Posts Tagged: "entrepreneur"

Effective Morning Habits

- - Adam Kidan

effective morning habits by adam kidanOne of the keys to a great day is to start the day right.  Many successful people follow similar morning routines; if you’re feeling like you aren’t getting enough out of the day, then incorporating some of these habits could be a good idea.  I recently came across an article that shared some of them.  These are mostly meant to enhance creativity, but they’re just as relevant for the entrepreneur in all of us.  Try out a few of them, and notice the difference!

Get up early: Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  That’s just as true now as when Ben Franklin scribbled it down.  Waking up early leaves more time for you to practice physical and mental self-care by removing the stress that comes from having to rush.

Take time for reflection: Meditation and mindfulness, where you simply stay open to whatever runs through your head, has been shown to contribute to higher creativity.  This could include thinking about what you’re grateful for, or maybe making sure that what you’re about to do has value and will be fulfilling.  

Walk: Walking is a great way to get your body going and ease you into the day.  Studies have also proven that it’s an excellent way to stimulate your mind.  Interesting thoughts and ideas often emerge when you’re simply strolling down the street.  

Exercise: Piggybacking off the above point, morning exercise is great for your mind just as much as your body.  By boosting blood and oxygen flow to the brain and releasing endorphins, it’s an excellent way to start the day right.  Make sure you don’t forget to eat after your workout; it’s essential for post-workout recovery by giving your brain the necessary energy to function and innovate.  

Make lists: Make lists in the morning about the work that needs to be done throughout the day.  This is a great way to fight stress.  Tackle the toughest stuff first, when your mind is fresh, that way you’ll have time to relax later on in the day.  

Take in information: Don’t get into something distracting like emails first thing in the morning; instead start the day off with something more stimulating.  Maybe catch up on news or check out the stock market.  This gives you different viewpoints and perspectives.  

Connect with the people you care about: By connecting with the people you care about in the morning, you remind yourself why you’re doing what you do and creates a purposeful start to the day.  

Common Legal Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

- - Adam Kidan

common legal mistakes entrepreneurs make by adamk idanAs a seasoned entrepreneur, I’ve seen and experienced just about every business mistake in the book.  As somebody who attended law school, I can also tell you that the legal mistakes are the most dangerous.  I recently read an article where IP lawyer Rachel Rodgers, who has nearly 20 years of experience to her name, shared some of the legal mistakes she’s seen, and how to avoid them.  Legal stuff seems difficult and frankly terrifying, and that’s because it is.  But it’s a lot less scary if you’re at least prepared for it.  Here are what Rodgers says are the most common legal mistakes entrepreneurs make.  Pay attention, and they’ll hopefully save you a lot of headaches in the future:

Not vetting the name of your business/product/service: Conduct a thorough trademark search before you invest large sums in building your brand around a name that you can’t use.  If your name is infringing on another trademark that you can’t use, then you need to change the name, lose your Google ranking and rebuild your website.

Not separating your business and personal finances: Especially in the early stages of a business, it’s easy for your personal and business finances to bleed into each other.  Yet it’s extremely difficult to make smart business decisions without clear financial data, and commingling funds means you’ll lose the liability protection from your business.  Set up accounts solely for business income and expenses.  

Not keeping records: “Piercing the corporate veil” is when courts discover that a business entity and its owner are one in the same.  It means that business creditors can come after your personal assets.  To avoid this, record everything that happens with your business on a year-by-year basis, and submit your corporate filings with the state.  Have corporate files with all of your insurance, contracts, leases and other legal documents.  

Not making contracts: Business without a contract is a surefire way to get yourself sued or screwed out of money in some way or another.  To avoid this, have proper contracts in place that outline exactly what’s being exchanged, who owns what, as well as any cancellation clauses or payment terms.  

Not using legal notices: In the digital age, an entrepreneur’s website doubles as a storefront.  So if you collect information from people visiting your website, then you need a privacy policy.  Have disclaimers and terms and conditions outlined on your website that govern your relationship with visitors, subscribers and clients, especially if you’re selling products and services directly from your site.  

Not protecting your intellectual property: Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also hurt your business.  The longer you’re in business, the more intellectual property you produce, and the more valuable it becomes.  This includes logos, slogans, apps, e-books, classes and even blog posts.  Register your intellectual property with the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US Copyright Office.  

