Are You Building A Business Or Creating A Job For Yourself?

We recently spoke with a member of our co-working space who owns a PR/marketing company and is the only employee of his company. His firm is successful and has been in business for more than three years since he left a large organisation where he was the head of PR.

Our conversation got around to the issue of extra help. When he needs additional skills to fulfill assignments, this man told us, he contracts with other professionals. That was interesting, we thought. Because, although our PR friend is talented and able to support his growing family, his comment about contracting out work raised a question for us.

“Was he trying to build a company or create a job for himself?” we wanted to know. It was a question that struck a chord with this man – one that he later came back to discuss.

In that context, we want to state that we think that we consider either choice a valid one, but one that should be a specific choice, nonethless. We work with and mentor dozens of small start-ups. And many start as single-person firms completing short assignments for a variety of other small or midsized companies.

 Most of these individuals used to hold positions with larger organisations doing essentially what they do now. Some left their jobs for the chance to build a company; some wanted more flexibility or the autonomy to choose their own assignments. Others lost their jobs and turned to freelance work out of necessity. Either way, they are now part of what we know as the gig economy.

There are more than 28 million small business in the United States. Of these, single-person companies are in the majority, representing three-quarters of all small businesses. These individuals, whether they planned it or not, have created a job for themselves. They will not hire employees or scale their businesses. Of course, this need not be negative.

Done right, a one-person business can actually make good money. It can give the owner the flexibility to choose assignments that are interesting and fulfilling, and to enjoy the flexibility of working when and where he or she chooses.

The “micro-business” category

A person working alone, or essentially alone, is a business category we call a “microbusiness.” The defining characteristic of a micro business is that the owner or principal is doing the primary work of the business, whether that means providing PR services or baking cookies. He or she may have helpers in the form of other freelancers, vendors or assistants, but the preponderance of the revenue comes directly from the work of this principal.

The key to the success of a micro business is how well the principal does its primary work, which includes selling. We find that the biggest challenge in a micro business is finding a steady stream of work. By the way, our consulting practice is a successful micro business. We have one paid full-time employee, our marketing assistant, but we do the primary work of our business – consulting.

The small business structure

Many people who own micro-businesses choose to stay at this size. However, if you want to build a business, you will need to grow, at least to what we call a small business structure, where the primary work is delegated to others. The owner might keep his or her hand in it, but others do the preponderance of the work. At this point, how well the principal does the primary work of the business is not nearly as important as it was when the enterprise was a micro business.

Personally, we found it difficult to transition to a small business structure in our consulting business for a couple of reasons. First, when people hire Doug and Polly to consult to their small business, they want Doug and Polly, not an associate. Second, we are limited in the amount we can charge to the very small businesses we serve. The fees we charge are not high enough to pay talent at the level we would want and still provide a sufficient markup for our firm. Therefore, Whitestone Partners has stayed a micro business.

It’s important to note that the role of the entrepreneur changes dramatically as a business moves from micro to small. In fact, at the point of transition, the principal has to let go of doing the very thing that made the company successful at the prior step. In a micro business, the business lives or dies based on how well the owner performs the primary work of the business. This makes sense. You have created a job, and you keep it or lose it based on how well you do the work.

But, if you choose to grow to a small business structure, success depends on how well the principal hires and manages workers. If you are the principal, your role will change. If you want to bake cakes, stay a micro business. If you want to run a bakery, you need to build a business. This is a scary step and one that can cause the principal sleepless nights.

Many people we mentor balk at this transition when they realise they will be responsible for the livelihood of others. However, to grow a business, yourself,, eventually, you will need to hire and manage employees.

Next . . . the midsize business

If you’re successful at the small business stage and choose to continue to grow, you will become a midsize business. The business has transitioned from small to midsize when at least one layer of management has been inserted between the principal and those doing the primary work. The principal has gone from managing workers to managing managers. This might sound like a small change. It is not.

To effectively utilise managers, the principal must delegate decision-making authority to them. This means giving up a measure of control, which is often difficult for entrepreneurs who are used to making every significant decision in the company.

This also is the transition with which growing companies most often struggle. Letting go of some control is a scary thing for entrepreneurs, and they are right to feel trepidation. Ineffective delegation can lead to the ruin of the business – we’ve seen it too often. To enable effective delegation, the principal will need to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place. This means making certain that the business has the right managers, that processes are well-documented and that appropriate metrics are in place.

