Entrepreneurship has become an increasingly recognized career path. Many business schools now
offer courses on
entrepreneurship, and have become business start-up networks. College students have created successful businesses.
College graduates have gone the start-up route, instead of working for an existing organization. Business executives and
academics have chosen the start-up route as a new career path. In the financial services industry, the consolidation and
constant layoffs have prompted some to explore starting a business.
Continue reading "Book Review: Hungry Start-Up Strategy" »
We live in a society that glorifies deferred gratification as the end-all and be-all of success. We are taught that if we work hard enough to make enough money, afterward we can finally pursue our passions. The problem, says Life Architect Stever Robbins, is that we may never reach fulfillment because we have spent our entire lives deferring it.
Robbins, who attended MIT and Harvard Business School, has done everything from writing books and performing musical theater to computer programming and becoming a #1 iTunes business podcaster.
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The reality of the professional world is that unemployment is at an all-time high, career competition is brutal as an increased amount of experience professionals struggle to get interviews, and job stability is becoming a thing of the past. "The career esclator is jammed at every level." A changed financial career world has made adaptation to the future an urgent necessity, both for survival and advancement. Today's career advice is often riddled with sample cover letters and catchy words to use in resumes. Until now.
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China is now the second largest venture market. India is third. Vietnam is quickly expanding. Now more than ever, rather than starting an entrepreneurship in the West, the newest generation of entrepreneurs are looking to the East. Many of the same venture investors that formed the original Silicon Valley are repeating these successful enterprises in Asia. Startup Asia: Top Strategies for Cashing in on Asia's Innovation Boom tells the dramatic story of how business start-ups have developed and boomed in Asia.
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In order to not only stay competitive but also simply survive in this tough economy, organizations must be nimble, light on their feet, and ready and willing to change gears quickly to respond to a rapidly evolving environment. The phrase “business as usual” no longer means same old, same old, but rather changing with the times.
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Today’s recession has at least one upside—it has elicited innovation in an economy that desperately needs that shot in the arm. Many talented professionals have decided to file away their resumes, pool their financial resources, develop a business plan, and jump into the world of entrepreneurship. And what a jump it can be. Bid a bittersweet goodbye to the security of a regular paycheck, standard hours, and the infrastructure of an established company. Suddenly the buck stops with you. Building the company of your dreams is invigorating—and terrifying.
Continue reading "Breathing Room: Entrepreneurism and HR Outsourcing" »
It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. I believe the corollary to that saying as it relates to businesses is that dashboards are the windows to the soul of a company. What are dashboards, why are they so important, and what insights can they provide about a particular business? A dashboard is simply a pictorial description of one or more attributes of an organization. It enables the reader to quickly evaluate the performance of a particular facet of the business. Dashboards take on many shapes, sizes, and varieties, but there are certain key elements that should always be present.
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One of the companies that has been the most successful at marketing its products and providing the highest level of customer service is the supermarket chain Stew Leonard’s (aka “the world’s largest dairy store”). Stew’s mantra is etched in stone at the entrance to each of his stores. It states, “Rule #1 – The customer is always right. Rule #2 – If the customer is ever wrong, reread rule #1.” I wonder how many of you agree that the customer is always right. How many feel that sometimes the customer should be informed that he or she is not right and the reason why?
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How many small- to medium-sized businesses have a written budget in place? Most small to medium-sized businesses are so busy putting out their daily fires and are in crisis management mode that they simply don’t have the time or the discipline to do proper business planning. Part of the process of business planning is to establish a budget.
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Many of us feel like we will be around forever and want to keep our businesses for that long, because we enjoy them so much. Others wouldn’t mind selling their business and either retiring or doing something else tomorrow. Either way, business succession planning is critical to assure that you are prepared for either eventuality.
Continue reading "Entrepreneurial Tip Corner: Will Your Business Be Able To Outlive You?" »
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a comprehensive vision of the future goals and objectives of the business, and a roadmap of how such goals will be achieved.
