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9 Ways Co-Working Can Help Your Business Grow

Question: Share your best anecdote/lesson from co-working and how it helped your business or brand grow.

coworking

New Clients All Around

“I work regularly at coworking spaces. I routinely land new clients through a quick chat, especially since in a coworking space, I can immediately show the person sitting next to me exactly what I’m working on.”

 

Word Gets Out

“I belong to a community of entrepreneurs that work together and play together, and I started serving a couple of clients. Word started getting around the community that my service was good, and more and more people started using my service. This is a great strategy for those whose clients would be in a co-working environment.”

 

New Talent in Your Space

“If you’re in a space with other talented individuals, it’s the perfect opportunity to scout for new talent for your own business. We’ve hired some of our most talented employees just because they were working in the same proximity to our company in a co-working environment. Without being in a co-working environment, we would have never had met those future employees.”

– Derek Johnson | CEO/Founder, Tatango

 

Creative Problem Solving

“Co-working spaces bring together diverse businesses. Be open about your difficulties and support other companies with theirs to uncover clever solutions to your challenges. We’re a consumer products company and struggled initially with building our subscription program. We finally talked to a co-located company with deep tech expertise and were able to crack the issue over a weekend!”

– Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

 

Support for Each Other’s Business

“At 1871, a new co-working space in Chicago, I have the opportunity to work around awesome startups everyday. In my immediate area, I work with two very different startups, but we find ways to support each other’s businesses. Whether it’s through signing up for services, going to launch parties or promotion through social media, we have worked together to expand our businesses.”

– Mike McGee | Co-Founder, The Starter League

 

Co-Workers as Brand Ambassadors

“One of the things we do at my co-working space is “pitch meet-ups” where everyone has a chance to give an update on what they’re working on. I always use this time to let my co-workers know what they can tell others about my business, and having so many ambassadors for my brand has helped the word spread like wildfire. I act as an ambassador to their businesses too. Give love, get love!”

– Natalie MacNeil | Emmy Award Winning Media Entrepreneur, She Takes on the World
 

Quick User Feedback

“Co-working can be great for quickly getting feedback on design and product plans. When co-working, I’m often asked for feedback on projects, and once you get to talking, it’s a great way to get feedback on your own activities—from design to product roadmap, co-working space can be great for fast feedback from those who are external to your project, but close by.”

– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.
 

Spontaneous Collaboration

“The thing you really get with a co-working space is those spontaneous chats and “bump ins” you have with other entrepreneurs that lead places you’d never be able to go if you were working by yourself in isolation. When I started our entrepreneur co-workspace, The Loft, that was a big reason people joined. To be around entrepreneurs, to have random conversations and brainstorming. Awesome benefit.”

– Trevor Mauch | Founder, Carrot
 

Accountability Audience

“Our company was born out of co-working space and has been growing inside of one for the past 11 months. One unexpected benefit I love about co-working is the accountability. There is a communal sense of showing up from work, getting stuff done, and motivating each other to do so. It fosters the work hard, play hard attitude.”

– John Meyer | Founder/CEO, Lemon.ly

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

Image Credit: http://www.geekpreneur.com

Bedriye Hulye: opening new doors for women in Turkey

Serial entrepreneur Bedriye Hulye is passionate about leveraging her unique business model to create a new and brighter future for Turkish women.

 

 B-Fit, Hulye’s chain of women-only gyms, today has over a hundred and sixty thousand members. Two hundred and fifty women franchisees in nearly fifty cities across Turkey and Cyprus employ a further five hundred women.

“B-Fit is sometimes considered discriminatory because of its women-only model,” Hulye tells wamda.com. “But we believe that in order to close the huge gender-gap in countries like Turkey, where there are neither quotas nor positive discrimination policies, we have to provide specific tools focusing on women’s development.”

With a twenty-year entrepreneurial background which includes the founding of a restaurant, two hotels, and an importing company in Turkey, Hulye took some classes at business school in New York in 1998. While there, she joined a women-only gym where she was introduced to a thirty-minute rotation programme, and the idea of taking the concept back home to Turkey was born.

“I saw an opportunity to enable Turkish women to empower themselves,” she tells ashoka.org. In early 2006, with funds from her personal savings and investments from a few close friends, she opened the first branch of b-Fit in a middle-class neighbourhood of Izmir. A month later, with no advertising other than word-of-mouth referrals, the gym had attracted fifty members.