Meanwhile, if you want to create a life that has flexibility and autonomy and allows you to work when and where you like, you should probably choose to stay a micro business. As we like to say, you can create a great job for yourself. If you want to build something more, you will need to move to a small business structure. You will know that you have transitioned from micro to small when you have delegated most of the primary work of the business to others.

To truly scale a business, you will need to transition to midsize or larger. You will have done this once you’ve delegated day-to-day decision-making authority to a layer of managers that is between you and those doing the primary work of the businesses.

Each choice is valid and comes with its own challenges. However, we believe that it should be a conscious and specific choice. If you are unsure which direction to take, find an experienced consultant or mentor with whom to explore your options, skill sets, and desires. Then move forward with purpose in the direction that works for you.

This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com.

The journey so far: Ivan Mbowa, CEO, Umati Capital

Ivan Mbowa is the co-founder and CEO of Umati Capital, a Kenyan-based financial institution that provides credit and related payment technologies to agri-business supply chains, retailer value chains and fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers.

1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.

One of the toughest situations that I faced in the early days of our lending business was having to make a sudden provision for loss on 90% of our loan book after discovering systemic customer-driven fraud.

As you can imagine, this led to a catalytic shutdown of debt funding lines, equity investor interest and key staff departures.

I would like to tell you that I immediately knew what to do, but I would be lying. I spent weeks like a deer in  headlights, questioning everything. This was the proverbial lowest of lows. However, one of the things I learned was that it is precisely at times like this that you discover who you truly are in the face of a devastating crisis.

To overcome this situation, I began the slow journey of literally rebuilding the business by quickly admitting where we went wrong, putting in place the right controls and processes, painting a new vision for the future and (painfully) trying to convince my investors and remaining staff to give us a second chance.

Now almost three years later, we are out of the woods and have grown loan volumes six times with a fraction of the bad debt (and having almost completed the full recovery of the 90% of the loan book that we wrote off).

2. Which business achievement are you most proud of?

I am most proud that five years after having started and against the odds, our startup is thriving after having been tested through existential crises.

A friend once told me that in the early days, running a startup is a game of attrition: in a game where 90% of your competition won’t be alive within three years of starting, to survive is to win.

On a more conventional basis, I would also add that I am proud of being able to transform a concept into a business, raising significant capital, recruiting an amazing team and proving that you could create a digital lending business that would seek to provide small businesses with access to uncollateralised working capital that could change their business fortunes. This is in an economy where the majority of banks have failed to provide accessible finance to small businesses.

3. Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.

One of my greatest weaknesses is conversely one of my greatest strengths. This is the ability to apply a laser-like focus to getting things done against the face of criticism or lack of faith in those around me.

This, of course, sounds like a great strength until you realise that this has also led to being less than quick to adjust course in business when the situation called for radical change in an opposite direction. I have prevented this from negatively impacting my company by having greater self-awareness [and] the guiding hand of a board of directors who ultimately form both a sounding board and an approval layer around strategic direction.

4. Which popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?

I disagree with the conventional business wisdom that it is better to copy well than [to] invent badly.

You see this in a lot of markets in Africa, where a successful business concept is instantly replicated and true innovation is occasionally looked down upon.

My personal philosophy (borrowed heavily from Daniel Pink’s book “Drive”) is that I am only driven by work that is challenging, purposeful and that allows me a chance at self-mastery. Spending the better part of my years replicating the work of others would be a waste of my intellect and life.

5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?

I wish I had known some of the greatest challenges in entrepreneurship would come from within and not outside of myself. The battle is truly won or lost in your mind.

Entrepreneurs are the mad ones among us who leave certainty for a chance at the improbable. Life will continuously remind you that you are playing against the odds. The moment you give up mentally, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Finally, as another friend told me at the beginning of my own entrepreneurial journey: there are two types of businesspeople in Africa – visionaries and hustlers. So choose your tribe and don’t waste your time trying to play by the rules of the other group.

