Safeguarding Your Brand in Trump’s Social Media World

As the Presidential Inauguration Day approaches, I think it’s fair to say that many brands are running scared right now…not an emotion we necessarily expected because of a new POTUS.

Sure, big business always carefully considers the policy changes that may come from a new administration. I have been involved in many scenario planning sessions the consider how regulatory changes could affect a business that I was working on. Any highly regulated industry — healthcare, insurance, financial services — is smart to plan out responses to changes in policies.

It’s smart SOP, for any brand.

But President-elect Trump is bringing a whole new type of scenario planning to reality as we face his administration. He’s directly calling out brands and identifying areas that he thinks need addressing.

We’ve never seen this before. I’m making no political statements here. We’ve never seen this before. Nor have we seen the speed and directness of the call outs on social media. Ford and Carrier are just two early examples.

Any brand should be prepared for this new environment. Even if not called out specifically, many issues are common to any company within a given industry or even, quite honestly, common to us all. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may feel immune but your industries may very well not be. You could be affected without even knowing it.

So what’s a brand to do?

Here are a few suggestions to consider as you formulate an action plan. You’ll want a plan in place in case your brand or industry suddenly comes under scrutiny.

Related: Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban Tweets Message of Healing

Start monitoring.

If you aren’t already monitoring news and social channels, then start. Pronto. You don’t have to do it by yourself, and you don’t have to rely on Google Search. There are many monitoring services available that can alert you to topics of interest. You may feel like you are doing this already, but I’ll bet it’s not as thorough or as timely as is now required in this new environment. Make sure you’re keeping track of those topics close to your business as well as periphery issues as well. They could all affect you, and you’ll want to be the first to know. Yesterday’s news may be too late.

Related: Sprint and OneWeb Say the 8,000 Jobs Announced by Trump Are Part of Previous Pledge

Get social.

Transparency is key these days. No one expects you to be perfect anymore, because  we all know that’s impossible. But we do expect you to come clean about it. Not only when the spotlight is on you, but proactively as well. Become active on the social channels that make the most sense for your business, like Twitter or LinkedIn, and start to share where you’re at. You aren’t exposing yourself at all. Quite the contrary, you are becoming a part of the community that can band together to address issues when necessary. Be an active part of the community, so if something does come up you’ll already be engaged and won’t be alone.

Related: Trump Team Says Twitter Too Small to Be Included in Tech Meeting

Be your brand.

At all times, be yourself. Know who you are as a brand and act consistently no matter the situation. Being yourself is the best defense to criticism because at its most fundamental you are not trying to be something that you’re not. This applies to us as humans as well as to brands. The worst thing you can do should you come under a microscope is to suddenly change who you are. It’ll appear like smoke and most people feel like where there’s smoke there’s fire.

Hopefully this will get you thinking…and realizing that this all really does apply to your business. Along the way you should start formulating an action plan around those issues that you may feel are sensitive about your business, so that you can be proactive in your activities.

Happy Inauguration!

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How to Succeed in Business Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

We live in a chaotic world, where the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots is increasingly more apparent with each subsequent year. It’s a world where people are immersed in a survival-of-the-fittest rat race, requiring them to evade a complex maze of distractions, bad habits and time wasters to reach their goals. Many are ill-equipped mentally, emotionally and physically to get ahead in life, much less to get far ahead.

Most people know that succeeding in business could afford them a life of leisure, one replete in the ability to travel to far-off destinations, engage in extravagant purchases and to do anything their hearts desire. But overcoming the instant urges and sudden basal needs that plague much of the world often proves to be too much.

What usually happens is the person who dreamed of greener pastures and riches beyond their wildest dreams, becomes so immersed in one problem after another, that it removes any joy whatsoever in building a successful business in the long term. Clearly, while many people yearn to start a business that will ultimately become a huge success, not everyone gets there.

So, what separates the so-called winners from the rest? Why will eight out of every 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months of operation? What are the other two out of 10 doing so differently than the rest? And how is that only four out of every 100 businesses are still around after 10 years? What are the factors that lead to the 96 percent failure rate in business over the long term?

Related: The 9 Things You Need to Let Go of For Success in 2017 

In a recent conversation with Niko Contardi, co-founder of eliteLYFE, a high-end luxury villa rental company that caters to the world’s most affluent jet-setters and an exclusive villa rental partner to some of the most prestigious concierge companies on earth, such as Quintessentially, I asked him how they did it. How can a company, in today’s day and age, succeed when so many of the odds are stacked against them?

Contardi, who’s had a hand in building a near-$100 million dollar business in a few short years, tells me that it’s all about delivering real value. «Delivering real value in business is what makes the difference between the so-called winners and losers. Those who try to cut corners and take shortcuts don’t actually get ahead in the long term. They might make some short-term traction, but that’s about it.»

That value needs to exist in everything the business does. By paying attention to all the meticulous details that are necessary to ensure that you deliver an impeccable product or service every single time, you can succeed. You might lose money at the outset, but as long as you continue to deliver enormous amounts of value, that’s how true business success is achieved over time.

In fact, the world’s richest and most successful individuals have always focused on the need to deliver enormous amounts of value. They didn’t necessarily get filthy rich at the outset, but it came over time, happening slowly but surely. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg and many others have contributed real value to the world, making them some of the richest people in history.

Principles for achieving success in business.

Before my son was born, when he was still the size of a quarter inside my wife’s womb, I began writing these daily journal entries to him entitled, «To My Unborn Son.» We hadn’t named him back then, so the journal entries just took on that title and held that title, even after we had an idea of what we would name him when he was born.