Hulye realised that to expand the business, the franchise model would be ideal, perfectly dovetailing with her vision of empowering women and girls and enabling them to become entrepreneurs in their own right. “We expect our franchisees to be solution-orientated, motivated, and friendly,” says Hulye. “We don’t base selection criteria on education level or previous work experience – in fact, many of our franchisees have very basic education and have never worked in their lives before.”

B-Fit franchisees are provided with constant support in entrepreneurship, management, communication, and gender awareness, and are brought together at regular intervals to build a strong sense of community. The model combines a gym with a community centre, creating spaces where women of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity not only to improve their health and fitness, but also to come together socially and to develop a range of business and life-skills.

“Women’s physical, mental, and economic empowerment is central to the b-Fit model,” Hulye says. “The centres are founded and entirely managed by women, creating opportunities for them to start, grow, and own businesses while mastering skills that help them survive in this entrepreneurial life. In turn, they become role models and local changemakers, inspiring many more to follow.”

As the largest and most widespread health and recreation chain in Turkey, b-Fit has significantly transformed a sector which has traditionally been dominated by male-only billiard halls, weightlifting saloons, and football fields. Traditional gender roles are strictly enforced, and women have been largely financially dependent on fathers or husbands and vulnerable to violation of their basic human rights. Hulye and her team encourage franchisees to invest back into their businesses for greater sustainability, and to make informed financial decisions for their own economic security.
“Inequality is enmeshed in our relationships and our norms,” says Hulye. “In a country where ninety-two percent of all immovable property is owned by men, it is also part of women’s empowerment to make smart financial investments for their future.”

To make b-Fit available to even the most-disadvantaged  women, Hulye is partnering with local social organisations in impoverished regions of Turkey and has already set up one low-cost centre for this purpose. She continues to focus on developing a strategy for sustainability and further spread in lower-income groups, as well as planning to expand the b-Fit model to other countries across the Middle East.

With her vision, passion, and commitment, this inspiring entrepreneurial role model is truly making a real difference in the lives of thousands of women and girls.

Watch our interview with Bedriye Hulye

Why Entrepreneurs Are Afraid of the Truth

Have you ever heard the saying, Nobody will tell you your baby is ugly?  It’s true!

When you’re a parent, you think that your baby is the cutest damned baby in the entire world – a Gerber baby at his best.  But what do other’s think?  Have you ever looked at a baby and said – wow, that baby is ugly!  It looks smushed and jaundiced – and it has a ton of hair going everywhere!  I know you’ve thought it before – but I also know that you’ve never said ANYTHING!

The same is true with entrepreneurship.  I’ve watched and seen too many entrepreneurs crash and burn because they were afraid to admit the truth – their baby was ugly.  And, just like with babies, nobody wants to tell them that their idea is terrible!

 

Why The Truth is Scary

The trouble is, the truth can be scary.  For an entrepreneur, their idea is something that they have been chasing for a long time.  Chances are, they have their heart and soul in the idea.  To hear that their idea is ugly would be crushing.  As a result, a lot of entrepreneurs put on blinders to the truth.  They could ignore facts, be ignorant to user feedback, and as a result, they fail.

In some cases, the truth is scary simply because it’s unknown.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that your idea is bad, but you could be going into an undeveloped market and you’ll need to plan accordingly.  But, if you don’t take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth, you’ll never listen to true facts.

13 Inspiring Business Travel Destinations

Q. What’s the most inspiring place you have ever traveled to or resided in for business and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Sedona

The Red Rocks in Sedona, Ariz. are breathtakingly beautiful, but unlike other high desert areas, it’s lush, green, and you can always go and dip your toes in the creek running through the town. Sedona is peaceful and relaxing, and the physical space equals mental space. It gives me room to breathe and plot out the next steps for my companies.
 Andrea LakeStickerJunkie.com 

2. China

When I first came to China in 2008, I realized why more and more people were interested in this country. It felt like the USA in the 1950s and ’60s. My entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by talking to the locals about business and how they came from nothing to selling anything they could to provide a better lifestyle for their family. It was the perfect place to inspire me.
– Derek CapoNext Step China

3. Tanzania

There are a lot of great cities in which entrepreneurs should hang out, and each place inspires me in a different way. Visiting Tanzania stands out in my mind because it changed my perspective on running my business. It taught me that creativity is more valuable than any currency and that throwing money at problems simply doesn’t work.
– Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World