Source: How We Made It In Africa

Nasir Yammama – Founder, Verdant Agri-Tech

Country: Nigeria

It all began in 1996 in the village of Yammama. On a clear day here, a blue sky covers the heavens and white cotton fields light the ground below. A dozen brightly-painted trucks are lined up; workers load sacks upon sacks of cotton. Then six-year-old Yammama, who carries the name of his village, walks the fields with his father. He saw the workers sweating and vowed to improve the work of farmers in Africa.

In 2014, he founded Verdant AgriTech, a social enterprise to support rural farmers with mobile technologies for sustainable farming and improved food production.

“The company was founded on the premise that smallholders should be able to produce more, sell more, make more profit and thereby attain an improved standard of living by using simple technologies,” he says.

Yammama began with 50 farmers in Katsina, his home state. He taught them to use their basic phones to gather market information, weather and management skills, and financial services.

Yammama has achieved a lot. He studied information technology and business information systems at Middlesex University, London, has a master’s in creative technology, was selected among 50 Global Entrepreneurs for the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and won numerous awards, including the British Council and Virgin Atlantic’s Enterprise Challenge in 2015. This gave him the chance to be mentored by Sir Richard Branson and receive a start-up grant for Verdant.

In collaboration with Oxfam and GIZ, Verdant is currently running a project to support 25,000 farmers. This June, Yammama will also receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in England.

Yammama has profited from linking technology to Africa’s rich red soil.

Source: Forbes Africa

From being shy to owning her own business – Sandra Mwiihangele

Country: Namibia

Mwiihangele comes from a long line of entrepreneurs.

But her journey into entrepreneurship wasn’t that easy. She says she suffered from shyness.

“I used to have a speech problem of stuttering. Kids and cousins used to tease me all the time and pretty much all the way to high school,” she says.

Tired of being the laughing stock, she taught herself how to stop stuttering.

It paid off. In 2000, by the age of 11, she won the gold medal at the Namibian Expo of Young Scientists competition for developing a high-performance matte lipstick. she later won bronze in South Africa against the whole continent.

“That’s how my passion for cosmetic science was birthed. I don’t think I would’ve discovered my passion if I had not entered that competition,” says Mwiihangele.

During her final year at university, studying analytical chemistry at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, she had to complete a 12-month in-service training at an analytical lab. She chose to be strategically different and complete her training at a cosmetic manufacturing company.

Although her salary was small, she managed to save and return home to Namibia to set up a cosmetic manufacturing company.

With R20,000 ($1,500) in hand she founded Kiyomisandz, a cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company based in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. The company manufactures its own products and offers contract manufacturing services to people who want to make their own.

The company won the 2015 National Commission on Research, Science & Technology innovation grant and the 2016 Development Bank of Namibia innovation award.

“The ability to create something valuable, new and different out of simple ingredients or natural resources inspires me to continuously experiment and develop new products.”

Source: Forbes Africa

Creating a Positive Work Environment

When it comes to managing your employees, one of the most important things you can do for them involves setting the right tone at work.  We’ve all heard some of the horror stories about terrible jobs or bad managers, and the one thing each of these stories has in common was the negative workplace environment.

An employee’s motivation to work is heavily influenced by his or her environment. You want your employees to respect you—not fear you. Creating a positive work environment will yield far better results for your employees and your company.

Clear communication

Good communication between a boss and his or her employees is essential for a positive working relationship. Your employees need to understand what you want them to accomplish, but you also need to have an idea of what they expect from you. There should be an equal amount of communication from you and your employees.

The key to good communication at work is to be clear and direct. If there are issues, don’t avoid them and pretend they don’t exist. Address them head-on and make it clear why it’s an issue. Especially if you are carrying bad news, it’s much better to be direct with your words. 

Listen to everyone’s ideas

Each one of your employees is with your company for a reason. Encourage employees to voice ideas. Even if the idea may need some work, it’s still important that everyone has his or her say. This will show that each member of your team is valuable and his or her input is just as important as a fellow coworker’s.

Encourage your employees to share their ideas.

Set up specific times during the day to open your office door and allow employees to bounce ideas off of you. Encourage your team members, especially the more quiet employees, by asking for input directly—that will help cement the fact that everyone’s input is important. At Swartz Kitchens & Bath, employees are encouraged to share design tips in their weekly meetings. This lets them learn from each other and also helps them to be on the lookout for more ideas to share with the team.

