Endeavor Entrepreneur María Noel Ache was featured on CNN Español as the founder of AIVA, a company that provides technology and outsourcing business services to investment and insurance companies in the Latin American, Caribbean and Pacific Rim regions. In the […]
Endeavor was named the winner of a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Company of the Year – Non-Profit or Government Organizations category in The 10th Annual International Business Awards. The International Business Awards are one of […]
Scheduled communication may be one of the most powerful team and accountability building tools available when done the right way.
Meetings are an essential aspect of getting things done, collaborating and delegating, but for many they are the bane of business life. People actually leave companies because of the life draining nature of their meeting culture.
This commonly accepted feeling about meetings comes about because most people have been trained to handle meeting in one of two ways.
One is the “I hate meetings, so just come to me if you have a problem” method. Of course this is quite possibly the most frustrating approach for all concerned. This approach leads to lots of wasted time and the every ten minute or so interruption.
The other approach is what I refer to as the “I’ve called a meeting, but it’s really a reading” approach. In this approach managers read from a list of to-dos that could have been sent via email and then propose some things to try to get buy in.
This second approach eventually leads to adopting the first “I hate meetings” attitude and drains any sense of commitment from all involved.
Here’s the deal: you need meetings, perhaps frequently, but you need them to be energetic, useful and in the words of consultant Al Pittampalli – modern.
In Read This Before Our Next Meeting, Pittampalli lists the seven attributes of what he calls the modern meeting. This is a great framework for how to think about meetings that generate energy and action.
1. The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.
2. The Modern Meeting starts on time, moves fast, and ends on schedule.
3. The Modern Meeting limits the number of attendees.
4. The Modern Meeting rejects the unprepared.
5. The Modern Meeting produces committed action plans.
6. The Modern Meeting refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory.
7. The Modern Meeting works only alongside a culture of brainstorming.
Read Pittampalli’s book before your next meeting and consider making it a gift to everyone in your organization.
Adopting this approach to meetings and making it the “accepted meeting protocol” in your organization will reduce the need for meetings that drain, hold anyone that calls or attends a meeting accountable for action and even keep the boss on task. (Well, maybe)
Pittampalli’s last point can’t be emphasized enough.
Brainstorming is an essential business tool as well, but it’s not the same as a meeting. Meetings are for making decisions, brainstorming sessions are to throw out ideas, discuss constraints, test theories and get feedback on ideas.
You need an entirely different framework for brainstorming. You need to frame the idea, throw roles and titles and encourage big thinking. (And, don’t forget to feed everyone well.) In fact, brainstorming sessions should be held offsite in settings that encourage and foster creativity.
Far too many meetings are really just protracted brainstorming sessions where little gets done. Hold advertised brainstorming sessions as special events to take advantage of this unique tool, but resist the temptation to bring this dynamic into meetings.
Again, meetings are for making decisions, most everything else can be handled with email, IMs and texts.
This applies to team meetings, all hands meeting and even one on one meetings.
Embrace this mindset and watch what happens to the energy, accountability and action produced from meeting that nobody hates.
You’re probably in an accounting mess if you’re reading this article.
I mean, no entrepreneur dreams about crunching numbers. No, we dream of creating the next iPhone, the marketing, the office design, the company culture, and recruiting talent.
But who would willingly spend their time thinking about invoicing and tax, right? It’s only when the sky comes crashing down do we look at the numbers.
I get that. As an entrepreneur, you want to make your first dollar before you worry about these things. But here’s the thing: accounting is a cascading function. If you don’t get this month right, there’ll be more to do next month. The problem will only grow.
So here’s my first tip:
The most common pitfall start-ups businesses make when it comes to accounting is a lack of integration. What’s integration?
Well, it’s when accounting, like product development and marketing, is part of the business processes, not separate from it. It’s not done once a month, or worse, once a year. It’s not an afterthought after a marketing campaign.
You do it every single day. And you ask your team to do it every single day. Here’s the problem though: you guys don’t have time to do all that. What do you do then?
That’s part of integration: it has to be easy to do. If you want to launch an Adwords campaign, do you need jump through hoops (like going through Google’s user manual) to do it? Of course not.