Not classifying your team as “employees”: The IRS has a very strong bias towards “employees” rather than “contractors”.  Do a proper analysis to figure out if your workers are employees or independent contractors.  All independent contractors need to sign agreements as well.  

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Kim Kardashian

- - Adam Kidan

What entrepreneurs can learn from kim kardashian by adam kidanIt’s easy to hate on Kim Kardashian.  A spoiled rich kid who was able to create a multi-million-dollar business empire out of a controversial tape and a reality show, she represents the darker side of fame in the Information Age, where people earn seemingly undeserved fame for seemingly no reason.  Earlier this month, Kim boasted that she earned $80 million from her mobile app “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood”.  Some estimates have put the net worth of her family at over $300 million.  This might be frustrating for those brilliant people who struggle to get the recognition they deserve, and it might seem like Kim Kardashian’s fame was by accident, but I recently read an article that argued that she was actually a brilliant entrepreneur.  Even if I’m not the biggest Kim Kardashian fan, the article has a point, and entrepreneurs can learn a lot from her.  

Kim is actually very entrepreneurial.  It can be easy to hate on her, but that’s not constructive; rather, we should try to learn from her.  As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to get caught up with buzzwords such as “passion” and “changing the world”, but often-times the most successful entrepreneurs are most interested in making money.  And that’s been Kim’s modus operandi for years now; she started designing accessories as a teenager and by the age of 16 had her own eBay store.  Through this experience, she was able to start a new business that cleaned out and redesigned closets.  Through all of this, her father, a successful attorney, loaned her money, yet he always made her sign contracts.  

Even if not all of her publicity has been good, Kim has been able to leverage it to make more money.  She was able to convince E! to pick up her reality show, and 11 seasons later it’s the network’s most-watched show.  From her eBay store, Kim now owns a chain of clothing stores, and has a string of endorsement deals for all sorts of products.  For speaking appearances, she charges big fees.  Ultimately, Kim has been able to profit from potential opportunities, one of the keys of being a successful entrepreneur.  It has nothing to do with “breaking the Internet” or a leaked tape, but because she’s been able to exploit her publicity.  She also doesn’t try to do everything on her own; every product endorsement and deal involves a commercial partner.  Like Donald Trump, Kim licenses her name to companies and lets them use it.  

I’m personally not the biggest fan of Kim Kardashian, but I do recognize that she’s a brilliant entrepreneur.  As somebody who is driven, utilizes opportunities, picks her partners wisely and never backs down, entrepreneurs can learn a lot from her.  

Timeless Entrepreneurial Tips

- - Adam Kidan

Timeless entrepreneurial tips by adam kidanIn the Information Age, things change fast, more often than not faster than we can keep track of.  Such constant change can often make entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed.  Yet there are certain sure-fire, timeless strategies that offer a path towards success.  Here are some of them, based off an article written by entrepreneur Timothy Sykes:

Study your competition: Entrepreneurs should know their competitors as well as possible, understanding who they are as well as the product/service they’re offering.  This will help you better market your product to stand out, utilizing your competition’s weakness to your advantage.  

Always conserve cash: Even if you’re flush with cash, you want to maintain a conservative approach.  This will ensure that you can deal with any potential rough patch, foreseeable and unforeseeable.  

Don’t start out big: In the initial stages of a business, don’t try expanding into huge markets.  Niche marketing, on the other hand, is a great way to make your business stand out.  By offering something new and compelling, speaking the market’s language and figuring out its hot buttons, you can make a huge splash in niche markets, which will allow you to expand further.  

Stay up-to-date: If you rest on your laurels, then you risk becoming irrelevant.  Understand emerging products or services to make sure you stay on top.  Make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything out there.

Respond to change: Change is inevitable in business, and those who can respond are both flexible and versatile.  Entrepreneurs must be prepared to accept change and adapt business operations accordingly.  If you need to shift your product or service, then do it.  Wherever you are now, and no matter how comfortable it is, you probably won’t stay there forever.  Not adapting means loss in customers and profits.  

Listen to your customers: Piggybacking on the previous two points, entrepreneurs need to always be adapting.  But entrepreneurs can only evolve their business when they’re listening to customer feedback.  Some customers are inherently not going to like your product, but if a lot of them are, then listen and be ready to adapt.  