Recognize hard work

It’s a good idea to reward an employee who does a good job. Recognizing the individuals who work hard will encourage them to keep up the great work. It also instills the notion that hard work is acknowledged and appreciated, and encourages other employees to strive for the same recognition.

Staff meetings are a great time to acknowledge the work your employees do. You can take two minutes out of your meetings to bring attention to your employees’ accomplishments. Other rewards that are cost-efficient can involve letting your hard working employees either leave work early or come in later, or present them with a prize such as a gift card.

Internet marketing company WebpageFX has an “ongoing learning program” that rewards employees for spending time outside of work reading industry related books, learning code, or attending seminars. Some creative incentives they offer include tickets to play laser tag, Netflix subscriptions, and if you work hard at it for several years, you could even earn a safari to Africa.

Show your trust

You know those parents that hover over their children constantly and never give them time to breathe? You don’t want to be the workplace equivalent of that. Your instinct may be to micromanage and make sure everything is running exactly as you want it, but that will only create a negative environment for everyone else in the office. I once had a boss who read every email that anyone sent in the entire company. I would send a coworker a private email asking about the details of a project, and by boss would respond with input. Everyone felt like we were being watched, and morale suffered.

Step back and let your employees do their jobs. You have to trust that they will do a good job—after all, you hired them for a reason. While you should be periodically checking in with your employees, you don’t want to be overbearing about it.

Have some fun 

Your employees are spending eight hours of their day in the office. Maintaining a professional environment is important—but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull. A happier employee will perform much better than a miserable one.

There are many ways you can be both fun and professional. Allow your employees to decorate their work spaces to show off their personalities—even have small contests for the best decorated desk. Encourage employees to take breaks during the day and they’ll be happier and more productive. A staff retreat can do wonders for morale—provided you have a fun and productive retreat.

Lead the way

As the one in charge, you are the one who sets the tone for your employees. If you are grumpy and negative, your employees will react accordingly. If you stay positive, your work environment will reflect that. A smile is contagious—and a frown even more so.

Be comfortable and encouraging with your employees. Listen to them and keep up the constant communication. Once you create the positive work environment, maintaining it becomes a lot easier.

Source: Bplans

How to Reduce Stress & Anxiety at Work – for Entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is an enviable position but not all the time. The reason is that we go through a lot of challenges and tough situations and our bodies go through them as well. Sometimes you are scared, sometimes anxious and at other times you are just border-line stressed. You realize that all of this is dangerous to your health and even life threatening but there seems to be nothing you can do about it; work must go on or business would fail.

Well, it’s understandable that as an entrepreneur, a whole lot of responsibilities would fall in your palms even though you have quite a few workers who could handle some things for you but some sensitive responsibilities cannot be delegated to other people and these are usually the aspects that bring about fear, doubt and anxiety.

As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that you must find a way to eliminate or reduce anxiety because it’s dangerous to your health and a threat to your existence. If you do not deal with it now, all the things you are scared of would happen. One of the things you are most likely to be anxious of is the success of your business and projects.

“You must not only learn to live with tension, you must seek it out. You must learn to thrive on stress.” – J. Paul Getty

But if you end up jeopardizing your health through consistent anxiety, would that thing you are scared of not happen eventually? Anxiety would never make business better, it would only make you worse so you must cure your anxiety now and refocus your energy on making your business work instead of fearing that it may not work. As an entrepreneur, here are some tips that could help you cure/reduce your anxiety such that you would start looking forward to your day instead of fearing it.

How to Cure / Reduce Anxiety at Work as an Entrepreneur

1. What’s the worst that could happen?-: Most times, our anxieties are born out of fear of the unknown. You are carrying out a project and you are scared of what the outcome might be and day in day out, you continue to nurse this fear. Well, instead of this, why not sit down and analyze the situation properly and ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen if this and this happens?” Ponder on this and then come up with a solution or an alternative course of action. This is more helpful that continuing to nurse your fears and doubts.

