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How to Help Your Team with Burnout When You’re Burned Out Yourself

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As a manager, you want to do right by your employees and support them through intense work periods so they don’t get burned out. But this can be a challenge when you’re feeling overly stressed yourself. How can you take care of yourself so that you have the time and energy to support your team? What steps do you need to take to reduce your stress level? And what actions can you take to improve your team members’ well-being?

What the Experts Say
It’s tough to find the energy you need to help others when you yourself are at your limits. Burnout — as opposed to more run-of-the-mill stress — can cause you to “feel utterly depleted,” says Susan David, a founder of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching and author of Emotional Agility. And it “can permeate all aspects of your life. You are overtired and under-exercised; you’re not attentive to food and nutrition; and you’re disconnected from relationships.” But it’s not just you who suffers. “Your team is picking up on your stress, and it’s making everything worse,” says Whitney Johnson, the author of Build an A-TeamPlay to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. So for the sake of both your health and the health of your employees, you need to summon all the resources you can to improve matters. Here’s how to do that.

Make your own health a priority
Before you can help your team members manage their stress, you need to manage your own. “Instead of hunkering down and concentrating” on your job, “you need to stop, look around, and figure out how you’re going to help your people get what they need,” says Johnson. A good starting point is to take care of your physical and mental health. Eat healthy, wholesome food; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep at night; “try meditating, and find someone to vent to”— preferably “not your boss.” Taking care of yourself is not an indulgent luxury; it’s a matter of self-preservation. Johnson suggests sharing your tension-management techniques and rituals with your team. “Say, ‘here’s something I’m doing to manage the stress. This is how I cope.’”

Tackle the problem as a group
Even if you haven’t fully reigned in your stress, it’s helpful to demonstrate that you take the issue seriously. You can even suggest that you all take on self-care as a team — learning meditation as a group or sharing tips about what practices are working to reduce stress. You can make it a team goal to keep stress under control, says David. “Say to your team, ‘Even in the context of this change, how do we come together?’” This is helpful for the group but will also keep you accountable for taking care of yourself. Don’t force anyone into these activities though. A sense of autonomy can counteract the symptoms of burnout so you want people to feel they are making their own choices.

Exhibit compassion
Don’t be so hard on yourself or your team. “Burnout can often feel like a personal failing,” says David. But of course, that’s not true: We are all susceptible to it — and, in fact, our “environment precipitates” it. We are “living in an imperfect world, and yet we expect perfection.” Many organizations breed stress. “The ambiguity, the complexity,” not to mention the 24/7 nature of technology, leads many of us to feel “an extreme level of strain.” Be compassionate. Recognize, both inwardly and publicly, “that all of us are doing the best we can with the resources we have been given.” This doesn’t mean that you’re “lazy or letting yourself off the hook.” Rather, you’re “creating a psychologically safe place for yourself and others.” Johnson recommends talking your team through stressful periods in an honest but upbeat way. Yes, the workload is intense. And yes, big, high stakes projects are daunting. Tell your team, “‘We are in this together, and I know we can deliver.’”

Set a good example
You also need to “think about the [behaviors] you’re modeling” to your team, says David. “If you’re running from meeting to meeting and don’t have enough time in the day to breathe,” what message does that send? Set a good example by making downtime a priority. Show your team that you don’t always operate in full-throttle mode at the office. “Bring humanity back into the room,” she says. Johnson agrees. When “your people are completely overwhelmed,” you need to “encourage them to take regular breaks,” she says. “They need time to rest and rejuvenate and disconnect from work.” It’s also important to set limits on how much work encroaches on evenings and weekends. Whatever you do, “don’t send anyone on your team an email at midnight,” says Johnson. “You’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get this out.’ But you’re also throwing a grenade into your employees’ peace of mind.” Instead, she recommends using Boomerang, or a similar program, that allows you to schedule emails.

Focus on the why
A common symptom (and cause) of job-related burnout is a “disconnect between a person’s values” and the work at hand, says David. “You feel stressed and tired, and yet you continue to work and work and work,” all the while forgetting what drew you to your career and organization in the first place. “It can be toxic.” As a leader, you need to “develop a shared sense of why” — as in, why are we driven to accomplish the mission? As a boss, it’s your job to galvanize your team. Remind them of the objective and why it’s important to the organization and your customers. When people have shared values and connection they are more likely to feel positively about their work.

Advocate for your team
If you and your team are suffering under a heavy workload, it might be time to ask your boss for a reprieve. It is your responsibility “to advocate for your team within the context of your organization’s goals,” says Johnson. She recommends talking to your boss about the effect stress is having on morale and performance. “Say, ‘My team is fully committed to this project, but people are tired. And we all know the law of diminishing returns.’” Convey the consequences of burnout and describe how it is in your boss’s best interest to take action. “There are going to be mistakes and slippage. And those will be costly.” Explain that you’re worried you might lose people who are valuable to the organization. Then ask, “can this deadline be pushed back? Or can this assignment be curtailed?” Think, too, about what you can “put in place within your team that can help,” says David. Perhaps certain meetings can be discarded or at least shortened. It’s “important that leaders go to bat” for their employees.

Be a source of optimism
Whenever work is frenzied and frantic, make a concerted effort to promote positivity, says Johnson. This is hard to do when you are stressed out but “look for the good,” she says. “Smile at people. And be kind.” Make sure you regularly acknowledge, recognize, and thank people for their efforts. “Say, ‘I notice you did X. Thank you. I appreciate it.’” Cultivate a feeling of community and social support. When your team hits a milestone or when a particular crunch time is over, celebrate. Acknowledge the accomplishments — yours and the team’s.