4. Sagres

In the 1400s, Sagres, Portugal was believed to be the end point of the world. I got inspiration from Sagres when looking out into the endless blue sea. I thought of how people back then believed that the world was flat, and you’d die if you sailed beyond a certain point. Then, one day, an explorer ventured beyond that point and discovered the rest of the world. That’s entrepreneurship.
– Brett FarmiloeDigital Marketing Agency

5. Macau

The culture in Macau is diverse, and the people have an amazing sense of practicality, survival and ingenuity. My time there was truly an inspirational experience.
– Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

6. New York City

The business hustle and creativity in the city is astounding. From the Garment District to Williamsburg to Startup Alley to Wall Street, all the art, fashion, entertainment, technology and culture in New York City inspires me. Every day there are opportunities to take and passionate people who are working hard to make dreams into realities.
– Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

7. Cambodia

There were a lot of dirt roads, open space and bare land. There was also a lot of poverty there, but every person was working extremely hard to create his own success. It was extremely inspiring.
– Michael PatakTopstepTrader

8. The Bay Area

I know it’s cliché, but for me, the Bay Area (Silicon Valley and San Francisco) is just so inspiring. There are a ton of new potential startup hubs popping up (D.C. is one of the best, according to Forbes), and that’s great to see. But there’s just something in the water of the Bay, where you can’t help but overhear entrepreneurs planning new startups and global domination. I love it.
– Danny BoiceSpeek

9. South Africa

I traveled to South Africa with Richard Branson and a group of extremely successful entrepreneurs. We masterminded with each other, mentored budding entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, visited local nonprofits and even got to stay in Richard’s high-end game reserve to go on safari. It was life-changing to be able to learn firsthand from one of the most innovative business minds in the world.
– Laura RoederLKR Social Media

10. Paris

The city of lights just lights me up. It’s not a business hub in the same way that the Silicon Valley is, but that’s not why I go there. I don’t visit Paris to network with other entrepreneurs; I go to be inspired and awed by its beauty, history, culture and endless French allure. When I leave, I take this light with me and use it to inspire my work back home.
– David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

11. Singapore

Business inspiration comes when you’re challenged by new or different problems than you would face in your own culture. Helping companies with talent strategies in the States is completely different from Singapore, where unemployment is 1.5 percent and leave notice isn’t two weeks — it’s two months. It forces our business to think about how to solve client problems differently.
– Susan Strayer LaMotteexaqueo

12. Taiwan

Everyone’s an entrepreneur in Taiwan. Malls and chain restaurants are still a relatively new concept there. They still have mom and pop shops and restaurants on every corner. It’s inspiring to see how hard people work on their small businesses. Taiwanese people are incredibly creative and hardworking. It’s doesn’t hurt that the economy (and food) are both excellent.
– Mitch GordonGo Overseas

13. Zürich

Nestled amid the Alps, it’s hard to deny the efficiency and sophistication of this Swiss city. With prestigious universities such as ETH Zürich, which draw the likes of Disney’s Imagineering’s Research and Development group, Zürich is innovative and savvy.
– Melissa PickeringiCreate to Educate

You Might Be Looking For Success If…

This post will help you lead, identify with, or better market to these small business owners. And hey if you’re an entrepreneur yourself…well you totally get it!

You Might Be Looking For Success If…

• You can’t stop checking your phone even if it requires waking up in the middle of night
• You attend networking events on a weekly basis
• Working out is a part of your daily regimen

• You become addicted to coffee and Red bull gives you wings
• Pulling all-nighters becomes a habit
• Traveling becomes a part of your lifestyle
• Doing what YOU want is your #1 priority
• Everything you own fits in a suitcase

• You have more ideas then time
• You have more social media accounts then you can possibly update
• You’re willing to sacrifice your relationships to build a business
• You always negotiate the price
• You outsource your to-do-list

Are You Suffocating From Ambition?

I had an epiphany the other day, perhaps the most significant one I’ve had in a long time.

Prior to this epiphany, there was an underlying problem: I didn’t understand why I felt a quiet, but constant, dissatisfaction with life. I have (enough) money, good health, a variety of friends, a strong desire for self-improvement, and an entrepreneur’s grit.

Yet, in spite of my good fortune, I felt lost and unproductive.

It finally occurred to me that my ambition was suffocating me.

For more than a year, the “philosophy of uncertainty” was a central point of inspiration for me.