2. Give yourself generous time limits to complete tasks-: Anxiety also arises due to fear of deadlines. You promised a client that a job would be ready in 2 weeks and you start to fear that the job might not be complete by then. It’s always good to give yourself sufficient time to complete tasks. I know that you would want to make your clients happy by completing jobs within the shortest time possible but refrain from setting unreasonable time limits and deadlines that would put unnecessary pressure on you. Allow yourself enough time to complete tasks and even review it. In the long run, you would find this more beneficial than adopting the fire brigade approach.

3. Plan everything-: From your daily tasks to your meetings and even your speeches, make sure you have everything planned ahead and written down for reference. It’s easy to get distracted and forget things that we ought to do or say but when you have them laid out in black and white, it becomes easier. If you have a speech or a presentation to make, instead of worrying about your stage fright and speech defects, why not pick a pen and paper and start planning what you are going to say and how you are going to make your weak points barely noticeable?

4. Delegate Tasks-: A good leader always delegates. If you find it difficult to delegate tasks to your subordinates, then something is wrong somewhere. You are either a bad leader who has done a bad job of training his subordinates or you have surrounded yourself with the wrong subordinates. You don’t have to do everything yourself; try to embrace team work so that tasks and responsibilities can be shared and one person doesn’t have to carry the burden of a task alone.

5. Learn how to breathe when feeling anxious-: When next you start feeling anxious, try to take a very deep breath and exhale and you just might start to feel better. Psychologists always encourage taking deep breaths as a way to cure strong feelings like anxiety, stress and anger because it triggers relaxation of your body. It sends relaxation signals to your brain from your nervous system.

6. Accept your condition-: Before you can cure your anxiety, you must be able to recognize symptoms of anxiety and accept that you are anxious. This doesn’t mean that you should resign yourself to your condition; it just means that you recognize that you are in an intolerable position and must do something about it.

7. Talk and Think positively-: Do you know that you can use your mind and your tongue to reduce your anxiety? Instead of accepting anything that comes into your mind, always question your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. When your mind goes…”What if you lose this contract?” Then you should go……………….”Yeah, but what if I win this contract?” As much as your mind likes to play tricks on you, it is still under your control and subject to commands. Therefore, you must always command your mind to fill itself with positive thoughts. You should also learn how to speak positively and use your mouth to confess positive things. When you start feeling anxious, start saying positive things that make you happy and you would start to feel better.

8. Reduce Idle Time-: When you spend your time on meaningful activities that contribute to the achievement of your goals, you would find out that you have less time to nurse fear and anxieties.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber and a little folding of hands to sleep; so shall your poverty come.” – Proverbs 6: 10-11

9. Exercise-: Physical activities also help to cure anxieties. I have never done Yoga but a lot of people swear by it therapeutic effects. However, I jog in the mornings and take short walks in the evening and it sure makes me feel like a brand new person. You should try it to.

10 Stress Management Techniques & Strategies at Work

“Passion is what drives me forward. Passion is what makes me go to bed at 2am and wake up at 6am.” – Aliko Dangote

Stress, when minimal or moderate, is very good for the body. Since it’s the body’s natural way of reacting to tense situations, minimal stress is a signal that your body is under some form of pressure. And once your body is no longer under that pressure, the stress wears away.

Being under minimal to moderate pressure at work can be motivating. It can boost your productivity and efficiency. And it can help you achieve great goals within a short period. However, when the pressure becomes excessive, it can eventually lead to work-related stress, also known as “stress at work.”

Work-related stress usually results when you are under pressure to handle more work than you can bear—probably due to staff cutbacks, or when you are not getting the support you expect from your boss, or when you are at the receiving end of some violence or bullying at work, or any of several other causes.

When you are experiencing stress at work, your productivity reduces. You have headaches. You lose appetite for food and sex. Your have palpitations. And worse, you start showing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In fact, stress at work can affect every aspect of your life. But the good news is that work-related stress can be controlled–and here are 10 proven techniques for managing stress at work:

a. Recognize the signs of stress at work-: The commonest reason why most people come down with chronic or intense stress is that they usually ignore—or are unaware of—the early warning signs of work-related stress. These signs include anxiety or depression, irritability, fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration problems, headaches, social withdrawal, loss of sex drive, and use of alcohol or drugs to cope. If you can recognize these signs as soon as they show, you will be able to handle the situation effectively.