In the journal entries, which I logged every single morning, I conveyed a lot of my thoughts and emotions. I wanted to teach him about success. Not just about how you can succeed in business, but more so, how you can succeed in life. But looking back on those entries, something became very apparent to me.

I realized that the principles for success in life are universal. They apply to personal success in relationships as much as they apply to success in business or in your finances. So when we talk about success at its very foundation, these core principles play a large role in dictating any one person’s ability to get far ahead in life.

If you abide by these principles, not only will you succeed in business, but you’ll succeed in anything that you do, no matter what that might be, great or small.

1. Gratitude

While most people who dream about success in business imagine a life devoid of problems, it’s quite the opposite. Every business has problems. The bigger the business, the bigger and more intricate those problems will be. In fact, the only time you’ll cease having problems is when you’re six feet under. Problems are a sign of life.

Instead of focusing on the problems, you have to focus on what you’re grateful for. Everything in your life was once a wish. We yearn for things, then when we attain them, we look toward the next thing. This Hedonic Treadmill is a defining factor of life and all the more reason why we need to be grateful for what we have right now, in this very moment.

Related: The Four A’s of Expressing Gratitude

By focusing on the things that we’re grateful for, no matter how small they might be, we open up the infinite wisdom, beauty and endless possibilities that exist in life. The universal ether that binds us all can help us attract the right things in life and achieve the seemingly impossible. But it all starts with an attitude of gratitude.

2. Integrity

At the heart of every successful entrepreneur is integrity. Every business needs to be run with integrity, putting the customer first. It should always be the priority of any business owner to do things the right way. Not just because of the potential for bad reviews, but because of the sheer importance of putting people first and foremost at all times.

In another recent interview with Ferrari collector David Lee, purveyor of the highly-successful Hing Wa Lee Group — valued at more than $500 million — and the son of an immigrant gemstone carver, integrity is one of his personal business rules for success.

By treating people the right way, like you would treat your family, you’ll eventually succeed in business over time. It might not happen as quickly as you’d hope for it to happen. It might actually take decades. But as long your focus is unwavering, you’ll get there if you don’t give up on your goals.

3. Value

Real inherent value has to be at the heart of everything any successful business owner does. If you don’t deliver value, you can kiss your chances of success goodbye. But most people don’t focus on delivering value. They focus on taking shortcuts and finding the easy way to do things. Success doesn’t quite work like that.

While many people are concerned with doing the least amount of work for the greatest initial return, true success in business over the long term demands quite the opposite. You have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return while focusing on delivering true value. As soon as you compromise on that value proposition, that’s when you’ll find your business in a decline or even a free fall. But if you put value above all else, not only will you succeed in business, but you’ll taste the most wild success possible at the highest level attainable. It just won’t happen quickly or easily.

4. Persistence

Giving up simply isn’t an option. Building a successful business over time takes work. It takes an endless amount of struggle, breakdowns, tears and failures. You can’t simply expect to succeed instantly. It doesn’t quite work that way. But for those who are willing to stick it out and see things through, success will most certainly be reached.

What most people don’t realize is that even the world’s most famous people failed numerous times. It didn’t come simply or easily. It took tremendous amounts of struggle and heartache. Stay persistent no matter what happens. Even if you feel like there’s no other way forward, you can’t give up. 

KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders was 62 years old and had just a $105 social security check to his name when he finally found success. Even after 1,000 restaurants turned down his franchise chicken model, he kept persisting. Henry Ford went bankrupt twice, but never gave up, and J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was turned down by all 12 major publishers. That just shows you the power of persistence.

5. Loyalty

One thing I wanted my son to understand about success was loyalty. Loyalty is important in life. You have to be loyal to people who helped you when you were just starting out. Rather than try to stab people in the back due to greed or some other desire to get quickly ahead, you have to stay loyal.

There’s simply no need to create negative energy by being disloyal. Don’t go around someone or try to pull something over someone’s head. Don’t be conniving or underhanded. Take those who were there to support you at the outset to the top with you. Ensure they’re around because they were there when no one else was.

This isn’t just about loyalty to family; this is about loyalty to customers, employees, friends, partners and everyone else who helped you along the way. Be sure to keep them around, because one day, when you least expect it, they could be there to help you achieve some of your biggest business goals.

Related: This 25-Year-Old Found Success When He Started Helping Others Succeed

6. Contribution

Contribution should be at the heart of any successful business. As long as we’re looking for ways to contribute something in this world and make it a little bit better than it was when we first arrived in it, we’re doing ourselves and all others a huge service. However, not enough people focus on contribution.

One of the things I wanted my son to take away from my principles of success in business or in life was the importance of contribution. We have to search for ways we can help others. There are far too many people in this world who are enduring endless hardships. We simply have to stop and think of them at times before we think of ourselves.

Search for ways that you can contribute to those causes. It doesn’t have to be money. Time is more valuable than money. Find ways you can help those who are less fortunate and give a little bit back to society. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll end up attracting good things into your life over time. It’s simply how the world works. 

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6 Types of Businesses You Can Start With Almost No Cash

If you’re like millions of Americans, you dream of starting your own business. But of course, there are dozens of obstacles that may keep you from actually doing that. You might not have enough motivation, for example, or time to actually see the work through; or you might not even have a solid idea to begin with — yet.

Related: The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven’t Heard About Yet

But where most people get stopped cold is their realization that it takes money to start a business — money they don’t have.

Still, consider: There are loans, grants, and other fundraising options, like crowdfunding, available to get you what you need; so money is not a good excuse not to start a business. And, beyond that, there are certain types of businesses you can start with almost no cash.

