Friday, 23 September 2016

3 Strategies To Time Management

How often have you said "I wish I have time?" Time is never enough.  As humans, especially we African, we often complain that we don't have enough time, a Sunday ago an elderly woman voluntarily offered me a magazine to read, reluctantly I told her that I barely have time to read. Then she replied me saying "time is enough, you just prioritize it." I learned so much from her comment.

So during some study and research online, I stumbled upon some interesting time management keys.

Keys To Time Management


1.  Prioritize

There are some task that are more important than others. So determine the order and arrange your to-do-list according to their relative importance. We will always come across things to do that are relatively not important, so when we have this done, it will serve as a guard to you and do not fail to mark the completed task.

2.  Make Decisions

We can't say we haven't heard about making decisions. We know it, but barely few persons know how to get it right. It has never been easy, but it plays a huge important role in managing your time and achieving goals.

This comes after you must have done your to-do-list. Set time for yourself, it does a lot of good, keeps the mind and body sound. Create a list on what you want to do with the time, such as reading, studying, taking a walk, calling a friend and taking a nap.

Other decisions: Decide on the number of things that are number one priorities. Will you have two or four things that must get done? Choose what you can realistically handle.
That does not mean you won’t get to other things, it just allows you to take some of the pressure off that comes with feeling like you have to do everything now. Please note this is not procrastinating – you’re not putting it off out of avoidance or fear. You are wisely taking control of your clock and taking care of yourself.

3.  Set Boundaries

Lastly, you need to set boundaries. In our world today there is a lot going on in the Social Media, and we sometime feel lost or someone that just dropped from the sky when we haven't checked our Social media accounts in a week. Just because social media is on 24/7 doesn’t mean you need to be if it is disruptive to your schedule.We must learn to set boundaries around consuming the influx of constant digital information.

Decide on what you need to give up in order to get what you need, such as habits, relationships, and activities.

Very true that no one gets more than 24 hours in a day, we still have power over how productive we are by managing our time. Managing time is more than just the ability to write an organized schedule. True time management means setting priorities that communicate clearly what’s really important, making wise decisions that help set realistic goals, and setting firm boundaries that allow us to keep the promises we make to ourselves and others.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Use Your Fear To Motivate You To Achieve Greatness

The only way out is through. You may be dreaming about launching a startup; you’re armed with an innovative idea, passion and drive, but lingering self-doubt keeps you from taking the first step. As humans, we naturally try to avoid our fears and anxieties. But embracing your fears is actually the best way to conquer them.
How? By identifying your fears, and using them to motivate you. Let’s take a look at what entrepreneurs fear most and how to turn each into a motivational mantra.


Use Your Fear To Motivate You To Achieve Greatness


Fear of failure


Motivational mantra: “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” –James Joyce
It’s easy to believe that the entrepreneurs we admire most are somehow immune to the fear of failure. But that’s simply not true. Billionaire Richard Branson and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling credit their failures as key shapers of their success.
By default, smart entrepreneurs accept their losses as part of the game. Identify the areas in which this fear is most prevalent: financial, social, personal or professional. Think about the worst thing that could happen in any of these areas, and how you could remediate it.
The fear of failure can either paralyze you or fuel your motivation and shape your successes. Accept that some failures are inevitable and look at them as learning experiences. Here are some tips for addressing your fears:
  • Be humble and set lower expectations. Setting low expectations makes it easier to surpass them and takes the pressure of socially, personally and professionally.
  • Expose yourself to failure by learning a new skill (painting or a musical instrument). Each time you fail, you become more comfortable with failure, and more motivated to improve.
  • Take action. Taking the first step may be the most difficult, but it is also the most important. Break down your overall goals into smaller, manageable ones that you can accomplish without feeling overwhelmed. Get your business plan out of your head and onto paper.
  • Challenge negative self-talk and maintain a positive mindset with some inspirational quotes.


