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Bronze Level Contributor

Image credit: Images By Tang Ming Tung | Getty Images

Many of us recently learned our school districts' return-to-learning plans include virtual learning. Thus far, we've been just getting by managing childcare and work.

Parents working from home, how are we going to make back-to-school work this fall?

Many of us recently learned that our school districts’ return-to-learning plans include virtual learning. Thus far, we’ve been just getting by managing childcare and work. We’re all anxious and incorporating this extra responsibility into our already busy schedules feels daunting.

Now’s the time to create a plan for an environment that fosters successful work and schooling at home. Here are a few tips.

Get familiar with the virtual school calendar and scheduling apps.

Virtual school in your district will likely involve both asynchronous and synchronous learning. For synchronous learning, your child must be logged into a virtual class session, in attendance with the teacher and classmates. A family scheduling app is a great way to ensure those sessions are attended.

Google Calendar is an easy, free app you can set up on your child’s devices. Plug in online sessions they must attend and share the calendar with your family. Use Google Calendar to schedule times you’ll be unavailable due to meetings and phone calls. Encouraging your child to refer to the calendar throughout the day builds organization and time management skills.

Other apps include ways to assign duties—like finishing assignments—and rewards for

completing tasks. Check out a few different apps with your child and discuss which ones work best for your family. Getting their feedback and buy-in is an important step in making sure the app is used.

When school starts, review the school schedule with your children each morning and set goals. Hold a quick meeting to review which virtual classes your child must attend that day and what assignments are due. Refer to them to the family scheduling app to keep on task.

Check your tech.

You’re going to need a strong internet connection to enable both work and school lessons. Connect with your service provider for advice about which internet plan makes the most sense for your family. Check your Wi-Fi speed and upgrade your equipment before school begins. 

If you’re using borrowed technology from your child’s school, ask to pick it up and get the online set-up instructions prior to school starting so you have time to test everything.

In both cases, make note of the school’s technology advisor’s contact information in case you need assistance with devices, internet connection, or software usage.

Set up workspaces for your home.

To the best of your ability, setting up separate workspaces for you and your child should be a priority. You may already have an established workspace in your home. Your child will also need one with few distractions. If you’ll work near one another, set aside a place where you can both access online meetings in private.

Your child’s lessons are online, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need school supplies. Stock up now on paper, pencils, folders, and markers. Create an area where your child can store their supplies and put them away after the school day, like they would in their locker.

Make lunchtime a 'working lunch' and remember recess.

Check in with your kids over lunch. Are they on schedule for the day? Are they working on a difficult assignment and need some extra encouragement? Make this a time to discuss what resources they need to be successful. If possible, identify additional time in your schedule to work on difficult assignments together. 

After problem solving on the tough tasks, take time for recess and go outdoors with your child. A walk around the block is likely all you’ll both need to refocus. If you combine that walk with a hunt for Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood, you might get an hour of quiet work time later while your child reads a new book.

If your school is incorporating physical education into online learning, you have an amazing opportunity to promote healthy living by demonstrating how it’s done. Use your recess time to perform the phys. Ed. lessons together and log some parent-child bonding time while you’re making healthy choices.

Create virtual playdates.

No doubt your kids are missing their friends when they’re not in school. The social aspect of school is extremely important for your child’s mental well-being. Connections to friends provide children with a sense of belonging and help reduce anxiety and stress. School is a community and your child needs access to other children to feel a part of it. 

Schedule some time for them to connect virtually or in-person with appropriate distancing and safety measures. You and your parent counterparts can help make this experience more enjoyable by creating an environment where they can discuss a specific topic, play a game or tell funny jokes. And, you can each take a day to host those meetings while the other parents take advantage of some quiet work time.

This article was written by Molly Miles Rizor, an Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble expert. | August 4, 2020

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Bronze Level Contributor

The small business attitude adjustment

COVID-19 has turned the worlds of small businesses upside down. So much so, that even before lockdown commenced, hotels and bars were seeing revenue drops of 50-60%. Despite plans to ease lockdown measures and restart the economy, it will be a long time before small businesses are able to return to their known ‘normal’. Social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future, completely reshaping the way that shops, cafes, salons and many others operate. We are already seeing small businesses step up to the challenge with a wave of innovation. From salons completing Barbicide qualifications to show customers they are dedicated to infection control, to independent restaurants creating takeaway services for their local communities. However, innovation around operating procedures is not enough. Small businesses must also make some critical financial decisions to secure their future. Those businesses that come out the strongest, will not just take action but change their entire mindset around managing their finances.