What it takes to start a business

Your first step is to explore what it takes to formally “start” a business, and which of those items cost money.

  • Planning. You’ll need to come up with a business plan and financial model, of course, but you can do this on your own, for free.
  • Business license. If you’re planning on creating a partnership, LLC or corporation, you’ll need to file some paperwork — but it probably won’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars, depending on what licensing you need. The Small Business Administration has plenty of resources to help you figure out what you need, how to obtain it and how much it will cost.
  • A domain name. You’ll need to invest in your online brand early on; while I suggest going as professional as possible, you could also use a bare-bones approach to launch, if yours is a minimum viable product. Often, a catchy domain name is all you need to define your brand at the start, and one can be bought for as little as $10 (if you can find one that isn’t taken!). I use GoDaddy to buy domains.
  • A website. Website builders these days are free and intuitive to use. You won’t expend anything but time to build your first site. I recommend starting simple with a widely-used website platform, like WordPress.
  • Marketing. While marketing has a reputation for being very expensive, there are actually a ton of really effective tactics that can be performed with only an investment of your time. Social media marketing, SEO and content marketing all fit within this category — and, honestly, those are really all you need. For help, see The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.
  • Equipment. Equipment, offices and other tangible assets are cash killers, but not all businesses need them. Some businesses don’t require any of these things, as I’ll explain shortly.
  • Products. Finally, all businesses need to sell something, which usually means some up-front investing. However, many services can be performed with an investment of time rather than money.

Types of businesses to start

So, which types of businesses can be started without a heavy financial burden in any of the above areas?

1. Personal creations

First off, there are personal creations, like arts and crafts. For example, if you’re a painter, you could sell your works of art with an investment of nothing more than art supplies and your own time. Platforms like Etsy, eBay and Amazon cater to creators and make it easy to turn a profit from your work.

Related: 101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $100

2. In-home services

Services don’t cost you any money up-front because they’re intangible goods. And if you’re working in people’s own homes or neighborhoods, you won’t need a physical headquarters for your business. For example, you could start a babysitting service, a dog-walking or pet-sitting service or something like landscaping or snow-plowing.

3. Repair or skill-based services

If you have a specific skill, you could use your skilled labor as the main revenue driver for your business. For example, if you’re a handyman, you could cater to homeowners who don’t know much about home repairs.

Just like in-home services, these types of gigs don’t require you to have a physical establishment and don’t require you to invest in anything up-front, except perhaps the tools or equipment you’re going to need for the job, which will vary in cost.

4. Consulting

Many workers think about becoming entrepreneurs only after getting several years of professional experience under their belt. Think about the industry you’re in, and how much you’ve been able to learn in that time. Up-and-coming professionals, or startup business owners will likely be glad to pay you for your expertise. Consulting is a service that costs only time to produce, but can be highly valuable as a career opportunity.

5. Resale

The idea behind resale is simple: You acquire products and sell them to other people. You can use dropshipping or wholesaling to acquire these goods. With dropshipping, you’ll ship directly from the manufacturer (and turn a lower profit), but you’ll need almost no startup cash. With wholesaling, you’ll need more money and space up-front, but you’ll end up with more control and more money.

6. Micropreneurship

Of course, you could also piece together your own miniature business through micropreneurship and shared-economy opportunities. For example, you could drive for a service like Uber, or rent your home out through AirBnB or find similar services that make use of what you’ve already got.

After you get your business started and start earning revenue, your lack of startup capital will become less of a problem. You can reap the profits from your venture and reinvest them, or use them to start an even bigger business.

Related: 12 Low-Cost Business Ideas for Introverts

Hopefully, you now realize that you don’t need a lot of up-front money to start a business. In fact, you can start one for almost nothing. You just need to know what types of businesses work best in that model.

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8 Tips for Building Your Personal Brand in 2017

Branding is such a crucial component of success. Think of some of the largest companies in the world — from Nike’s “swoosh” to Apple’s icon — everyone is familiar with the brands they created.

Today, building your personal brand is just as important as building your company’s brand — in fact, it might even be more important. Consumers want to hear the story behind the founders — the failures, struggles and the success. This means putting yourself out there and marketing yourself in addition to your business. 

My company is launching a new division next week — an influencer marketing agency — and it was made possible, in part, to the personal brand I have built. The contacts I have developed over the years with large brands, agencies and influencers all happened because of my personal brand. Here are eight tips to help you build up a strong personal brand this year.

1. Be visible and accessible.

You can’t hide in your office behind your computer and expect to build a personal brand. You need to get out and make yourself visible and accessible. Attend industry conferences, even if it’s just to network and socialize. Make your social media profiles open to the public and allow incoming messages. Hold live video Q&A sessions on social media and interact with your followers. The more visible and accessible you make yourself, the stronger your personal brand.

Related: 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

2. Show the real you on social media.

Don’t use social media as a 100 percent marketing channel. It’s fine to throw an offer out there or promote your company occasionally, but focus on showing the real you. If you come across as a robot or unauthentic you will push people away. Consumers love to see the other side — what you do on the weekends, where you eat, what your hobbies and interests are, etc. This makes you appear more human, which attracts more people to you. 

3. Understand your industry inside and out.

Your business is only as good as the people running it, yourself included. It’s important that you understand your industry inside and out — common sense. But, this also means staying up to date on latest trends, breaking news and your competition. When you do this, it helps to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, elevating your personal brand to a higher level.

Related: 10 Unconventional Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4. Practice 2-way networking.

A lot of people network the wrong way. They focus on their own needs and personal benefit, completely ignoring those needs and wants of the other person. Focus on 2-way beneficial networking, making sure to give the other person an opportunity to benefit from the relationship as well. This approach will help you secure more connections and opportunities, which will all contribute to strengthening your personal brand.