Balancing Parenthood and Entrepreneurship

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Balancing parenthood and entrepreneurship by Adam KidanBeing an entrepreneur is a major time commitment, and often a huge risk.  It often takes up all of your time and then some.  So many people think that it’s impossible to balance a family and a career as an entrepreneur.  It’s not necessarily easy, but I can tell you from experience that it can still be done.  I recently came across an article that shared some tips for balancing the two, using advice from several successful parents/entrepreneurs.  Here’s what they had to say:

Prioritize your commitments: With family and work both taking up your attention, it can be hard to figure out which one you need to prioritize.  You need to be realistic about what you can accomplish, and not try to take on more work than you can handle.  Even if you’re busy, make sure you stay involved with your child, keep a routine and always have a back-up plan.  

Hack your time: While most work-at-home parents can’t stick to office hours, you can always hack your time.  Various time hacks can help with your work day, such as cooking for two meals at once, shopping online, doing things in batches and having your dry cleaning set to pick-up and delivery.  Removing these distractions from your work allows you to save far more time and get a lot more done with the limited time you have.  

Outsource/delegate work: Family activities often make it difficult to make obligations, so train your staff or hire somebody who can take your place when you can’t be there.  Try online outsourcing, getting a virtual assistant, and even teach your kids about how they can help.  

Grow your parents’ network: As you meet other families through school, playgroups and your neighborhood, you grow your “parent network”, helping you earn your place in the community.  This allows you to meet interesting people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, who could turn into valuable contacts or even partners.

Business Secrets From Ashley Alexiss

- - Adam Kidan

PBusiness secrets from ashley alexiss by Adam Kidanlus-sized model Ashley Alexiss understood that trying on new swimwear before the summer is a tough time for plenty of women, which inspired her to create a new line of swimwear, Alexiss Swimwear, designed to “embrace curves” and help women find confidence.  Since the company’s launch last year, the CEO has found success.  I recently found a piece online where she discusses what she’s learned starting this line of swimsuits, what keeps her inspired and how she’s learned to use social media in the information age.  Here’s what she has do say:

Have a mission: Alexiss started this line of swimwear to make women feel better about themselves, a sentiment echoed in the company’s slogan of “Beauty is not a size”.  Swimwear often caters to either smaller or larger women, but not as often both, and the ones that cater to larger women isn’t always flattering or stylish.  That’s why Alexiss got into this business.

Recognize great ideas: As a plus-size model, Alexiss does a lot of swim and lingerie shoots.  On social media she often had people asking her where to get what she’s wearing, which inspired her to make swimwear for everybody who has the same problem.

Partner up: Alexiss’ first partner wasn’t a good fit, as the two of them had vastly different ideas as to which direction the company should go.  Her current partner owns his own business separate from Alexiss Swimwear, allowing her to see how he operates and manages things.

Have goals: Alexiss wants to be a known and recognized brand within five years, with women getting excited about trying on new swimwear whenever they see an Alexiss swimwear store front.

Be social: Alexiss has a fairly large following on social media; her secret is to put everything, good and bad, out there, and people will often relate to it and share it, leading to a domino effect where their friends see it and share it.  Yet at the same time, be careful about how much you post.  If you’re posting too frequently, you’re going to start annoying people; Alexiss suggests two to three times a day as a maximum.

Timing is everything: When you’re using social media, timing is essential.  Peak social media times in the US are around noon and a little after work.  If you want to be international, you need to remember that a lot of your audience is awake and looking to see what you’re up to, even when you’re asleep.

Know your limits: Since she’s a public figure on Facebook, Alexiss can get around 4,000 comments for a single photo.  That means you can only respond to a handful of comments.  Alexiss checks the comments and messages every hour, since it’s important to respond to comments as a business.

Keep learning: Alexiss has had a lot of success with her business, but she still has plenty to learn.  That’s why she’s currently going to graduate school, but there are some aspects of business that you can’t learn in a classroom.

Success is up to you: It’s only natural to think that you’ve bit off more than you can chew sometimes.  But when you go through with it, you learn and become more realistic about your goals.  The only way to make things happen is to do it, do it right and learn through the process.