The same is true with accounting. A cloud based accounting software, like Wave Accounting, can do that for you. It’s not as complex as say, MYOB, but it keeps the correct records a spreadsheet can’t do.
2. Understand The Basics
Now that you have the data, you need to understand the basics. You need to know how to interpret those numbers and know what questions to ask.
For example, what are the basic documents you need? (Income statement, Balance sheets and Cash Flow Statements) What is the purpose of these documents? What is a liability? What’s the difference between cash and asset?
Are those documents even useful to a start-up? And if not, what do you need? These are topics for another time.
3. Credit Terms
I can’t tell you how many times an entrepreneur thought he’s going great, only to realize that he’s actually broke – a classic scenario where the bottom-line is showing a profit, but the business doesn’t actually have any cash to pay its bills.
An established business can offer their customers credit (pay nothing for 30 days), but as a start-up, you may not be able to. Making a sale is not the same as making money.
As a rule of thumb, you want to be paid as early as possible, even before the goods are delivered. For example, subscription based services (magazines, software, gym memberships) frequently give customers who pay 1 year in advance a discount to maximize their cashflow.
With the invoices you need to pay, the rule of thumb is to delay them for as long as you can (unless there’s significant discount to pay early).
You can then use the difference between the amount you collect in advance and the delayed payments to do something else in the business – like expand and advertise. (more…)
Family responsibilities, bills, demanding jobs—life’s stress will never cease and for an entrepreneur it can be that much worse. Although working for yourself does grant certain freedoms, we as entrepreneurs do have the increased pressure of an entire business’s operations to oversee and the responsibility of managing employees, all of which can cause some major stress.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of disease, illness, and even death. Removing oneself from stress is important to not only keep yourself sane and healthy, but to keep stress from causing you to make bad business decisions. Below, I have highlighted a few strategies that I employ for managing stress—once stress levels are under control, you feel better, work more effectively, and consequently, your business benefits.
Although most office workers don’t have physically laborious jobs, you still need to recharge. Constantly sitting in a chair in the office in front of a computer screen day after day can be physically draining and exhausting, not to mention the other health problems it can lead to.
Develop a regular workout schedule- this can include any type of physical activity such as running, surfing, hitting the gym, practicing yoga, or playing golf. Non-work related physical activity can recharge your body and as an entrepreneur, you need all the energy you can get.
Taking a break by enjoying a little 18-hole round of golf.
The daily stresses of work and life can be emotionally draining as well. Dealing with tough clients, legal issues, financial challenges, or having to manage a “rouge” employee can all be very draining. Take some time to refocus those emotions on something else—traveling, a good book, picking up a new (or former) hobby, or volunteering—whatever makes you feel good.
One of the ways I enjoy taking care of my emotional self is through volunteerism. Instead of having my mind working through my challenges, I’m forced to focus and think of others, and it feels good giving back to the community. Find something that speaks to you. There is truth in the saying, “Perspective is everything”. Helping out others who have it worse than you can have an amazing impact on your own emotional state.
While some may look to meditating to clear their mind, for me it’s about doing something fun and adventurous to take my mind off of work. Grab your wife and go on that second honeymoon, take the kids on a camping trip, or grab some buddies and head out for the weekend. Get away to somewhere that you love, or better yet, explore somewhere new.
Doing something fun and adventurous, or relaxing if you prefer, is a fantastic way to get your mind off of work and keep the stress levels down. Take the time to enjoy life and experience new places, different people and all the fun opportunities outside of the office. Learn how and when to sign off of email and leave the phone at home… or at least turned off.
Everybody is all abuzz about “creating buzz” these days.
We as marketers operate in an industry obsessed with content that is “buzzwothy”, “viral”, and all other sorts of names that aim to describe a single scenario: getting people to talk about your business. Let me tell you the tale of a truly buzzworthy endeavor by an internet business: back in 1999, Mark Hughes convinced the town of Halfway, Oregon to rename itself Half.com to generate publicity for the growing e-commerce start-up. Needless to say, Mr. Hughes was a guy that really knew how to create buzz, and in 2005, he wrote down his techniques in the wonderful book known as Buzzmarketing. In it, he outlines the six buttons you need to push to get people talking… every single time. With enough exposure and a form of content that pushes these buttons, people will be guaranteed to spread the word. Much of Mark’s book overlaps with the recent research from Wharton Business School on “What Makes Online Content Go Viral” (specifically with the types of emotions triggered), so today I’d like to break down how YOU can use the 6 buttons of buzzmarketing to create content that gets people talking.Let’s begin!