Fear of Money

Motivational mantra: “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” –Henry David Thoreau
To truly succeed as an entrepreneur, you must believe in your idea and love what you do. Still, you’ve got to make a living, right? The fear of not making a consistent income also has practical implications. And then there’s the anxiety that you won’t be able to pay your employees, or attract potential investors. Tips for dealing with the fear of money:

  • Prepare yourself for struggles with money so when they come, and they will, you’ll be ready. Accept that you may have a limited income for 1-2 years.
  • Be more with less. Pay off outstanding debt and embrace a minimalist attitude — downsize your house, sell your comfortable car, pass on the vacation, new clothes etc.
  • Plan your financial goals, challenges and approaches to funding.


Fear of quitting your day job

Motivational mantra: “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” ― John GreenPaper Towns
Often we find that once we’ve built a career and settled into a comfortable position, we feel stifled, or as if we are in a cage. Even so, most budding entrepreneurs are too afraid to leave a well-paying job to pursue their dreams. Often this fear is replete with excuses: “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t know where to begin,” etc. But if you’re ready – the best time to quit your job is now. Here are a few tips:

  • The best way to conquer the fear of leaving your job is to start planning your departure. Tell friends and family when you do for some extrinsic motivation.
  • Figure out how much you’re actually spending on necessities only (minus what you put into savings and extras). That’s how much you’ll need to quit.
  • Stay at your job just long enough to start shopping around your idea or product on the side. Once you build some momentum, quit.
  • Realize that your time is valuable. A full-time job requires a considerable investment of your time, and if you are not receiving significant returns, whether tangible or intangible, it’s time to quit.


Fear of Success

Motivational mantra: “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Sometimes the fear of succeeding can keep you from acting on your dreams as much or more than the fear of failure. People fear that being in the limelight will alienate them from their peers, or that they won’t be able to handle the demands of running a successful business. What if your idea is actually as good as you think it is? What if your customers, investors, and the media line up to meet you? The fear of success often shows up as self-doubt. Here are some tips for dealing with it:

  • Practice self-compassion, realize that imperfection is part of being human and trust in your own value system.
  • Stop asking for validation. Seeking out feedback and advice is helpful, but only up to a certain point. Trust your own instincts when it’s time to make decisions.
  • Keep your goals to yourself. Research show that the more we talk about our goals, the less likely we are to do the work necessary to achieve them.
  • “Start shipping!” This is the advice of American entrepreneur and author Seth Godin who advises entrepreneurs to “stop stalling and go make something happen.” Holding back because you are afraid of being vulnerable or believe your work must be perfect is counterproductive. If you’ve created a new product, share it with the world and risk exposing yourself to criticism, or even failure.


Lacking Expertise

Motivational mantra: “You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.” –Albert Camus
Many entrepreneurs fear they lack the experience and education to be taken seriously, or the technical skills to realize their ideas. But you likely know everything about your product or service to answer questions and solve problems. Continuous learning is part of the process, and there’s no shame in seeking help, advice and knowledge.
There are plenty of young, successful entrepreneurs who had little to no experience when they started their businesses, and many more who had no financial backing: Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Russell Simmons, Coco Chanel, Steve Madden and Rachael Ray, to name a few. Tackle your fears about being under qualified by:

  • Calling yourself an expert and committing yourself to excellence, regardless of your experience.
  • Highlighting your soft skills such as your ability to communicate effectively, work in a team or think critically.
  • Focusing on results.
  • Dedicating an hour each day to your professional growth.

Remember to ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Once you have that scenario in mind, and you can live with it, your fears no longer have power over you. On a psychological level, confronting your fears, rather than trying to avoid them, will leave you with a sense of accomplishment. Each time you expose yourself to fearful thoughts and situations, you gain power, and your fears lose strength.
The short-term discomfort of identifying and exposing yourself to your biggest fear is a small price to pay for the long-term benefit of freeing yourself from anxiety and acting on your dreams. Turning your fears into motivational mantras will reframe them to your advantage.
“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” – George Sheehan

What is your biggest startup fear? How can you turn it into a motivator?

By Gareth Simpson

Monday, 5 September 2016

Top 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Never Forget - By Lucy Adams

Do you know what makes the difference between an average entrepreneur and a real business guru? Undoubtedly, that’s the correct mindset and business view. Of course, any novice who enters the market needs practice. Although the practice rather than the theory makes perfect, the latter helps to take grounded and well-thought decisions.
Ask 100 successful entrepreneurs about their best tips, and you’ll get 100 different answers. Nevertheless, I’m going to share my best advice on how to take your deals to the next level.
Follow the rules below and evolve!

