Category Archives: Entrepreneur

5 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

At BizTV, it’s no secret, we’re all about entrepreneurs, small business owners, and making your own way through the financial world.

Not included on this list: wearing pajamas to work

Today, we’re going to give you an excuse to join the ranks of the self-employed (as if you need one), and, hey, if you’re already there, maybe you have some of your own excuses to share in the comments.

1. Tax benefits

Bet you didn’t think that would be number 1, did you? But, it’s true. There are many tax benefits that the entrepreneur and small business owner can call their own. If you educate yourself on tax law, or hire a good accountant, there are expenses for your business that you can write off. If you employ your family, you can keep the money within the household. If you hire your children, you are relieved from withholding income taxes and paying payroll taxes, including Social Security, until the child turns 18. Also, you don’t pay federal unemployment until the child reaches 21. If you hire your spouse or parents, you don’t need to pay federal unemployment taxes on them either, though you must withhold federal income tax and pay FICA on them. Corporations are not allowed these tax breaks. Enjoy!

2. As long as you get your own work, you’re in charge of your own job security

This might be a double-edged sword if you aren’t good at selling yourself (read: get good at selling yourself). If you have a skill or product that’s in high demand, you’re on top. No one is going to downsize your department. You’re in charge of your own employment future.

3. You can challenge yourself

Think about your job right now. Are you challenged? Are you stimulated? Do you jump into work every day with a take charge attitude because you’re excited to solve the next puzzle that falls in your lap? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take heed: every day with your own business is as challenging as you want it to be. Are you going to integrate a new technology? Are you going to find a way to appeal to a new customer base? You have the ability to explore and challenge yourself every day.

4. You are the expert

Think about how satisfying it would be to tell someone: “Trust me. I’m an expert.”

Well, when you own a business that provides a certain product or service, you have the right to say you’re an expert in that product or service. You know what you’re talking about. You’ve learned things to trial and error. You create your own expertise.

5. You’re in control of your own networking

What’s your passion? Have you ever wanted to find people who share that passion? As the owner of your own business, you have the right to pursue the opportunities with those people who share your interests. In fact, it’s encouraged. Go to conferences. Go to meetups. You’ll find the people worth knowing in your industry.

Those are some of our reasons to get out of the rat race and join the self-employment movement. What made you leap from regular employment to entrepreneurship? Share in the comments!

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: The Start-up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

startupofyouA blueprint for thriving in your job and building a career by applying the lessons of Silicon Valley’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are sky-high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

Here, LinkedIn cofounder and chairman Reid Hoffman and author Ben Casnocha show how to accelerate your career in today’s competitive world. The key is to manage your career as if it were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

Why? Start-ups – and the entrepreneurs who run them – are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage.

These are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead today.

This book isn’t about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career. Whether you work for a giant multinational corporation, a small local business, or launching your own venture, you need to know how to:

* Adapt your career plans as you change, the people around you change, and industries change.
* Develop a competitive advantage to win the best jobs and opportunities.
* Strengthen your professional network by building powerful alliances and maintaining a diverse mix of relationships.
Find the unique breakout opportunities that massively accelerate career growth.
* Take proactive risks to become more resilient to industry tsunamis.
* Tap your network for information and intelligence that help you make smarter decisions.

A revolutionary new guide to thriving in today’s fractured world of work, the strategies in this book will help you survive and thrive and achieve your boldest professional ambitions. The Start-Up of You empowers you to become the CEO of your career and take control of your future.