The problem was that I associated uncertainty with wander, not explorative wander, but wander with the expectation of finding my true passion. In other words, I was hoping to stumble upon my destiny or meaning. Uncertainty had become my foundation. Seeing the world as ripe with potential, my thoughts and aspirations waded from one thing to the next, each supplying me with joy upon arrival and frustration upon departure.

My epiphany has taught me the true meaning of uncertainty, but I must discuss commitment first.

Buddha Quote

I felt lost because I was lost.

I was mentally jumping from one grand idea to the next, each time thinking, “This idea will finally fulfill me.” Alas, nothing had really enthralled me, but it wasn’t because of the quality of the ideas. Rather, the problem had been my lack of commitment. There are very few things that I’ve truly committed myself to accomplishing, and I suspect this is common among aspiring entrepreneurs. We often want the title “entrepreneur” so badly that we forget to focus on the most important quality of an entrepreneur: commitment.

There are two main theories when it comes to discovering a passion: you either instinctively know what your passion is, or you discover a passion by becoming an expert in something. Personally, my inherent passions are broad and theoretical- they are best pursued as hobbies, for now. On the other hand, I know well what I am becoming an expert in. In this regard, there is no uncertainty, there must only be commitment. I struggled with this realization for a long time because I wanted to be good at so many different things.

I didn’t want to feel confined to one subject matter. This desire, however, led me astray.

You have to be comfortable with viewing yourself as only a small part of a much bigger vision. Otherwise, you will strain to do everything, burn yourself out, and, ultimately, feel lost.

Socrates Quote

Uncertainty is important, but what it really boils down to is a reduction in the amount of control you feel you need to possess. In other words, if you concentrate on your expertise and the various other things that are crucially important to you (your core values), everything else will come together. Embracing uncertainty allows you to relinquish your fears and concentrate on what’s important. I made the mistake of looking at it as something to search for, which was a futile mistake, but it ended up being a good lesson.

Even though this article is mostly philosophical in nature, there is one solid point you should take away: it’s okay if your dream is dauntingly big as long as you’re willing to commit to it, leverage your expertise to achieve it, allow others to help you with it, and accept the uncertainty that inevitably surrounds it.

Jerad Maplethorpe is a self-taught web developer, aspiring entrepreneur, recreational philosopher and one to embrace the unexpected. Jerad believes in building technologies that bring like-minded people together in person. You can follow Jerad on twitter @maplethorpej.

4 Charitable Entrepreneurs to Emulate

Business sometimes gets a bad rap for being cutthroat and selfish. However, entrepreneurs are some of the most influential leaders in our towns and communities—big and small. They have the potential to affect the people around them for good, and many do just that.

Whether you are just starting out in your business journey, or are already well established, we can all benefit from the positive example of those who have gone before. Here are just four examples of charitable entrepreneurs from whom we can learn.

Image Credit: www.dailyfinance.com

Image Credit: www.dailyfinance.com

1. Warren Buffet

As one of the richest men in the world, it is not surprising that I chose Warren Buffet as an example of philanthropy—he certainly has the means to make great contributions. However, unlike many of his wealthy counterparts, Mr. Buffet has taken a singular perspective on his personal wealth.

He believes that with his money comes a responsibility to society, commenting at various times about the failings of the market system (that has so handsomely rewarded him), and his disdain for inherited wealth and family dynasties. He has committed to donating the majority of his wealth to charity upon his death, leaving, as he put it in an interview on Charlie Rose, “just enough so that they [his children] feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”

Congruent with his philanthropic ideals, Mr. Buffet is well known for his large contributions to charities. Perhaps most notable is his $31 billion donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a global charity dedicated to reducing poverty and expanding educational opportunities. As the man behind the largest charitable donation in history, Mr. Buffet certainly gives us all something to strive for.

Though we can’t all give away fortunes of that magnitude, I think we can learn from Mr. Buffet’s dedication to the cause of charity and seek to apply a similar perspective when it comes to our own money and success—however large or small they may be.

Rick+Schaden+USA+Pro+Cycling+Challenge+Announces+0oNRTGu0PMgl

2. Rick Schaden

Another notable philanthropist is Richard E. Schaden. Chairman of Consumer Capital Partners, an investment firm, and founder of numerous popular restaurants like Smashburger and Tom’s Urban 24, Rick Schaden is both a recognized entrepreneur and active philanthropist.