Small businesses need to consider three main points in order to take control of their finances during the pandemic. These are: looking at funding options, refreshing finance and taking a conservative approach to business.

Look at funding options

There is no quick fix for returning to ‘business as usual’. Numerous sectors including bars, restaurants and clubs will have to rethink their business models for a significant period. Once they are allowed to reopen, they will not be able to service the same level of customers; seriously impacting takings. Small businesses need access to fast, fair and flexible finance that works with the rhythm of their business. It is therefore important to consider the range of financial options and support on offer, including grants, tax breaks, and furlough schemes. Yes, small businesses share mixed feedback on the government-backed loan schemes, but these loans are a critical lifeline for many small businesses in the UK, not just to manage cash flow but to also support demand when businesses start returning to normal. 

But, before jumping into the application, it is essential that small business owners understand the exact terms of these loans. They should talk to their financial provider to learn about their options. They must come to these discussions armed with past and current financials and a plan for the next one to three months. This will ensure they  get an accurate recommendation on the best financial support for them.

For those businesses operating in the hospitality industry or retail trade where there is a high need for working capital, the ‘Bounce Back Loan Scheme’ (BBLS) will be of particular interest. Since its launch on May 4th, 267,000 loans worth £8.4billion have been issued to struggling small business firms. As the government guarantees 100% of the loan to the lender, the loan is low risk for lenders and can therefore offer small business support at speed. With a seven question application process, the BBLS is a simple and accessible means of financial support for small businesses.

The CBILS scheme of course is the other main option for financial small business support. Delivered through more than 60 British Business Bank accredited lenders, this scheme can provide facilities of up to £5million to small businesses. The speed and flexibility of finance is essential during this time. Going through CBILS accredicted lenders such as Liberis who can provide term loans ranging from £50,001-£150,000 will enable small businesses to access the finance they need in a matter of days.

Refresh your financial management

Business might feel stagnant, but the current climate is changing all the time. The government is extending and adapting support schemes as we better understand how the pandemic will impact society in the mid-term. Small businesses must also be prepared to adapt their financial plans and take a flexible approach to an uncertain future. Now is a good time to update the management of accounts and cash flow statements. Small businesses need to know the actual numbers behind their business and start taking a data-driven approach to their operations. The more businesses can plan their finances in advance, the more equipped they can be for the challenges ahead.

Be safe, not sorry

It’s always important to remember the basics - now is no time to take risks. Small businesses need to be taking a conservative approach to their business. Forecasting should be based on businesses running at an initial 50 per cent of capacity due to restrictions. Organisations should create a lean plan at this capacity to streamline operations and ensure they have the best chance of surviving and hopefully thriving.

Small businesses can also look at the state of small businesses recovery rates in other countries coming out of lockdown for guidance on what they can expect as lockdown eases. In Eastern Europe, for example, Liberis data indicates that 40% of small businesses in Czech Republic and Slovakia that had to close due to the pandemic are already back in business. This is promising, but we must remember that the fate of small businesses in the UK will be dependent on a range of factors. There is a huge consumer appetite to support small businesses throughout these challenging times, with a recent survey from GoDaddy reporting that 63% of respondents are more likely to shop at small, local micro-businesses to help them financially during the pandemic and, of these, 67% said they will continue to do so even after the lockdown ends. These are good intentions, but with the Bank of England warning of a deep recession following lockdown due to a reduction in consumer spending, high unemployment and reduced salaries, shops need to make sure they adjust their cost base to potentially lower volumes for the next 12-24 months.

A shift in mindset

The pandemic will change the small business landscape for good. Small businesses will need to continually evolve to the fast-changing surroundings but keep a tight grip on financial management if they are to remain secure. In addition to having a stronger hold on their cash outgoings, small businesses will want to be looking at a wide range of financial support options including digital banking, real time financial forecasting, and investment from fintechs. If anyone good comes out of the current situation for small businesses, it is a prompt for smarter financial thinking and support.

Originally published by
Rob Strrathof | July 20, 2020
elite business

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Gold Level Contributor

How to Make Money in a Crisis

Image credit: z_wei | Getty Images

In times like these, full of unknowns, it can be scary for entrepreneurs and freelancers who’ve lost , as well as workers who’ve lost their jobs or had their hours cut. However, there are still ways to make  during a crisis, even one like this with both significant health and economic concerns.

