New Place? Dont worry! We are updating main website, mean while stay tuned here.

We too frequently become adept at pointing out our flaws and identifying failures. We need to become equally adept at citing our achievements. We have to be willing to say to ourselves, I’m on the right road. I’m doing OK. I’m succeeding.

How do we change our mindset from fault-finding and uninspiring to one that’s positive and motivating? Here are three ways to stay motivated:

1. Chart your progress.

Identify things you are doing now that you weren’t doing one month ago… six months ago… a year ago. What habits have changed?

Doing well once or twice is relatively easy. Continuously moving ahead is tough, in part, because we so easily revert to old habits and former lifestyles. So give yourself regular feedback to monitor your performance and reinforce yourself positively. Don’t wait for an award ceremony, promotion, friend or mentor to show appreciation for your work. Take pride in your own efforts on a daily basis.

2. Keep the end result in sight.

Always see the big picture of the ultimate goal you’re working for and the benefits that come with it.

During World War II, parachutes were being constructed by the thousands. From the workers point of view, the job was tedious and repetitive. It involved crouching over a sewing machine eight to 10 hours a day, stitching endless lengths of colorless fabric. The result was a seamless heap of cloth. But every morning the workers were reminded that each stitch was part of a life-saving operation. As they sewed, they were asked to think that this might be the parachute worn by their husband, brother or son. Although the work was hard and the hours long, the women and men on the assembly line understood their contribution to the larger picture.

The same should be true with your work. Each thing you do benefits someone, something—the lives and well-being of adults and children throughout the world, not just generally, but specifically. These are the visions that drive us through tedious details to the top.

3. Set up a dynamic daily routine.

Getting into a positive routine or groove, instead of a negative rut, will help you become more effective. Why is the subway the most energy efficient means of transportation? Because it runs on a track.

Think of the order in your day, instead of the routine. Order is not sameness, neatness or everything exactly in its place. Order is not taking on more than you can manage, without still being able to do what you really choose. Order is the opposite of complication; it’s simplification. Order is not wasting a lot of time trying to find things. Order is avoiding a lot of recriminations because you didn’t do something you promised. Order is setting an effective agenda with others so neither of you is disappointed. Order is doing in a day what you set out to do. Order frees you up. Get into the swing of a healthy, daily routine and discover how much more control you’ll gain in your life.


You know those relationships that drain your energy? The ones that impact your ability to really thrive at home, at work, in life? There are consequences of enduring them and failing to face up to reality that something’s just not right.
And while there’s no point pretending a relationship has a future if it doesn’t, it’s just as important to recognize when relationships are right, when they’re worth investing in.
So whether it’s with your children, your spouse, your parents, your friends or your co-workers, here are seven signs of a good, healthy relationship:

1. Trust.

Great relationships are built on a foundation of trust—something that takes time to build and is hard to regain once it’s lost. Without trust, relationships of every kind will fail. You know you trust each other when you feel safe, comfortable, open, close. It’s reflected in your willingness to listen to the tough stuff—and learn from it.

2. Openness.

You express yourselves openly and honestly. No topic is off limits. Both parties feel heard. You engage in honest and respectful conversations that allow you to understand one another and build a genuine connection. When you have problems and concerns, you share them directly and not with other people. You never complain or criticize behind each other’s backs.

3. Respect.

Both parties recognize that neither of you is perfect. You accept each other the way you are. Too often we focus on what we expect or hope people will be, and while it’s important to recognize how people can grow or learn, holding onto who you expect someone to become will inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration.

4. Teamwork.

To make the relationships in your life work, you and the other person both have to do your part—because it takes two to tango. You make decisions together and listen to each other’s concerns and preferences. You bring your ideas and opinions together and remain open minded to one another’s point of view. You work with mutual trust and respect to achieve what you each need. 

5. Joy.

Healthy relationships are energized by laughter, by fun. While you can’t expect anyone to be happy every minute of every day, good relationships uplift our spirits and make us feel loved and accepted.  Most people are capable of frustrating or annoying us at times, but what matters is the ability to move past petty disagreements and look for reasons to enjoy each other’s company. 

6. Kindness.

You treat each other with care, consideration and compassion. You are friendly and speak with warmth and consideration. You are generous toward each other. When we choose to invest in the needs of others, the impact is significant. 

