lack of a clear sense of ethics in a business leader from employees, clients, or the community at large can send the signal that you may only care about money. A business leader that is able to create authentic trust with others will likely be more successful down the road.

Ethics refer to the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior. There are no shortcuts when it comes to being ethical. Either you do the right thing or you don’t. As the former CEO of General Electric puts it, “Can you look in the mirror in the morning and be proud of what you’re doing.” If you make decisions based on this principle, other people will take note and be inspired to make the same types of ethical decisions themselves. This will eventually lead to a more ethical business practice as a whole.

The biggest responsibility of a leader is to educate their teams about the firm or group’s ethical code, it’s values, and provide examples of how to assess and react to difficult situations. Promoting transparent and ethical operations procedures begins with the leader, and will only lead to a more cohesive and committed group.

When employees firmly believes that the business leaders are practicing ethical business themselves, they will be more inspired to think positively about their work and will exhibit more trust and confidence towards both leadership and co-workers. Employees will be inspired to act honorably to fulfill their defined duties in accordance to the shared company values.

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Building trust within the company itself will inevitably spill over to the clients side as well. When a client knows that you are honest and direct with them, they will be more willing to work through challenges and they will serve as a referral source for future business. When clients hear a genuine and uniform attitude from company employees they will understand and believe for themselves that the company operates under ethical principles.

A truly successful business leader understands the importance of leading by example and how it will positively impact their employees and the clients they serve.