The very first of Mark’s “buttons of buzz” is the taboo.
Taboo content is defined as something that is “labeled by a society as improper, unacceptable, prohibited, or profane.” A lot of people jump right to conclusion that taboo content must be scandals, sex, and bathroom humor, but that’s because the context is out of focus: instead of creating content that’s taboo to society, YOU need to create content that is taboo for your industry and community.
Take a stance on something that will make people in your industry do a double-take, and then back it up with evidence! Many bloggers say they hate pop-ups and just “know” their audience hates them too, so when Dan Zarella showed the data on why pop-ups still work, he was engaging in the creation of taboo content specifically for his industry (online marketing).
Things that are unusual are those that just don’t seem to fit in. The kind of stuff that we simply have to look at, not even because we want to, but because the call is just too strong for us to ignore. As you know, content doesn’t always have to mean blog posts, and when it comes to getting attention in spammy areas like forex trading, creativity is king: one supreme example is MahiFX’s You vs. John Paulson. That page allows you to create your own content, an infographic style breakdown of how quickly billionaire investor John Paulson earns your entire yearly salary (ouch!). It’s 100% strange: it outright insults your current earnings, it requires your input for the content to even be there, and it even mixes in a bit of the taboo! (Comparing salaries).
…and yet, it’s hard to look away! It’s been mentioned and shared a ton of times, and here I am now sharing it with you again, showcasing the power of creating unusual content that gets mentioned and linked to.
In the Wharton study mentioned above, one of the “emotions of high arousal” was that of anger, and here is where it comes into play: in the form of truly outrageous content that gets us fired up and tripping over ourselves to leave feedback. The study cites articles like What Red Ink? Wall Street Paid Hefty Bonuses, and it comes as no surprise that news articles make for a great source of outrageous content. One that is closer to marketer’s hearts is the recent piece on Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, a piece of “flame-bait” that did it’s job so well, it hooked a bunch of so-called marketers into leaving long-winded comments on why the author was wrong… and even resulted in a ton of them sharing the piece in outrage! Marketing folks should have known better, but they didn’t, and I’m not here to rag on them for it, I’m here to point out just how well outrageous content works. The outrageous differs from the taboo in that it’s not pulling moral strings, it’s all about creating a debate over opinions and dividing people among that debate. When division occurs, people literally fall over themselves to have their voice heard and to affirm their opinion… our brains just can’t help it!
Funny content is often the most viral (see: YouTube videos), but it is harder to incorporate into your typical small business content strategy. While comedians can get away with being hilarious + outrageous all the time, utilizing humor for business related content has to be done a certain way, or it will seem unprofessional or not genuine. One example I always love to showcase is Grasshopper’s “$!@# Entrepreneur’s Say” video, because it takes an industry relevant spin on a popular viral trend on YouTube:
“Dude, let’s go viral right now!”
Taking a jab at the tech entrepreneur community (their customer base), Grasshopper was able to generate 70k+ views and a broad, fun brand impression in front of the right audience.
This is likely the most difficult content to define, and yet it is often the most memorable and effective to create. Without making people angry, without being profane, remarkable content still manages to outshine the competition and live up to the source of its name: being worthy of remark.
As an example, let’s look at the fitness market. While weight loss stories are inspiring, they are a dime a dozen in a place as large as the web, and won’t get the kind of traction that allows them to “go viral”. However, the project Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit did. That’s because the founder put a spin on the tried-and-true fitness journey: being a fitness model already, he let himself get fat, only to lose the weight again in 6 months, to prove that it could be done. That’s thinking outside of the box! Other (more tame) forms of remarkable content come when brands take time to make something truly awesome in a crowded space, just like SEOmoz did with its Beginner’s Guide to SEO, a multi-page work that looks as beautifully as it reads. Now ranking on the homepage for simply “SEO”, I would say their remarkable project has made a huge splash!
This is my favorite sort of content, as it’s the type I practice most often on my blog.