5. Maintain a detailed database of contacts.

As your personal brand grows, so will your list of contacts. It’s important that you keep a detailed list of all your contacts. Who the person is, where you connected, potential opportunities and how you can help them are all things to keep track of. While it can be a great resource to search when you need something, it can also be referenced when you have an opportunity. Your relationships will become much stronger and beneficial when you approach a contact with an opportunity that helps them without asking for anything in return.

Related: 22 Statistics That Prove the Value of Personal Branding

6. Become a trusted source of breaking news and relevant information. 

You know your personal brand is strong when you become a source of information. Strive to be the person media outlets and journalists contact when they need expert advice or information on a popular topic or breaking news. Start by sharing news and information that you feel is useful on social media and send it to your email list. This can also help to build your following, which leads to people viewing you as a trusted authority in your industry. Ultimately, this will attract more people to you.

7. Develop a strong value proposition.

Every major company has a value proposition and you should too. What makes you, as a person, attractive to potential customers or clients? What is it that makes you special? What should someone work with you? Once you have this established, make sure your audience knows what it is.

Related: How to Build a Personal Brand That Elevates Your Company

8. Give back.

Aside from feeling good and giving you personal satisfaction, giving back can help you build your personal brand. Whether it’s donating money to a charity or volunteering your time to a cause that’s important to you, this type of deed can benefit your personal brand. You can highlight your charitable deeds on your website and even issue press releases to attract positive attention. People remember selfless acts.

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10 New Ideas for Making Money on the Side

Every year we make the same resolutions, like losing weight or to quit smoking. What about making more money?

While there proven ways to make extra cash on the side, even if you have a full-time job, if those haven’t worked-out for you in years past, then consider these 10 new ideas for earning some additional money on the side.

1. Join the sharing economy.

«The sharing economy is growing at an exponential rate,» says Nigel Wilson, managing director at Hitwise. «Thousands of sharing economy companies have sprouted up around the world, and consumers are actively engaging in collaborative consumption.

According to PwC, 44 percent of all adults in the U.S. are aware of the sharing economy and 19 percent have engaged in a sharing economy transaction. It is imperative for brands to consider how to support and participate in collaborative consumption, rather than compete against it.»

The sharing economy is exploding and the largest demographic in the country, millennials, have embraced it. For 2017, look beyond Uber, Lyft and AirBnb when looking to tap into this market. You can rent out your car on Turo, camera equipment on Cameralends, snowboard or bike on Spinlister and, if you own one, your sailboat on Sailo. Besides renting out the stuff that you already own, you can deliver home-cooked meals with Umi-Kitchen.

Related: How Millennials Are Defining the Sharing Economy

2. Launch a box subscription service.

If you want to tap your local or niche market then a box subscription service is the place to start. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen an explosion of box subscription services in niches ranging from beauty to food to gaming to novelty gifts. Since the goods or services are delivered to the customer each month, and it has a recurring billing model, it can quickly become a lucrative and passive source of income. Here’s a list of possible box service ideas to get you started.

3. Take over a mobile food truck.

More and more people, especially those between the ages of 18 to 34, are patronizing food trucks and that’s why the food truck industry is expected to surpass $985 million by 2019. For savvy entrepreneurs, food trucks are an appealing business because it’s inexpensive to start, isn’t strapped down to a one location, can be a part-time side gig and you don’t have to start from scratch. Every day thousands of baby boomers retire. If you know any baby boomer looking to get out of the food industry, consider purchasing their established business, which should include customers, recipes, and equipment at the very least.

My friend Keith Crossley was able to purchase several food trucks and recently opened several restaurants. It took him almost four years but over that time he was able to build a thriving business for himself. It all started trying to make money on the side and turned into his full time thriving business. It’s possible for you to do the same. His original investment was less than $35,000.

4. Earn cash by downloading apps.

I’ll be honest, you aren’t going to make a fortune downloading the following apps but you can make some extra cash each month by doing very little. Here’s some of my personal favorites:

  • The Swagbucks app pays you for answering simple survey questions.
  • Media Insiders pays you for watching television.
  • Stash gives you $5 to start investing.
  • Clink will give you $5 to start saving
  • When you walk, Bitwalking will pay you in a virtual currency called Bitwalking Dollars.
  • Nielsen Homescan gives you cash for scanning your grocery receipts.
  • Achievement pays you for completing healthy activities.
  • MobileXpression will give you cash, gift cards, and merchandise for surfing online.
  • The Ibotta app pays you for taking pics of your receipts.
  • Paribus scans your emails for receipts and will issue a refund if there’s a price drop.

Related: The Sharing Economy Isn’t a Niche. It’s the Future of Market Capitalism

5 Write to Congress.

Writing has long been a favorite side-gig for people. However, with the 2016 presidential election, don’t be surprised to see an influx of letters to Congress. And, you may be able cash-in on this trend. DDC Public Affairs and NextWave are bipartisan advocacy groups that launch grassroots political campaigns on issues ranging from energy, healthcare, taxes, and defense.

All of these hire people to call all constituents or advocates and then transfer their opinions into written letters. You’re assigned campaigns, but you can reject them if you want. They expect you to work 20-25 hours per week and you start-off at $12 to $15 per hour.

6. Invest in real estate.

If you aren’t working full-time or are already strapped for cash, then becoming a landlord probably isn’t the wisest decision. But, if you’re looking to make some extra cash, then you could consider invest in real estate. The reason? The housing market is looking strong for the foreseeable future.