Personally, I’ve had around a dozen public speaking opportunities get canceled or postponed, which has been hard, but having gone through the Great Recession, I’ve learned some lessons and know I’ll make it through to the other side. You can too, and in some cases, you may find that this crisis creates an opportunity to take your career or business in a new direction that benefits you more in the long run.

Some ideas to earn money safely from home include:

Personally, I’ve had around a dozen public speaking opportunities get canceled or postponed, which has been hard, but having gone through the Great Recession, I’ve learned some lessons and know I’ll make it through to the other side. You can too, and in some cases, you may find that this crisis creates an opportunity to take your career or business in a new direction that benefits you more in the long run.

Some ideas to earn money safely from home include:

1. Charging for content or content support

During this period, with so many of us staying at home, with more time on our hands, you’ll likely see a lot more , such as with launches of new podcasts,  series, courses, etc.

Some creators may be able to monetize this content by finding advertising — if, for example, you have a sizable  following or can get enough  listeners. Or you could put your content behind a paywall and charge for access.

Others, however, need to be realistic about how much, if anything, they can earn from content creation. That said, you may still have the skills to support content creators, such as helping with writing, editing, graphic design, etc. Make sure you charge for your time. You can look at project and hourly rates on sites like Upwork to get a sense of what your fee should be based on your experience and the type of work you can do.

2. Monetize your knowledge

Related to creating content is jumping into the growing online education space for all ages. You may have the skills and experience to teach on sites geared toward young students, or you might have business knowledge that you can teach to other professionals, especially those at companies that have budget that would have gone toward attending conferences.

You can monetize your knowledge by creating a course on sites like Kajabi and marketing to professionals, or you can try to get paid directly by working part-time for an online  platform. If you have an idea for your own course, see if it exists already on a platform like  Learning. If it doesn’t, you could have a good opportunity to create something unique that others might be willing to pay for.

3. Find freelance work

Whether you’re a creative, a coder, an administrative assistant, or many other occupations that can be done online, there’s a good chance you can still find freelance opportunities through platforms like Upwork and LinkedIn. Many businesses are still operating at full speed, such as in the  sector and some food brands that are seeing strong sales due to demand at grocery stores.

Taking on freelance opportunities can be a great way to get your side hustle off the ground, whether that’s because you’re getting paid directly for your side hustle work (e.g, doing graphic design to eventually fund your own agency,) or because you’re using freelancing income to eventually fund another type of business venture.

4. Get active on social media

Social media will experience a renaissance in 2020 as people get back to being truly social and more connected online out of necessity. While being more active on social media won’t necessarily lead directly to income opportunities, you can start making quality connections and planting seeds that can grow into ways to make money.

For example, you can crowdsource ideas for your business through social media, find new clients, find partners that help you grow your business, etc. This is also an opportunity for a new wave of thought leaders to emerge, and while only a few will make it, now could be the time to build your personal brand so that you can gain a following.

Having an audience can then lead to monetization opportunities such as through affiliate links on your website, video views on YouTube, podcasting sponsorships through Anchor and article views on Medium.

Although this crisis has affected so many of us, it’s important to try to stay positive and look for opportunities where possible. You may have to work harder and get creative, but with perseverance and quality work, you can find ways to make money in a crisis.

Originally published by
Carlos Gil - ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK CONTRIBUTOR - Author of The End of Marketing | July 29, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

Illustration: Dom Guzman

South Korea is a country winning in the war against COVID-19 and U.S. startups are taking notice. As a result of its success, the country has attracted entrepreneurs from around the world who are eager to grow their businesses during the pandemic.

Although growth for South Korea is not new–two years ago we reported that South Korea was working to establish itself as a startup innovation hub–recent reports from both HSBC and OECD have reinforced that South Korea is among the countries best positioned to capitalize on economic recovery from COVID-19.

For one economic indicator, we caught up with the K-Startup Grand Challenge, a three-month acceleration program for startups in South Korea. Organizers reported a 33 percent surge in the number of applications received for the fifth installment of its program that starts in September.

Claire Chang, founding partner of Palo Alto-based venture capital firm igniteXL Ventures, is an adviser to the K-Startup Grand Challenge and an expert on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Korea.