His efforts have been heavily focused on improving his own community of Denver, Colorado, where he and his wife, Cheryl, founded America’s Road Home in 2008. The foundation, which is affiliated with Urban Peak and Nexus C.A.R.E.S., works to raise awareness of family homelessness in Denver and the U.S.

In 2009, Mr. Schaden further demonstrated his commitment to ending homelessness when he donated $1.5 million to Mercy Housing Colorado for the construction of a 66-unit housing complex for previously homeless families.

In addition to his work to alleviate homelessness in Denver—where approximately 11,000 people are without homes—Richard Schaden also co-founded the Schaden Family Fund to sponsor local charities in Denver.

Though Mr. Schaden is certainly not alone in the world of rich philanthropists, his focus on helping his hometown of Denver is laudable. Too often, it seems, big money is thrown at big charities. While these donations are much appreciated and serve to do much good in our world, Schaden’s commitment to his own community is worthy of emulation. Whether you have a lot or a little to give, the greatest strides in overcoming social ills often come through local efforts.

Image Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Image Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

3. Tony Hawk

When one hears the name, Tony Hawk, one’s first thought probably goes to skateboarding. And let’s face it: the man is a legend in his field. However, in addition to his prolific skateboarding career and entrepreneurial endeavors (like his popular video game series), Tony Hawk is also an active philanthropist.

In 2002, Hawk launched the Tony Hawk Foundation. Recognizing the need for more skate parks in the United States (where over 7 million people identify as skaters but only 3,500 parks are available for them to ride), Hawk created the organization in order to help communities develop local skate parks.

The foundation focuses on helping disadvantaged areas and fostering lasting improvements in society, preferring to work at grassroots levels with local communities to bring about change. Today, the organization has helped fund over 500 skate parks and awarded $4 million in grants.

What is remarkable about Mr. Hawk’s charity is how he connected his professional career with his philanthropic work. As a pro skater, Tony Hawk already had notable clout as an expert in the skating field. It was thus a natural progression to create a charity that supported this sport in positive ways. By doing so, Hawk is able to more effectively promote community improvement through the outlet he knows best.

When you focus on giving in areas that you are already invested in, the gap between entrepreneur and philanthropist is narrowed.

Image Credit: ideamensch.com

Image Credit: ideamensch.com

4. Craig Newmark

Finally, Craig Newmark, the founder of the popular website, Craigslist, seeks to use his influence on the internet to promote charitable collaboration. His organization, Craigconnects, is an online forum that allows other people and organizations to connect and learn from one another in order to bring about positive change in their communities and the world.

As the mission statement says on the homepage, Craigconnects is about “using technology to give the voiceless a real voice and the powerless real power.” The website serves many causes, including journalism, public diplomacy, open government, and voting resources.

Newmark’s charitable efforts are a good example of using one’s resources and expertise to promote causes. Moreover, we can learn from his innovation and creativity in modifying the original idea of Craigslist to create a forum strictly to bring together local do-gooders. Similar to Tony Hawk, Newmark takes advantage of his original platform and professional field to promote causes close to his heart.

Though you may not be a millionaire, your influence as an entrepreneur is felt through the communities that you serve and the people that you interact with. In our efforts to promote charity, goodwill, and positive change in our communities, we would do well to learn from these and other philanthropic businessmen who understand the importance of giving back, particularly when they have so much to give.

Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He currently runs his own business blog, Franchise a Business, and takes inspiration from successful entrepreneurs like Richard E. Schaden.

 

Eight reasons to start your own business when you graduate

Eight reasons to start your own business when you graduate/graduateAre you coming to the end of your university course and wondering what to do next? It’s become a much more popular option for large numbers of graduates, but why would you start your own business?

1 Unemployment is high…

First for the gloomy stuff. According to The Guardian, at the end of 2011, 18.9% of those who graduated in the previous two years were unemployed. Admittedly, this was lower than the beginning of 2010 when the figure peaked at 20.7%, but it’s still more than four-times higher than those graduating four to six years ago. So there are no guarantees you’ll find a job, let alone a job you want. Starting your own business could be the best way to avoid unemployment for some graduates.

2 Competition for good jobs is tough…

Also, according to The Guardiangraduates are now “having to settle for low-skilled jobs more than used to be the case. In the last quarter of 2011, more than one-in-three of those graduating in the last six years were in low-skilled roles.” In 2001 this figure was almost 10% lower. Starting your own business could be the best way to avoid ending up in a humdrum job that doesn’t make best use of your skills or education.