Best of all, sites like Realty Mogul allow you to invest in commercial real estate for as little as $5,000.

7. Become an Instagram consultant.

Instagram had an incredible 2016. And, expect 2017 to be even better. Thanks to the Facebook-owned platform getting serious about attracting businesses, and launching exciting features like live video and Instagram Stories, a lot of brands are going to start promoting themselves on ‘the gram.’ If you’re a frequent Instagram user, have a passion for photography, and are a social media whiz, then you can start your own Instagram consulting business on-the-side.

8. EMV security consultant.

There are now around 300 million chip-card in-use by consumers with 1.2 million merchants accepting chip cards. Even though the transition to EMV is in full-swing, it’s expected that there will be an increase in fraud.

If you have security experience, or are knowledgeable in EMV, then you could start your own EMV security consulting business where you can instruct small business owners and their employees how to properly use EMV readers and inform them on the latest security measures.

Related: 5 Ways to Participate in the Bitcoin Revolution

9. Invest in bitcoin.

Bitcoin had a very good 2016. That should carry over into 2017 and beyond. In fact, some experts believe that the price for bitcoin will reach $1,000 within the next year, which would be a 40 percent increase. This is because of an increase in usage, more adoption, an increase in investments, and remittance in emerging markets like India.

10. Go green.

Millennials are extremely conscious about the environment. For example, 61 percent of millennials want to sign up for a digital application which can allow them to track their energy usage and control their household climate. That means that there’s a huge demand for “green” businesses in the near future.

Looking for a place to start? Here are a additional ways to make money on the side!

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10 Things Confident People Don’t Do

In The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda is training Luke to be a Jedi, he demonstrates the power of the Force by raising an X-wing fighter from a swamp. Luke mutters, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda replies, “That is why you fail.”

As usual, Yoda was right — and science backs him up. Numerous studies have proved that confidence is the real key to success.

Related: 3 Tough Habits You Must Drop to Succeed

Studies exploring the performance gap between men and women in math and spatial skills have found that confidence plays a huge role. Women who were asked to identify their gender before taking a spatial skills test performed more poorly than those who weren’t. Women also performed better when they were told to envision themselves as men, and both genders performed better when they were told that their gender is better at the task.

What’s even more interesting is that the gender gap practically disappeared when participants were required to answer every question. Apparently, when the women were allowed to skip questions, they did so not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a lack of confidence.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

True confidence is very different from egotistical swagger. When people believe in themselves and their abilities without bravado, there are certain things they simply don’t do.

1. They don’t make excuses. 

If there’s one trait confident people have in spades, it’s self-efficacy — the belief that they can make things happen. It’s about having an internal locus of control rather than an external one. That’s why you won’t hear confident people blaming traffic for making them late or an unfair boss for their failure to get a promotion. Confident people don’t make excuses, because they believe they’re in control of their own lives.

2. They don’t quit. 

Confident people don’t give up the first time something goes wrong. They see both problems and failures as obstacles to overcome rather than impenetrable barriers to success. That doesn’t mean, however, that they keep trying the same thing over and over. One of the first things confident people do when something goes wrong is to figure out why it went wrong and how they can prevent it the next time.

3. They don’t wait for permission to act. 

Confident people don’t need somebody to tell them what to do or when to do it. They don’t waste time asking themselves questions like “Can I?” or “Should I?” If they ask themselves anything, it’s “Why wouldn’t I?” Whether it’s running a meeting when the chairperson doesn’t show up or going the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem, it doesn’t even occur to them to wait for somebody else to take care of it. They see what needs to be done, and they do it.

Related: 10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine

4. They don’t seek attention. 

People are turned off by those who are desperate for attention. Confident people know that being yourself is much more effective than trying to prove that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what, or how many, people you know. Confident people always seem to bring the right attitude. Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they’re receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don’t crave approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.

5. They don’t need constant praise. 

Have you ever been around somebody who constantly needs to hear how great he or she is? Confident people don’t do that. It goes back to that internal locus of control. They don’t think that their success is dependent on other people’s approval, and they understand that no matter how well they perform, there’s always going to be somebody out there offering nothing but criticism. Confident people also know that the kind of confidence that’s dependent on praise from other people isn’t really confidence at all; it’s narcissism.

6. They don’t put things off. 

Why do people procrastinate? Sometimes it’s simply because they’re lazy. A lot of times, though, it’s because they’re afraid — that is, afraid of change, failure or maybe even success. Confident people don’t put things off. Because they believe in themselves and expect that their actions will lead them closer to their goals, they don’t sit around waiting for the right time or the perfect circumstances. They know that today is the only time that matters. If they think it’s not the right time, they make it the right time.

7. They don’t pass judgment. 

Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Confident people don’t waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.

8. They don’t avoid conflict. 

Confident people don’t see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs; they see it as something to manage effectively. They don’t go along to get along, even when that means having uncomfortable conversations or making unpleasant decisions. They know that conflict is part of life and that they can’t avoid it without cheating themselves out of the good stuff, too.

9. They don’t let a lack of resources get in their way. 

Confident people don’t get thrown off course just because they don’t have the right title, the right staff or the money to make things happen. Either they find a way to get what they need, or they figure out how to get by without it.

Related: The 10 Unmistakable Habits of Irresistible People

10. They don’t get too comfortable. 

Confident people understand that getting too comfortable is the mortal enemy of achieving their goals. That’s because they know that comfort leads to complacency, and complacency leads to stagnation. When they start feeling comfortable, they take that as a big red flag and start pushing their boundaries again so that they can continue to grow as both a person and a professional. They understand that a little discomfort is a good thing.