“This is why I stay up twenty hours a day.” – Sean Diddy Combs

b. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine-: Many people resort to heavy drinking or smoking when they experience signs of stress. This is a bad approach to managing stress because nicotine (found in cigarettes), caffeine (found in coffee) and alcohol are substances that increase body stress levels rather than reduce it. So, once you are struggling with stress, avoid these substances and replace them with healthier alternatives, such as water, natural fruit juices, and herbal teas.

c. Indulge in physical activity-: Stress becomes worse when you sit at your desk for long hours without taking breaks or engaging in some physical activity to refresh your mind. So, when you feel stressed and tense, take a break and go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Better yet, indulge in any other physical activity you are happy with. In addition, you should try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine. Regular physical activity will help you reduce stress.

d. Sleep better-: When you are stressed, you will experience sleeplessness. Yet, you need to sleep well to control stress. So, you need to lull yourself to sleep by all means—not with medication, though. Each time you feel stressed try to take a short nap, so you get refreshed in both body and mind. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed, so that your brain will calm down. This will allow it to settle down for sleep.

e. Keep a stress diary-: Another effective way to manage stress at work is to keep a stress diary for a few weeks. This will help you become more aware of the situations that cause you to become stressed. Note down the date and time or each stressful episode, what you were doing, who you were with, and how you feel both physically and emotionally. Then grade the episode using a scale of 1 to 10. Doing this will help you understand what triggers your stress and how you can better avoid those triggers.

f. Manage your time-: Another common cause of stress is having too many tasks on your ‘to do’ list. The earlier you accept the fact that you cannot do everything at once, the better. So, arrange your outstanding tasks in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what you can delegate to others.

g. Take control of any difficult problem-: Sometimes, stress results when you are battling with a problem that apparently seems difficult or impossible to solve. A smart way to lower your levels of stress significantly is to find solutions to such problems. Simply write down the problem and come up with a list of as many solutions as possible. Weigh the pros and cons of each, and select the best.

h. Eat well-: Foods high in fats and sugar can significantly increase your body stress levels. So, you need to reduce your intake of these foods as much as possible. Eat balanced diets at all times.

i. Learn how to manage stress-: Some people can easily figure it when they are stressed but they lack adequate knowledge of how to manage stress. This usually leads them to using techniques that will worsen their stress rather than relieve it. So, knowing and understanding how to manage stress is one of the ways to achieve that goal.

j. Rest when you are ill-: Whenever you are feeling sick, resist the temptation to keep up with work at all cost. Resting will enable your body to recover faster.

More Tips for Overcoming Performance Stress in the Workplace

Performance stress is a subject most entrepreneurs and employees alike treat with kid gloves because they don’t know its impact on their life. I decided to focus this subject on entrepreneurs and employees because of the daily stress they go through to build a business.

From the day you start developing your business idea as an entrepreneur; tension and drive to deliver becomes the name of the game. It is now a common phenomenon to see successful entrepreneurs ending up with one heart disease or the other. That is why you must take the subject of stress management very serious.

Now before I go into the details on how to overcome performance stress in business and workplace, I think it’s wise to explain what performance stress really is. Whether you are an employee or entrepreneur, you are going to find this article useful.

What is Performance Stress?

Performance stress is one of the most common sources of stress in the business workplace. With a working environment that constantly subjects its employees to a given set of standard they’d have to meet, the amount of pressure can lead to an employee questioning his or her abilities on a given task. There’s always this feeling of not being good enough in the standards of the company.

This is especially true when an entrepreneur or employee has scheduled to make an important presentation for the company. Before the actual presentation, one experiences a sick feeling on the stomach. Sometimes, the pressure is too much that one’s performance is impacted during these situations.

For those who are incapable of dealing with the level of stress they are subjected to in these situations, the importance of coping and overcoming performance stress is more important to maintain your ability to deliver within the company’s standards. Now how do you practically overcome performance stress in business and workplace?

i. Performance Planning-: Whether you are taking part in small or big events, creating a good performance is always important. One of the best ways to ensure that you perform well for a given project or task is to come up with a performance plan. This will serve to outline what you need to achieve and how you are going to do it.