7. Forgiveness.

Holding on to baggage weighs heavily on any relationship. Resentment, disappointment and frustration, when left unresolved, erode trust and drain our spirit. You know you have a great relationship when you are able to express how you feel and let it go. You are able to forgive shortcoming and failings. You support one another. You learn from the experiences you face, and you move on. 
- source:

Freelancing is not just a hip, seemingly passing trend. It’s here to stay, and it’s affecting everyone. Freelancers—the independent contractors, the moonlighters, the temporary workers—are shifting the entire workforce.
Upwork and Freelancers Union teamed up to produce the “Freelancing in America: 2015” survey, which was conducted by Edelman Berland. In addition to statistics on things like how many freelancers there are (one in three Americans is freelancing in some way—that’s about 34 percent of us), the report provides insights into why people freelance and how it’s changing how America works.
“Americans are starting to have a different view of careers,” Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, says. It’s not all “artisanal yuppies in their pajamas.”
She says people are figuring out different ways to make money, and they’re finding that it doesn’t necessarily mandate working a traditional 9-to-5 job.
“Americans are starting to have a different view of careers,” she says. It’s not all “artisanal yuppies in their pajamas.”
Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute, says that people aren’t necessarily seeking to telecommute, either—they just want that flexibility. (His group recently released a report that found telecommuting works best in moderation.)
“They want the ability to have control over their schedule and workplace so they can achieve all of their goals,” he says. Those goals can include having time with family or spending less time traveling to work on a daily basis.
The most essential part of working flexibly is to match where you work to how you work, Matos added. For some that means working from home; others still report to an office but on their own schedule, which many studies have found boosts productivity.
As more people begin freelancing—some out of necessity, others out of desire—there are now about 50 percent that say no amount of money could get them to go back to a traditional job. Of those surveyed, 34 percent earned more instantly than they did at their traditional job income, 23 percent said it took six months and 21 percent out-earned their old jobs within the first year of freelancing. More than one-third of freelancers say demand for their services increased in the past year, and 48 percent expect their freelance income to rise in the coming year.
Another cause for the shift to flexible and freelance work is due to businesses needing flexibility and skills for short-term projects. Many organizations realize it’s more cost-effective to hire on an as-needed basis—and seek out specialized skills—instead of retaining a full-time employee. People know this, so more are wading into freelance waters, even if that means moonlighting on the side of a traditional job.
“Arguably some of your best talent out there is going to be your freelancers,” says Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork.
Horowitz and Kasriel both said that the need to train freelancers beyond their area of skill (perhaps on things like managing accounting or legal aspects of freelancing) will increase. Many freelancers learn about business administration as they go, but Horowitz and Kasriel see potential for employers to take on training. Who knows, maybe corporate seminars in the future may not focus solely on building employees’ skills in a specific industry, but in how to run a freelance business—especially if the company uses a lot of freelancers.
So, not surprisingly, freelancers are affecting corporate America. A more prominent freelance workforce will and already has impacted the strategies that hiring managers and recruiters use to bring in competent workers. We could be seeing a whole new breed of job advertisements—ones that aren’t seeking out employees, but project workers.
“What I really think corporate America needs to see in general is that freelancers are pioneering a new way of living,” Kasriel says.
- Source: 

1. Have an idea. It might be a product you've always wanted to make, or a service you feel people need. It might even be something people don't know they need yet, because it hasn't been invented!
  • It can be helpful—–and fun—–to have people who are bright and creative join you for a casual brainstorming session. Start with a simple question like: "what shall we build?". The idea is not to create a business plan, just to generate some ideas. Many of the ideas will be duds, and there will be quite a few ordinary ones, but a few will emerge that have real potential.
2. Define your goals. Do you want financial independence, eventually selling your business to the highest bidder? Do you want something small and sustainable, that you love doing and want to derive a steady income from? These are the things that are good to know very early on.

3. Create a working name. You could even do this before you have an idea for the business, and if the name is good, you may find it helps you define your business idea. As your plan grows, and things begin to take shape, the perfect name may come to you, but don't let that hinder you in the early phases—–create a name that you can use while you plan, and don't mind changing later.
  • For a bit of fun, take a cue from the Beatles, who often use fun names for a song before it is finalized, like Yesterday, which had the working title of "Scrambled Eggs."

4. Define your team. Will you do this alone, or will you bring in one or two trusted friends to join you? This brings a lot of synergy to the table, as people bounce ideas off each other. Two people together can often create something that is greater than the sum of the two separate parts.
  • Think of some of the biggest success stories in recent times include John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Bill Gates and Paul Allen; Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; and Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In every case, the partnership brought out the best in both sides of the equation, and every one of them became billionaires. Is a partnership a guarantee of being a billionaire? No, but it doesn't hurt!
5. Choose wisely. When choosing the person or people you're going to build the business with, be careful. Even if someone is your best friend, it doesn't mean that you will partner well in a business operation. Start it with a reliable person. Things to consider when choosing your co-leaders and support cast include:
  • Does the other person complement your weaknesses? Or do both of you bring only one set of the same skills to the table? If the latter, be wary as you can have too many cooks doing the same thing while other things are left unattended.
  • Do you see eye to eye on the big picture? Arguments about the details are a given, and are important for getting things right. But not seeing eye to eye on the big picture, the real purpose of your business can cause a split that may be irreparable. Be sure your team cares about the and buys into the purpose as much as you do.
  • If interviewing people, do some reading on how to spot real talent beyond the certifications, degrees or lack thereof. People's innate talents can often be somewhat different from the conventional education streams they've pursued (or failed to) and it's important to look for "click" (you get along with them) and latent talents as much as paper credentials