Bringing It All Together

Embracing the behaviors of confident people is a great way to increase your odds for success, which, in turn, will lead to more confidence. The science is clear; now you just have to decide to act on it.

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Los Angeles Wins Bid for Lucas Museum

The force is strong with Los Angeles, future home to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The Board of Directors on Tuesday announced plans to build the Lucas Museum in LA’s Exposition Park.

«We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process,» the Board said. «Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.»

Located in South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone (a recent federal designation aimed at reducing poverty), Exposition Park already houses three «world-class» museums: the California Science CenterNatural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California African American Museum.

«As a museum uniquely focused on narrative art, we look forward to becoming part of a dynamic museum community,» according to the Board of Directors, which includes Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter.

Image credit: lucasmuseum.org

Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects in Beijing, the gallery is expected to include underground parking for 1,800 vehicles and six to seven acres of additional green space. Inside the 265,000- to 275,000-square-foot building, visitors will be invited to traverse up to 100,000 square feet of showrooms.

The non-profit museum celebrates the power of visual storytelling via narrative painting, illustration, photography, film, animation and digital art; look for original, artist-made creations — from sketches and storyboards to film sets and costumes. Folks can also sit in on daily movie screenings, attend film premieres, watch public lectures and join hands-on workshops.

«Now we turn our attention to finalizing the details and building what we believe will be one of the most imaginative and inclusive art museums in the world — a global destination that all Angelenos and Californians will be proud to call their own,» this week’s announcement said.

News of an official address comes less than seven months after the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art ditched Chicago’s Soldier Field parking lot as a potential site.

«No one benefits from continuing their [Friends of the Parks’] seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot,» museum founder and chairman George Lucas said in a statement over the summer.


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How to Give Millennials the Employee Development They Want

Young professionals pose a threat to their employers if they find greener grass. And as it turns out, many actively are seeking it.

The 2016 How Millennials Want to Work and Live report from Gallup found that six in 10 millennials say they’re open to different job opportunities, and only 50 percent plan to be with their company one year from now.

Companies can’t afford to lose young employees. Business leaders need to focus their efforts on finding an employee-development strategy that works for Gen Yers and aligns with company goals.

Here’s how to provide employee development that retains young professionals.

Enable mobility.

Find out exactly your employees want, and do your best to provide it for them. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed 600 workers for its 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report. Of those, 40 percent said an organization’s commitment to their professional development is very important to their job satisfaction.

This is precisely why a talent-mobility program is critical to your retention efforts. Employee satisfaction relies heavily on whether Gen Yers believe they have real growth opportunities within the business. It’s no wonder so many millennials aren’t committing to their companies.

Talent-mobility programs give employers a more complete understanding of team members and can assist in identifying top talent. In turn, this helps with succession planning. As employers look ahead, they must share their vision with staff if they want young employees to remain and evolve with the company.

That requires action: Start a formal talent-mobility program that informs how the company recruits new talent, helps manage their careers and develops a high-performing workforce while fulfilling business needs. Needless to say, these programs are not just a set-it-and-forget-it process.

Related: Why Lifelong Learning Drives This Leader

Set expectations.

Employees need to know what’s expected of them and their performance. If that’s not defined in their job description or reinforced in their daily operations, they may feel lost and disengaged. Workers don’t like to feel as if they’re in the dark. A September 2016 study from Leadership IQ found that fewer than half of employees know if they’re doing a good job.

This speaks volumes. Companies are failing to reward and recognize top performers, provide ongoing feedback, proactively help their talent grow and create a meaningful culture. They’re pushing employees out.

Related: 4 Truths You Need to Know About Millennial Job-Hopping

Employees deserve to know not just how management views their performance but also how their futures within the company might look. Supervisors should set clear goals and guide workers to create a realistic plan to achieve those milestones. Collaborate with Human Resources and company trainers to establish a curriculum that aligns with these objectives. For example, «A-team» players often make strong future executives. Invest in leadership training to prepare them as a natural part of succession planning.

The 2016 Gallup report found a strong link between benchmarks and belonging. The 72 percent of millennials who strongly agreed their managers help them set performance goals also reported feeling engaged. The small of amount of time and energy it takes to check in with employees pays off in terms of improved productivity and a happier workforce. These teams produce great results, and they’re excited to learn and grow. 

Teach accountability.

The Gallup report discovered another connection: Six in 10 millennials who report that their managers hold them accountable feel engaged in their work. Employees who refuse to take responsibility won’t make it very far playing the blame game. Their toxic mentality will lead them to search for work elsewhere. 

Some might argue it’s best to let these employees leave. Here’s a different tactic: Invest in training them. They’ll soon realize the value in learning how to take ownership of their work.

Related: How to Motivate Millennials, By Millennials

People who hold themselves accountable see their tasks through to the end. This enables them to experience the full impact they can have on the company. Once they realize they can affect their circumstances, they’ll understand they aren’t simply victims to outside influences. 

Providing ongoing feedback is the best way to teach accountability. Use performance data to help workers visualize how they stack up against the expectations you outlined together as part of their development plans. Because they’ve co-created the framework, they’re more willing to make the right adjustments and improve productivity.

Offer flexibility.

Empower employees to be more independent, and show trust and respect by offering flexible work arrangements. If a worker wants to set her or his own pace for employee development, work to agree on a time frame that accommodates this schedule but also responds to the business’ needs. Deadlines can be an incredibly motivating tool. Still, maintain an openness to discuss potential dates and find common ground. 

Perhaps your employees want to work from home certain days to maintain work-life balance and manage child care. Offer those trade-offs — with well-defined ground rules — and make team members individually accountable for completing their tasks. Don’t assess their value based on hours spend in the office. A far better measurement is whether they’re hitting deadlines and delivering quality work.

