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Advice From Millennial Entrepreneurs

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millennial entrepreneurs

Millennials are underrated when it comes to work ethic. As the biggest age group in the country at 80 million strong, entrepreneurs sprout from all over, creating jobs for a variety of industries. Success comes in many forms, and we at Owner’s Magazine had the opportunity to talk to a few successful entrepreneurs about culture, motivations, and how to achieve your goals. Many of these entrepreneurs are founders and CEO’s of their own businesses, and they are here to give some advice on how to grow.

 

Greg Star, Founding Partner of Carvertise

Carvertise

“Why finding a mentor is the worst advice I ever received. You may be confused by this title. After all, a mentor is crucial for personal development. They can provide hard earned wisdom that only comes from experience facing similar challenges that you are up against. Additionally, a mentor can open up a network of contacts that you would not meet otherwise. So why would finding a mentor be considered bad advice? Isn’t this a no brainer? The answer is no- and here’s why.
Finding a single mentor limits your thinking. You should be trying to find multiple mentors. Here are three important benefits you get from surrounding yourself with a team of mentors as compared to one.
1. Different viewpoints– Having several mentors with different specialties to bounce problems off of will give you broader insight on the problems you are facing. Your one mentor may have a biased that can only be seen if your getting multiple points of view.
2. Larger network– A mentor can open up a lot of doors to a lot of key introductions for you from a personal and professional standpoint. Thus, the more mentors you have, the larger your network becomes.
3. It teaches you how to ask for help– This is probably the best lesson for finding multiple mentors. The act of constantly reaching out to different people asking help is an incredibly important skill. It teaches you to put your ego aside,  which is incredibly important in developing personally and professionally. I personally reach out for help 3-4x a month to people who I think I can learn from, and the benefits have been exponential.
Bringing it together:
Next time someone tells you to find a mentor, stop them, and let them know why they are wrong!”

Andrew Nakkache, Co-founder & CEO of Habitat LLC

Habitat

“7 core attributes or traits that I think are important for entrepreneurs (at least for me):
Share Ideas – I’m big on sharing a raw idea with everyone. Ideas are typically worthless, and the only way they get better is through talking to enough people (and customers). 9/10 ideas I have are terrible.
Delusional Optimism – You need to have a deep-seeded belief that you and your team are exceptional, and you are the ones that are going to fix the problem you’re solving.
Everlasting Paranoia – Simultaneously, you have to believe that what your building is worthless
Shameless Persistence – Again, tell everyone your idea and ask everyone who you think can help..for help. Most people like to help entrepreneurs, those relationships can turn into mentors.
Impulse Control – You need to have the ability to resist temptation.
Level Headed – This ties into Impulse Control, you’re going to have a lot of internal battles. It’s important to keep a level head, and your team needs to see that.
High Integrity – Always be thankful and courteous to everyone you meet. You never know how someone may be helpful down the road.”

David Feinman, Co-founder & CEO of Viral Ideas

Viral Ideas

“For new entrepreneurs, it is important to just get started, to do something that you can take to market. Be it a product, a consulting concept, or something small, that you are able to take to a few customers that are willing to pay you something, for your idea or for your concept so that you can test, learn, and grow from that initial starting base, and really build on top of that.”

 

Benjamin Fuller, Associate of Montgomery McCracken’s Business Department

Montgomery McCracken’s Business Department

“While every situation is different, I often recommend that the partners in start-ups have honest and frank discussions their goals. I find that they rarely have accounted for disagreement and difficult circumstances that are likely to arise in any business. It is always easier to have a discussion about these issues up front.
With respect to growing companies, I counsel them on how investment may dilute their equity. For founders of any company it is important to understand what they are giving up in order to gain investment. The bottom line is it’s important to include your lawyer in these types of conversations early and often. We often act as the facilitators of these discussions and can provide specific insight sometimes based on “war stories” – both good and bad – from past representations.”

 

 

Stephen Blackwell, Chief Strategy Officer of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group

Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group

“The Great Recession created a lot of uncertainty for my generation and how it viewed itself and its prospects. The status quo didn’t appear sustainable at the time and it forced a lot of us to think outside the box – and ultimately create jobs during that time. To me, success has been about educating yourself at length about the industry you’re entering and then taking the extra time to get creative. Find that niche your industry is looking for. It’s probably hiding in plain sight.”