You know that multitasking is a bad idea. You may even know that frequent multitasking shrinks your brain and lowers your IQ. But did you know that, far from saving you time, multitasking cuts your productivity by a whopping 40 percent?

That frightening number comes from Devora Zack, CEO of Only Connect Consulting, and author most recently of Singletasking: Get More Done--One Thing at a Time. In fact, she notes, there's actually no such thing as multitasking. You may think you're taking part in a conference call, writing a report, and texting with your spouse all at the same time, but what your brain is actually doing is switching non-stop among these different activities. That's costing you both efficiency and brain cells.

The problem is, like many things, multitasking may be bad for you but it feels really good. That's because as you switch from task to task, your brain reacts to the feeling of newness with a jolt of dopamine--the same brain chemical that causes heroin addiction.

Fortunately, Zack says, you can get off the multitasking treadmill, and regain your efficiency, not to mention the IQ points you may have lost. Here's how.

1. Choose one task and commit to it.

"Singletasking obliges you to do one thing at a time, excluding any other demands at that moment," Zack says. "This means you must stand firm and genuinely commit to your choices."

This doesn't mean that you need to stick with a single task until it is completed, she adds--few of us have the scheduling freedom for that. What she does suggest is picking a specific amount of time to work on a given task and sticking to it for that much time.

I believe that approach is the power of the highly popular Pomodoro Technique, in which you work on a given task for 25 minutes at a time (one "pomodoro") and then take a five-minute break. Whether you use pomodoros or not, focusing on one task at a time is a highly powerful thing to do, especially if you've got a tough job to complete.

2. Pick a place to park distracting inspirations.

You know what I mean. You're in the middle of writing an email to a client and suddenly a bright idea for how to pitch another client pops into your head. If you're a multitasker, your response us to open a new email and start writing that second pitch while it's fresh in your mind.

The wiser approach is to designate a handy place to leave notes to yourself so that you don't lose your brilliant ideas and can come back to them later while keeping your focus on the task at hand. Ideally, you should quickly switch to a different screen (or pull out a nearby notepad), jot down a few words or a sentence that will help you remember your bright idea, and then go right back to what you were doing. Zack uses her smartphone for this purpose; I use Evernote. Whatever method you choose, it should be quick, near to hand, intuitive for you, and as brief an interruption as possible.

3. Give yourself the gift of distraction-free time.

"It's up to you to control your environment--to 'build fences' to keep potential distractions, such as noise and pop-ups, at bay," Zack says. It's easy to blame your co-workers (or the people you live with, if you work at home) when they distract you. It's also easy to blame your technology for distracting you--the incoming email or Facebook notification that bings or buzzes, the incoming phone call or text.

The fact is, being distracted or not is mostly within your control. If you have an office with a door, close that door during conference calls, while working on projects, and other times you need want to focus on a single task (which should be most of the time). If you work in a cubicle or your office has an open floor plan, use a sticky note or some other means to signal that you don't want to be disturbed right now. And you can block calls, texts, and other such distractions by closing your email window and silencing your phone's notifications.

4. Perform related tasks in clusters.

Answering email messages, texts, and social media messages as they arrive is a great way to abandon your focus and get that addictive dopamine craving filled. Resist the temptation by relegating certain tasks to certain periods or times of the day. For instance, you might limit reading and answering email to three times: when you start work in the morning, at lunch time, and right before you stop for the day, Zack suggests. That way, email won't interrupt you the rest of the time.

It's also smart to cluster tasks by topic because that will help you increase focus. You may be receiving email about many different projects or sales opportunities. If you respond to them project by project, instead of in the order they arrive, you'll be able to focus better on each overall topic.

5. Grow your attention span with a little quiet time.

The average human attention span is eight seconds, Zack says. "This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish," she notes. One reason is that modern humans can satisfy our own desire for distraction every waking moment and are never alone with our thoughts.

So fight that tendency by scheduling a few minutes of introspective quiet time into your daily or weekly routine. Formal meditation is one way to achieve this, but so is this simple five-minute exercise. Just giving yourself a few minutes to daydream works too.