Principles to Remember

Do

  • Encourage your team to take regular breaks and seize opportunities to rejuvenate.
  • Support your team with inspiring language. Your message should be, “We are in this together.”
  • Go to bat for your team. If the workload is too heavy, ask your boss if deadlines can be moved or tasks reassigned.

Don’t

  • Neglect your health and wellbeing. Take good care of yourself and share your favorite stress-reducing strategies with your team.
  • Consider burnout a personal failing. Recognize, both inwardly and publicly, that people are doing the best they can with the resources they have.
  • Get bogged down in negativity. Be a source of optimism and try to cultivate positivity in the ranks.

Case Study #1: Set a good example for your team — and celebrate accomplishments
A couple of years ago, Peter Sena, the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Digital Surgeons, the marketing and design firm, was in a crunch time.

“We were rapidly expanding in every way possible,” he says. “We were doubling the size of our team, adding new clients, and building new offices. We were all working crazy hours. And the leadership team was approaching burnout.”

The stress was taking a toll on his direct reports, too. “I could tell my team was tired,” he says. “People were feeling anxious and hyped up.”

Another significant sign of pending team burnout: employees were making mistakes. “They were dropping balls.”

Peter knew he needed to take action. He started by improving his own habits. “I wanted to set a good example for my team,” he says. “When you’re stressed, you’re generally overworked and under-slept, and you don’t eat smart.” That needed to change. In addition to getting more exercise and taking regular power naps, Peter began practicing meditation. “It helped me become more mindful and present,” he says.

In fact, he found meditating so helpful that he introduced it to his team. “We brought in a meditation [expert] to teach people how to do 10- to 15-minute mindfulness exercises,” he says. “It gets everyone to take a hard pause in the middle of the day.”

Peter also made sure his team didn’t feel constant pressure to be online. “We use Slack, and I encourage people to use the ‘do not disturb’ function in the evening,” he says. “It’s helped us become more efficient in how we use email.”

Finally, he urged his team to take regular breaks when they needed them. One of his employees, for instance, wanted to leave early once a week to take a yoga class. He was fully supportive. When people are stressed, it’s important to “give them a level of control,” he says. “The more you give people the freedom and flexibility to shape their own path, the more committed they are to the goals of [the enterprise.]”

Peter feels good about how he and his team dealt with — and continue to deal with — stress and burnout. “In this industry, it is not uncommon to work well past 8 PM and to work every weekend,” he says. “But I wanted to create a more relaxed company culture.”

Recently, Digital Surgeons experienced another hectic, high-growth quarter. To celebrate, one of his teams is going on a company outing to play laser tag on a Friday afternoon. “The message is, ‘We worked hard this past month. Let’s take a pause and enjoy it,’” he says. “Those little things make a big difference.”

Case Study #2: Take care of yourself and focus on the organization’s larger goals
Magdalena Mook, CEO of the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Lexington, Kentucky-based nonprofit dedicated to workplace development, says that when she starts to feel the telltale signs of burnout, she reminds herself she’s “being watched and observed” by her employees.

“The team follows the lead of the leader,” she says. “They pick up on [my] nervous energy and that impacts their ability to perform.”

She says she’s learned to “develop self-awareness” so she doesn’t exhibit her tension and anxiety. “Leaders are role models,” she says.

Still, though, there are times of extreme stress at work when that’s difficult. For instance, the ICF holds an annual conference for its chapter leaders. The event, which was held in Vancouver this year, involves a lot of complex logistical planning.

“It requires many long hours because we are working with people from around the globe,” says Magdalena. “We have a board meeting with our Board of Directors a day before the event, which adds an additional layer of stress.”

Needless to say, in the lead up to the conference, “emotions fly high” among her team members, she adds.

To cope, Magdalena made it a point to get some form of physical activity each day. This helped her relieve stress. “Exercise clears my mind and allows me time to reflect.”

She also made sure her reports focused on the overarching goals of the organization rather than on the line items of their to-do lists. “We were all feeling overwhelmed because we all felt a huge sense of responsibility,” she says. “We were bringing our leaders together for this celebration, and we wanted it to be worth their time.”

Magdalena says she reminded her team about the organization’s mission. She wanted her team members to feel that they “are part of something bigger” than themselves.

“Our vision is that coaching is an integral part of society,” she says. “We need to remember that when times are tough. It makes the burden, along with the hours and the occasional frustration, worthwhile.”

Once the conference was over, Magdalena took time to celebrate her team’s accomplishment. She recognized and acknowledged just how hard her team worked. “We relaxed a little and toasted a job well done with a glass of champagne,” she says. “[Saying thank you] goes a long way.”

Source: HBR.org
Author: Rebecca Knight Continue reading How to Help Your Team with Burnout When You’re Burned Out Yourself

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Israeli Study Finds Marijuana Has Promise for Treating Autism Symptoms

Early results find cannabis helps many patients with a wide range of symptoms.


3 min read


Brought to you by The Fresh Toast

The scientific community has struggled to gain a solid understanding of children suffering from autism. Since this condition affects every child differently, no blanket treatment option has yet been developed to give doctors are starting point when dealing with these patients. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that cannabis might be part of the solution — similar to how it is for epilepsy — yet American researchers have been hindered from digging deeper into the possible benefits.

But all is not lost. Scientists in Israel appear to have uncovered definitive proof that medical marijuana can help autistic kids deal with the worst of their symptoms and live a better quality of life.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center have found that cannabis oil is an effective remedy for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is a condition characterized by a number of social and behavioral issues. The latest study, which was published in Scientific Reports, finds that many of the symptoms related to this condition, including tics, depression and rage attacks, were diminished in patients after receiving cannabis oil.

