Starting a Business While Still in College

The best way for a student to start a business during college is with a network marketing organization.

Before you roll your eyes (or maybe after) consider this:

1. Network marketing is a $167 BN industry. That makes is a larger industry than video games at $67 BN, organic products at $80 BN, and the NFL at $9.5 BN. It also grew as an industry by $50 BN or nearly 50% in the years from 2009 to 2012. All statistics are from 2012.

2. The best network marketing companies are reputable and have a low cost of entry – especially for students. The one I’m involved with (disclaimer World Ventures) also has no inventory to carry or manage, which suits the living arrangements and lifestyle of students. Additionally, the best companies offer plenty of training, mentoring, and leadership development.

3. Students learn the techniques of professional sales, which any entrepreneur – student or otherwise – must master.

Finally a story, about an MBA graduate from Cal Poly who was interviewing for jobs after graduation. All the employers mainly wanted to talk about his business, yes the network marketing one that he built. He was made five job offers and accepted the one that was made by Tesla.

Entrepreneurialism is a must-have trait for all professionals. The best way to learn it is not in class, but to earn it on the playing field of business.

 

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Is your team doping?

No matter how hard Olympians train, when winning can come down to a thousandth of a second every optimization is crucial. One crucial decision that every athlete faces is whether to risk their health and career by using performance-enhancing drugs in order to closer to the win.

There are parallels in business everyday. I see a lot of companies make unhealthy decisions when faced with the pressures for short-term results. Many cycle through inexpensive interns instead of investing in developing talent for the future; they stifle innovation through excessive cost cutting; or grind “productivity” out of increasingly demotivated employees.

These decisions aren’t as obvious as an athlete deciding to dope, instead they creep in at every level of the organization until long-term health is in danger.

Certainly there are times when the short-term need for a win can outweigh long-term considerations, but it’s important to be clear about the choices that are being made, and the consequences that could appear down the road.

How can you be certain that your organization is making healthy decisions?

Start by to asking these questions:

  • What are the long-term impacts of short-terms bursts of productivity?
  • How are we pursuing a strategy of long-term health while pursuing our short-term goals?
  • Is our drive to win today compelling us to pursue tactics that will make it difficult for us to win tomorrow?

Any organization that is compromising its long term health for short term burst is doping. It’s a choice. The consequences become graver the longer it goes on, and it’s always possible to pursue a healthier course.

Enjoy the games!

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Who Needs To Pay Attention To Cultural Profit

When you look at who must buy into this concept - executives, employee staff members, vendors, customers – really everyone on your team needs to buy into this. Customers are bought in on their own. They have their own cultural approaches that they may or may not be aware of but that is not their business to do this. It is really yours as the executives, the staff members, and down on through to vendors. So it is important that they buy into this concept and that they get good at these skills, however it is to varying degrees.

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How Do You Strengthen The Culture In An Organization

I am often asked how organizations can strengthen their culture in terms of cultural agility and that is a bit of putting the cart before the horse. The key element is to strengthen the skill of cultural agility.

There are six skills for cultural agility: Awareness, attuned, adapting, authentic, acquiring knowledge, and assessing.

Awareness: The first question there is, “Are you aware of your own cultural biases?

Attuned: Are you able to hear and acknowledge the cultural nuances that are going on around you?

Adapting: That is adapting your communication and behavior in subtle and even overt ways in order to be better received and to create a better relationship with the people who you want to be working with.

Authentic: While you are making these adaptations, while you are listening and everything like that it is important to be true to yourself. Be who you are as a person in order to be able to invite the other person to be who they are as a person. We are not talking about putting something onto ourselves when we are talking about adapting.

Assessing: Assessing how we are doing now, what is our next way to grow as far as cultural agility is concerned, how can we better do this?

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How To Mitigate The Risks Of Growth

There are two main dangers in growth and one is not taking the risks of growth seriously enough and sort of shooting from the hip and ending up down the path plowing through all of these different problems and risking your brand, risking customer engagement, losing your customer base and finding an inability to grow. That is if you don’t take it too seriously.

On the other hand, taking the risks of growth too seriously to the point of being paralyzed. Holding on so tightly and so fearful of growth that competitors fly past you and eat up what market share you do have while you hold on to a diminishing customer base.