The Performance Plan will include a list of things that must be accomplished since it will be useful during the performance. Here is some basic performance planning tips covering the physical and mental aspects of it:

Basic Performance Planning Tips
  • Check every aspect involved in your performance so you can make necessary adjustments in case some parts do not contribute to better performance.
  • If there is some travel involved, arrange them in advance
  • Verify whether you have all the items and objects you need
  • Come up with an alternate plan in case anything goes wrong at the steps you have previously outlined
  • Keep your mind focused at the task at hand and as much as possible never entertain distractive thoughts. If possible, anticipate them before they happen so you can come up with a plan to counter its effects

ii. Reviewing Performance-: One of the best ways to ensure that you always perform at the top of your level is to constantly aim for improvement. This is one way to combat performance stress knowing that you always re-evaluate your own standards when it comes to job performance. By doing a performance review, it gives you the opportunity for the next performance so you can do better.

Planning and reviewing your performance is a good technique to follow for effective stress relief. If possible, you can ask your superior or fellow office mates for opinion that you can use to improve your performance. Performance stress typically originates from your tendency to question your ability (or inability) to succeed at a given task. When you increase your confidence about your performance, you’d also be able to combat stress that is involved with it.

iii. Create Proper Mindset-: Establishing a mindset that will effectively help you before, during, and after a performance will help get rid of the stress it brings. To find relief from performance stress, you can try the following:

  • Learn how to take criticism well. Instead of developing self-pity, utilize your mentor or co-worker’s opinion as a pointer for areas in which you can improve your performance on.
  • Never aim for perfection. While it is a good fuel, you must rather focus on the steps you need to make instead of the end result. This will also help you be able to have fun with what you are doing, which is another way to relieve yourself of performance stress.
  • Comparing yourself against your fellow workers will not help your cause to get rid of performance stress. Instead, focus on where you are and where you intend to go.

Source: Profitable Venture

HOW EXERCISE CAN HELP YOU BE SUCCESSFUL AT WORK

It turns out that exercise doesn’t only benefit your body – it can also do wonders to help you get ahead at the office.

 

We already know that physical activity is good for our bodies. We understand that if we want to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, build strong muscles and bones, and have a healthy heart – we need to make hitting the gym part of our routine. What you might not know, however, is that exercise isn’t just good for your body. It can also improve your brain function – and help you out at work. Here’s why working out could help you be more successful in the boardroom.

 

IT IMPROVES CONCENTRATION AND MEMORY

According to the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health,

Physical activity is associated with enhanced cognitive processing, helping you to stay more focused on tasks. Exercise also stimulates sections of the brain that aid memory function, to release a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which rewires memory circuits so they work better.

 

IT ENHANCES CREATIVITY

Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki argues that there is evidence supporting the idea that exercise could make us more creative. It’s certainly helpful for coming up with new ideas, and helps you clear your mind, which allows for time to problem-solve.

 

IT COMBATS STRESS

Suzuki also says that “Exercise is a powerful way to combat feelings of stress because it causes immediate increases in levels of key neurotransmitters, including serotonin, noradrenalin, dopamine and endorphins, that are often depleted by anxiety and depression.” These chemicals help to decrease your stress levels, allowing you to be more calm in busy times at work.

 

IT CAN INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

It’s interesting to note that exercise doesn’t only help before and after work – but during work hours too. A recent Leeds Metropolitan University study examined the influence of daytime exercise on workers with access to a company gym. They found that, on days when employees went to the gym, “they reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues,” reports the Harvard Business Review.

 

IT CAN BOOST YOUR ABILITY TO WORK IN A TEAM

The same study also found that exercise can help individuals work better in a team. On days when they exercised, employees felt more tolerant and positive towards colleagues – and workplace relationships improved. Anyone for a lunch-break run?

 

Whether you’re doing it for the health benefits or to be better at your job, incorporating physical activity into your day is non-negotiable. Just remember to take time out for rest and recovery for your muscles. Overdoing it isn’t healthy either!

 

Source: Amani Spas

5 Essentials for Succeeding When You Become Your Own Boss

Picture this. You get to your desk on that last Monday morning. You’ve spent years working this job that hasn’t been what you wanted for your life, but you smile because it’s almost over. You put in your notice two weeks ago. You’re down to your last week. This is it. You’re about to leave the nine-to-five world behind to begin living your dream of entrepreneurship.