Related: Move Aside, CBD: New Data Finds THC Is the Real Medicine

“Overall, more than 80 percent of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child,” lead study author Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider said in a statement.

In a matter of six months, 30 percent of patients reported substantial improvement, while more than 53 percent showed improvements at moderate levels. Only 15 percent did not respond favorably to cannabis oil therapy, the study shows. A further breakdown shows that around 40 percent were able to shower and dress themselves post-treatment. What’s more is nearly 30 percent of patients reported having better sleep, and there was close to a 10 percent increase in their ability to concentrate.

So, what ratio of cannabis oil were patients given to provide these results?

The study indicates that most were given a mixture of 30 percent cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, and 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that provides the high. Some studies have shown that the combination of the plant’s two primary components can provide better results than CBD alone.

Related: Here’s the Medical Cannabis Super Bowl Ad CBS Refused to Run

Still, researchers believe more work needs to be done before they have a solid grasp of how this treatment can help ADS patients.

“While this study suggests that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patient’s quality of life, we believe that double-blind placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients,” said Dr. Victor Novak, who also worked on the study.

It should be noted that that the cannabis oil used in this study was derived from the cannabis plant and is not the hemp-based product sold in shopping malls, truck stops and convenience stores all across the United States.

This article originally appeared in The Fresh Toast, a content partner of Green Entrepreneur.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Continue reading Israeli Study Finds Marijuana Has Promise for Treating Autism Symptoms

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5 Quick-Thinking Solutions That Saved Durable Businesses

No matter how well you plan or how far ahead you think, unexpected expenses and market shifts will catch you out. Then thinking on your feet alone will determine whether your company survives.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Emergencies and unexpected developments are part of being an entrepreneur. No matter how well you plan or how far ahead you think, you’ll eventually be forced to pay an unexpected expense, deal with an equipment malfunction, or face the consequences of a full-staff departure.

There are always ways around these challenges, whether you take out a short-term loan or hire temporary workers. But how you respond to these challenges will define you and shape your business for years to come.

Related: 5 Preventable Disasters That Have Ruined Countless Startups

Take inspiration from these successful businesses, all of which were saved from a risky situation, thanks to quick-thinking and quick-acting leaders.

FedEx bounced back after running low on cash.

FedEx couldn’t have foreseen the tumult from high fuel costs in the 1970s, with pilots using their personal credit cards and avoiding cashing their paychecks to keep their planes fueled. At one point, the company faced millions of dollars in debt, with $5,000 in reserve.

That’s when founder Frederick Smith knew he had to do something fast. His decision was to fly to Las Vegas and gamble the last of the money. Though it was an unconventional decision, it earned him $27,000 — enough to keep the company going for another week. That bought him enough time to start fixing other problems in the business, and he did, ultimately building FedEx into the powerhouse it is today.

Related: FedEx Will Trial Autonomous Delivery Robots This Summer

Airbnb used clever products to raise funds.

Back in 2008, Brian Chesky and the other co-founders of Airbnb were desperate for cash. They were turned down by seven major investors in Silicon Valley, despite having a strong idea and a promising start. They were desperate to get enough cash to keep going.

Making use of the political climate of the time and knowing they had to sell something to stay afloat, the time used cardboard and hot glue to make special-edition Cheerios boxes sporting “Obama O’s” for Barack Obama and “Cap’n McCains” for John McCain. Surprisingly, this simple idea helped them raise tens of thousands of dollars, which was enough to keep the company going through this rough patch.

GoDaddy held on past the dot-com bubble.

GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons led a challenging life before he decided to become an entrepreneur in the mid-1990s. He founded GoDaddy in 1997, and for a few years, things were running decently — GoDaddy couldn’t be called a massive success, but it wasn’t on the brink of collapse.

But by 2001, things were slowing to a crawl, and Parsons’ bank account was down to its last millions. Parsons thought about abandoning ship but reminded himself that even if he lost everything, there would still be new opportunities available. He held on, and a few months later, the dot-com bubble burst. The economic shift forced thousands of businesses to switch to GoDaddy’s inexpensive web services, and the company made enough money to re-establish itself.

Intuit reinvented itself in 1985.

Intuit had been around for a few years when it started running out of cash in 1985. Co-founders Scott Cook and Tom Proulx found themselves unable to pay employee salaries temporarily, and several key employees left. The remaining four, who believed in the future of Intuit, stayed on and worked for free for six months. Together, this small team managed to land a handful of high-profile clients and perfect their core products (including Quicken). After creating a new revenue stream from advertising, the company overcame this massive hurdle to become a smashing success.

Related: Dotting the I’s: Why Intuit QuickBooks Is a Role Model for Serving Small Business

Uber remained resilient in the face of every challenge.

It’s hard to see Uber as anything but a tech juggernaut these days, but its history is full of bad luck and hard challenges. The company started as UberCab back in 2009, but got a cease-and-desist letter in 2010, which forced a major name (and branding) change. Not long after, a major funding deal from Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen fell through.

Despite seeing enormous growth in brand recognition, coverage and profitability, the company has faced lawsuits, sexism and sabotage allegations and complaints about privacy and safety. Rather than succumb, Uber’s leaders have tried to work through these issues, improving their products, culture and team along the way.