 

 

Tony Cho, President of Metro 1 Properties

Metro 1 Properties“To me, culture is everything. That is why most, if not all, of our agents and employees chose Metro 1 over other more established companies. The culture we curate and create exudes and exemplifies who we are and who we aspire to be in the community. Providing regular yoga and meditation classes for staff and agents builds camaraderie and rapport between and among the team. Culture is key in business.”

 

 

Erica Dias, Co-Owner of The B Firm

The B Firm

“Never give up! Dreaming isn’t going to get you anywhere. DOING will! You’ve got this! Faith It Until You Make It!”

 

 

Ryan Shear, Principal of Property Markets Group

Property Markets Group

“I’ve found that so much of what dictates success in real estate development as a profession and an industry ultimately boils down to effective management, whether it’s managing time, resources, personnel, etc. From the beginning, I recognized an opportunity to do things at PMG differently from the typical development shop. We have a great blend of really experienced industry veterans working hand-in-hand with ambitious young professionals that has left us with a very atypical culture relative to the other companies in our field. We have fun together and support one another, but we are also constantly pushing. When it comes to incentivizing employees based on project performance, I think we are more aggressive than just about any other developer of our size and that gets the team to reach for that higher gear. I am very demanding of my team, but they have become even more demanding of themselves and that is what makes me most proud.”

 

 

Karen Elmir, CEO of The Elmir Group

The Elmir Group

“To maximize sales, one must be creative and think outside the box. Push beyond ordinary marketing tools by investing in your listing and always look for new channels of communication and sales. Remember, it takes money to make money. Additionally, professionalism and dedication are key. Make sure to consistently be knowledgeable about your product, as well as the state of the market and its trends.”

 

 

Ali Grant, Founder of Be Social

Be Social PR

“As your business expands, you will soon understand the need to scale efficiently. It can be difficult giving ownership to others, but putting trust in your team allows you to conquer, grow, and scale.”

 

 

Elizabeth Convery, Founder of Very Real Estate

Very Real Estate

“I have been fortunate to build my entire book of business at VERY Real Estate on word-of-mouth referrals. It is my belief if you do right by one person, and put their needs above your own, treating them with respect, dignity, and acting in a thoughtful way on their behalf, that you leave a lasting and memorable impression. Naturally, when people have a positive experience, they tell their friends and your business grows like a tree. I strive to always have people smile when they hear my name. Making someone feel special is the key to building trusting, lasting relationships and having a reputation that leaves people feeling great.”

 

 

Zubin Teherani, Co-Founder of LeagueSide

LeagueSide

“Sell your idea before you sell your product. Youth sports sponsorships have unique advantages over other forms of marketing. They provide a captivated audience for hours every weekend, guarantees digital and in-person impressions to the same group of families, and supports the families you’re marketing to by subsidizing their costs. We always, always, always, start by selling the merits of sponsoring youth sports organizations before we get into how it works. Selling the big picture helped us close big clients and investors in our early days before we ever built a product.
“Fake it till ya make it” – When we started LeagueSide, we focused on selling before we ever built a product. We pitched clients, youth sports leagues, and investors and got yeses before we committed to LeagueSide full-time. This validated that this was a business worth pursuing, saved us months of time, and gave us perfect clarity of what we needed to do next.”

 

Jenny Cipoletti, Founder of Margo & Me

Margo and Me

The Shift: I started reaching out to stylists to work with them on weekends. I worked PR during the week and started styling on the weekends with whoever needed an assistant at the time. From there, I started to realize I really enjoyed the styling more. I woke up at 25 and I had a grocery list of all of these amazing things: my health, my boyfriend, and my puppy, but I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was alive but I wasn’t living. I was just going through the motions.
That Quit Moment: I said to myself, if I wake up at 30 years old and I’m still doing this, it’s not going to be pretty, so I left my PR job and went back to school. I did the nine month program at FIDM for fashion design, and it was incredible. For years and years, I hadn’t learned anything tangible applicable or creative — that changed overnight. I’d totally forgotten what it felt like to be a student again, totally immersed in a creative culture and constantly inspired by my teachers, my peers, and my work. I was thrown into a design program where you learned how to sketch, sew, drape, and create patterns. It was like this bubble just burst inside of me. I suddenly realized that this was what I’d been missing all along.
Start, Just Start: In addition to going back to school, I launched Margo and Me as a way to showcase what I was designing (Margo is my french bulldog). It started out as just a showcase for the dresses I was designing, but then I started posting outfits and styling tips as well. My husband is a director and was the one who originally inspired the idea because he was testing his new camera lens so I asked him to take a picture of me wearing one of my outfits. There were a few trendsetters out there, but this was before the huge blogging boom. There weren’t really many people doing it at the time. It was a whole new world.”