“As COVID numbers surge in South and North America, South Korea’s numbers remain low, not to mention Korea’s economy has been able to stay open while many other countries’ business operations are shut down or drastically reduced during the pandemic,” Chang said via email. “If you have plans to target Asia, Korea is a great place to test the market and expand your business to other parts of Asia.”

What founders are saying

Some U.S. entrepreneurs kept their operations in South Korea after finishing the K-Startup program there last year–a wise decision as the pandemic shut down economic activity elsewhere.

One of those startups is Los Angeles-based GIBLIB. The startup offers on-demand continuing education for physicians wanting to learn directly from experts at top hospitals.

GIBLIB co-founder Jihye Shin is currently stationed in Gangnam, Seoul, along with much of the startup’s developer team.

GIBLIB’s commercialization focus has primarily been in the U.S., but after COVID-19 affected education across the globe, the company has seen a shift to online medical education for doctors and students, said GIBLIB co-founder and CEO Brian Conyer who has remained in the U.S.

“It’s been very sad to see many of our startup peers struggle during the pandemic,” Conyer told Crunchbase News via email. “We have been very fortunate to be on the benefiting side of the global black swan crisis. With most of our developers located in Seoul, we’ve had little disruption in terms of workflow and development. In fact, we are looking to expand our development team in Seoul and are actively hiring.”

John Nahm, co-founder and managing partner of Los Angeles-based Strong Ventures, said South Korea’s local startup ecosystem is benefitting from its ability to bring COVID-19 under control. Strong Ventures, a seed fund with an office in Seoul, is an investor in GIBLIB.

“The local startup ecosystem is thriving as a result of the accelerated digital adoption and transformation of society,” Nahm said via email. “You can preview in advance what a post-COVID world will look like and bring back those lessons to your local market.”

Meanwhile, Tim Marzullo, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Backyard Brains, decided to stay in South Korea after finishing the K-Startup Grand Challenge in 2019.

Given the country’s effective response to the pandemic, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Backyard Brains was able to build a team and remain productive, he said via email. It was able to expand into elementary school education and make advances in its human physiology research tool prototype development.

With Korea’s access to fresh sea life, Backyard Brains was also able to conduct research on the nervous systems of squids and octopi, something Marzullo said could only be conducted sporadically in the U.S. while visiting specialized marine research labs.

“There was an initial unease in February, when the first cases outside of China appeared in Korea, but we decided to be patient and wait it out,” Marzullo said. “Fortunately we made the right decision.”

Originally published by
Christine Hall | July 22, 2020


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Gold Level Contributor

Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

No matter how successful of an entrepreneur you are, there's always going to be a voice in your head that says I can't do it. These thoughts are something I refer to as "head trash" with my clients.

Here's an example of a scenario when this voice seriously affected one of my clients.  She was nervous because she was about to give a sales presentation to a group of entrepreneurs. She’s an expert in her field, but she didn’t have a lot of experience doing sales presentations and didn’t want to appear “pushy” or “salesy,” to use her words.

No matter how successful of an entrepreneur you are, there's always going to be a voice in your head that says I can't do it. These thoughts are something I refer to as "head trash" with my clients.

Here's an example of a scenario when this voice seriously affected one of my clients.  She was nervous because she was about to give a sales presentation to a group of entrepreneurs. She’s an expert in her field, but she didn’t have a lot of experience doing sales presentations and didn’t want to appear “pushy” or “salesy,” to use her words.

  • I can't do it because I don't have the time.
  • I can't do it because I don't have the money.
  • I can't do because I'm divorced.
  • I can't do because I have kids.
  • Because I live in the wrong city.
  • Because I didn't go to the right college.
  • Because because because…

What’s the problem with that way of thinking? It’s that we human beings have a nearly infinite capacity to make ourselves right.  Once you think of excuses, you’re going to defend them to the death, because many people would rather be right than be happy (or even successful).

Understand how much your self doubt about money is costing you

Once you have a better understanding of what your head trash about money actually is, it’s crucial to understand how much that limiting belief is costing you. Consider it in terms of time, money, profit, the effort it takes to grow your business, the people you hire and the people you don't hire.

List all of the ways holding onto that particular head trash about money is costing you — not only in money, but also in time, effort and opportunity.

Make a decision

Once you identify your head trash about money and realize how much it’s costing you, now it’s time to make a decision. Decide that you are not going to listen to that negative voice in your head anymore.  