Secret content reveals knowledge that only the “initiated” know about. The post you are reading now is secretive in its own way: it reveals information from a book and a Wharton research paper that not everyone has read. Other forms of secret content come to us in the form of this infographic on KISSmetrics, which looks to answer the question, “How do colors affect purchases?”, while citing research that gives the answer. Since we were just talking about the fitness niche, did you know that most diets fail because our brains are susceptible to “abandoning ship” as soon as their diet starts to falter? When you learn about that research you become initiated, free to share the “secret” with others. Secret content is more than just regular information like “How to set up a Facebook page”, it’s the kind of stuff that comes out of left field and totally blows the lid off of a topic people care about. You can only create secret content by reading good books and by breaking new information in your industry. A tough task to accomplish, but one with a ton of viral potential.
Your Turn What did you think about these “buzzworthy” forms of content? Which ones can you apply to your content marketing efforts?
After ten years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve learned a thing or two about networking… One of the most important things I learned is that networking is a lifestyle. It needs to be worked into your DNA so that you are networking at all times…effortlessly and happily.
When you treat networking as a lifestyle you don’t get anxious when you see a stranger at a conference, when the phone rings or you’re waiting in a long line.
What you see and feel is opportunity. So, let me show you how to take those opportunities and turn them into profitable relationships with these ten networking secrets.
Secret #1: Assume the burden of other people’s discomfort
Ever go to an event or conference and just look around the room? What do you see? While you’ll see lots of people talking to each other, you will also probably see several people sitting at tables looking through the event guide or talking on their phones. These people are probably nervous about talking to new people…so they are avoiding it by looking busy.
Well, you can help these people out by introducing yourself. See, they probably want to approach total strangers…but they just find it hard to break the ice. You can come along and make life a little easier for them, which could lead to some interesting opportunities.
Secret #2: Give and expect nothing in return
Ask any successful networker how they spend their time and they’ll tell you that they spend their time helping other people.
They’ll spend their time visiting young people in school, at colleges, over lunch and at start ups. These networkers want to help people by sharing advice and helping them to avoid the mistakes they made.
If you want to be a successful networker then you need to have conversations all the time with people, and you have to keep in mind that these people may not be able to repay you…and that is okay. (more…)
On Thursday, November 8, over 450 people attended the 2012 Endeavor Gala at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. Endeavor’s only annual fundraising event, the Gala raises about $2.0 million each year to further Endeavor Global’s mission to select and accelerate the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.
Endeavor co-founder & CEO Linda Rottenberg said that this year, in honor of Endeavor’s 15th anniversary, the team wanted to do “something special.” The organization invited five game-changing Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Nikos Kakavoulis of Daily Secret (Greece); Yasmine Shihata of Venus Media & PR (Egypt); Bento Koike of Tecsis (Brazil); Nevzat Aydin of Yemeksepeti.com (Turkey); and Martin Migoya of Globant (Argentina), to participate in a panel discussion on entrepreneurship.
Rottenberg explained that in the wake of the chaos Hurricane Sandy wreaked on New York City, she wanted Gala guests to understand why Endeavor views high-impact entrepreneurship as the answer to many of the global economy’s problems.
“[Entrepreneurs] do view our increasingly chaotic world much differently than most of us,” Rottenberg said. “For them, chaos is not the enemy, chaos is their friend. When economies turn down, entrepreneurs look up…I invite you into our world, and I think that once you meet these big dreamers, you’ll understand why we’re so hopeful about the future at Endeavor.”
In addition to the panel discussion, attendees heard from Endeavor Global Chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Bronfman, Jr. thanked donors and partners for their commitment to Endeavor. “What you’re doing and how you’re helping us is absolutely critical to creating entrepreneurial ecosystems in each of these countries,” he said.
Dinner ended with a performance by up-and-coming UK singer Rumer! Following dinner, guests enjoyed Endeavor’s annual after-party, with special guest DJ Hannah Bronfman.
Click here to view photos from the Gala cocktail and dinner. Click here to view photos taken in front of the Endeavor banner.
Endeavor Global and Startup Genome are pleased to announce a partnership that will help drive and deepen the cultivation of entrepreneurial ecosystems worldwide.