There is however a golden middle between these and it can be navigated very, very well. It takes the preparation, it takes the agility, and it takes the fluidity in order to be able to respond to things as they are happening but have a guide. Have these things thought through in advance. Have swift resolution teams. Do all of these things and then your growth can be truly extraordinary and you can then have the exit or the future that you want.

  1. Find Talented Employees
  2. Increase Global Presence
  3. Manage Cash Flow
  4. Follow Best Practice For Success
  5. Leadership for a Healthy Culture
  6. Invest In Technology
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6 Steps To Outperforming Your Competition In A Lukewarm Recovery

These are the 6 steps to outperform your competition in this economy:

  1. Be an Agile Leader
  2. Execute a Crystal-Clear Strategy
  3. Leverage New Capital Sources
  4. Hire Aggressively
  5. Boldly Develop Your People
  6. Go Global

When all is said and done, outperforming your competition in the recovery really boils down to four actions.

• Get clear. Develop a crystal-clear strategy and direction that’s integrated into the organization.

• Get moving. Implement the strategy every day at every level of the organization.

• Get better. Lead an organization faced with extreme ambiguity with agility. Accelerate your organizations’ trajectory by hiring and developing the best people.

• Get expansive. Embrace opportunities that may have been overlooked in the past.

This may not be the recovery we hoped for, but it is, nonetheless, rife with opportunity. Will your competition make the most of it? Will you?

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Are You Surrounding Yourself With Fools? (You Should Be.)

The global marketplace is incredibly competitive. The top of the corporate pyramid gets pretty narrow. Generations of authoritative monarchs were enlightened enough to understand the value of Fools, how about you? Take a good look at the people you surround yourself with. Who do you trust to give you the kind of feedback that can shake you to your core and set you on the right track? Who has actually done this for you in the last three months? If you cannot name at least two people, or don’t see the point, then I’m afraid you may be playing yourself as the fool.

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Assumptions

I wonder how our decisions and interactions could be different if we engaged the key people in our lives with fresh eyes and no assumptions. And of course what it would require of us to relinquish our safe and well-developed assumptions in the first place.

If this sounds interesting, here’s an approach you could take:

1. Start with one person who is important to you, and the relationship with them that you would like to improve.

2. Take a few moments to observe the assumptions you have about her (i.e. “my sister always takes my stuff” – well, maybe in high school, but now she’s 43…). Write these down.

3. Consider what it will take of you to let go of these assumptions, and stop collecting evidence to prove your assumptions right. Write these down too.

4. Choose to give up your assumptions for the time being, say for one holiday or maybe the duration of the holiday season, and observe your thinking for old assumptions cropping up.

5. Approach this person with a beginner’s mind, enjoy yourself and feel the difference that can show up in your body as well, relaxed shoulders, feeling calmer and more centered.

And once you’ve given this a test drive in the personal realm, you can take it on the road at work. Imagine what letting go of your assumptions can create for your professional relationships as well.

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Making Work Serve Life, Not The Other Way Around!

Simple rules for career development that improve everything…

  • Work serves life when it is a natural part of your existence that is a professional expression of your values, passions and interests.
  • Life comes first. Who you are, what you care about, your most important relationships and the values, passions and interests that make you uniquely you.
  • Create clarity about what you want your life to look like now. Capture your vision and hold it gentle ferocity. Firm flexibility is key since there are plenty of surprises and you want to enjoy them!
  • Work is a tool. The more aligned it is with your vision of your life the more fulfillment and enjoyment you will experience. Lesser alignment of work and vision sap your energy, foster frustration and encourage other self-defeating behaviors that lead further away from the vision.
  • Everybody wins when work serves life. Working with passion and engagement is the desire of every worthwhile employee and employer.
  • Transition is an opportunity – making work serve life is a fresh paradigm. To make it happen you cannot simply live by default letting others make decisions on your behalf. Take action, seek differently and put life first everyday.
  • “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” - Albert Einstein
  • It’s your job to believe in you. Whiners, victims, doubters and experts in self-limitation need not apply.
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Power in Vulnerability

Thinking about being vulnerable can be by its very nature uncomfortable and frightening. When we’re faced with new circumstances, feel threatened or feel the need to prove ourselves, we often cling to the power of position or knowledge. But it is this type of power that moves us away from our own learning and stifles both our own potential and the potential of our organizations.

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