For instance, I grew up poor in a rich neighborhood. As a result, I ended up with a ton of self doubt about money — along with the belief that I'd never have any. I had big goals and dreams, but I also had that negative voice in my head that said I couldn’t do it. So my head trash would say things to me like:

“I want to speak around the world, but who's going to listen to me? I’m a no name from Maine. I dropped out of college twice. I’m nothing special. Who's going to listen to me?”

Even though I was saddled with all that head trash, I was able to get rid of it and launch my business. And my client? Once she identified her head trash about money (“People will think I’m pushy”) and saw what it was costing her (sales), she made a decision that she wasn’t going to listen to that negative voice any more.

The result? She ended up selling more than $12,000 worth of products in just 90 minutes on stage. Follow these tips so you too can get rid of your self doubt about money. 

Originally published by

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Bronze Level Contributor

Image credit: andresr | Getty Images

Throughout this , you’ve probably had quite a few questions cross your mind. I know I have. Some of these questions might even be defining moments for your ’s 

So, what are the answers to the questions business owners are asking? Unfortunately, I don’t have all of them. 

But, I do have over 30 years of experience, complete with dealing with recessions and other trying times. I can share what I know — and what I know is how to ask the right questions and weigh your options. 

Covid-19 temporarily changed the way businesses operate nationwide. But could these temporary changes lead to permanent shake-ups? In my opinion, Covid-19 has changed business forever. 

So, here are some of the top questions business owners are asking:

1. Should I take my business fully remote?

For 31% of businesses, the coronavirus was the push they needed to start allowing remote work. 

If you’re like one of the many businesses that took flight and moved to remote work at the start of the pandemic, you might be wondering whether you should stay remote after social distancing dissipates. 

Well, I can’t answer that for you. But if this great work-from-home experiment has been working out for you, it might be worth looking into. 

Speaking for my company, Patriot Software, the work-from-home experiment has gone really well. COVID-19 expedited our ability and need to work remotely. It’s been nearly three months, and we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.  

Ask yourself some more questions like:

  • Did my business’s productivity levels drop?

  • Is this maintainable over a longer period of ?

  • What will my employees think about it?

  • What will my customers think about it?

    You have to look at your business model and operations to assess whether a permanent work-from-home model would be right for you. In some cases, it won’t work. And in some, it can work. 

    Some advantages of working remote include:

  • Greater flexibility for employees
  • The ability to attract talent from anywhere
  • Decreased overhead costs 
  • Some disadvantages of a fully remote office might be:

  • Inability to maintain long-term
  • Increased security risks
  • Poor communication 

On the fence? Carry out the experiment a little while longer. Try incorporating remote work into your business (if you didn’t already) even when you go back to the office. Have employees work from home a few days a week and on-site part of the week. 

Take notes, gather statistics and metrics (I can’t emphasize this enough), get employee feedback, and whatever else you can think of to figure out if going completely remote is the way to go for your business. 

Continue reading

Originally published by
Mike Kappel, Serial Entrepreneur, Patriot Software Company CEO | July 14, 2020

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Bronze Level Contributor

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder waited years before taking an inevitable step - Image credit: Getty Images/G Fiume

Like most long-standing professional sports leagues, the NFL hasn’t exactly been a model of inclusion or equality over the years. From 1934-'46, Black players weren’t even allowed on the field. And among the league’s more recent issues have been criticism of its pyramid scheme-esque compensation structure and gross mismanagement of league politics and public relations following Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in 2016.

Given that context, it’s hardly surprising that the Washington Redskins have stalled on changing their team name —widely regarded as a racial slur toward Native Americans — despite it being the subject of protest for literally decades. Seemingly, that era is now coming to a close, with the team having issued a statement saying that owner Dan Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera were "working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

Why Now? 

FedEx, PepsiCo and Bank of America, which are all major sponsors of the Redskins, have publicly supported a name change for the team. While these companies' public statements have been mostly diplomatic, there’s been reporting to suggest that ultimatums have been given in private. In other words, the answer to, “Why now?” is, “Because money.” 

Now, you might believe that the whole controversy is overblown, and possibly point out that the current Redskins logo was actually designed by a collective of Native Americans who saw it as a positive representation of their history and values. You might argue that it’s an unpopular move with fans or that there are more important things to be worrying about. And you would undoubtedly find people who agree with you, even if I don’t. But the recent wave of social unrest and calls to action following George Floyd's killing have hastened what was always an inevitable move away from such hurtful branding, no matter how fiercely Snyder protested over the years.