6. Become a master at saying no.

None of us like saying no, and all of us like to think we can take on one more project, one more volunteer task, one more social engagement. But that's a recipe for disaster, Zack warns. Instead, she says, we must learn to say no gracefully.

"It's perfectly fine, even responsible, not to respond to every request immediately," she says. And saying no doesn't make you selfish. "'No, I can't right now,' is not equivalent to 'No I won't ever do it,'" she adds. "What you're really saying is that, just as you're committed to your current obligation, you'll be equally committed to their request when the time comes." (And if you're wondering which tasks to say no to, this approach to streamlining may help.)

7. Ask the people around you to hold you accountable for focusing.

"Old habits die hard," Zack notes. "From time to time, you'll almost certainly go back to your old ways, reverting to task-switching. So ask your family, friends, and co-workers to call you out."

Not only will this help keep you honest about focusing on one task at a time; it will have extra benefits as well. If the people in your life understand that you're trying to build focus--and that you want their help in that effort--they'll be in your corner to help make that happen. Besides holding you to your no-distraction plan, they may look for ways to keep distractions from reaching you. They may even think twice before distracting you themselves.

source Inc

For many companies, worrying about expansion and diversification can seem like a luxury. After all, one of the biggest struggles for a young company is identifying even a single core offering that will drive the brand and business in the first place, let alone expand beyond its current parameters. A startup is like a controlled experiment. At the start, it’s nothing more than an idea or business plan that you think will be successful. You hope your experiment works, and how you choose to handle your expansion and growth will determine your company’s long-term success or failure.

The Benefits of Expansion

Expansion allows you to add value to your existing offerings. If you expand by focusing on complementing your current business, you can create related upsell opportunities that naturally lead to further demand and growth. You can also address market needs that are a better fit for your offering. Grow and convert consumers by solving a bigger problem with your product. This might require adding features based on what your competitors are offering to bring value and to differentiate yourself in the market. As you expand, remember to:

Make sure new features and products complement or enhance your current portfolio. While there may be a drive to churn out something (anything) new, resist the urge. This can lead to releasing offerings that have no place in your business.

 Evaluate “cool” features. While nice to have, they can drain resources if they aren’t essential. Don’t waste the time or money if they won’t increase your bottom line.

 Limit complications. Over-innovation can drive consumers away. Innovation that begins complicating something that originally thrived on simplicity will lose its value.

Don’t Let Expansion Control You

To achieve balance during growth and increase your chances of success, focus on controlling expansion at a manageable rate. Identify the core value of your offering and ensure that new ideas connect with this to avoid overextending your business. The key to manageable expansion is simplicity. You can develop a simple expansion or complementary offering at lower costs while still meeting the needs of the market. As you grow, the key factor will be you. Sleepless nights without breaks and constant stress do not support long-term growth or health. You need to know when to relinquish some control to maintain your sanity and success.

Tips for World Domination

Often, a company will wait until a product is perfect before it launches. If you wait until it’s “perfect,” you’ve launched too late. It’s often better to finalize a product after receiving early market feedback. This allows you to incorporate new ideas and create a product you may not have originally envisioned in the vacuum of your lab. Never forget to stay within your limits. Make sure you have the means to execute. While reaching for the stars is a great goal, you’ll end up stranded in space if you don’t have enough fuel to get there. Lastly, the most important thing you can do is to surround yourself with the right people. People you trust to complete key tasks can free more time for you to focus on the big picture: managing your company’s growth.

It Can’t Be Done, Can It?

Nest began as a simple, intuitive way for people to control their home heating and cooling systems. Its core offering was a change from old, outdated legacy systems to fun, innovative and connected platforms. Nest’s expansion model increased its product offerings into different home segments while maintaining its core interface simplicity. Success followed quickly, with growing segments in carbon monoxide monitors and smoke detectors. As a result of its success, Google recently acquired Nest for over $3 billion. Launching 10 new products to diversify and expand may not be the answer for your business. Every business has different goals and paths to success. Keep in mind something a venture-funding company recently relayed in one of our meetings: “We’ve had months without failure, and it’s the scariest time in our corporate life.” If you’re not failing, you’re not trying enough new things to grow your business. And if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating, and eventually your business will fail.

Involving third parties in relationship matters doesn’t solve your problem, it compounds the issue. If you discuss your private affairs in public, it is going to backfire. Managing relationships by committee condemns them to a premature death. The best approach is to allow time, patience and the human conscience a moment to work. Besides, only you and the person that’s involved posses the ability to actually solve your problem. Once you put people in your business, you never get them out. It’s human nature for people to hold on to negative preconceptions about people. This is especially true as it pertains to your friends and family when you immerse them in your relationship.