Kathleen McCabe, Founder of Syreni

Syreni

“In the early stages of starting a company the best way to stay motivated is hold yourself accountable by telling as many people as possible about what you are doing. This will help you gain confidence and allow you to practice your natural sales pitch while building your future network. Get a web presence early and publish your anticipated launch date. The excitement you see from your early followers will motivate you to keep going and not give up.”

 

 

Hayk Tadevosyan, Insurance Agent at State Farm

State Farm

“I always go back and use numbers to make things simple to understand as I strongly understand that numbers don’t lie. A powerful statistic and a very familiar one to business owners is “9 out of 10 businesses don’t make it past year One”, well what happens after year one?
Another interesting statistic, half the business owners that make it past year one don’t see year three and half of who makes it past year three don’t see year five…. Why is that?
During the starting phase of a business if you are part of the 9 out of 10 that doesn’t make it, it’s due to the fault of the person in charge, the business owner. You didn’t work hard enough, weren’t committed and were not putting in the hours. The only “silver bullet” in business success that I’m aware of is good old fashion Hard Work. SAME can be said by every successful entrepreneur I know.
The problem with year 3 is our business outgrown us in volume. As an individual there are only so many meeting we can attend, so many calls we can make, so many things we can manage. If we don’t duplicate ourselves, and in many cases duplicating ourselves several times, we will not keep up with the growth. When a demand exceeds the business structure, the business falls apart, which is why it’s crucial to start training and developing a team right away, and the right people take a while to develop. If you ask yourself the question of, “How long it took us to learn a skill and perfect it?” If the answer is years, then why do we get frustrated with our managers if they don’t get it right the first time and fire them?! We have to be patient and spend a lot of our time coaching, although sometimes we feel that time is better spend closing more deals. That’s a huge misconception, training and developing a team is the highest ROI time we can spend in a business.
Usually by year 5, the business owner is no longer working for money, but more for balance in life. At this point, we have to realize we don’t need a job and the business is not built to create a job for the business owner, it’s built to create jobs for others. If by year 5 the business owner doesn’t have a manager that manages his team and a team that manages the customers, there is a high chance of the business owners to get negative with the business, which takes away creativity, and with lack of creativity, there is no passion, and without having passion, business dies, either right away or slowly till it becomes more expensive to maintain the business than to just close doors.
There are a lot of moving parts to making a business work, but if I were to give anyone advice on what to focus on is this time schedule.
Year 1 – Be the hardest worker with longest hours. Become what you are looking to recreate as far as future employees in the business.
Year 2-3 – Since you are a machine, look to duplicate yourself. We always attract what we are, not who we want. So, if you are a hard and smart worker you will find a good team, if you don’t, then you need to ask yourself if you are leading by example.
Year 3-5 – One of your team members will shine more than the rest, put them in charge and train them on how to train others. Train the team to answer to the manager, so you only answer to your manager. It’s much easier long term to answer to few sharp leaders within your organization than thousands of clients. At this point, the machine is running, you have lots of time to spend on other business ventures, hobbies, family etc.
Your team is making lots of money and you have created good jobs in the community, and the business doesn’t stop growing as you are not a one man show.