Related: 3 Ways to Keep Employees Productive at Home

Your employees want to feel respected and trusted. Demonstrate both by giving them the freedom to manage the details of their own schedules. If or when they drop the ball, offer constructive feedback right away as a lesson learned. Then, guide them as they find solutions that will expand their potential along with your company’s capacity.

Related: 10 Ways to Appeal to the Next Wave of Workers: Generation Z

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McDonald’s India Rolls Out New Breakfast Menu Featuring Traditional Local Dishes

If you’re traveling abroad and need a taste of home, take note: from McDonald’s to KFC to Dunkin’ Donuts, fast food eateries from across the globe take a slightly different approach to their greasy cuisines.

Check out these 17 fast food items that will either make your mouth water and/or your jaw drop.

Related: 7 Fast Food Restaurants That Feature Secret Menus

Customized Breakfast, McDonald’s, India

Image credit:

Holger Leue | Getty Images

The fast food giant has released a new customized breakfast menu in locations throughout India that incorporates traditional Indian tastes.

The new menu, which will begin rolling out over the weekend, will feature items and delicacies such as the “masala dosa burger” (a pancake stuffed with vegetable and potato filling), “anda bhurji” (scrambled eggs cooked in masala) and “molaga podi” (a spice powder with sesame seeds and lentils).

Potato Rosti Burger, McDonald’s, Canada

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McDonald’s Canada

Our neighbor to the north is now offering a burger with a hash brown patty, bacon, cheddar cheese and a cheese sauce, served with waffle cut fries and an ice cream sundae with caramel turtles on top.

Nutella «burger,» McDonald’s, Italy

In Italy, McDonald’s announced a new treat, called the «Sweety con Nutella.» It’s two sweet rolls with a helping of the chocolate hazelnut spread, which actually originates from Italy.

Cheese Katsu Burger, McDonald’s, Japan

Forget about a McDouble, McDonald’s in Japan is taking things up a notch with its new Cheese Katsu Burger. The item features traditional pork katsu — a breaded and deep fried patty — nested between two sesame buns.

But that’s not all — what would this McDonald’s item be without an American twist? We’re talking cheese, of course. The pork katsu cutlet is fried and oozing with cheese on the inside and also topped with cabbage and mayo.

Zinger Double Down, KFC, Korea

Forget about your typical Double Down, KFC in Korea has taken things to another level. The Zinger Double Down is a burger topped with bacon and cheese that sits between two fried chicken fillets drenched in barbecue and white pepper sauce.

If that won’t make your heart stop — we’re not sure what will.

Lobster Surf & Turf Burger, Wendy’s, Japan

Image credit:

Kazuhiro Nogi | Getty Images

Wendy’s in Japan takes things up a notch by turning your fast food experience into fine dining.

For a limited time, Wendy’s Japan offered luxurious items such as a Lobster Surf & Turf Burger and the Premium Caviar & Lobster Sandwich.

In the past, the eatery’s menu also offered a Foie Gras Burger smothered in goose liver and truffles sauce. The item was only available for a year and later removed from the menu in 2012.

Gracoro Burger, McDonald’s, Japan

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McDonald’s Japan

Like Wendy’s, McDonald’s also likes to test funky products on the Japanese market.

McDonald’s Gracoro Burger — only available during winter — features a patty filled with macaroni, shrimp and white sauce with a breadcrumb crust. The patty is topped with cheese and “demi-glace” sauce and sandwiched between buns.

Chicken Tikka Masala, Taco Bell, India

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Taco Bell India

In India, many customers don’t go to Taco Bell for a Mexican-style Burrito. Instead, Taco Bell locations offer takes on the country’s traditional items, such as a Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito or rice bowls adorned with a variety of spices.

Kimchi Quesadilla, Taco Bell, South Korea

Since its release in June, this mashup has been a surprising hit at Taco Bells in Korea, making up some 10 percent of the restaurant’s sales in the country.

The Kimchi Quesadilla combines the traditional Korean dish with the Bell’s chicken and cheese Quesadilla.

Deep Fried Salmon, KFC, Japan

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KFC Japan

Move over fried chicken — at KFC, Deep Fried Salmon was a hot commodity. The name says it all: the dish is simple fried salmon with your favorite KFC dipping sauce.

Pork and Seaweed Donut, Dunkin’ Donuts, China

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Dunkin’ Donuts China

Forget about sprinkles and chocolate — in China, Dunkin’ Donuts takes a saltier approach: the Pork and Seaweed Donut is exactly what it sounds like.

Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza, Pizza Hut, Hong Kong

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Pizza Hut Hong Kong

In America, we think Pizza Hut’s cheese-filled crusts are bizarre — but maybe this item will make us think twice.

In Hong Kong, Pizza Hut’s limited-edition Flying Fish Roe Salmon Cream Cheese Pizza is out-of-this-world whacky. The 2014 limited-time item featured crust filled with salmon flavored cream cheese and flying fish roe (fish eggs).

The pie was available in two flavors: Crayfish Seafood Deluxe (crayfish, scallops, shrimp, clams, cherry tomatoes, peppers, red onions and thousand island sauce) and Sausage, Pepperoni & Pomelo.

Double Down Dog, KFC, Philippines

Image credit:

KFC Philippines

In January last year, KFC lovers hurried to try KFC’s craziest concoction. With only 50 served at participating stores in the Philippines, patrons clamored to get their hands on the Double Down Dog — a hot dog wrapped in a fried chicken bun.

Cheeseburger Pizza Crust, Pizza Hut, U.K.