A Missed Opportunity for Proactive Leadership

Ultimately, an NFL team is a brand, and owning it is largely about making money by building the popularity of that brand. The Redskins have had two options in the face of persistent pushback: Change the name years ago, alienating some fans while earning the gratitude of others, or stand firm and insist it's a matter of belief in what the Redskins iconography represents to fans and the city of Washington, D.C.

Instead, Redskins management has consistently opted to take the one path that will destroy outside perceptions of leadership within the higher levels of any organization: throw in the towel in the middle of a fight.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the name is being changed, but as someone who has made a career of studying and writing about great leadership, this situation exemplifies an ultimate absence of it.

If you believe something is the morally right choice, then you should pursue it decisively and proactively, even if there will be a price to pay in the short run. But if you don't share others' objections, and have been vocal in your position, then you can't simply about-face and acquiesce. That kind of in-between reluctance is a clear indicator of poor intuition and reactive management.

Pardon the pun, but from a leadership perspective, Snyder and co.'s handling of this predicament from day one may go down as the biggest dropped ball in Redskins franchise history, and it’s something we all need to learn from. 

Originally published by
Tom Popomaronis, VIP CONTRIBUTOR, Vice President, Innovation at Massive Alliance | July 14, 2020

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Bronze Level Contributor

How To Engage Your Remote Teams


How to Engage Your Remote Teams : GETTY


As we continue social distancing and grow more accustomed to remote work, it is important to ensure that your teams are feeling valued, heard, and respected.

It is critical to create a safe space for your teams to express themselves so that leadership teams can gain insights into what is or is not working. It also allows teams to gain increased flexibility to evolve and enhance their remote working plan.

Keeping your remote teams engaged, motivated, and included is essential when confronted with change. Here are three things you can do to keep your remote teams engaged.

Reflect on your leadership style.

Does your leadership style lean toward being inclusive, micromanaging, laissez-faire, or a combination of the above?

Your remote teams are taking cues from you as their leader. They want to know that you trust them to get the job done and that they have a sense of autonomy in their work.

Your behaviors and communication can undermine that trust and sense of autonomy. Work and life are blurred in this environment. Setting boundaries and having flexibility in how they work to get the job done are small things that can help to keep your team motivated.

Keep your teams engaged with daily connections.

It is not simply about frequency, but rather selective, quality connections.

Chats are one way to ensure the voices of everyone - including introverts - are heard. Video calls with an open camera can also help to create an environment of trust, sharing of mutual goals, and a place to have fun. Spotlight shares, where the team takes a few minutes for members to share experiences, are fun ways people can show their personalities and connect more with their team.

Working remotely may not be for everyone. Taking a pulse of your team’s comfort with remote work can inform you as to what additional resources and support may be needed and the best approach to offer each member.

Remote working can be stressful, so supporting your teams with professional development training, virtual team bonding activities, and reminders for them to get in tune with their health and wellness is also important.

We are naturally social beings. Connection helps your teams feel less isolated while working.

Psychological safety can impact your team’s productivity.

You want to ensure people feel safe in their working environment. This means that your team can feel confident in performing their work, and provide input without fear of negative consequences.

Co-creating mutual work expectations and realistic goals shows that you not only value and respect your team, but also provides guidance on how to work with them moving forward. People want feedback and to be recognized. Regular communications that provide concrete and clear feedback help support your team’s growth.

Managing change is complex. As you navigate working with your remote teams, find creative ways to keep your team engaged, motivated, and productive.

Being aware of your emotional intelligence provides an opportunity for leaders to step outside of themselves to gain a better understanding of what others may value, how they are motivated, and what is needed to keep them engaged. Creating an environment where people can be themselves, provide value, and have fun while working is key.

Working remotely can be a means to break down silos across time zones and geographies. It is also an opportunity to find new ways to connect people across your organization.

Originally published by
Simone Sloan | June 23, 2020

Simone Sloan is the founder of Your Choice Coach, which applies expertise in business strategy, executive coaching, and emotional intelligence to help organizations align activities with strategy and become more human to realize results.