Why should my business have a plan?
Have you ever heard of an NFL coach being interviewed just before an important game say that he doesn’t have a game plan? In order to win the game, he must have specific strategies ready to be utilized and backup plans ready to be deployed if the primary strategy fails. Remember: Failing to plan results in planning to fail.
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During the better part of the past two years, we have been in a pretty deep recession. That’s not a revelation for employers from Wall Street to Main Street who have managed to live through it, with major cutbacks and layoffs. Firms have downsized or become “right-sized” to be able to hunker down and survive this difficult period. Many economists are forecasting our emergence from this recession. Some say it has already begun and others are predicting an upturn in the economy during the first or second quarters of next year. Ask yourselves one simple question: Will my business be ready to service the anticipated new level of business? If the answer to that question is “No” or “I’m not sure”, then I suggest you make some definitive plans to “stay ahead of the curve” and make sure you are in the best position possible to capitalize on the comeback expected in the economy.
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Someone once remarked, after seeing a long putt of mine barely drop into the hole for a birdie, “Gravity, not just a good idea, it’s the LAW”. Yes, this was a corny remark, but it certainly can be related to ethics within the professions. Ethics is not just a good idea; it’s the LAW for CFA® charterholders and the CPA profession, as well as many other professions.
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In this high-tech age we live in, where we are often subjected to information overload, it is crucial to learn new techniques for managing our time, which I would argue is our most scarce resource. How many of us have said to ourselves or coworkers, “there’s just not enough time in the day”, or “I wish the week had eight days”? What’s the best way to deal with all of the voicemails, e-mails, snail-mail, phone calls and endless meetings we are summoned to? During my 30-year career, I have seen many changes in technology, almost all for the better. However, one downside is that customers, clients and colleagues are all looking for faster responses, turnaround times and almost instant gratification. There are many techniques for managing your time more effectively and I would like to share some that have worked for me.
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It may sound corny, but ideas are part of what made this country great. Good ideas sometimes come from the most unlikely sources. The company owner or manager does not necessarily have the best ideas or all the right answers. Here are some ways in which you can build a team of employees who provide you with good ideas on a regular basis.
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Personal debt is simply a fact of life in today’s society. How we manage that debt can be the difference between fiscal freedom and hardship. Most of us have to borrow to finance essential expenditures on education, vehicles and housing. It’s a daunting reality that most of our monthly income is spent paying off our loans, however, there are ways to manage personal debt more effectively without resorting to drastic measures, such as declaring bankruptcy.
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Rocket scientists and brain surgeons have it easy. They seldom hear their customers or patients tell them, “I can do this job myself. Why should I pay you?” But for those of us who sell services that could be deemed easy enough to do by yourself or within your company, it’s a constant struggle to find customers and clients who understand the value of hiring an outside professional. Regardless of your service—accounting, design, money management, personal financial planning or even house painting—the challenge is still the same: to sell your service to the prospective customer.
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Stress-related disorders are fast becoming the most prevalent reason for employee disability. Job stress and related problems cost U.S. companies an estimated $200 billion annually through absenteeism, turnover, accidents, etc. The World Health Organization calls job stress a “worldwide epidemic.” In today’s uncertain economic environment—with announcements of downsizing, layoffs and bankruptcies occurring daily, directly affecting millions of employees—everyone feels the stress involved.
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What is the least expensive and often most effective form of advertising? Word-of-Mouth referrals. These are referrals from clients and customers who are very familiar with your product or service, because they have had recent experience with your organization. How can you maximize these opportunities to have your clients and customers refer new business to you?
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What do you think motivates employees? Most managers, when surveyed, rank money as the number one motivating factor. Most employees however, generally rank money seventh or eighth out of the top ten factors. Their top choices are usually “Feeling good about the work I perform”, “Feeling that my work makes a difference”, or “Feeling that I did a good day’s work.”
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