 

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Getting Recognition Builds Productivity

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Getting recognition is one of the top motivators and drivers among employees in the workplace. According to studies, 78% of employees work harder if they are better recognized. More recognition for a job well done translates to better productivity and happy employees. This sounds very simple, but is actually a bit more complicated to implement. This is because employees today don’t want just compensation as a form of getting recognition. They also want a close-knit office culture, volunteer opportunities, praises, rewards and genuine recognition for their efforts. Here’s how to do it:

Reward the Right Things

Rewarding employees for every achievement is counterproductive. Instead of singing their praises for everything they do well, reward the right things such as:

  • Actions that align with the company’s strategies and goals. Recognize behavior that aligns with the company’s overall mission. If you don’t have a mission statement, now is the time to define it.
  • Big wins and small wins should also be celebrated. Big projects usually have higher risks and setbacks. To keep your team from being frustrated, celebrate the small ones as well.
  • Being a team player is essential to the survival of your organization. As such this behavior is important because employees who work well together do not let their egos into the organization. Employees like this know how to put the team in front of their own personal interests.

Understand Why It Matters

According to a study by BambooHR, 82% of employees feel that they do not get recognition for their work and are considering leaving the company. Recognition seems like a small thing and not understanding why it is needed could hurt an organization’s profitability. Think about it, a few simple words of encouragement or gratitude can save your company thousands of dollars in recruitment and training new talent. Recognition helps revenue. When an employee gets the recognition they deserve they are happy and happy employees are more productive. Companies who recognize their employees have 2.5 times more revenue compared to companies that do not reward their employees. This means that high engagement translates to a third higher profitability.

Culture of Recognition

Create a culture of recognition within your organization. For example, you can ring a bell and call everybody’s attention whenever somebody does a good job. This way everybody knows whenever the bell is rung that something amazing has happened. This action also recognizes the achievement of an employee. Soon your office will associate bell rings for getting recognition and will aspire to have the bell rung in their honor.

Tailor Fit Your Recognition

Teams within organizations can have their own culture. For example, this team loves bowling or comic books. Aside from the usual phrases and accolades typically bestowed on them, go a bit further by tailoring recognition for their internal culture like going on a celebratory bowling game after a job well done or treating them to a couple of comic books. These small actions do not only show recognition but it shows that you respect the individuality of your members as a team.

Link Recognition with Performance

The key is to promote good behavior through recognition. In the long run, the goal is to achieve better attitude and improved performance. Therefore managers should know how to tie recognition, company objectives and individual performance. Connecting behavior with specific behavior helps to drive better performance. For example, your goal as a company is to implement zero accidents in the workplace. Be sure to reward employees for avoiding accidents or coming up with a new system to improve safety. To truly drive behavior and reinforce performance, recognition from superiors should be more than just a few nice words. Superiors, management, team leaders and even the CEO should connect saying thank you (gratitude) with behavior (the purpose). Influencing behavior can boost performance and productivity while boosting morale.

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How To Connect With Employees As A CEO

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connect with employees

Thirty years ago, a CEO’s focus was on customers and profit. Nowadays we know that CEOs have a bigger impact. A good CEO knows that a company is more than just their customers and profits. A good connection with employees is also important to keep productivity and motivation up. CEOs need to connect with employees on a regular basis not only to inspire but also to know what is going on at the company’s most basic level. Here are ways a CEO can connect with his employees.

Social Media

Many CEOs use social media to reach out to their clients and customers in an effort to humanize their company. Why not use the same social media to connect with employees too? Sending a congratulatory tweet to a team or following an employee on Facebook can be very flattering to employees.

To some of them, the boss is on the top floor only accessible to a select few VIPs. Being called to the CEOs office is very rare except maybe if they did something wrong. Social media brings everybody closer together because they are used by all kinds of people. Connect with employees on social media to make yourself more reachable, friendly and more human.

Take Mark Zuckerberg for example. Facebook’s CEO is very accessible to all people on his social media. He shares pictures of his kids and daily activities of their family life. This makes Mr. Zuckerberg seem more relatable, not only to employees but to many people as well.

Family Day

Family day is not only a great way for families to get together on company time (and expense), it is also a good time for the boss to connect with employees. Being called by your boss by your first name can be very gratifying for employees because the CEO remembers you. This simple act of remembering first names can be very inspiring and motivating to employees.

Employees also like to see their boss in casual clothing. To them it makes them look friendly and approachable. You can be surprised how many more employees approach their CEOs when they are seen wearing casual clothing. The friendly setting of family day is also a good way for CEOs and their employees to bond and get to know each other outside the workplace.

One-on-One

Having a one-on-one with the CEO can be very intimidating. What does he want with you anyway?