This isn’t to say that your business is likely to bounce back after a disaster — only that it’s possible. You still need a calm perspective, the resolution to adapt and survive and, of course, a strong team to help execute your plan. Still, it’s comforting to know that even some of the most successful businesses in the modern world are here not because they never had to face a chaotic emergency, but because they did — and triumphed.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Rashan Dixon Continue reading 5 Quick-Thinking Solutions That Saved Durable Businesses

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The 5 Likeliest Reasons Your Business Isn’t Generating Sales

Startup founders must do more than create a business and a product. They have to create an internal sales process to get it to the right customer.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


When you started the business, you obviously weren’t envisioning an overnight success with orders pouring in night and day. Nevertheless, you were certainly expecting some growth that you hoped would increase consistently as you built your brand over a period of time.

You spend considerable time and resources planning the marketing campaign and reaching out to prospective clients but the sales simply aren’t happening. Sound familiar?

There are a number of reasons you might be experiencing a stasis in sales. Knowing where the problem lies is the first step in resolving the issues your business may be experiencing. There are five reasons why your business may be stuck in a rut, where it is not generating sales.

1. Not having a sales process.

Having a well-defined sales strategy is the key to ensuring sure-shot conversions for your business. While every business is unique and requires the sales process to be customized to meet individual organizational needs, certain steps of the sales process remain constant in every case.

A successful sales process is one that begins with identifying the key prospects and qualifying the leads; it culminates with the leads converting and buying your product or service offering. Setting up the sales process and training all your sales reps about the product as well as the process is the key to building a killer sales pipeline.

Related: 4 Tips to Move Prospects Through Your Sales Pipeline Faster

A carefully thought out sales process ensures that all your sales and marketing activities are directed toward generating qualified leads, moving them forward through the various stages of the sales pipeline, and getting them to convert.

2. Not targeting the right customers.

What if your marketing efforts are successfully generating traffic and generating leads, but there still aren’t any conversions happening? The fault may not necessarily lie in the capabilities of your sales reps. Targeting the right customers is an essential step for sales success. This is where lead qualification comes to play a major role in your sales process.

Start with profiling a buyer persona for the sales process to target. Who is the customer that needs your product or service? How does your offering solve their problem? Are the target customers capable of making the purchase decision? If not, who should you be targeting instead?

Related: How to Qualify Your Leads and Make More Sales

Make sure you are selling something that alleviates pain points for your target customer and becomes something that satisfies a need in your consumers. Don’t focus on how great your product or service is and what benefits it offers. Focus instead on the customer’s problems and how your product or service offering is going to solve them.

Don’t try to sell to everyone. No matter how great your offering is, focus your marketing and sales efforts on its specific niche. Understand the prospect’s pains and then communicate how your product or service is going to solve.

3. Not providing the requisite training.

Great salespeople aren’t born, they are made. Training and development programmes are a must for your sales team to be on the same page. They need to have knowledge of the various tools and techniques available to them in order to succeed in sales.

In-depth knowledge of the product or service is offering is also essential in order to help sales staff close more deals and generate more sales. Having frequent training sessions when your business is just starting out is a great resource for the sales team to hone their skills.

Related: 8 Steps for the Perfect Product Launch

From product training to teaching how to communicate with leads more effectively, the training sessions need to focus on making them better sellers. The success of your business is directly related to how successful your sales team is at closing opportunities.

4. Not having the requisite tools.

Not providing the sales team with the tools and technology it needs is a cardinal mistake entrepreneurs often commit when starting up. If you haven’t invested in a sales pipeline management tool or a CRM software yet, you are contributing to a slump in future sales.

A good sales management software is one of the most important investments you can make for your business. It is a valuable asset for your sales team, one that streamlines the entire sales process and simplifies it so that the sales pipeline can be viewed at a glance.

Depending on your budget and the resources at your disposal, many CRM tools are already available to you. Pick the one that best meets your requirements and get started with it.

A sales management software lets you stay on top of your sales process. It lets you know every single detail within the sales pipeline, what stage every deal is in, and where any bottlenecks and areas of inefficiency exist. All these metrics help you close deals more effectively.

With advancement in technology, CRM software is also evolving. The sales data is backed up in the cloud and advanced algorithms utilize Artificial Intelligence to track the key metrics. The analytics tools they offer let you can make data-backed decisions to improve sales efficiency.

5. Not defining a timeline.

One reason why the sales may not be taking place is a lack of urgency in the customer’s mind. Procrastination is deeply embedded in human nature, and one of the ways of getting over it and triggering buy behaviour is by defining a timeline for the customer.

Create a sense of urgency to convert the buying intent into actual action. When you are just starting out, designing a strategy that works to hurry not only generates sales but also helps raise brand awareness. Offer limited-time free-trial sessions or attractive discounts for a fixed number of days to see a spike in your sales.

Pushy sales are already a thing of the past. It is now vital to understand the psychology behind buying behaviour and smartly use that knowledge to drive more sales.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Rahul Varshneya Continue reading The 5 Likeliest Reasons Your Business Isn’t Generating Sales

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7 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Elite Athletes

Great achievements begin with a goal and a plan.


8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Elite athletes push themselves to perform at an extraordinarily high level. Whether they’re winning gold medals or taking their team to the championships, elite athletes find ways to push their bodies and minds beyond what the rest of us are capable of.

While most of us will never be able to replicate elite athletes’ success on the field, court or balance beam, we can all learn from the traits that motivate them. We may not be capable of taking on the grueling training and unyielding competition that an elite athlete faces, but we all aspire to achieve our own successes and reach our own goals. We all seek to perform at the highest level possible and set ourselves apart in our respective fields.

By studying the habits and mindset of an elite athlete, we can gain important insights into how to translate athletic success into entrepreneurial endeavors. These 7 lessons from elite athletes will help you attain any objective you set your mind to.

