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Is Your Business Really Progressing?

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Marketing is very important for business growth. The products and services provided must be known to potential buyers in order to sell. Online marketing is very cost effective, has a wide reach and provides easy monitoring and tracking. While offline marketing enables face-to-face interaction, covers a wider demographic and so on. Great!

However I recently noticed a large amount of Small, medium businesses use popularity gained from marketing as a yardstick to measure business progress.

Marketing is a tool to ensure increase in sales not an activity to gain popularity, neither does popularity necessarily translate into sales.

The sole purpose of a business is to generate revenue and make profit; therefore the only way to measure the progress of a business is through financial data showing the amount of actual expenses, sales, revenue generated and if revenue generated amounts to profit or loss hereby analyzing the performance of the business and making predictions about the direction of the company.

Do you have a financial structure? Do you have an overview of your total expenses and revenue? Are your sales equivalent to your budget on marketing and operations? Do you have an idea of the cash flow of your business? I.e. The money being transferred in and out of your business.

Do you spend personal funds on business processes without tracking or monitoring these expenses or the return on such investments?

If you do not know the current position of your business, you cannot possibly know the destination of your business. A business might be gaining popularity but your only true scorecard is your financial statement. Only your financial records can tell you the genuine position and measure the growth of your business, help identify and tackle risks, ensure proper planning and help make the right investment decisions for the business. Without financial records you do not even have a business.

I’m sure you have great wishes and plans for your business, first you’ll have to build a strong financial structure and ensure you’re totally aware of the financial position and destination of your business at all times.

Written by: Opeoluwa Runsewe

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Business

Why Great Leaders Stay Curious – According To Some Great Leaders

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“Look out the window and see what is visible but not yet seen” – Peter Drucker.

Ask anyone to describe a leader; chances are you will get replies like strong, charismatic, decisive, and excellent communicators. All these define a good leader, no doubt; however, the essence of true leadership is not in these traits. Below are some examples of notable leaders that do not possess those traits at all;

1. Jeff Bezos – the CEO of Amazon, has revolutionized retailing and business, but he does not attract attention because of his commanding appearance.

2. Sheryl Sandberg – the COO of Facebook, is a visionary leader who is changing the role women play in the world, but in her demeanor, she seems modest and quiet.

3. Stephen Hawking – was one of the world’s greatest scientists and transformative thought leaders, yet he suffered from physical limitations.

We can both agree that these people are prominent leaders, and they have a lot in common. They are empathetic and intelligent. However, they share one great trait; Curiosity. They are all extremely curious people.

This old saying “curiosity killed the cat” is usually used to warn people against sticking their nose into business that might get them into trouble. On the contrary, as a leader, curiosity is one of the most valuable tools you can have. “Welcome to the era of the curious leader, where success may be less about having all the answers and more about wondering and questioning,” said Warren Berger, author of the book A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry To Spark Breakthrough Ideas, writes in HBR.

Curiosity inspires leaders to continually seek out fresh ideas and approaches needed to keep them abreast of change and stay ahead of their competitors. During one of his researches, Berger says, he found that the most innovative leaders used curiosity “as a starting point to reinventing the entire industry. We can take a cue from Jeff Bezos. “From early on in Amazon’s life, we knew we wanted to create a culture of builders — curious people and explorers. They like to invent,” Bezos said in his annual letter to shareholders published in April. Jeff places great importance on time spent to explore curiosity.

When asked in an interview with CNNMoney, what makes the best CEOs? Jill Ader responded: “With a less knowable, less predictable world, we need really curious leaders.” In other speeches, she explained with the points below how highly curious people engage the world, their teams, and colleagues differently:

  • They assume less.
  • Ask more, different, and better questions.
  • They value not just what people think, but what they feel.
  • They listen intently to the answers they receive.

Curious leaders tend to see things from a fresh perspective. Most of them bring a ‘beginner’s mind’ approach to old problems and stubborn challenges. They continually examine and re-examine their assumptions and practices, asking deep, penetrating, and speculative questions like ‘Why,’ ‘What if,’ and ‘How.’ According to Arder, the most significant mindset shift is curiosity. If you get more curious, if you ignite your curiosity, you will be more interested in different, unique views. Driving success in today’s incredibly complex world has never been more challenging. It is a leaders’ core sense of curiosity that promises to unlock the barriers best and push the boundaries of knowledge and performance well into the future.

Every day offers new opportunities to listen to different ideas, learn new things, and try something different. We all have the potential of being curious, start building your leadership today only by being curious.

 

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Business

Networking Is Dead

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“Networking as we know it, is dead,” says Scott Gerber, the CEO of The Community Company and author of “Super Connector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter.” I quite agree with him, or should I say maybe we are not doing it the right way.

People have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and most do not even know a single one of them, well maybe one or two family members and a few friends. For example, I have 224 connections, excluding my family and friends on LinkedIn, and I am yet to speak with any them. These days we dwell so much on the number of connections we have, the number of business cards we were able to collect and give out, and the small talks we might have had in the process, that we abandon the sole purpose of connecting with people.

“Rather than growing a huge network focused on sheer numbers, building a strong network is about establishing a relatively small number of deep, high-quality, business relationships based on common values. The ‘why’ of connecting is focused on people first, opportunities second. Allow yourself to help others. Don’t feel like you are too generous or giving away too much with nothing in exchange. Keeping score won’t do you any good.” – an excerpt from the book ‘Networking is dead – making connections that matter’ by Larry Mohl.

To create strong relationships that can boost your personal and professional goals, you would need to focus on relationship building instead of being a networker. Networkers are short-term thinkers, very transactional oriented. These days, people use relationships for their personal gains and strategies. Meanwhile, a relationship builder realizes beforehand that social capital is the most important currency she will ever have. She is empathetic, emotionally connected, intelligent, curious, and a people lover. Unlike the networkers, she thinks more long-term in terms of value creation and naturally generous towards others. Building deep relationships can take a while; however, you will reap the benefits from them later on.

To be a relationship builder instead of a networker, you should think like one, according to Gerber, there are three kinds;

The Thinkers; They are curious and have lots of ideas running through their heads. However, they are not always good at executing them. If you are one, you should make an effort to share those ideas with people. Look for people who can help or inspire you to put those ideas into action.

The Enablers; They assemble people and share their ideas with them. An enabler is that friend that would always email you to introduce you to someone she thinks might be able to help you out

The Executors; These are the accomplishers; they make people’s ideas happen. If you are one, find ways to expose yourself to as many new ideas as possible. Maybe, you can start reading new publications or following new hashtags related to your industry.

Before we conclude, here are some tips for you to enjoy the benefits of relationship-building; 

  • Change your approach,
  • Develop your expertise,
  • Build your relationships around a shared interest,
  • Share what you know with people,
  • Focus on a higher goal,
  • Make sure you follow-up on all your contacts.

Like people say, “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or be the boss of a company to be a successful person.” To get great things done, open yourself up to new ideas and people; build strong relationships.

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