Leadership: Putting an end to the Classic Myths

It’s become something of a buzzword in the industry over the last few years, with umpteen autobiographies and business journals really putting a spin on the term “leadership”.

In truth, this isn’t something that you can pick up a book and learn in a flash. Sure, if you were to turn to the best online MBA, you would probably see some real progress, but a lot of people rely on pure experience over a long period of time.

The problem with a lot of the autobiographies is that they are very opinion-based. In the business world especially, there are a lot of opinions doing the round. This, in turn, creates a lot of misconceptions which can cloud the issue of leadership somewhat.

Bearing this in mind, today’s post is going to tackle some of these leadership myths, and highlight what’s really true about the elusive L-word.

“Leaders have to be born”

This is one of the most ridiculous myths of all. There’s no doubt that every person in the world is born with a different personality, and some of these personality types will be associated with leadership more than others.

However, to suggest that leaders can’t be made would be a gross inaccuracy. Many believe that leaders are created through the circumstances that they find themselves in. There will be occasions when they naturally find themselves in said circumstances, and others where they strategically place themselves in these situations to try and develop themselves. To coin the same example, studying for an MBA is a case of someone aiming to creep out of their comfort zone and ultimately develop their leadership qualities.

“Leaders will never delegate the important tasks”

This is another myth that couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the most important things that a leader needs to be able to do successfully is delegate. This is a point that few would disagree with.

It’s plain wrong to suggest that leaders won’t delegate the most important tasks on their agenda though. On the contrary, they will find the right person to do the job. In some situations, this might involve them carrying out the task themselves, but on others they will be more than happy to delegate accordingly.

“Leaders are imposing and charismatic”

One of the biggest stereotypes of leaders is that they are imposing figures that are full of charisma. The main reason behind this misconception is that it’s these types of leaders which tend to find themselves in the public domain. In other words, they put themselves in the shop-window, and everyone else thinks that there is no other way to be a leader.

However, if we were to view leaders around the world, the overriding characteristic would be influence. Some might do this through more vocal ways than others, but the key attribute beneath everything is the ability to influence others. Others will respect them, and it’s not necessarily for the way that they portray their ideas.

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8 Things to Research Before Becoming A Franchise Owner

If you’ve decided that you’d rather buy into an already-successful franchise than risk starting your own business, there are some things you should know before you go ahead with your decision. Fast food franchises, such as Quiznos, Checkers and Wendys, for example often encourage individuals like you to buy into the franchise, but it’s up to you to do your homework before investing. You would own your own location, run your own store and be your own boss. You would be responsible for hiring and firing employees, and you would get to learn how to run a business. You’d of course have to pay a royalty to the franchise corporation, but the rest of the profits from your location’s sales would belong to you. Opportunities are abundant when it comes to being a franchise owner, and you just have to do your research to ensure that you are buying into a reputable franchise with strong brand power and a loyal customer base. Here are 8 things you need to research about a franchise before buying into it.

  1. Do customers love them? It’s crucial that you research how popular this franchise is before buying into it. Do the customers love it? Do customers leave positive reviews about the food? Quiznos, for examples, is known for its quality and customers can’t stop talking about how fresh the ingredients are and how flavorful the sandwiches are. And yes, there currently are Quiznos franchise opportunities.
  2. How strong is their brand power? In other words, how well known are they? How strong is their brand? How successful are their marketing campaigns? If their brand is in good standing, reputable, widely recognized and positively regarded, that’s a great thing.
  3. How many franchises do they have? It’s better to buy into a franchise that doesn’t have too many locations. For example, there’s a Starbucks on every corner, and several Starbucks locations compete with each other (they compete with their neighbor two blocks away). If there are less locations, there is less competition.
  4. What locations are available? When it comes to owning a franchise, three words come to mind: location, location, location. It definitely matters what location is available for you to buy. It would be amazing to get a location near a business district (hello, lunch breaks!) or near a university, or on a busy street that gets a lot of foot traffic. Sometimes the locations that are off of a busy highway do quite well also. Definitely put some serious time into researching the location.
  5. How reasonable are the costs? Owning a franchise comes with costs. You’ll have to pay for employees, inventory, equipment and more. You’ll also have to pay a royalty (franchise fee) to the franchise corporation. Research these costs to make sure they aren’t completely unreasonable. You should decipher what your total investment costs will be before you make your decision.
  6. How long will it take to break even? Since owning a franchise involves some up-front costs, you should research how long it will take to break even. The reason this is important is because you don’t truly start profiting from the business until you break even. Sometimes, this can take awhile. You have to be willing to wait to see the profits.
  7. What is the earning potential? Your research should include an attempt to figure out how well a franchise owner in a comparable location is doing. You should ask leading questions to figure out what your earning potential could be if you buy into this franchise.
  8. What level of support does the franchise corporation offer? Support is key, and many franchise corporations offer an incredible level of support to their individual franchise owners. Support comes in the form of instructions, guidance, materials, deals on equipment, negotiations on your behalf, advice, etc. Ask the franchise corporation what they offer in terms of support.