Top 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Never Forget

#1 Choose One Business Direction and Be Strong in It

Startups are small. Resources are limited. Also, there are a few bigger companies in your niche.
Great entrepreneurs know that to be competitive and successful, they have to come up with something really unique or extremely good. Focusing each and every effort on the final goal can be the answer while an attempt to please everyone and everything at the same time is a recipe for a disaster.

#2 Examine Your Target Audience/Customers Far and Wide

The first question you have to ask and answer is “Who’s your customer?” Get as much information about your target audience as you can.
A first-class entrepreneur studies his client bases both inside and outside, conducts surveys, holds interesting contents and makes everything to accurately define the needs, preferences and requirements of the target client.
You can’t reach all the people in the niche at least for the reason of limitedness of a budget.
Try to spend money on things that matter. Consider the type of people who can be your best customers. Find out age, gender, social status, level of income, etc.
Make your campaign focused. Don’t disperse.

#3 Take Every Advice, but Apply Only Those That Suit Your Business Goals

If you’re a novice entrepreneur, you get tips all the time and out from many sources. The key is to distinguish between useful advice and ones irrelevant and without any practical appliance.
Even the richest investors sometimes give founders terrible advice. Therefore, collect the advice but never take unjustified risks.

#4 Ask for Help if You Need It

Great entrepreneurs usually turn for help to all those who might be useful. Successful entrepreneurs know that to get something, they sometimes need help and they are not afraid to ask for it.

#5 Take Notes and Watch

I’m constantly surprised by the fact that young entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of information when meeting with potential investors. Actually, they sometimes even don’t have a tool to write down facts and ideas. It even makes me wonder whether they want to remember the meeting.
Take notes and keep an eye on things you may forget. Try to absorb all significant that may affect your business, and be sure to write it down.

#6 Talk About Your Business with Energy and Enthusiasm

World-class entrepreneurs are able to sell ideas to investors, customers, and partners just because they know how to express thoughts so that the average person understand and quickly memorize the information.
For sure, insights are welcomed, but they should rather follow the key concepts and basic ideas than outpace them.
Sharpen the sequence of information supply. Describe complex problems in simple words and make sure your interlocutor catches the thread of the conversation.

#7 Sell Yourself, not Just the Startup

Well, one of the toughest business tasks is to convince people that you worth investing the time and money. When meeting with a potential investor, try to present yourself in the best light. Be funny, interesting, intelligent, hard-working, and experienced!
It is much easier to get a meeting with a potential investor if he considers the meet as a potentially fun and exciting event, not just something that may give him high ROI in future.

#8 Get Involved in Networking

While everyone knows networking is one of the most important things to launch a startup, the strongest entrepreneurs are able to establish useful contacts in the shortest time.
Some of the most valuable contacts can never be established at “crucial’ events (for example, lawyers whose clients are venture capitalists, industry conference organizers or people who have good contacts with investors).
When a business founder meets with the people, he has to have something to offer, whether it’s information from the field, recommendations or request for collaboration. Create target lists, use LinkedIn to reach needed people and use already established contacts to test and evaluate potential partners and investors.

#9 Feel the Difference between “No” and “Not Now”

There are many reasons why someone may say “no” when being asked for a favor or a meeting. Actually, “no” doesn’t necessarily mean a categorical refusal. In most cases, it means “later” or “it’s possible, but you must ensure me.” In the end, a recipient may be busy or have another view of this stage of project development.
Thus, feel free to come back with your request again, at the right time – after reaching major goals, appearing of new opportunities, getting additional financing, etc. The return to those who previously said “no” shows that you are really interested in collaboration and smart enough to give the potential partner a good reason to say “yes.”

#10 Look for Creative Solutions

Don’t let the lack of funds keep you from what you want. Do not expect money to build your business. Instead, come up with a few clever ways to get what is needed for a minimal fee or through barter, services, outsourcing, etc. Ingenious solutions always get financing.