You spend the week saying goodbye to coworkers you’ve enjoyed working with (you smile at those you didn’t). Each day you recall what you’ve gone through and consider where you’re going. You come to the end of that week and clean out your things. When you walk out of those doors on Friday evening, you feel victorious. What happens next in your life will be on your terms.

You spend the weekend with those you love. You breathe easier because you don’t have to punch a clock anymore. Monday morning you wake up without an alarm clock, get out of bed and smile until your face hurts from smiling so much. The freedom feels good on you.

Now that your dream of entrepreneurship is reality, the real work of your life begins. You will be free in a way you haven’t been before, but how you pay your bills is on you. The amount of money you earn is proportional to the amount of work you put into your business. Here are five essentials to growing a wildly successful business now that you have become your own boss.

1. Get clear on your outcome.

To get anywhere, you have to know where you’re going. It’s the same in any business. To succeed as your own boss, you have to know what you want your outcome to be. You became your own boss for a reason greater than making money without punching the clock.

Get clear on your goals. Get honest about all the things you want to accomplish in your life and how your business will help you get those things. Give yourself metrics to build upon each step of the way. Set lofty goals that are attainable but not easily. Live each day knowing you will one day accomplish those goals and keep your focus on the outcome of those accomplishments.

2. Build systems that can be scaled.

Being the boss is more than signing your name on some paperwork. It means you are the person responsible for the growth of your business. To grow, you need to implement strategies and put systems in place that allow you to scale. Your goal should be to grow your business bigger than just you. You need marketing systems (even, possibly, a team), plans for each quarter, sales goals, a system to organize your time and more. Tools and technology can help you with creating systems. Research what systems work best to grow the type of business you have.

3. The real goal is to become the best you.

You become a better boss as you become a better person. Your personal development is inseparable from the growth of your business. Your reward for putting in the work to be the best you is the energy and motivation you need to grow your business.

Continue to eat food that nourishes your body. Spend the appropriate amount of time exercising. Read books and consume content that educates and inspires you. Experiment outside your comfort zone. Wake up each day determined to challenge yourself more than the day before. Become the best version of yourself in every area of your life. It will make you a strong entrepreneur who grows an amazing business.

4. Leverage today’s tools and opportunities.

We are very fortunate to live in the internet age. More than 3.5 billion people log into the internet every day. About 2.46 billion people use social media every day. Today, you can access all the information you want — about anything — with a few strokes of your finger on your smartphone. You can use software and technology that can take your business to the next level in months. Your business will experience explosive growth when you leverage all these opportunities.

Leverage the power of the internet to market and give your business exposure to millions of people. You can get interviewed on podcasts about your business and write for large business and personal development publications. These two strategies alone will grow your audience and exposure. Use tools such as WordPress, Clickfunnels, Hootsuite, Asana, Mailchimp, DocuSign and many more. You don’t need to understand and know how to use all of it. The goal is to leverage what makes sense for your growth strategy.

5. Surround yourself with entrepreneurs who push you.

Your circle has an effect on how successful you become. One secret to becoming successful as your own boss is surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs who inspire and push you. You want those in your life who are just as hungry as you. People who are complacent will drag you down to their level quickly. Join a mastermind group. Network with local entrepreneurs doing great things where you live. Join Facebook groups with like-minded game changers. The point being: elevate your circle to become successful.

Use these five essentials to help you build the business of your dreams and create a life of freedom.

Source: Entrepreneur

Inspirational Youthpreneur: Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate

At just 22, Ibrahim Ben Aziz Konaté is a business leader and the founder of Poultry d’Or who displays great ambitions and even greater potential for success.

His inspiration for this business came from a documentary in which he saw that Côte d’Ivoire continues to import poultry and he saw that there a gap in the market that needed to be fullfilled.

“I observed the market, studied on the Internet and learned from those who had already done a business model similar to mine. I relied on the weaknesses of my direct competitors to understand how I could better serve the consumers.” said Ibrahim.

Poultry d’Or  is a company that produces and distributes fresh poultry products and agro-foods. Their products are slaughtered, cleaned, packaged and delivered all in the same day! The company specialises in the production and distribution of agri-food products and they aim to sell chicken at competitive prices directly to the consumer.

Source: Anzisha Prize

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