Image credit:

Pizza Hut UK

Here’s a solution to all you indecisive eaters.

Can’t decide between a pizza or a cheeseburger? At Pizza Huts in the U.K, you can order your pizza with a Cheeseburger Pizza Crust. The 2,000-plus calorie dish initially debuted in pizza huts in the Middle East and has since expanded north to the U.K.

Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider, Taco Bell, Canada

Image credit:

Taco Bell Canada

Although it has yet to make its way to the American market, Canadian Taco Bells recently released a Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider for a limited time.

A junk foodie’s dream, the new item comes in three flavors: Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken and Supreme — all of which are infused with Cheetos, of course.

Green Peas Patty Sub, Subway, India

Image credit:

Subway India

To replace meat for the country’s large population of vegetarians, Indian Subways offer a variety of alternatives — one of the most popular being the Green Peas Patty sub.

Aloo Patties (made with potatoes), Chatpana Chana Patties (made with chickpeas) and Hara Bhara Patties (made with potatoes and green vegetables) are also among the vegetarian offerings.

Guacamole and Salsa Loaded Fries, McDonald’s, Australia

Image credit:

McDonald’s Australia

Now this one might get your mouth watering. McDonald’s famous fries just got even better. With the option to add toppings to “Loaded Fries,” customers can enjoy fries topped with cheese and bacon or guacamole and salsa.

Choco Marsh, Taco Bell, Spain

Image credit:

Taco Bell Spain

If you have a sweet tooth, Taco Bell in Spain has the perfect thing: the Choco Marsh is a tortilla filled with chocolate and marshmallow.

Hanukkah doughnut Whopper, Burger King, Israel

Burger King is keeping it kosher and festive this year with its new Hanukkah burger, offered in locations throughout Israel. The Whopper is called the SufganiKing — a spinoff of the Hebrew word “sufganiyah,” which is a festive jelly doughnut fried in oil and topped with powdered sugar. However, this item is more savory than sweet. It contains all of the ingredients of a traditional Whopper (except the cheese, of course, because meat and milk can’t mix per kosher guidelines) between two halves of fried dough.

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Without Management Standards Your Company Doesn’t Know What It’s Doing

There’s an old saying in business: If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. When it comes to improving the effectiveness of an organization’s managers, many companies struggle to distinguish the good, the bad and the ugly. After all, how do you objectively assess a manager’s ability to «get to know their people» or «have difficult conversations?» These are big concepts that don’t lend themselves to convenient metrics, but they’re essential to effective management.

A universal and urgent challenge.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is, what industry you’re in or at what stage of growth. The difficulty of assessing manager competence is universal. According to recent data from Wakefield Research and Grovo, 84 percent of middle managers believe their company needs a better way to evaluate manager ability.

Related: Want to Inspire Your Employees? Get Some Sleep.

This is especially relevant in today’s talent-centric economy. As the health of our organizations becomes increasingly dependent on the engagement of our workforce, it’s clear we need more reliable ways to assess how managers impact the day-to-day working conditions of our people.

The problem with employee surveys.

That’s not to say companies aren’t trying to address the problem. It’s common practice to collect qualitative data on a manager’s performance by surveying their direct reports. While this is helpful, the feedback is too subjective to reliably compare one manager’s performance with his or her fellow managers at scale.

Plus, while most organizations give managers training or learning resources that provide general guidance, it’s impossible to tell which techniques and tactics each manager is actually using on the job — and how well.

Bad management, big price tag.

With no clear benchmark for what constitutes good management, an organization leaves itself vulnerable to bad managers rising in the ranks. Of the managers we surveyed, 76 percent believe ineffective managers in their organization are frequently rewarded or promoted.

Related: Are You a Terrible Boss? These 4 Stuble Signs Will Tell You.

You might be thinking yes, but are they making the company money with their decisions? Maybe. But at what cost? Half of employees who quit their jobs leave because of a bad boss, according to Gallup. As the job market rebounds and top talent enjoys greater opportunity, we need a better way to ensure our managers are performing at a baseline level across the board.

To raise the standard, set the standard.

One simple, powerful way to immediately elevate the quality and consistency of management performance throughout your organization is to create a set of management standards — a concrete set of expectations to which every manager is held accountable.

In the same way that brand standards dictate a color palette to a designer, or coding standards dictate naming conventions to an engineer, management standards take guesswork out of the equation, informing every manager at the organization what to do, and when.

These standards codify behaviors around key manager responsibilities like one-on-one meetings, onboarding new staff, and communication of team goals. For example, committing time to weekly 1:1 meetings, providing consistent and focused feedback, asking for regular feedback from direct reports, and scheduling weekly team meetings are all behaviors that speak to a whether a manager is dedicating time to their team on a regular basis. Similarly, when gauging manager preparedness for new hires, behaviors include creating a schedule for a new hire’s first week on the job, determining and assigning onboarding training, introducing a new hire to relevant stakeholders and employees at the company, and providing role clarity with a roadmap of short and longer term goals.

Importantly, these standards are completely binary: you’ve either done them or you haven’t. There is no room for interpretation. Not only do they articulate what should be done, when, and how often, but ideally, they also link out to related learning resources. Everything is spelled out. This puts every manager on the same page and makes it easy for the organization to determine who is living into the standard and who is not.

Related: Leadership 101: Narrow Your Say-Do Gap

A simple idea, often overlooked.

If this idea seems simple, that’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s the norm. You’d be surprised at how many organizations don’t take the time to precisely articulate what they expect from their managers. If your organization is already doing this, bravo! You’re a step ahead of the pack. If you haven’t, now’s your chance.

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