1. Know exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

Entrepreneurs may find themselves setting grand and lofty goals. Or they may have some vague notion of what they’d like to accomplish someday. But many creative types have a hard time coming up with solid objectives — both in the long term and short term — and often have difficulty devising a plan of action for how they’ll achieve those goals.

Elite athletes, on the other hand, know that nothing is going to be handed to them without a lot of hard work. They may have their eyes locked on an ambitious goal in the future, but they’re also firmly rooted in what they need to be doing in the present. In order to sweep competitions and win championships, they know they must set smaller “process goals.” Doing this helps them build their fundamental skills, as well as their confidence and their mental capacity to compete at increasingly higher levels.

Just as athletes must set realistic performance goals (such as determining exactly how much they will practice, or how much extra time they will put in beyond regular sessions), an entrepreneur must break down their overall goals into micro goals. You must be willing to invest time and energy into achieving each of those mini goals. You must be willing to go above and beyond to achieve each step of your plan.

Related: Why Entrepreneurs Are the Athletes of the 21st Century

2. Don’t fear pressure.

Imagine standing on a field or in an arena and hearing the roar of a crowd, knowing that everything you have hoped and worked for comes down to your actions right here, right now. To become successful as an athlete, you must learn to perform to the absolute best of your ability, despite enormous odds and incredible stress and tension. Elite athletes don’t fear pressure, they thrive on it. Each moment in their sport is an opportunity to prove themselves, and they won’t allow themselves to back down or falter, no matter what the odds.

Similarly, entrepreneurs must learn to perform well under pressure, even in chaotic circumstances and uncertainty. An entrepreneur must maintain situational awareness and continue to make good decisions, even in the heat of a difficult moment.

The best way to handle pressure is to have confidence in yourself, no matter what the situation. It helps if you know you have done all you can to be prepared. When you’re feeling pressure and tension, take it as a cue that it’s time to focus and be ready to perform. Don’t panic, take a deep breath and charge forward. That’s what an athlete would do.

3. Have grit.

It’s easy to say that the best athletes are the ones who are faster, stronger and more flexible — the ones who have unique skills and talent. But there is something else that separates a good athlete from a great athlete — and it’s often just as important as raw ability and skill. It’s grit.

Angela Duckworth is an author and psychologist who studies what traits differentiate successful people and why. She has found that the most successful people have grit, which she defines as “self-discipline, combined with a passionate commitment to a task and a burning desire to see it through.”

If they want to be successful, entrepreneurs should cultivate grit. They must have resilience in the face of adversity, and the tenacity and determination necessary to reach their goals. They should maintain an optimistic attitude, but also be realistic and recognize areas they need to strengthen.

Believe in yourself and keep working toward your goals. Just as elite athletes must be unwavering in their resolve to improve, you must be willing to work tirelessly and persevere when you’re tempted to quit.

Related: Vince Lombardi on the Hidden Power of Mastering the Fundamentals

4. Be in the moment.

In the heat of fierce competition, an elite athlete’s mind is firmly rooted in the moment. They’re “in the zone,” meaning their attention is in the here and now. They’re only thinking about each step they must take to win and be successful.

Having their mental and physical capacities completely focused on the task at hand means they’re working as efficiently and effectively as possible. Nobody becomes a world-class athlete without learning to tap their full mental and physical potential, and maintain that focus under pressure.

Entrepreneurs must also learn how to be mindful and stay in the present. They will have their attention pulled in many directions as they juggle multiple deadlines and competing projects and issues. By staying in the moment, and staying focused on the task at hand, you’ll be more productive and will stay more engaged, allowing you to make the most of all those moments. This will add up to a major “win” for your business.

5. Use competition to push you further.

World-class champions have developed their physical ability so they can push themselves even when others would give up. They have the mental agility to endure pain, injury and what many of us would consider extreme physical suffering, all in the name of becoming a champion.

They do this because they know what they’re capable of and recognize that it’s only through exerting themselves beyond their limits that they can achieve their best results. They do so because they know it’s the only way to win.

Often, entrepreneurs and other “normal” people don’t know what they are capable of and never really push themselves to find out. We want to avoid putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations, and instead seek security and stability. There’s nothing wrong with that, but world-class success will never come from maintaining your comfort zone. Only in embracing competition and being willing to take chances and accept risks do we truly learn how far we can go.

Related: 5 Qualities Entrepreneurs and Football Players Have in Common

6. Learn from losing (and winning).

The reality of sports, and life, is that there will be winners and losers. All athletes know that they’ll certainly lose some of the time. It’s what you take away from the experience of losing, the lessons you learn, that will propel you to win. But even when you win, there are lessons to be learned.

One thing elite athletes learn from losing is that it’s absolutely worthless to point fingers or blame others for your loss. They know they must turn inward and examine their own performance, dissect their shortcomings and see their failures and missteps as opportunities for improvement. And even if an athlete manages to achieve victory, there were usually mistakes made, and areas where the performance could have been better, smoother and steadier.

The same is true for entrepreneurs, and for anyone who wants to improve at anything in life. You must realize that losing is a temporary condition. Every day is a new chance to learn, grow and succeed. Life isn’t a matter of “winning” everything, every day. True success comes when you learn from mistakes and grow beyond them.

7. Stop comparing yourself.

While competition is a fundamental part of athletics, comparison can breed insecurity. Elite athletes hone their competitive edge; they use their talents and skills to their advantage. But they don’t allow themselves to get sucked into the comparison trap. Great athletes have learned (perhaps the hard way) that constantly comparing yourself to others can mess with your mental game and cause you to lose focus. Comparison can ultimately degrade your performance.

