20151021190031-rich-money-coin-coins-finance-buy-cash-currency-investmentFirst of all, passion needs to be surrounded by a host of other personal attributes necessary to survive the rigors of the long, hard journey to success. These include confidence, commitment and a determination to succeed. In addition, there is a key set of execution principles that consistently separate the wannabe entrepreneurs from the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world.

1. Reality check your potential for building a business.

Some people are passionate inventors or idea generators but really have no interest, skills or money for a business. Take an honest look at your motivation, resources and relationships before initiating a startup. The best use of passion may be finding someone else to build the business.

2. Seek evidence of market opportunity to balance your passion.

Just because you believe everyone needs what you have doesn’t mean it’s true. These days, there are over 150 credible market-research companies online sizing opportunities, including Nielsen and Gartner. If none of them mention your idea, it may not be a business.

3. Double check the arithmetic on your business model.

Put aside the rose-colored glasses of your passion, and ask a financial expert to validate the total costs required to build the business as well as realistic sales volumes and growth. It helps to document a total business plan rather than rely on your total recollection of all essential elements.

4. Buffer your resource estimates by at least 20 percent.

No amount of passion and startup planning will make everything work exactly right the first time. Assume you will need multiple iterations and multiple pivots costing more money and time than you anticipated. More passion may mean more opportunity, but it also means more risk.

5. Interact with real customers to validate passion in their feedback.

Use social media and live customers to eliminate any reality distortion in your internal perception of value. Develop marketing content and communicate with trusted advisors and employees to make sure the right message can be delivered with clarity and integrity.

6. Plan for an extended effort, continued learning and personal balance.

A business is a journey — not a quick sprint. Don’t set up such a frenzied schedule that you will burn out after a few weeks or even a few months. The average overnight success for a startup takes six years, say marketing expert Seth Godin. And he is an optimist.

According to a recent analysis, entrepreneurs around the world have visions for over 300 million companies per year, but only a third ever get started. Other U.S. Labor Statistics data suggests that half of the ones actually started are gone in five years. Just imagine the potential impact of millions of unrealized innovations — if only these execution principles were diligently followed.



20151012151803-employees-inappropriate-criticize-troublemakers-toxic1. Not listening to employees

Imagine an employee named Jim. Jim has been thinking of ways to increase traffic to the company website. He goes into his boss’s office and shares his ideas. Without even looking away from his computer, Jim’s boss just says, “I’ll think about it.” Dejected, Jim returns to his desk, and his idea is never discussed again.

A 2015 SHRM survey of more than 600 employees found this situation is not uncommon. While an immediate supervisor who respects their ideas was in the top 10 job satisfaction factors employees listed, only 37 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the consideration their ideas received. Only 23 percent were “very satisfied” with the communication they had with senior management. [Read more…]



1. Unlearn waiting.

Are you waiting for the referrals and the prospects to find you and your business? For them to discover your greatness? Are you waiting around for potential clients to notice how awesome you are at what you do? If you are continuously waiting for business to find you, then what you actually get are the leftovers — compared with those getting out there and making it happen for themselves.

Keep in mind that leaders create their own world. They do not wait for it to happen for them. Unless you are a big-time celebrity or very well known or have a multi-billion dollar business — then yes, maybe speaking gigs and new clients come to you. However, if you’re reading this, you are probably not one of those people.

Be proactive and go after what you want. Get crystal clear on what you want, and the relationships you need to cultivate to get there.

2. Unlearn blaming.

The reason you don’t have what you want is not because of your education, financial status, network or years in business. It’s because you’re placing blame on someone else. You are externalizing the blame rather than taking responsibility for the success of your own business.

This is yet another thing you want to unlearn, because when you blame, you give something outside yourself the control to change things for you in order to have what you want. The reality is — it’s all you.

Accept that you are 100 percent responsible for your success. Jumping in the driver’s seat here will catalyze a more proactive attitude, a healthy mindset and help you take necessary action steps to move forward.

3. Unlearn selling.

Think about it — most people get their way of selling based off of what they learned from someone else, either done business with or someone whom they admire. Most of the time, they haven’t enhanced those skills. What if you learned selling from someone who was not really good at it (but you thought they were)? Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if you sound just like them.

Wipe away that old perspective and objectively look at how you are selling. The idea here is to sell in a unique way that allows you to be seen differently. This is exactly what allows you to be seen as an authority or trusted advisor. Likewise, it allows you to position your business to the next level.