3 Way to Maintain Your Entrepreneurial Attitude

So, you’ve decided you’re an entrepreneur. That’s no small feat. I liken it to Superman wearing his underpants on the outside for the first time and feeling, no, KNOWING, this is my future. But, unlike Superman, you don’t have x-ray vision, you can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, and you can’t reverse the flow of time by flying around the planet backward (I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t work, anyway.) Not having superhuman capabilities means you will experience moments of doubt during your enterpreneurial trials. How will you keep up your spirits and forge ahead? Here are some ways we like:

1. Don’t Panic

Ah, yes, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s motto is also our first little piece of advice. As unevolved life forms, we developed a fight-or-flight reflex that saved us from predators. That reflex has lasted with us to the present. Except, now it might kick in when we’re giving a presentation or preparing to meet an investor. If the walls are closing in on you and you start to feel the fear, take a few calming breaths and try to pull back from the brink. You aren’t the first person in the world to feel overwhelmed. It’s not like there’s some guy out there that’s so good at being human that’s he’s never been embarrassed, or awkward, or unprepared.

Panic is bad for you. It leads to bad decisions. Which leads to more panic. Don’t feed the beast. If you do slip over the edge into full blown panic mode, distance yourself from the workplace and avoid making any big decisions. Reschedule that meeting. Make good choices by not panicking.

2. Write Down Your Goals

If you’re a subscriber to this blog, you’ve probably read a post or two about goal-setting. It’s true. We’re big advocates of setting goals. Right now, though, I’m talking specifically about short term goals and actually the act of writing them down on a piece of paper. Stay connected to what you want in the short term and it will keep you motivated.

3. Go On Vacation

Sometimes, you just need a break. Being an entrepreneur is stressful and consuming. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re body and mind are asking for a break. Go ahead and refresh yourself. It’s okay. I’m giving you permission to take some time off for yourself. You’ll come back replenished and be that much better for it.

How do you maintain your entrepreneurial attitude? What doesn’t work? Share in the comments!

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

thinkingIn the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.

Inspiration: Who Are The Entrepreneurs? [INFOGRAPHIC]

whoareentrepreneurs

5 Ways to Build and Manage a Team

As an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself by people who encourage and support your team. How to you build and manage this group of people? Here are our top 5 ways:

1. Team balance

Every team needs balance. Sometimes an entrepreneur is a big-picture thinker, sometimes, he/she is a detail thinker. Regardless, you need to find someone to who thinks the opposite way you do. Stacking you team with people who think like you isn’t the same as gathering yes-men, but it cuts out your legs in the same way. Find people who think in a different way and you’ve got a great foundation for your team.

2. A mix of extroverts and introverts

Much like the first item on our list, you’re going to want both extroverts and introverts, and you need to be aware of which team member is which. Extroverts tend to talk and talk and talk, blurting out the first thing on their minds. Introverts are more reserved and resigned, internalizing ideas. They may have the greatest idea, most innovative solution, or most brilliant cost saving measure, but you’re never going to know if they never speak up. Give both introverts and extroverts a comfortable setting to share their ideas.

3. Teambuilding exercises that actually work

Yep, there it is. The dreaded teambuilding exercise. How great would that be if they actually worked? Well, some do. For instance:

Volunteering

Non-contact sports

Field trips

Shared meals

Maybe consider a bowling trip. Take the company out for a museum day. Have one day a week where everyone goes out to lunch together. Find something that everyone can enjoy and be a part of. Remember, this isn’t what the CEO likes best and wants to do. You’re growing your team cohesiveness, so get the input from the team.

4. Find out if you need a virtual team or a local team

Studies show that, in some industries, virtual teams work better than having your team all in the same building. Some ways to keep your remote team on track is by keeping up communication and holding them accountable for the work they’re supposed to be doing. Check in every once in awhile. Schedule a weekly call. Let them know they are valued. Your team is about your people; not your office space.

5. Brainstorming is the enemy

Brainstorming leads to social loafing (where everyone works less thinking the group will pick up the slack), production blocking (where everyone has to wait until the person before them is done), and evaluation apprehension (knowing your idea will be judge, and, therefore, hesitating to give one).

If you want to get a brainstorm to work, don’t try to find your brilliant idea, just try to get a lot of them out and on paper. Break out of the brainstorm session and let everyone consider the best ideas and how to improve them. Come back together later and see where improvements will work and what needs to be ditched.

What approach do you take to building a team? What was your best teambuilding activity? Share in the comments below.