This is not necessarily true. A good way to get to know employees and make them feel important is to schedule a short one on one. It does not necessarily have to be about work. It can be about getting to know each other or catching up. This has to do with people wanting to feel that they are important. A CEO’s day is full of meeting with important people and spending time with ordinary employees will make them feel special. It is an easy motivational tool that does not cost anything but time

Open Door Policy

An open door policy makes CEOs more accessible to ordinary employees. They understand that a CEO’s time is important but an open door policy also makes them feel welcome. This is one of the reasons why many CEOs prefer to have meetings in a conference room rather than their private offices. This is to ensure that ordinary employees can walk in and talk to them if needed.

The door does not have to be literally open. Just make sure they understand that they can drop in anytime or arrange for an appointment to talk with you.

Share Meetings With Employees

Employees like to know what’s going on in the company. It makes them feel involved and valuable. One of the best ways to make them feel that their contribution is important is to record your meetings and share it with them. Sharing is a good idea because it’s a communication vehicle, it shows employees how decisions are made and it encourages precise thinking, communication that reduces politicking.

Leadership style differs from one CEO to the next. CEOs wear different hats all the time. The key is to remember that employees are the lifeblood of a company and finding ways to keep them motivated is one of the duties of a good CEO.

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Useless Phrases You Need to Stop Using in Your Emails

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useless phrases

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans think that email is important to doing their jobs. Despite this fact, many of us are not good at it. Mastering the art of getting to the point is crucial especially if you consider that 66% of emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. With this in mind, keep these useless phrases off your emails.

Please be advised

Many people use this because it sounds professional but it is also unnecessary. Be concise. The recipient already knows it’s important.

Please do not hesitate to contact me

This is one of many useless phrases that communicates the obvious. Email is a form of communication and it is expected that you will reply if it is important.

I Think

Senders usually include an ‘I think” to soften a blow. However, this phrase tells the recipient that you’re not sure of yourself. Whenever you’re communicating in emails or real life, you need to be confident. You also risk that the recipient disregarding your opinion of you use this phrase.

Enclosed/Attached please find

Nothing can actually be enclosed or attached in an email. This phrase is used when the sender wants to avoid using “I”. It seems minor, but it’s better to use “I attached…” to make your email more direct.

I hope you are well

This phrase is usually used on 3 occasions: when you want to hit the recipient with something unpleasant and when you want to feign closeness.  If you are genuinely concerned about the person, ask them directly and avoid using this filler line.

To Whom It May Concern

There are only a few situations when this phrase is appropriate. If you know the recipient, address them directly. If you don’t, avoid using this unnecessarily formal phrase. The phrase also makes you sound unconfident.

Sincerely Yours

In the days of snail mail, this phrase was the norm. However, in the digital age, it seems stiff and very formal. Instead of using this phrase, use “Cheers” or “Thank you” or just sign you name.

Sorry to bother you

Opening an email with an apology undermines our credibility. Instead of apologizing, get straight to the point. Tell them why you’re contacting them instead of hiding behind apologies.

To be honest with you

This is tricky. It is commonly used when you want to soften a blow or when you want to be candid about something. However, it also tells the recipient that you might not be honest before.

You should

“You should” implies that you make their decisions for them. Avoid using this phrase unless they’re asking you for advice.

No problem

When people use “no problem”, there is actually a problem and you’re softening them up. Instead of useless phrases like “no problem”, use “you’re welcome” or “sure thing” to avoid miscommunication.

I’ll try

We all live in a world ruled by calendars and deadlines and “I’ll try” sounds wishy washy. This phrase does not instill confidence in your abilities. It can also make you seem disengaged or not fully committed to your project.

As I mentioned before

It seems like your explaining the same thing over and over again. Instead of making it seem like your repeating yourself, try to be considerate. Get to the point even if it seems like you’re repeating yourself.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you

This phrase is totally unnecessary because it opens a whole can of things totally unrelated to your purpose. Instead of beating around the bush, let the recipient know what it is you can do for them.

I completely understand how you feel

Before you type this phrase to your email, stop and think if you’ve been in their shoes before. These types of useless phrases can sound thoughtful and well-intentioned but it can also come off as condescending and distanced. Emails are the currency in the business world. While proper courtesy is important, rambling and improper phrases can hurt your credibility. Eliminating these phrases from your email ensures that your email is well-received.

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