It's better to keep your business to yourself, others just want to do you pain. 
Be wise and hold your mouth, the worst that will come out of it is staying the same. - morayo

There is an old saying, “A dog that brings a bone carries one.” In other words, people that have an eager ear to hear your business cant wait to tell it. Using your as the example, don’t you have at least one person you share information with? Other people are just like you! The juicier the gossip, the harder it is for someone to hold it in. There is a ninety percent chance that anything you say will be repeated to someone. Not only are you needlessly exposing your relationship to unnecessary scandal, you’re betraying your mate. Long after the two of you get past the problem, friends, relatives and those in your social circle will still be whispering about you and your significant others past issues. i.e. Don’t get pissed off at your relations when you put them in your business to begin with.

 So, you get it: Keep your business and personal credit separate. But how do you get started?

1. Establish your business as a separate legal entity.

This could be as a sole proprietor, LLC or S-Corp. Sit down with your tax advisor or financial planner to determine which legal entity fits your business and financial situation. Sites like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer can take care of the legwork. You just complete an online questionnaire and pay a small fee. The websites fill out the documents and file them with your state. You can receive your official formation documents in about seven to 10 days.

2. Set up a business checking account.

This keeps your business financials more organized and allows you to get a clear picture of where your money is going. It usually takes just 30 minutes to set up an account at your local bank.

Use the business account for all business-related expenses. When paying yourself, deposit the money into your personal checking account. Your business checking account also allows your business to use employee payments as tax deductions from income, while letting you show personal income for the purpose of loans, credit and taxes. Business lenders will want to see your bank statements to get a true picture of how you’re performing.

3. Build a business credit history.

Start by opening a business credit card and always paying on time. The business credit bureaus will add this positive payment history to the credit file dedicated just to your company. Unlike personal cards, you may be able to deduct interest from business credit cards. When applying for a business card, just be sure to verify that the card provider reports to business credit bureaus and not to personal ones.

One of the biggest mistakes new businesses owners make is relying on personal credit cards to fund operations. Not only do you take on liability, you can damage your personal credit. If you have a personal score of 800 and max out your cards, your score will drop below 700. A 100-point drop will definitely cause your odds of getting credit to tank. It’s that severe.

Along with getting a business credit card, you should also open credit lines with your vendors and suppliers. This is known as trade credit. It gives you extra time (net 15, 30, or 60 days) to pay for your supplies and services. Depending on what type of industry you’re in, you can open accounts with businesses like Office Depot, Staples, UPS, Home Depot, etc. These companies are usually willing to establish a small credit line for your business without reporting or checking on your personal credit information.

As you establish a consistent history of on-time or early payments with these suppliers, your business credit scores will improve. This will allow you to access even more credit with even better payment terms. It’s a snowball effect.

4. Monitor your business credit regularly.

After establishing healthy business credit, you’ll want to stay on top of it. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the credit score of 33 percent of businesses may decline over just a three-month period. That’s why your lenders and creditors reassess your company’s creditworthiness on an ongoing basis. If your credit deteriorates, terms can be adjusted or stopped altogether. Without notice, you could be forced to pay cash on delivery for your supplies in place of your normal 30 days payment cycle. Regular monitoring helps avoid these nasty surprises.

Here are 20  Inspirational Quotes for healthy business:

1. "You can't have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic." -- Stephen C. Hogan

2. "When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work." -- George Bernard Shaw

3. "If you have an idea of what you want to do in your future, you must go at it with almost monastic obsession, be it music, the ballet or just a basic degree. You have to go at it single-mindedly and let nothing get in your way." -- Henry Rollins

4. "Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you." -- William James

5. "Many people think they want things, but they don't really have the strength, the discipline. They are weak. I believe that you get what you want if you want it badly enough." -- Sophia Loren

6. "Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." -- Swami Sivananda

7. "If a man is called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and Earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'" -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

8. "All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today." -- Pope Paul VI

9. "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -- Stephen King

10. "God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest." -- J.G. Holland

11. "Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more." -- Edward H. Harriman

12. "The difference between try and triumph is a little umph." -- Marvin Phillips (or an unknown author)

13. "The person who is waiting for something to turn up might start with their shirt sleeves." -- Garth Henrichs

14. "Those at the top of the mountain didn't fall there." -- Marcus Washling

15. "If you feel you are down on your luck, check the level of your effort." -- Robert Brault

16. "You're either changing your life or you're not. No waiting for this or that or better weather or other hurdles. Hurdles are the change." -- Terri Guillemets

17. "Be not afraid of going slowly. Be afraid only of standing still." -- Chinese proverb

18. "He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him." -- Dutch proverb

19. "I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near." -- Margaret Thatcher

20. "The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them." -- George Bernard Shaw

Something that has worked wonders for me over the years is to write at least one really moving quote on a note card and carry it around with me everywhere I go. Whenever I am feeling unmotivated or in a slump, I take a glance at this card and instantly get right back on track again.