Required Reading for Entrepreneurs: The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

longtailWhat happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture go away and everything becomes available to everyone?“The Long Tail” is a powerful new force in our economy: the rise of the niche. As the cost of reaching consumers drops dramatically, our markets are shifting from a one-size-fits-all model of mass appeal to one of unlimited variety for unique tastes. From supermarket shelves to advertising agencies, the ability to offer vast choice is changing everything, and causing us to rethink where our markets lie and how to get to them. Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it, from DVDs at Netflix to songs on iTunes to advertising on Google.

However, this is not just a virtue of online marketplaces; it is an example of an entirely new economic model for business, one that is just beginning to show its power. After a century of obsessing over the few products at the head of the demand curve, the new economics of distribution allow us to turn our focus to the many more products in the tail, which collectively can create a new market as big as the one we already know.

The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance. New efficiencies in distribution, manufacturing, and marketing are essentially resetting the definition of what’s commercially viable across the board. If the 20th century was about hits, the 21st will be equally about niches.

Inspiration: 100 Social Networking Statistics & Facts [Infographic]

100SocialNetworkingStatistics_50e6990f1ebf8

4 Branding Tips to Boost Recognition

Before you start branding, you’re going to need a few steer…no, wait. Wrong kind of branding.

Brands and brand recognition are now more important than ever. With social media and Google Image searches, your logo could be every where. So, what can you do to boost your brand and make it more recognizable? Here are our thoughts:

1. Stay true

There’s an idea out there that services like Groupon and LivingSocial are going to help your business and it’s true. There are plenty of cases where this has happened. However, it’s not necessarily going to help your brand. Likewise, if you run contests, it’s not really a brand booster, it’s just a contest.

If you want your brand to flourish, you have to stay true to your brand stands for. Don’t know what your brand stands for? Figure it out. Like Apple standing for sleek design and being user-friendly, something that they follow through with in the whole setup of the Apple Store.

Write out a mission statement. Make it your tag line.

From top to bottom, make your brand recognizable for its authenticity.

2. Be reachable

Some people don’t want to get on social media. They think it’s a waste of time, something that takes them away from what they should be doing. If one of the things you should be doing is interacting with customers, you need to be on social media.

It’s not really a question of whether or not you have time. And, even if you aren’t going to use social media as a marketing tool, you should still make yourself available to people who have questions, thoughts, or concerns with your company and your product.

3. Work on your writing

Has your company ever sent out a press release? Shouldn’t you? Sometimes, sending out a press release can be costly. That’s an excuse. But, it’s not a good one. You can still put a press release on your website or out on the Internet. You could even target a few people with similar interests and ask them to share or retweet your info. News travels fast these days.

Now, the hard part. Get better at writing.

Nothing falls quite so flat as an uninteresting press release. What can you do to convey your info as quickly, efficiently, and interestingly as possible? Work on it.

4. Participate

This isn’t another social media push (still, guys…get on social media). No, instead, what I mean by participation is interacting with your local community. Sponsor high school events or marathons. Go to conferences and conventions. If you don’t have the money to be a sponsor, find some way to get involved. It’s a way to get your name and your brand out there.

What do you think is a good branding technique? What has worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments.

Required Reading for Entreperneurs: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

cheeseWith Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change—an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.

Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.

When the Y2K panic gripped the corporate realm before the new millenium, most work environments finally recognized the urgent need to get their computers and other business systems up to speed and able to deal with unprecedented change. And businesses realized that this was not enough: they needed to help people get ready, too.

Spencer Johnson has created his new book to do just that. The coauthor of the multimillion bestseller The One Minute Manager has written a deceptively simple story with a dramatically important message that can radically alter the way we cope with change. Who Moved My Cheese? allows for common themes to become topics for discussion and individual interpretation.

Who Moved My Cheese? takes the fear and anxiety out of managing the future and shows people a simple way to successfully deal with the changing times, providing them with a method for moving ahead with their work and lives safely and effectively.

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