3 You dream of riches…

There are no guarantees, and you might earn less – or little or nothing – by working for yourself. However, running your own business could provide you with more income. So what are you likely to earn working for someone else? First-job graduates earn £15.18 per hour, on average (source: The Guardian). Science graduates doing medicine and dentistry-related jobs earn the most (£21.29 per hour); while first-job humanities graduates pick up £14.63 an hour and arts graduates earn £12.06 per hour (all figures before tax in 2011).

4 You dream of fame…

Many young entrepreneurs now enjoy celebrity status. One example is Richard Reed, who co-founded Innocent Drinks in 1999 with fellow Cambridge University graduates Adam Balon and Jon Wright. Reed studied Geography at St John’s College and then worked in advertising for four years. The three friends started off selling wholesome smoothies from a stall at a London music festival in 1998. Now partly owned by Coca Cola, Innocent sells more than two million smoothies a week, has some 250 employees and turns over £100m-plus a year. Reed is a regular on business TV programmes and is one of the UK’s best-known business people.

5 You want greater flexibility…

Don’t fancy early mornings? Want to pick which days you work? Much will depend on the type of business you start, but working for yourself could grant you much more flexibility to live life your way (including possibly starting your working day a bit later!). That flexibility is unlikely to exist working full-time for someone else. Running your own business might even enable you to work from home or another location of your choice.

6 You want to be your own boss…

Don’t want someone else telling you what to do? Perhaps you’d rather call the shots and decide your own destiny? Fair enough, but with power comes responsibility, which meansyou must make your business a success. Do you really have what it takes? And running your own business can be a lonely, erm, business. It’s not for everyone, but if you succeed, the rewards and sense of satisfaction can be much greater.

7 You have a great idea…

One of the best reasons for starting your own business is coming up with a great idea. Great business ideas come from many places, for example, you might spot a gap in the market or seek to earn a living from one of your passions. You and your university friends may have thought of a good business idea. You’ll still need to test your business idea before starting up, and you’ll still need to work hard, show desire and commitment and get your share of luck.

8 You want excitement…

There’s no doubt about it, starting your own business and growing it into a larger, more successful enterprise is a great challenge and there’s an element of risk, but this can be a source of great excitement. Working for yourself involves highs and lows, so you really need to carefully consider whether running a business is for you. It can be unpredictable, too. Some days you might question why you ever started your own business and on others you might think it’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

How Growing Your Business Is Like Training In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Last week I found myself caught in a bad situation: I was on the verge of passing out as my neck was caught between two legs. At the same time my arm was gruesomely extended with massive pressure grinding into my elbow. For those that recognize this Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique, I was caught in a deadly “triangle armbar.” I considered my options. A) I pass out from the choke B) My arm breaks or C) I could tap out. I chose option C and tapped out with a sore arm and a bruised ego.

“The reason you are getting caught in a submission,” my martial arts instructor Steve told me, “is because you are not attacking enough!”

I looked over to see his Octopus tattoo: a reminder to attack my opponent as if I had eight limbs.

“If you find yourself not moving for more than 5 seconds, move. Do something! Just don’t sit still.”

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson reminded me how closely linked martial arts is to growing a business. It’s all about movement. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the times I stop moving are when I get caught in a submission hold. In business, the times I stop working hard to find new opportunities are when my sales drop. Experience has taught me time and again that movement is the key to surviving in business and to winning at it.

Making sales for your business is one of the strangest things. When you work hard, you sell a lot. Putting in the extra time on a customer proposal, or making one more sales call is the difference between an underachiever and an overachiever. The moment you stop working as hard as you know you can, your sales drop exponentially. It is rare to find an average salesman. I believe that there are only hard working sales people and sales people who do not work enough.

“I’m working really hard but my business is not growing. How do you explain that?”

It is the hardest part about growing your business. It is also the hardest part about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was absolutely demotivating last weekend when someone who hadn’t trained in over a year walked in and crushed me on the sparring mats. After all, I train four times per week at my gym and have 2 years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience. Is hard work not the answer to success? After conducting a lot of research, I discovered that hard work is the answer, just not the way I originally saw it.

Mastery Curve

This graph represents the plateaus we experience in our lives. In the beginning of starting something new (a job, a new business or a sport) we easily experience a lot of growth. Some call this “beginner’s luck.” I prefer to think that it is a combination of excitement and knowledge of that skill we didn’t know before.