 

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Working in the West: Traveling for Business has Plenty of Perks and Colorado Springs Offers some Great Venues to Visit During Your Trip

If you happen to be traveling to the Colorado Springs area on business you have to try and make the most of the opportunity to enjoy some leisure time around your busy work schedule.

Here are some of the must-see venues that deserve your attention if you are working in the West.

Inspirational views

There are some great hotels in the area to stay at like the Colorado Springs Marriott, for example, and as well as enjoying comfortable accommodation you will also be within close proximity of some very worthwhile attractions.

If you want to witness one of the most photogenic landscapes you are likely to see anywhere the one place that should be on your leisure itinerary is the Garden of the Gods.

These awesome and distinctive rock formations are a major draw in Colorado Springs and you can take a segway or jeep tour around the area if you want to enjoy as much of the scenery in the time you have available.

A bit of time for hanging about

If you are seeking an adrenaline rush and want an aerial view of Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs a good way to do that would be by being suspended in mid-air and getting ready for your zipline adventure.

The Manitou Springs Zipline Adventure experience is well worth considering as the five different ziplines give you an amazing view of the area from the air, that’s if you can focus while soaring across this spectacular alpine canyon location.

Soak up a bit of history

If you would prefer your leisure time to be more sedate and educational a good attraction to visit would be the National Museum of World War II Aviation.

As well as enjoying an inspirational journey that tells you all about the history of the aircraft and the role they played in the war you can also visit neighboring WestPac Restoration and see how they are restoring some original aircraft to their former glory and ready to take to the skies again.

A challenging escape from work

Escape rooms are a popular new phenomenon in a lot of places and Colorado Springs has at least 11 different experiences to choose from.

The idea behind these escape rooms is to work out the clues and find your way out of the rooms within a limited amount of time. There are a variety of themes from “Escape from Hellscream”, which has a horror twist to the game, to “Planet Deadline” which will appeal to sci-fi fans.

If you want to escape from work for an hour and like a challenge, try one of the escape rooms located in Colorado Springs.

Whether you want to enjoy the amazing natural scenery or enjoy some man-made entertainment you won’t be short of options when it’s time to take a break from work during your stay in Colorado Springs.

Make sure you try and squeeze some of these attractions into your itinerary.

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Everything You Need to Know About Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a division of Amazon best known for serving up a massive online marketplace for just about everything. In a Forbes article, Jason Bloomberg noted that “AWS is reinventing what it means to be a software vendor for all the markets it serves, including consumer, developer, SMB, and enterprise.” If you’re looking for a powerful cloud service provider, you’ll find that AWS is one of the most innovative and expansive options available with a growing suite of web tools that go above and beyond the standard offerings.

The Basics of AWS

Image via Flickr by magerleagues

At its core, AWS is a cloud computing service that gives business owners the computing power they need with remote storage and maintenance. AWS delivers powerful functionality that’s designed for flexibility and scalability. This service offers all the benefits of any cloud storage provider along with a host of other perks. AWS offers a serverless reference architecture for everything from the Internet of Things to web apps to image recognition. AWS has also announced services that will expand into artificial intelligence, databases, and more.

Helpful Training and Certification Services

Amazon supplies a comprehensive suite of digital training services to help users understand all the features of AWS. You can enroll in free courses, develop new technical skills, and validate what you’ve learned for AWS certification. This is an outstanding offering as the full functionality of AWS is far too expansive for a new user to grasp without seriously studying some of the innovative new technologies that have rolled out with this service.