It’s the mission of Startup Genome to build the world’s most up-to-date database of entrepreneurial communities through a network of local curators. So far over 150 curators across the globe (including many developing nations) have begun layering real-time updates over the existing data in their respective ecosystems with profiles of founders, startups, investors, accelerators, incubators, universities, etc.
Co-founded by Dave Lerner and Shane Reiser, Startup Genome is going beyond mere hyperlinked lists and has already created the first of many data visualizations of these ecosystems to make entrepreneurial communities much more accessible and searchable for entrepreneurs and others worldwide.
Endeavor Global is now working with Startup Genome to add its own layer of curators in many cities and nations where Endeavor operates.
Entrepreneurs of the Week on Wamda today are Tarek and Alaa Sryo co-CEOs at SASCO, a family business specialized in manufacturing office supplies including stationery, paper products, filing products, and pens. While SASCO has been mainly targeting MENA since 1975, the two young CEOs are working hard on modernizing the family business by adding new brands and products, and implementing new marketing and sales programs to continue expanding in the Middle East. One of the newest programs newly released by SASCO is an online system for clients to choose and order online, in an easy and fast way.
Tarek Sryo, vice president of sales and marketing, discusses how working in an old company is not easier than working in a startup because “you need to convince the old employees to embrace new technologies, change strategies, adapt to the market and prove them that this is better for the brand.”
One of the main challenges faced by the young CEO is , as His brother, Alaa Sryo, vice president of manufacturing and finance, agrees, saying that convincing the “old guards” tend to be attached to more traditional ways of working and thinking; the brothers are working to change that.
Melih Odemis, co-Founder of Yemek Sepeti, discusses how he and his co-founders initially were inspired to be entrepreneurs at our June event, CoE E-Commerce. Started in 2000, Yemek Sepeti has grown to a well-known online food ordering platform throughout Turkey.
With over 1.5 million users and 50,000 orders a day, Odemis describes Yemek Sepeti as “the biggest kitchen in the world.” The company has adapted to changing technology over its 11-year lifespan and continues to bring new users from across Turkey, and now from the UAE and Russia.
A “big online food court,” Yemek Sepeti believes in fostering a dynamic work environment to attract and keep talent. Employees work in a fast-paced environment, processing over 200 orders per minute, but still enjoying their workplace with opportunities to socialize and have creative fun together.
Technology Review Magazine is honoring Endeavor Entrepreneur Mariano Nuñez as one of the 35 recipients of its internationally renowned T35 award.
Nuñez was the first to find a weakness in the security of software developed by SAP, a multinational company and market leader in enterprise application software. To fortify SAP software, Nuñez created a program that tested for vulnerabilities in its online platform, which is used by various governments and major companies. The expertise he gained while solving SAP’s security problems led him to develop his own software development firm, Onapsis. Today, Nuñez is being honored for the revolutionary work he has contributed to his field with an award that has garnered an international reputation for spotlighting those exceptional young talents who have created new and innovated existing technology.
Nuñez holds a degree in Systems Engineering from the National Technological University in Argentina. While working as a consultant in various fields of computer security, he was assigned to review the safety of a web application that ran on an SAP platform. He discovered that vulnerabilities in the security of his client’s product arose from vulnerabilities in the SAP platform on which it ran. To minimize the likelihood of attacks to his client, Nuñez innovated SAP software and ended up making a more broad impact than he thought by benefiting all organizations using an SAP platform. His insights and efforts have become critical to the lives of people belonging to the many countries, companies and organizations using SAP software. At the age of 21, he was recognized as an expert in his field and invited to speak at a Black Hat Europe conference, and two years later he started Onapsis, which signed the United States Army, AXA Group, Sony Electronics, Roche and Siemens as early clients. Today he is being honored by Technology Review for creating software that is highly specific in function but whose broad application has allowed it to have an international impact.
Technology Review is a quarterly magazine published by MIT and uses the T35 award to annually honor 35 innovative individuals under the age of 35. Recipients come from a variety of industries such as biotechnology, energy, software and internet transport and who work within universities, private research, government and small and large companies. The award is used to recognize those who develop new technology as well as those who innovate existing technology for use in solving current problems. The T35 aspires to spotlight individuals who in addition to making relevant contributions to their specific industries also impact the larger society from which those industries emerges.