Make it your personal business to never let anyone outwork you.

There are as many ways to evaluate as there are fish in the sea, but here are some basic topics that I use to measure my success keep me open to future opportunities.

1. Simplification

I know you have heard of the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!  This works really well for me.  I don’t like wasting time (mine or my customer’s) and thus this particular mantra, if you like, has become a very important measuring criterion.

Everything in my business has to be easy: to create, to implement, and to follow moving forward.  If things start to feel overly complicated, then I know I’m in trouble and look for ways to simplify my task.

Simplifying allows me to see what I need to cut out, what I need to continue and strengthen, and where the gaps are. Sometimes all I need to do to see an opportunity for simplicity is to strip things down to basic goals and the processes I use to reach them.  Taking the time to simplify now, will ensure that I am open to opportunities in the New Year.

2. Connection

When I was young they called it the “food chain.”  The bigger fish eat the smaller fish…but now educators call it the “food web.”  It’s not a linear progression from one fish to another, it’s about the connections between the fish, the plants, bacteria, the water, and so much more.

Businesses are like that! Connections are key to creating opportunities.

Of course, you have heard this before.  But keep reminding yourself that the right connections not only can increase your client base and income but also create new opportunities for further development in both business and personal life.

You never know where any, one single fish (or connection) in your web might lead you!  The broader the web you create, the higher the chances of connectivity leading to amazing opportunities.

3. Education

Everyone knows that education is vital for children.  The problem is that many of us feel that once we finish school our schooling should end as well.

This is a mistake.  Education should be an ongoing part of your business, and your life!  Attend live and virtual events, talk about what you do with complete strangers on the bus, in a cafe, or at your kids’ school.  Insight or enlightenment can come from the most unlikely of places.

Read print and online publications, when you can, to see where the world of small business is heading and maybe discover a new direction you could take in your business.

Learning about your business, your topic, your field should not be seen as an “extra” but as an essential part of your business.  You will never know everything there is to know about your field, but the more you know the more opportunities you will see.

4. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking, as we know, is a skill that every manager is supposed to have.  But it’s sometimes hard to think critically about your own small business.

As you look for ways to improve your critical thinking in this year don’t forget to allow for “non-business” business thinking.  I find that spending time with kids playing with legos, playing chess, or doing puzzles not only rests my brain but stimulates it at the same time.  Saving Baby Born from hunger and fighting back dinosaur attacks enables me to free think and I often identify quite spectacular possible future scenarios for my business.

Critical thinking is essential, but there is no rule that it has to be done at your desk.  Try to ensure that you allow time for thinking in a variety of situations.  Creative critical thinking can solve challenges and help you visualize future opportunities.

5. Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a method of evaluation that maps out the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a situation.  Consider doing this at least once a year (or more often if you like) for your business to help you see any opportunities you may have missed in the grind of day to day management.

I love to review my SWOT analysis over time to see how the opportunities I identified in the past panned out.  It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to see how strengths that I identified have been nurtured and have grown over time.

I try to do a SWOT analysis three or four times a year as my small business blooms because as a solopreneur it’s up to me to work with my wonderful self and to identify, foster and grow my own awesome opportunities.

Over to you, what helps you measure your success and identify future opportunities?

If you’re ready to get started on your own awesome routine, here are some tips to get you started.

1.) A good breakfast can still be fast and easy

This is a great suggestion which can help you get your morning routine going. If you struggle to eat breakfast every day because it’s too much effort or takes too long, this one’s for you.

Preparing your breakfast the night before by getting out the dishes you’ll need or cutting up fruit pieces can save you time the next morning. You might want to opt for a simple meal like cereal to save time and effort as well.

If something more time-intensive like oatmeal is your thing, you can make breakfast for the whole week in 5 minutes – perfect for a Sunday night before your week starts.

  • Try to pick ready to eat food.
  • Oatmeal muffins
  • Corn Flakes 
  • Frozen fruits smoothie
  • Sandwich 

2.) Do creative work for when you’re tired

Our bodies have built-in clocks that determine the best times for us to eat, sleep, exercise and work. You might not have the flexibility to do everything at the right time for you, but try listening to your body clock as much as you can.

If you do better creative work at night, for instance, try to put creative tasks off during the day and schedule more admin or analytical tasks for your mornings.