Good athletes are concerned about refining their skills, and they may use others as examples of how to improve and sharpen their abilities. However, great athletes seek to rise above others and compete at their own level.

Similarly, the most successful entrepreneurs strive to be their best selves, both professionally and personally. They define success as something achieved independently of others. They don’t allow themselves to become envious of others or see other people’s success as something that holds them back. Focus on yourself, and on your dreams and goals — that is the ultimate key to your success.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Deep Patel Continue reading 7 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Elite Athletes

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10 Grants You Need to Know About for Your Woman-Owned Business or Organization


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Four out of every 10 businesses, or 40 percent, in the United States are now women-owned, according to The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express. These businesses employ 8 percentof the total private sector workforce and contribute 4.3 percent of total revenues

The combination of women-owned businesses and firms equally owned by men and women — 14.6 million — account for 48 percent of all businesses.

In addition, the number of women-owned businesses, 2007 to 2018, grew by 58 percent, the report said.

Related: 5 Unstoppable Female Entrepreneurs Making Their Dents on the World

These numbers illlustrate what we already know: Women entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small business landscape nationwide.

Yet to continue to be competitive and grow, these entrepreneurs have to find funding for their ventures. And, alarmingly, women business owners are having trouble getting bank loans. Thankfully, they still have other options, given the rise of technology-driven financial lending sources — such as online loans, peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding.

Then there are government grants. While not widely known or used, these grants are another great option for women seeking extra funding for their business ventures. They just take a little more work.

 

Understanding grants

Understanding grants

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Business owners often turn to grants because they are not required to pay them back; essentially, you can look at grants as “free money,” but they come with stipulations. Also, understanding and navigating the grant process can be complex.

First, you have to research and find a grant for which you’re eligible. Then, you have to understand the strict application and compliance guidelines you must meet, to be eligible. Third, you have to compete with other businesses for the same pool of money. Fourth, if you’re awarded a grant, you must report on how you used it. Finally, you must devote time and energy to the lengthy application process, then wait for approval. In a nutshell, you need to have all of your ducks in a row, up-front and afterward.

Finding federal and state grants

Finding federal and state grants

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Many business owners think that federal grants are just a click away. We have all seen the ads promoting free federal money to start businesses. But this is a huge misconception. While there are federal grants available in the areas of medical research, science, education and technology development, no such grants exist specifically for women-owned businesses. You may find grants that fund projects that empower women, but such funding is often set aside for nonprofit corporations, not for-profit businesses.

When researching grants specifically for a woman-owned business, start at the state level. Most states offer grants for women-owned businesses in some capacity. Each state website has a business section where you can find grant and funding opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. A good example of this is the business section for the state of New York, which lists incentives and programs for businesses. Check out your state’s site to find out what is available for your business.

Related: U.S. Is No. 1 for Women Entrepreneurs, But There’s Still Room for Improvement

Another great resource to use in your research is the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that assists minorities and women in establishing and growing their businesses. On its site, you can research grants and access links to state agencies that work with women-owned businesses for funding opportunities. Click here to view all of the state agencies across the country.

Private grants for women

Private grants for women

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To help in your search, we gathered information on these private grants for women entrepreneurs started:

The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program: These grants, for businesses that are 100 percent women-owned and have founding principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation, were put on hold but are expected to be revamped as of this spring of 2019. Check the website for details.

FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program:

FedEx Think Bigger -- Small Business Grant Program:

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Applicants to this Fedex grant program are encouraged to share their visions to receive a portion of the $200,000 awarded in grants (Hurry! the 2019 contest ends March 25!). Part of the judging involves the general public voting for the finalists, so participants may promote their businesses while garnering votes.

Idea Café Small Business Grant:

Idea Café Small Business Grant:

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The Idea Café is a free gateway that hosts different grants on its site. This Small Business Cash Grant of a $1,000 grand prize to a business with the most innovative idea has honored 20 businesses to date.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

The Cartier Women's Initiative Awards

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The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards represent a joint partnership created in 2006 by Cartier, McKinsey & Company, and INSEAD business school, It awards annual grants to support projects by women entrepreneurs and is one of the largest and most prestigious business grants for women, but the competition is steep. The first-place prize in this international women’s business competition is $100,000 for seven “laureates”; second place comes with a $30,000 prize for seven finalists. The competition is closed for 2019 but applications open in June 2019 for 2020.

Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project:

Chase Google -- Mission Main Street Project:

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The Mission Main Street Grants, a partnership of JPMorgan Chase and Google, awarded $250,000 to 12 winners this year (out of 35,000 applications. Recipients also received a trip to Google headquarters. Recipients include businesses like Edibles Rex, a company dedicated to providing nutritious food for children in Detroit’s charter schools. 

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR):

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR):

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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and R&D that has the potential for commercialization. Multiple federal agencies are involved. As of Nov. 20, 2018, agencies could award a Phase I award up to $252,131 and a Phase II award up to $1,680,879 without seeking SBA approval.

Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE):

Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE):

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Grants are available for nonprofot organizations that align with the Walmart Foundation’s key areas of focus: opportunity, sustainability and community. Globally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions during fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2017. And, we did it one grant and one community at a time. Nationally, grants are $250,000 and above. Eligible nonprofit organizations must operate on a national scope through chapters/affiliates in many states around the country or through programs that operate regionally/locally but seek funding to replicate program activities nationally.

The Amber Grants

The Amber Grants

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he Amber Grants began in 1998, in honor of a young woman (Amber) who died at the age of 19 — unable to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams. The Amber Grant helps women like you achieve the dreams that Amber could not. Each grantee receives a $2,000 grant and become eligible for the annual $25,000 grant, which will be awarded at the end of 2019 to one of 12 qualifiers. Hurry! This year’s application period ends March 31.