Reliable Security

Cloud security has long been a major concern for business owners as they transition to this business approach. AWS secures its data centers with network firewalls and uses in-transit transcription across all services. Using the service’s provided tools, users can trace the who, what, and where of calls for maximum visibility. Businesses can also incorporate their own security layers within AWS for additional protection on top of what’s already available.

Powerful Scalability for Computing

AWS Lambda is a computing service that enhances the capabilities of AWS, allowing you to run code without provisioning your own server space for the activity. AWS Lambda responds to user requests and provides the necessary capacity and infrastructure to run your code on a per-use basis. This means that you don’t have to supply an abundance of servers for prospective users who may not begin using your code immediately.

AWS Lambda scales seamlessly, so you’re prepared for anything from a slow start to a sudden rush of activity. You pay only for the compute time that you consume and pay nothing when your code isn’t running. This functionality is a key example of how Amazon’s web services are structured to streamline your business activities in the most efficient way possible.

Whether you’re looking for convenient cloud storage or access to a serverless application repository, you can find the features and functionality that you’re looking for with AWS. Designed to serve as a catch-all for all your cloud needs, this solution is meeting its goal admirably.

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Are Your Products Flowing Smoothly? : Supply Chain Management is Important to Your Business

Most people in business recognize that supply chain management is crucial to their success, profitability and customer satisfaction. There are numerous benefits to ensuring your supply chain is properly managed and serves to provide a structure to your business that is efficient, productive and progressive. There is also the fact that as business has become more competitive in recent years; it’s now harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. Supply chain management is integral to achieving this as it provides a solid structure from which to offer a high-quality service to your buyers.

Here we take a closer look at the distinct advantages of good supply chain management:

Improves Customer Service

Everyone knows that the customer is king when it comes to business and delivering good quality products, goods or services in an efficient and cost-effective way, ensures repeat business going forward. Customers want to know their orders will be delivered to the right location at a time that is convenient to them and without having to wait too long. Ensuring your operation is streamlined to deal effectively with individual orders will keep your customers happy and more importantly, make them come back for more.

Reduces Operating Costs

Your supply chain is as important to your retailers and suppliers as it is to your business. Keeping a close eye on product inventory in terms of stock and distribution should be well managed as part of your supply chain strategy to ensure consistent and smooth flowing fulfillment of orders. If you have a product that is particularly popular at any given time, your supply chain should be set up to make sure there’s enough stock at outlets to meet demand. If your supply chain is efficiently managed, you can significantly reduce your operating costs.

Improves your Financial Position

An efficient supply chain is often a good way to streamline costs and boost cost-effectiveness of your operation. Naturally, it goes without saying that if you are making savings in one area of your business, you’ll notice a corresponding increase in revenue. Good supply chain management protects your business from overstocking and wastage and consequently boosts your bottom line.

Increases your Cash Flow

A good supply chain is responsive to orders as they arrive, so that they are fulfilled within the quickest time. Obviously, if you can get your goods to your customers in ten days rather than twenty-eight days, you can invoice them sooner and benefit your cash flow.

How to Achieve Good Supply Chain Management?

You understand how your business works better than anyone and also the buying behavior of your customers too. In order to understand how to best organize your supply chain, you need to undertake some supply chain analytics, to help you create a clearer picture of how you can best serve your customers by improving your supply chain. The difference between good and bad supply chain management can mean the success or failure of a business and so this is an aspect that requires closer attention.

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Finding Stocks To Trade

When you start out day trading, one of the first things that you need to learn is about finding stocks to trade. That is the first step to becoming a day trader that makes money and not one of the masses that lose money. More than 90% of day traders lose money. That is a fact.

But you don’t have to be one of them. The 10% of day traders that do turn a profit do it with smarts, technique and strategies taught to them by experts. And it all starts with finding penny stocks to trade and capitalizing on those hot stocks.

What is going to be key is a daily watch list. When you get involved with a day trading education site, you can get the benefits of a bevy of instructors that can teach you about momentum day trading strategies, how to spot gappers and more. But one of the most valuable aspects is being in a day trading chat room that offers a daily watch list.

Because following a daily watch list and interacting with veteran traders, in a chat room, is, especially for aspiring traders, a great way to get experience. You can see the stocks that are featured in the daily watch list, see the veterans take positions in the stocks and explain their positions and learn why and how those stocks make the daily watch list.