Fighting the “Entrepreneur Blues”

- - Adam Kidan, Business

It’s a situation that happens with every entrepreneur: they’ve got a great idea, they’re setting out, thinking that it will make them rich and fulfill their biggest dream.  Yet being an entrepreneur isn’t all fun and games, and the pressure and stress that comes from managing the unknown day after day provides no shortage of stress.  Yet there are ways for you to manage that stress; I recently came across an article that features six ways to stay optimistic when facing the “entrepreneur blues”, listed below:

Monty Python Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

In Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, the title character is told to “always look on the bright side of life”.

1. Be thankful: The author of the article advises entrepreneurs to write down three things every day for which they are thankful, but these need to be new things each time, so nothing can be repeated.  This trains your brain to constantly search for positive angles, because after a while finding three new things to be thankful for every day can be tough.

2. Surround yourself with good people: It’s only natural to adopt the attitudes of people around us, and optimism is contagious.  We’ve all got those friends we just enjoy being around, since they emit positivity.  Of course, the opposite is also true.  Avoid those kind of people as much as you can.

3. Be mindful: All sorts of health practitioners, coaches and organizations are boosting mindfulness as a way to boost employee engagement and productivity.

4. Consistently exercise: Studies show that exercise releases chemicals that reverse the effects of stress.  Try working out for 20 minutes three times a week for a month, and chances are you’ll feel better at the end of it.

5. Set and achieve small goals: Setting goals is a great way to boost your self-efficacy; achieving goals allows you to tap into an unknown part of your character, bringing all sorts of new potential into the game.  Yet goals need to challenge you; something that you write down and check off is a to-do item.

6. Choose your words carefully: Positive self-talk has got no shortage of power; replace negative words like “can’t”, “need to” or “have to” with ones like “am”, “choose” or “being”.  Adopting such a mindset can take a big mental shift, but once you can you’ll feel a lot stronger.

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.

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.

Starting a Business Without Money

- - Adam Kidan

This a problem many aspiring entrepreneurs face: you have a great idea, one that could make you millions, but you have no money.  However, a tight budget (or no budget at all) doesn’t Adam Kidan empty walletnecessarily mean that you don’t have any options, and indeed the proper combination of skills, work ethic and marketing know-how can help you accomplish just about anything.  I recently came across an article that addresses this issue.  If you want to succeed in a business project, thinking carefully about the skills you have and how to properly utilize them is extremely valuable.

If you make something, it does take an initial cost in supplies, but such products often can be sold for many times over their actual cost.  What you decide to make is entirely up to you, but there are several great places where you can sell your handmade options online, such as Abe’s Market (natural and organic goods), Etsy (homemade goods), Bonanza (similar to Etsy) and eBay (one of the world’s biggest online ecommerce marketplaces).  To reach as many consumers as possible, many business owners sell their products on multiple platforms.  However, it’s important to make sure that your inventory stays updated on all sites where you have a storefront.

If you don’t want to (or don’t have the proper skills to) make something, you can generate revenue by just reselling products that somebody’s already made.  Try such options as drop shipping, thrift shops and garage sales to find potentially valuable products to sell.  One man’s trash, as they say, is another man’s treasure.

“But wait,” you say, “I don’t have anything I can make and sell, or anything I can buy and then sell myself”.  Don’t panic.  Instead of a physical product, you can sell your services.  There’s truly no limit to the various services that you can offer, it only depends on your background and interests.  Some might require advanced degrees, while others need little more than a working knowledge about how something’s done (such as babysitting, lawn mowing or personal assistance).  Since you’re selling your services, you’ll need a good brand strategy to make sure that your name and company gets in front of the people who may need the service.  Some great free places for promoting your services include Fiverr, Craigslist, Elance, Taskrabbit and Skillshare.  Having a website to show examples of your work, list your experience and blog about your industry to draw visitors could be helpful as well.

While starting a business without any type of funds might be difficult, there are great ways to get the necessary supplies for starting your business without any money.  For instance, if you need a used laptop, but can’t afford it, you can try bartering.  Build a new website for a used electronics supplier, or offer babysitting services to your neighbor in exchange for their old computer.

You can use plenty of sites to advertise your products and services, but you can also use such platforms to build up your own company.  For example, many designers offer $5 to $25 logo designs.  Sort by reviews and past examples so that you’ll be able to find a designer or service provider that matches your style.