If you find, like Evan, that exercising is best for you in the middle of the day, you could try doing this during your lunch break or taking a mid-afternoon break from work and hanging back a little later in the evenings.

3.) An alarm to wake you up might not be enough – have one to tell you to go to sleep

Most of us have alarms to wake us up in the mornings but we all-too-easily stay up later than we plan to. Having an alarm to remind us when it’s bedtime can be a great help in sticking to a regular routine for sleep.

Setting an alarm to tell when to go to bed was even more effective than one to get up in the mornings.

To get you ready to wake up fresh and rested the next day, try simulating natural sleeping patterns as much as possible. An alarm clock like this that simulates sunrise, or even a gentle alarm sound like birds chirping can help you wake up more gently in the morning. Making your bedroom pitch-black and keeping the temperature low (and consistent) can also help with a more restful sleep.

4.) Switch yourself off at night to sleep better – the “zero notifications” method

We’re pretty fond of hacking and experimenting with our routines at Buffer, but a nightly wind-down routine is one we pay particular attention to. Many of us have found that this makes a big difference to how much—and how well—we sleep.

You might want to try a walk, like Joel, or some quiet reading time. Other great wind-down activities include meditation, drinking tea, sitting quietly, stretching and taking a bath.

And since light of any kind, including backlit screens like our computers and phones affect our sleep patterns negatively, try avoiding these for a while before you go to sleep.

5.) Develop a morning routine that you keep on weekends too

Building up a habitual morning routine can help you to start your day in the best way.

I love this point especially, because I’m prone to have big sleep-ins and late nights on weekends, which can make my morning routine much harder to get into on a Monday morning.

6.) Track your habits to understand yourself better

It takes time and effort to track everything you over a day. I recently started tracking my weekday activities and noticed that remembering to track each activity is the hardest part for me.

Having said that, if you can put in the effort for a few days, you might find the insights you need to improve your daily routine. Understanding how you live right now can help you to work towards how you want to live.

Thank you Belle Beth Cooper

According to Business Survey.  magazine, 33% of all new businesses fail within the first six months. Fifty percent of new businesses fail within their first two years of operation and 75% fail within the first three years.

Here are the leading reasons of business failures.

1. No Business Plan

You‘ve heard the old saying “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?” 

Too many business owners start their business without a plan. They simply “open their doors” for business and then expect to succeed. 

Before starting your business, take the time to develop a Business Plan. 

Your plan will identify what you want your business to accomplish (where you want to go) and the strategies that you will utilize (how you will get there).

(For tips on how to how to write a Business Plan, see the article entitled “How to Write an Effective Business Plan” in this section)

2. Under Funded 

Many businesses fail within the first few months, because the owner runs out of money. 

When starting any business, you will need money for all of your start up costs as well as money to sustain the business for the first few months of operation (until cash flow from operations is positive). 

Running out of money is a result of poor planning. A properly developed Business Plan will tell you exactly how much money you require for start up expenditures and to operate the business until cash flow is positive.

A business owner should develop Income Statements and Cash Flow Statements for the first two years of operations. That will tell you whether or not you have sufficient funds to sustain the business until it is profitable. 

3. Lack of Operating Goals and Objectives

Many business owners create a Business Plan to obtain a loan. Once they receive their funding, they put their plan “on the shelf” and do nothing further with it. 

While it is important to have a Business Plan, it is also very important to have specific goals and objectives for the first twelve months of operations.

In your planning process, create goals and objectives for your business. Break down goals and objectives by quarter – in other words, identify all of the things that must be done during the first quarter, the second quarter, the third quarter and the fourth. 

Examples of specific goals could be for each month; revenue objectives, profit objectives, numbers of new customers, specific marketing and operational activities, etc.

4. Failure to Measure Goals and Objectives

All too often, once a business starts operating, the owner becomes too immersed in the ongoing daily activities to take the necessary time to assess the progress of the business. 

It is fine to establish operational goals and objectives, but you also have to measure how well your business is performing against those goals and objectives.

Measuring against the identified goals and objectives will tell the owner whether or not modifications and alternate strategies are required.

5. Failure to Pay Attention to Cash Flow

There is an old saying in business “Cash is King”. In the early months of your new business, monitoring cash flow is extremely important. 

It is really as simple as this: if you continue to spend more money than you bring in, you will soon be out of business. 

Cash flow is all of the money that you take in each month minus all of your expenditures. 

Cash inflow is cash sales and accounts receivables collected. 

Cash outflow is all monies paid for inventory purchases and operating expenses (rent, heat, hydro, salaries, marketing expenditures, etc.).

It is not uncommon for most businesses to have a negative cash flow for the first several months of operation (in some businesses this may be for more than a year). 