What you want to look for in a daily watch list is ideas beyond the typical penny stock lists of many other sites out there. You need to be looking at the market each day for opportunities to make 5-10% in profits and rack up more and more of those each day. That is how you end up with real profits at the end of the week. Building up small wins gradually, rather than taking long positions and hoping they pay off big.

And when you get very good at that, you can start looking at a gap & go strategy. That is where you see stocks that are trending up in the early morning before the opening bell, with prices above what they closed at yesterday.

You search for a catalyst in the news, like an earnings report, make sure the number of shares out on the market are low enough that they might all be traded that day and you take your position. That is a slightly higher level of strategy and one that you would wise to learn thoroughly before you begin to implement it.

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Tech Success: Top Apps for Managing Your Workers, No Matter Where They Are

tech-success

Not long ago, businesses only needed remote employee management plans when they employed traveling sales reps, site-repair crews, delivery drivers and other road warriors. Today, with the Internet enabling desk workers to work out of home just as effectively as they might out of the office, telecommuting is common. Remote work has grown 80% over the past decade.

Every business that allows such flexibility needs a plan; telecommuting employees still need to be managed, and they still need to collaborate. If you’re beginning to set up a telecommuting program at your business, it could be a challenge in the beginning to find the right tools. There are apps that every business with remote employee management needs should explore.

Remote desktop software

When members of a team are spread out as they work on a project, nothing can bring them together as effectively as a shared screen. Many businesses make do, rigging up videoconferencing apps for the purpose. While these allow passive screen-sharing, however, participants on call are unable to make changes on shared computer screens. This is where apps such as TeamViewer come in.

TeamViewer works on every major mobile and desktop platform, and allows participants to actually use a shared computer as if it were their own. Not only does TeamViewer help make teamwork efficient, it helps with troubleshooting needs, as well. An employee with a computer issue can always call on support from colleagues headquarters. A tech who is able to look at and operate a device remotely is able to offer effective help.

Meeting software

Skype for Business is often improvised for online business meetings. Businesses employing these non-specialized software applications, however, miss out on a great deal. There are better ways to go about meetings, when one has access to custom-built applications. Specialized meeting apps such as Click Meeting offer features that businesses need — offline messaging, reliable connections, and webinar ability, among others. Multilevel meeting features are an important plus — they allow higher management in the middle of large, mixed meetings, to retreat for discussions.

Cloud storage

Just as remote desktop software helps employees who are geographically spread out, to get together and share their work in virtual conferences, cloud storage allows them to bring their resources together. When employees routinely save everything that they do to the cloud instead of a local drive, every piece of work that employees may create, or every file or resource that they may need, is always within reach. From Amazon Cloud to Dropbox, several cost-effective alternatives available.

Apps that help with logistics

When telecommuting workers need to actually travel to the office, a number of mobile apps help smooth the process. Weather Live Free, the weather app by Apalon Apps, helps foresee weather problems, Parking Panda helps find and reserve parking spots, Gas Buddy helps locate cheap gas, Card Munch organizes business cards, and Sign Easy helps with document signing needs.

Innovative technological solutions such as these help businesses realize the productivity efficiencies promised for telecommuting.

Jordan Greenwood runs a tech company and has remote workers dotted all over the globe. He writes about how technology has changed the world, running a business with it and much more besides.

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How to Succeed as a Business Entrepreneur – 6 Top Ways

Having taken the primary and most important step, which was to set the wheels of your business project into motion, the next step would be to discover new ways to make it grow and prosper successfully. 

It is important to realize that you need to dedicate your heart and soul to the initiative for it to receive a great number of responses.

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The most important thought you would need to inculcate is that this would be a result of all the hard work, the creativity and the love that you put in to bring the project to life. So be ready to breathe it, eat it, dream it and live it!

Make it a point to read some quotes every day. Motivational quotes have the power to influence your mindset and allow you to function effectively!

Here are six important pointers to help you become a successful business entrepreneur!

  • Become more vocal

It is imperative that you break out from that shell of yours and become more social. No better time than now to begin engaging with others who are in the same place as you. The best form of help is self-help.

So let’s start there. Make it a point to get to know different people, and tell them about your new project. Speak freely and with confidence. Make it an engaging conversation. Allow them to pass criticism and pick it up from there. When they see the fire and passion in your voice, they will begin to take you more seriously

  • Marketing Online

Another way to spread the word effectively is talk about on the internet. Create a website that elaborately depicts your project in an intricate, catchy yet professional way. Outline your project details effectively and highlight the essentials. Spread the word by sharing the website page on your social media accounts.