When you understand selling in this century, you will add value to the buyer with each step in the process. Selling is not something you do to them, it is something to do for them. Selling is all about the customer experience.

When you decide to unlearn these three things, your business can really take off. This is because you are consciously changing your view of yourself and the world around you. That is what will give you the success that you want. That is what will bring you closer to your goals. If you continue to see things the way you have always seen them, how can you expect to see those changes required to get you to where you want to be?

Remember that perception is always a choice. And the world you see around you is of your making.



Good Habits tabIt’s funny, really. Most of us who get into entrepreneurship start with the intention of working LESS than we did at our regular jobs. The startling reality is that we often end up doing way more because we love the projects we’re involved with. And because oftentimes, that’s what it takes to make things happen.

Still, the long hours can take their toll — and even the Elon Musks of the world are no exception.

To keep yourself productive, it’s essential that you build build habits to help you organize your day and get the most out of your time.

Here are three of the most powerful. [Read more…]



No true leader is an island. It is rare and practically unheard of for a successful entrepreneur to survive as a solo operation, even in the age of the Internet. Eventually, and often sooner than later, you will need to call in support to grow your business. This can be tricky if you haven’t managed employees or contractors before; and the learning curve is steep unless you educate yourself in the process.

[Read more…]


20150327221922-success-winning-inspirationalThey do without obsessing over why.

The common thread between every successful overachiever I’ve ever known – and I’ve probably known hundreds in the tech industry alone – is that they’re born doers, troubleshooters, and problem-solvers. If something important needs to be done, they’ll figure out how to do it, no questions asked.

They have no patience for the status quo.

If you tell these people how something is done, how it should be done, that it can’t be done, or why it can’t be done, you’re likely to be branded as “part of the problem,” treated with disdain, and shunned. They simply have no tolerance for bureaucrats and negatrons.

Their passion and drive inspires others.

Let’s face it, it’s like a religious experience sitting in a room with these people or hearing them speak. Once they’ve set their sights on accomplishing a mission, to them, it may just as well be finding the Holy Grail or the true meaning of life on Earth. And I wouldn’t bet against them.

They’re never satisfied with their achievements.

In What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School – a book I recently learned, to my horror, many Millennials have never heard of – Mark McCormack sites profound “dissatisfaction with their own accomplishments” as a defining characteristic of true champions.

They live for the challenge.

If it’s easy, anyone can do it; so what would be the point? It’s the obstacles that make it fun. That’s why people who accomplish great things don’t let challenges stand in their way. The harder it is, the more they want to do it. That’s the fun part, the gratifying part.

They never admit defeat.

We often note how successful entrepreneurs overcome setback after setback before achieving what they set out to do. That’s actually a double-edged sword and sometimes gets them into trouble. While stick-with-it-ness is an admirable quality, sometimes you’re better off cutting your losses and moving on. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell the difference.

They need to win … desperately.

Competition gets a bad rap these days. The problem is people misunderstand it. The need to win isn’t sadistic or personal. It’s not that we want to see the other guy grovel in the sand. It’s just that, for us to win, our competitors have to lose. That’s simply how competitive markets work.

They have a chip on their shoulder.

Accomplishment-oriented people don’t typically concern themselves with why they are the way they are. Nevertheless, they often appear to have something to prove. Usually that stems from growing up with adversity, as we’ve previously observed with respect to Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son, and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

They are not political players.

Don’t get me wrong: in politics, everyone is a political player. But in the business world, accomplishing and winning is based on merit. That’s why true achievers are not into finger pointing, backstabbing, or hogging the limelight. There’s simply no point.

They’re not necessarily paragons of virtue.

While I’d love to tell you that overachievers never overdo it, we both know that’s not true. Some have a hard time distinguishing ethical behavior from the ends justify the means. And once they start down that slippery slope, look out below. I’m not sure if it’s any consolation, but that usually involves mitigating dysfunction.

As a final thought on the subject, there is a flipside to being so driven to achieve. People like us don’t rest easy. I often quote Robert Browning’s famous line from Andrea del Sarto, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Always reaching for the stars is like never having a dull moment, but it can be exhausting. It’s definitely not for everyone.