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Bronze Level Contributor

Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Across the United States, nearly every nonessential business big and small has been forced to go remote. This puts people in  positions in a unique spot. As academic director of the Columbia Executive M.S. in Technology Management program, I interact with and coach hundreds of emerging leaders each year. The global health crisis has made the  we teach more important than ever. 

Despite what you may have heard, leadership is not innate: It can be taught. If you’re struggling to lead your team during this pandemic, here’s a roundup of my advice with the help of some successful students and alumni.

Be open 

An increase in news consumption and seeking of information are common psychological responses to a crisis. On a global level, we see governments holding daily press briefings and ramping up information sharing. It’s critical that business leaders also keep the information flowing. EMSTM alumna Sam Wilmot, now the VP of strategic programs at , says that this idea has kept her team going.

Wimot recommends increasing the number of check-ins you normally would have with your employees. She says it’s important to account for the fact that there are no “water-cooler moments,” where information is spontaneously shared or connections are made, and that this can lead to feelings of isolation amongst your team. As we continue into month three of working from home, try to keep up or even increase the amount of check-ins with employees. Even if you have no new information to share, sometimes a simple “hello” can go a long way. 

Be clear and calm

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for business leaders to feel wary during this unprecedented time, but it’s important to relay hope to employees who might feel lost. Wimot’s advice: Try not to offload too much and stay as bright and positive as possible — while remaining realistic. People are looking to you for cues and signals on the evolving situation. Be strong but be honest and always authentic.

To do this effectively,  is critical. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It should be in every executive’s repertoire. The skills it takes to successfully perform in a position of leadership, like emotional intelligence, can be learned and perfected with daily practice. Good leaders remember that every employee under their management is unique and can recognize how to interact with each person to maximize efficiency, productivity and happiness.

Be flexible

This crisis has forced us to get comfortable with ambiguity. Laura Kudia, one of my current students and an incoming chief of staff at , says this is one skill that has become particularly handy for her. Before enrolling in the EMSTM program, Kudia spent a decade in the media industry. Her shift to financial services was a complete career pivot. The program gave her “tools in the toolbox" — a combination of hard and soft skills — and taught her to speak the language of tech execs. It also taught her something just as important: to be ready to adapt to and learn from new situations quickly and efficiently. 

As chief of staff to the unit CIO who oversees global risk and tech transformation, Laura’s job is to be a translator for the organization. She must speak to the mission and challenges and communicate these to her direct-reports. This, of course, has involved a lot of spontaneous adjustment right now. The entirety of her onboarding was remote, for example. Of course it wasn’t ideal, but leaders need to be able to adapt to unforeseen challenges with grace and agility. She credits the ability to do this 

confidently to her weekly sessions with her Columbia mentor but says now is the time for all leaders to use their conviction.

Leadership is a timeless skill that’s being tested now more than ever before. Whether you’re managing a team of 15 or 1,500, the crisis has stretched the bounds of our workplaces and demanded that every professional think outside the box. Wilmot and Kudia are two examples of executives who are forging ahead in these uncertain times. If businesses are going to thrive in the weeks and months to come, they should follow their lead and re-examine what it means to be an effective leader. 

Originally published by
Arthur Langer | July 6, 2020

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Covid-19 has wiped out dreams, created a psychological nightmare, and torn a country apart, with individuals questioning what is the right, or wrong, thing to do. The result? Nobody has been untouched.

But, like any crisis, there are lessons to be learned. In the  world we had to rethink employee communications, crisis strategies, technology capabilities, messaging, external communications, new business strategies and business operations – all practically overnight. We had to have all-hands-on-deck and we had to take an honest look at what was in place, what was missing, and what we had, but was no longer relevant. We had to take a solid look at what happened and where we landed to fully understand how we could successfully ride the storm and move forward, with the least amount of destruction. But there can’t be any blinders on. It’s a time for truth. And it’s not always pretty to look at the holes and the lack of strategies that were in place. But it’s real. And now is the time to truly reflect and get the “house” in order if you have not done so.

The bottom line is that we must do two major things:

1. Reflect on our What were we saying and how does that need to shift? What methods were we using and is that still relevant? Who was our audience and has this changed?

2. We need to generate more business to replace what has been lost. Things are not the same therefore our tactics should not be the same. It’s time to shift the mindset.