You could use your friends’ and family’s help by asking them to do the same as well. Build a strong front by exploring various such upcoming start-ups and mutually help each other to grow together.

  • Lend a Helping Hand

Remember that there are probably many out there like you trying to come up with their own business ideas, and so it’s much easier when you engage with such people. Don’t hesitate to offer them help and let them know when you come across new, innovative ways to sell your project. This will always come in handy because this way you get to learn so much and have a diverse exposure to all kinds of people and projects.

Also, when you lead a helping hand, you can be sure to receive the same when you need it!

  • Good Strategy and Testing

Come up with a good enough strategy to outline your project, beginning from the initial to final steps of development of the project, making sure you’ve kept in mind all the little details. It must be a fool-proof strategy, and you must be able to work out any shortcomings.
The final step before delivering the product to the public would be to test it amongst close friends who would appreciate and criticize you at the same time. Absorb the good and work on the negatives.

  • Come Up With Good Customer Service

This is the next big thing which would help your business grow! Put in place a team which dedicates itself to satisfy the needs of your customers. This is highly necessary if you want good reviews and expansion of your business. This will go a long way to getting contacts as well.

  • Believe In Yourself

This is the first and last thing on your mind when you work on your project every day. Trust yourself to make right choices and stand by it. It all works out for the best when you believe in yourself and in your dreams.

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Making The Right Choices When You’re Trading

Making The Right Choices When You're Trading can make the difference between winning and losing

Photo by CC user Kbrose on Wikimedia Commons

You must be sure that you are right in the midst of decision making process. You must decide when, what and how to trade. You also must go through the right learning and unlearning process. While many of us might be talking about how and when and what to trade, we should also know when not to trade and when to get out of the market.

Over the next few lines we will try and have a look at some time tested and proven theorems which could help you in making the right choices when you’re trading. This will help you to move away from a state of mind which often is referred to as “analysis paralysis”.

It Is All About Experience

If you believe that you can become an expert in trading overnight then you are in for some rude shocks. Trading in commodities, indices, and currencies is a learning process and therefore experience is the biggest teacher. Therefore you must believe in learning the tricks of the trade step by step and gather as much experience as you possibly can before heading over to CMC Markets. It would not be a bad idea to keep a trading journal where you should note down each and every significant event as it happens daily. This certainly will help you to identify the areas where you are making mistakes. You will make mistakes for sure but experience is all about learning from the mistakes and not repeating it again.

Do Not Bite More Than You Can Chew

When you are in trading you certainly make use of various types of indicators. It is quite obvious that you could be cluttered with information and each one might interpret these indicators in their own way. You should find out ways and means by which you keep the number of indicators as low as possible. This is important because the more you clutter your decision making process, the more you are likely to make mistakes. Hence you must believe in keeping it simple and straight. This again will happen only with experience and therefore this point and the previous one are closely interlinked.

You Should How To Recover From Mistakes

There are hardly any traders who have not incurred losses and their success story is not all smooth sailing. You must therefore find out ways and means by which you can convert mistakes into learning grounds and learn to profit from it over a period of time. Many people often become paralyzed when they make losses and you should not be one of them if you wish to make it big. You must sit down and analyze the reasons for failure and take lessons from it rather than being stunned into inaction.

Intuition Has A Role To Play

Though many theoretical experts may have a different take on this, it has been proven time and again that your intuition can help you a lot in making the correct trading decision. If you make wrong use of it you could end up in a state of failure. Intuition is something that comes with experience. This is often referred to as expert intuition. You must also try and develop long term intuition. This is about intuition being driven by the brain which works in the background. This could be of strategic importance at times.

At times you might be at a loss to understand as to how your intuition made you take the decision. However, having said this it is important to understand that intuition does not work in thin air. It has to be backed by logic and figures and there should be some basis for it. There have been instances where intuition has enabled traders to take smart and fast decisions.

Importance Of Playing Learning Games

It is important to train the brain so that it is able to think correctly and think fast. You must therefore understand the importance of playing learning games. You will be playing in a demo environment and hence the risk of losing money can be ruled out. You could try and look for games which could help in speeding up the brain and its thinking capacity.

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