However, at a point in time, the cash from revenues will exceed expenditures and the business will be in a positive cash flow position. Every new business owner has to ensure that he / she has preserved enough cash to reach this point.

6. Failure to Understand the Industry and the Target Customer

Some business owners start their businesses before fully investigating the industry. 

What are the trends in your industry – is it growing or declining? What are the opportunities and what are the threats? Where can you position your business in this industry in order that your business will succeed? Will new technologies have an impact on your industry?

If you have not taken the time to understand your industry, you could be entering a “sunset industry”. 

I have worked with two companies that had to reinvent themselves because they were both in “sunset industries” due to changes in technology. One was a manufacturer of computer printer ribbons for dot matrix printers. This was a very good industry until the introduction of laser and ink jet printers. People stopped buying dot matrix printers and the demand for printer ribbons declined significantly. The other company was a cheque printing company. Due to electronic payments, the usage of cheques declined significantly.

Some business owners open their doors for business without taking the time to understand their target customers (buyer demographics and psychographics, how they buy, what they buy, when they buy, what motivates them to buy and where they buy). 

Do not expect that just because you are now in business, that customers will flock to your door. If you do not understand your target customer, how do expect to effectively reach them? 

7. No Means of Differentiation – Just Another “Me Too” Business

Many businesses have failed because they are just another “me too” business. 

Customers need a reason to come to, or to want to do business with your company. 

If your products or services are the same quality and prices as your competitor(s), why will people buy from you? They already have an existing supplier.

If however, you can offer a different or better product / service (better quality, lower prices, broader selection, faster delivery, better location, extended warranty, etc.), prospective customers will want to do business with your company.

Every business owner must objectively ask this question “If I were a customer, why would I want to do business with this (my) company?” If you cannot identify two good reasons, then rethink your positioning and your strategies.

8. Poor or No Marketing Programs in Which to Attract New Customers

Just because you have opened your doors for business, that does not mean that customers will beat a path to it. 

You have to announce to prospective customers that (a) you are open for business and (b) why they should want to deal with you.

By understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target customers, you can identify how to best reach them. 

There are numerous ways in which you can market your business. Some of the more common are: 

Advertisements (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, yellow pages, value packs); billboards; brochures (electronic and printed); cross marketing / cross promotions; direct mail; fax (broadcast or personalized); networking; newsletters; postcards; posters; promotional items; public speaking; referrals; sales calls (cold calls, scheduled calls); sales letters; seminars & workshops; signs (interior and exterior); targeted e-mail; telemarketing; telephone on hold messages; trade shows; website.

In order to ensure that your business succeeds, in the first few months you will have to implement marketing programs that get the attention of, and appeal to the needs of your target customers.

9. Underestimating the Competition

Some business owners underestimate the reaction of the competition when they start their businesses. 

Any owner of an existing business that perceives that a new entrant to the industry will be taking away some of their customers, will aggressively take steps to defend their customer base. 

They could do this by lowering prices, offering package / bundle pricing, extending terms, introducing new products, improving product quality, extending warranties, increasing marketing activities, etc.

Do no underestimate the competitive reactions to the start of your business. You may find yourself in an extended competitive “war”. 

10. Not Cost Competitive

Before starting your business, attempt to obtain information about and to understand the cost structure(s) and selling prices of your competitors. 

You may find that your competitors have lower operating costs than you. Your overhead may be too high. Your manufacturing processes may not be as efficient. 

If your selling prices are the same as your competitors and their operating costs are lower, their margins will be higher. If that is the case and you get into a protracted price war with a competitor, you will not survive. 

You will have to find ways to reduce the cost disparity if you plan to last in this industry. The lowest cost producer will always win a price war. 

11. Lack of Attention to Accounts Receivables and Inventory

Some businesses owners do not pay attention to their receivables and their inventories. Accounts receivable and inventory can suck cash from a business. 

If customers are not paying you, or are not paying you on time, they are using your money. 

If you have excess inventory or slow moving or obsolete inventory, you have your money tied up in products that are of little or no use to your business.

Just as you should be monitoring the cash in the bank, you should also be carefully watching accounts receivables and inventory levels. 

12. Poor People Management Skills

Many companies state that their employees are their most important asset. 

Frequently customers do business with an organization because they like the people that they deal with in that company. 

If you do not treat your people fairly and with respect, you may have a constant turnover of employees. 

After a while, due to constant turnover, customers may become wary about dealing with your company. 

If your business requires employees with unique skill sets, it may become difficult to find acceptable replacements. If that is the case, quality and output may suffer leading to customer dissatisfaction and a decline in your business.

Treat your employees well and they will enthusiastically help to grow your business.