 

The Tory Burch Fellowship

The Tory Burch Fellowship

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Up to 50 finalists a year in this grant competition receive a $5,000 grant for this year-long Tory Burch Fellowship, and four-day business workshop at Tory Burch Headquarters in New York City.The $5,000 grant must be used for business education. This year’s application process ends in June.

Related: Why Access Is the Key to Women’s Equality in the Workforce

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Victoria Treyger Continue reading 10 Grants You Need to Know About for Your Woman-Owned Business or Organization

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The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

Sales is the original equal opportunity job. Anyone who is gregarious, diligent and resourceful can succeed.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you’ve ever been involved with sales, then you know that it’s not for the faint of heart.

Whether it’s selling a pair of sneakers at a store, a new heating system to homeowners or pitching a startup to investors, making that sale depends on the knowledge and enthusiasm of the salesperson. There is a saying that salesmen are born, not taught. But that’s not exactly the case.

Of course, some have a natural talent, but you can certainly develop the characteristics needed to be an an effective and successful salesperson.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: John Rampton Continue reading The 15 Characteristics of People Who Succeed at Sales

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Technology Stocks Like NVIDIA and Amazon Help Boost the Entrepreneur Index™

Netflix (-1.28 percent) and TripAdvisor Inc. (-0.31) had the only two losses in the sector.


3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Stock prices had a bumpy ride today thanks to conflicting reports on the state of the U.S.-China trade talks from Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswire. The former suggested China was balking at some U.S. demands in the agreement, while the latter reported that the deal was in its final stages.

The major indexes all swung widely today before settling relatively flat. The Dow index, up 200 points in the morning, gave it back by mid-day, recovered then fell again to post a loss of 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 index was down 0.01 percent while the Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.12 percent.

Technology stocks helped the Entrepreneur Index™ to a 0.37 percent gain today. Eleven of the thirteen tech stocks on the index were up. NVIDIA Corp. led the pack, rising 4.0 percent, the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today.

Company founder and CEO Jensen Huang gave a two and a half hour keynote address at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in Silicon Valley yesterday and addressed investors today. They apparently liked his message.

The meteoric rise of NVIDIA hit a wall last year as demand fell for the graphics processing chips the company makes. The resulting inventory bulge led to lower prices and falling revenues and to a nearly 60 percent plunge in the stock price. Since bottoming on Christmas Eve, however, the stock is up 41 percent.

Other tech stocks posting good gains included Amazon, up 1.13 percent, and salesforce.com, up 1.22 percent. Facebook shares, beaten up over the last five trading sessions, also rose 0.69 percent. Netflix (-1.28 percent) and TripAdvisor Inc. (-0.31) had the only two losses in the sector.

L Brands had another good gain today, rising 2.66 percent after posting the biggest gain (3.27 percent) on the Entrepreneur Index™ yesterday. The return of Victoria’s Secret swimsuits–apparently very popular — may have created some enthusiasm for the stock, but low valuation is probably the bigger attraction. The shares are down nearly 30 percent in the last year and trade at only 12.2 times trailing earnings. They also have a dividend yield of 4.3 percent.

Other gains on the index included Chipotle Mexican Grill (1.53 percent), Ford Motor Co. (1.52 percent), and Wynn Resorts (1.44 percent).Homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. had the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today, falling 2.17 percent. The state of the housing and home-building markets have been difficult to read in the last six months, but D.R. Horton shares are up 14.1 percent this year. Wall Street analysts currently have twelve sell ratings, six buy ratings and ten neutral ratings on the stock, according to data from TradingView.

Other notable declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ today included Hess Corp. (-1.93 percent), Estee Lauder Companies (-1.47 percent) and asset manager BlackRock (-1.34 percent). Fedex Corp. reported financial results after the market close. In after-hours trading, the stock was down more than four percent after the company missed earnings and revenue estimates. It cited weaker global trade as the cause.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Andrew Osterland Continue reading Technology Stocks Like NVIDIA and Amazon Help Boost the Entrepreneur Index™

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Stadia, Google’s Cloud Gaming Service, Launches Later This Year

Google wants to make YouTube a centerpiece for accessing and sharing game streaming content.


3 min read


This story originally appeared on PCMag

Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, will launch later this year and support 4K game streams.

Stadia will run on a custom chip from AMD, which has the combined computing power of a Sony Playstation 4 and an Xbox One, Google said at GDC. It will allow Google’s data centers around the world to stream 4K gaming content at 60 frames per second, with HDR and surround sound over any hardware — smartphone, tablet, Chromecast-enabled TV, or PC.

All you’ll need is access to the Chrome browser and a steady internet connection.

In the future, Stadia will also be to stream games at 8K resolutions and at 120 frames per second. Google’s cloud gaming service aims to make YouTube the centerpiece for accessing and sharing game streaming content. For instance, game developers will be able to post links to games in YouTube videos; those who click will be able to immediately play the game in the Chrome browser.

“Stadia is about removing barriers for players to get to their favorites contents and moments,” said Google VP Phil Harrison. “With Stadia, any link can be access to the game.”

Google did not announce a specific launch date or pricing. But it did unveil a Wi-Fi-connected controller for Stadia. It looks like a standard gaming controller, but features two additional buttons: One that can let you share your gaming sessions to YouTube and another to ask the Google Assistant for tips. The controller will also be smart enough to tell which hardware should start streaming your game.

Google was also mum on Stadia’s complete game lineup, though the upcoming Doom Eternal first-person shooter will be available in 4K.