Looking back at the graph, you will notice the first plateau. The obvious downtrend is when we stop getting the results we first experienced at the start. We do not progress as quickly, our excitement fades a little bit, and ultimately that plateau offers us two options:

Quit and try something else
Work hard until you break through
Do you quit when things get hard, or do you work hard to break through? Hard work requires movement. It requires you to put in the extra hours of training, or the extra hours of cold calling, or the extra hours of networking with new people. It takes movement to get up in the morning when everyone is still asleep. It takes movement to put a smile back on your face when things don’t go your way.

In saying this, the last thing I want to do is “preach” to you. I’m no superman! In fact, getting up on weekends is something I really struggle to do. Knowing that movement is the secret to pushing past my plateaus and reaching new heights of business growth is what motivates me to move out of my comfortable bed instead of sleeping in.

Plateaus are inevitable as you continue to develop your skills in business, martial arts, working out at the gym, or playing a sport. One of the reasons I emphasize working your passions so strongly throughout my blog articles is because when you love what you do, you find the will to breakthrough your plateaus.

Managing Your Movement

One of the best “success” principles I have ever been taught is the ability to organize one’s day with positive habits.

Eric Thomas once said that if you swing your axe at a tree in different places, it won’t move. But if you aim your axe in the same place every single day, eventually that tree will fall down!

I organize my day and my week around a series of consistent practices that I have to do in order to grow my business while working a job and still doing all of the things I love to do. Rather than stay rigid and time-bound, my schedule is a series of daily tasks I have to accomplish each day in the same order.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Writing Articles

Writing Articles

Writing Articles

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Writing Articles

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Writing Articles

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Free Time

Free Time

 

* Note: I use a Franklin Covey Day Timer to keep track of all of my weekly appointments, and CRM (customer relationship management) software to manage my sales opportunities and contact list.

In total, it may not seem like I’m doing a lot of things. That’s exactly what I want. I do the same key tasks day after day that slowly place me on the fast track to success. Overcoming plateaus becomes easier each time I experience one because I keep repeating the same tasks over and over without thought or doubt. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we call this “muscle memory.” When you practice the same movement one million times, eventually that technique becomes second nature. In business, repeating the same series of tasks eventually becomes second nature too. Growing your business is like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The more you move, the more you will grow and succeed.

To conclude, I wish to leave you with my favourite quote from Bruce Lee.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Adrian Boucek is the author of Bloodhounder.com, a blog full of charismatic wisdom, controversial advice and passion-fueling interviews on the topics of Career Advice, Dream Employment and Entrepreneurship. Follow Adrian on Twitter: @adrianboucek
Read more at http://under30ceo.com/how-growing-your-business-is-like-training-in-brazilian-jiu-jitsu/#kqrbcAxCCdmdLsok.99

Is Crowfunding Right For Your Business?

Crowdfunding has taken the startup world by storm and has given business owners another choice at raising capital for their cash stricken business. Most start-ups are suitable for websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo but some should be cautious! Outside investment can be hard and challenging but having an unsuccessful Crowdfund campaign could not only waste time and money, but also kill your drive. Ask yourself the questions below and find out whether your startup is ready to launch a Crowdfunding campaign to help reach your funding goal.

Is your concept innovative and exciting?

Crowdfunding is all about the journey for the backer!  They watch you build your project every step of the way and each backer is willing to wait months to receive the finished reward.   If they have seen your idea done before, that excitement for them is reduced significantly.  Your goal is to educate them on your new concept and give them a reason to fund YOU.  Only then, will they take a chance with you on this new and exciting idea.  Adding features people have not seen and including extra benefits will dramatically help your campaign.

Are your rewards tangible?

People love stuff they can touch, receive, and show off to others.   Your campaign is off to a good start if your idea/concept is an actual tangible product that you will eventually have to ship.  Many campaigns fail simply because people don’t want to wait 3 to 6 months to actually see the final version or watch it slowly built on the web.

Exceptions – movies/documentaries, app games, supporting a cause

What is the reason behind what you’re doing?

Backers want to support campaigns that have a real story behind them.  They want to know the “why” you are doing this and “how” you got started.  So give them what they want and make it easily understandable in your video. Let potential backers know the struggle that went along with making this dream a reality.  They want to feel like they helped you overcome the obstacle that was stopping you from bringing your product/idea to life. Also make sure to let them know “who” you are and even “where” you are located just to help people feel a real connection with you.