Being lazy can be a very unhealthy way to live life. Perhaps worst of all, it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of being consistently lazy and unmotivated. How you manage your time and what you do with it now will affect you later on in life, so read some of the tips below on how to stop being lazy and start being more productive. [Read more…]



1. Most focus on perfection, not experiments.

Seeking perfection has lost me more than $100,000 the last couple years. By the time a millionaire has tried and tested eight different experiments without focusing on perfection, most people haven’t even gone to market yet. Maybe only two of their experiments worked and were deemed profitable. The point is they weren’t paralyzed by perfection, but were driven by testing. [Read more…]


Group of happy business people laughing

1. They Ask Questions

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost.

A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

2. They Put Away Their Phones

Nothing will turn someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

3. They Are Genuine

Being genuine and honest is essential to being likable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.

Likable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.

4. They Don’t Pass Judgment

If you want to be likable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen.

Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.

5. They Don’t Seek Attention

People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know.

When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.


6. They Are Consistent

Few things make you more unlikable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.

7. They Use Positive Body Language

Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

It’s true that how you say something can be more important than what you say.

8. They Leave a Strong First Impression

Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

9. They Greet People by Name

Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likable people make certain they use others’ names every time they see them. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.

If you’re great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people’s names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don’t be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You’ll need to keep her name handy if you’re going to remember it the next time you see her.

10. They Smile

People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.



1404929867-how-recruit-salespeople-deliver-dramatic-returns1. They use coupons.

Surprisingly, households with average incomes of $100,000 or moreuse more coupons than those that bring in under $35,000. Celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga, Kristen Bell and Hilary Swank are just a few examples of wealthy individuals who are fans of coupons.

As a whole, it’s been found that an astounding “71 percent of the affluent use paper coupons every month, with 54 percent using online coupons every month.”

2. They live below their means.

The super rich are also known for living well below their means – even as far as cutting their own hair. One example of this is that they don’t see a vehicle as a status symbol. Instead, they realize that a car serves just one purpose; to get from Point A to Point B.

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, famously drove around in a 1979 Ford F150 pickup truck. Walton’s son, Jim drove an older Dodge Dakota despite being worth over $16 billion. Mark Zuckerberg owns a modest $30,000 Acura TSX entry-level sedan, the 61st richest person in the world Azim Premji drove a Toyota Corolla, and Warren Buffett recently sold his 2006 Cadillac, which was noted for not being anything special, for a new model.

Many very rich people live in modest homes. Warren Buffett still resides in the house he bought bought for $31,500 in Omaha, Nebraska in 1958. Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and Christy Walton all live in modest homes.

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, Hobby Lobby founder David Green and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer prefer to fly commercial, and even coach. Bill Gates was known to fly commercial for years. Azim Premji usually stays at company guest houses.

Finally, the wealthy don’t spend money on only luxury clothing. John Caudwell, an auto-shop owner who entered the cell phone business in 1987 and is now worth $2.6 billion, has stated “I don’t need Saville Row suits” and “I don’t need to spend money to bolster my own esteem.”

In fact, 74 percent of the super rich shop at Wal-Mart, while only 6 percent shop at Brooks Brothers.

3. They are charitable.

One of the more interesting habits that the rich have in common is their willingness to donate a vast majority of their wealth to a charitable cause. Zappos’ Tony Hsieh personally invested $350 million in theDowntown Project to improve downtown Las Vegas. Chuck Feeney, the co-founder of Duty Free Shops, has donated more than $4 billion to disadvantaged children and public health initiatives. Other wealthy individuals including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg, and Michael Bloomberg have donated huge chunks of their fortunes.

4. They value quality over quantity.

Wealthy individuals aren’t cheap, and certainly are not against enjoying themselves, but they put more thought into their purchases. For example, T. Boone Pickens has said,  “I don’t go cheap on anything, but I’m not a shopper. If I want something, I look at it, decide what it is, but it will usually be the best product. I’ve got a pair of loafers that I still wear that I got in 1957.”

5. They don’t carry wads of cash.

It’s been found that “86 percent of people who spend cash on luxuries like expensive cars, jewelry, and electronics are non-millionaires trying to act the part by purchasing luxury brands.”

Take the advice of oil mogul T. Boone Pickens and carry around only the cash that you need for what you intend to buy. According to Brad Klontz, a CFP professional and associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University, the rich are often “money vigilant.” They avoid credit debt, and “are more anxious about making sure they have enough money and are managing it well.”