We tried Stadia last October, when it was known as Project Stream, and came away impressed. The service let us play the latest Assassin’s Creed game in 1080p via Chrome on old Windows laptop with mostly no lag and quick load times. The only requirement was a 25Mbps internet connection.

Google won’t be alone in the cloud gaming space. Microsoft is slated to talk up its own offering, Project xCloud, later this week at GDC. Other players include Nvidia, Sony, and Valve’s Steam. However, Google’s announcement will surely draw the attention of game developers, who are looking to reach a potentially wider audience.

Stadia will first launch in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe. Google will announce more details about the cloud gaming service later this summer.

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Michael Kan Continue reading Stadia, Google’s Cloud Gaming Service, Launches Later This Year

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8 International Travel Tips From a Guy Who Lives Out of a Suitcase

Here’s everything you need to know, buy or download before you step foot on the plane.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you’re heading overseas for business or pleasure, here are a few tips I’ve learned (the hard way) that will help you maximize your productivity and your fun.

1. Download Google Maps. (Or learn how to ask for directions in Mandarin.)

Wherever you’re going outside the US, chances are the bandwidth will suck and Google Maps will not be able to get you where you need to go. Take a few minutes to download the maps for the area you’re traveling to before you leave, and you’ll never get lost abroad. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go into settings in the Google Maps app and find the option for “Offline Maps.”
  2. Choose “Custom Map.” 
  3. Zoom out on the map to include the area you’re visiting.
  4. Choose “Download.”
  5. If you need to download a larger area, you can repeat this process for overlapping areas, and you’re ready to go!

2. Get an international data plan. (If you’re stupid and rich, skip this section.)

If you plan on calling, texting and using data, you must take this step before you leave the USA. Go to your carrier’s website and see what’s covered in the places you’re visiting, and find a plan that works for you. If there’s a monthly fee for the plan, makes sure to cancel it right after you return home!

Option two is to turn off data roaming when you travel, but then most every app (Yelp, Google Maps, Email, etc.) won’t work. If you can live with that, you’re leading a better life than I am!

Here are links to some of the bigger carriers’ international plans:

Related: The Hotel Owner Who Called Out a Blogger for Asking for a Free Room

3. Find the right power adapter and bring a few — or bring an electrician.

Most electronics adapt to the difference in the voltage from country to country automatically, but you’ll still need to deal with the funny looking plugs. Before you leave, you should have a few adapters in your luggage. To find out what kind you’ll need, check out this guide. And be sure to have one in your carry-on luggage, so you can charge your phone during layovers or if your luggage gets lost.

4. Buy a portable charger — and remember to bring it!

Portable chargers are a lifesaver when traveling abroad. Phones tend to run out of battery faster when you’re roaming, and it’s no fun being stranded with no place to charge. Choose a small but powerful portable charger, something that fits comfortably in your everyday gear, so you don’t regret carrying it. And bring a longer charger cord, so you can charge your phone while you’re using it. Here’s one I really like.

5. See if Uber operates where you’re going.

Uber is an excellent choice to get around when you’re traveling, especially in countries where getting a taxi might require you to go to specific locations or call ahead. Uber doesn’t operate everywhere, so you’ll have to check their list of international cities. And make sure to create an Uber account before you leave if you don’t have one already. (Seriously? No Uber account?) Are you more of a Lyft fan? Great if you’re going to Canada, but other than that, you’re out of luck.

Related: Check Out This CIA Operative’s 9-Step Hotel Safety Checklist

6. Use ATMs for cash — but only bank ATMs.  

You’ll probably need some local currency, even if you mostly use credit cards. It is always good to have a little local cash on hand for incidentals and tips. Just avoid the airport currency exchanges to get your dough. 

Using currency exchanges at the airport is a sucker’s bet unless you love complex fees and exchange rate manipulation.  ATMs in other countries are an easy solution and typically have an option in English (Hint: Click the U.S. or UK flag when it asks!) But only use ATMs that are operated by actual banks, not by currency exchange companies. And avoid no-name ATMs found in tiny shops and all-night markets — they’re notorious for odd fees and stealing identities. Keep all of your ATM receipts until you can crosscheck your records back home.

Related: 10 Things You Need To Do If You’re Flying In Bad Weather

7. Avoid the credit card hustle.

Credit cards are a great way to manage your overseas spending, but here are some things to check so you don’t wind up with unexpectedly huge bills.

  • Some cards charge a fee for each overseas transaction. This can get painful in a hurry. Avoid using those cards altogether, as there are many that have no additional fees for charging abroad.
  • Speak to American Express – it’s a brand built on travel, and they offer a ton of cards with features and benefits for the overseas traveler. AMEX is pretty fair with respect to exchange rates and is excellent at protecting its members against fraud. One caveat: there are some merchants that don’t accept AMEX, so be sure to have a backup card or some cash on hand.
  • Pay in the local currency if you’re ever presented with the option to “see your total in dollars,” when checking out. While it’s nice that the credit card machines can show the amount in dollars, the hidden exchange rate offered is typically way worse than what your credit card company will charge. Just say no, and pay in the local currency.

8. Be smart with your passport, dummy.

Make two photocopies of your passport before you depart — leave one at home with a friend and take one with you. In case you lose your passport, you can use this copy to help start the process of cleaning up this mess you’re in. You should also take a good photo of the passport with your phone. Always secure your passport as soon as you arrive at your destination, like the hotel safe. And set a calendar reminder for the date and time you’re leaving so you don’t go to the airport without it!

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Maurice Freedman Continue reading 8 International Travel Tips From a Guy Who Lives Out of a Suitcase