Here are the top suggestions to communicate better and, through , to rebuild what was lost:

5 Ways to improve communication and marketing

1. Increase video

If there was ever a time to use video as part of your communication strategy, now is that time. The visual element doesn’t allow for sugar coating like the written word does. We can look at your eyes and see your body language. It’s all there. In a situation like this, that’s a positive because we need to see the human side. Use it to share your story. What has your business gone through? Be vulnerable. Take time to create a video calendar that isn’t about your products or services. Talk about how you felt. Talk about missing your customers. 

 Talk about your amazing employees. Talk about what will be new and why you’re going down that road. People buy from companies because they have a need or because they believe in a  – but they also purchase because they like you. Keep this in mind and remember to keep it real through the use of video.

2. Introduce repetition

You must be consistent in your message. If you don’t have one, create one. Then, share across all your channels, often. Use infographics, videos, blogs, newsletters, eBooks, and emails. But the message should be the same, just a different format. Share across your website, create content that gets published into third party outlets, and use as content for social. The point is consistency and frequency. You have a lot to say – now is the time to get your message out there.

3. Insist on the truth 

This is not the time to sugar coat your communications. Your employees need to know the lay of the land and your clients and vendors need to know where they stand. If you fell hard, be honest, and share what you are doing to pick up the pieces. If you have found a way to diversify during these difficult times, let them know why things are changing and how they will be impacted. If things are going well, give them a sense of hope – which is so needed right now. This is not the time to sweep your communications under the rug or to minimize what is going on behind closed doors. Be transparent as respect builds loyalty.

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Originally published by
Doreen Clark - Guest Writer | July 1, 2020

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4 Money Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs are facing unprecedented levels of economic anxiety threatening to imperil their company’s financial stability. Numerous businesses around the world have shut down due to social distancing measures, with many likely to close permanently. Entrepreneurs and prospective startup owners seeking to avoid this fate need to manage their  carefully, as failing to carefully steward finances right now is a one-way ticket to bankruptcy.

Don’t sit around and wait for financial salvation to miraculously appear. Instead, be proactive and take these steps to protect your company’s future.

1. Take advantage of tax breaks.

Few people hate taxes as much as entrepreneurs who are forced to pay steep fees over and over again. High tax rates diminish commercial growth by limiting the size of a company’s workforce, discouraging renovations and the physical expansion of businesses, and burdening companies with payments that are difficult to shoulder during trying economic times. Avoid paying more than you have to by taking advantage of as many tax breaks as possible, which is achievable if you identify the tax breaks worth pursuing.

Be aware that certain tax breaks can help you hire and retain qualified employees while also reducing your tax burden. Small businesses that hire individuals with disabilities receive tax benefits, for instance. Ensuring your workplace is accessible and welcoming to the disabled isn’t only ethical but also financially prudent. Install ramps and other  infrastructure wherever possible.

The IRS offers tax benefits to employers of military veterans and other classes of workers. There are plenty of reasons to hire veterans, so consider the tax benefits of doing so.

2. Embrace tech without overspending.

 owners constantly hear that they need to embrace  if they are to stay in business for very long. But many digital gadgets and software services aren’t worth investing in. Stuck between the imperative to digitize operations and an inability to do so in a cost-effective manner, some entrepreneurs do nothing. Rather than dismissing technology altogether, learn how to embrace tech without overspending in such a way as to harm your future profitability.

While buying tech for tech’s sake should be avoided, there is technology that can save you money long-term. If you lack the expertise to make complex decisions about which IT equipment to invest in, bring on a team member focused on your company’s digital operations.

3. Invest in your future.

Individuals who want to solidify their financial status are frequently told to invest in the . There’s no way to ensure your long-term financial future without holding a diverse portfolio of assets, they’re told. Entrepreneurs, however, are seldom if ever encouraged to invest in their future via the marketplace. Business owners are often too busy to follow the stock market’s goings-on closely, but savvy entrepreneurs who invest in certain assets reap the rewards in the long run.

Platforms like LCMS Traders have made it easy to learn about and partake in the international marketplace. Reinvesting your profits into assets can generate long-term gains — so learn how with these resources.

Your duty as a business owner is to achieve commercial prosperity. The only surefire way to do this is by generating a diverse portfolio of assets that will help your business remain on its own two feet during times of economic turmoil. Advice from LCMS Traders: “In the New , investments are your best friends. If you put your money in the right place at the right time, it will bloom and grow together with your business.”

Stocks and bonds aren’t the only things you should be investing in, either. Maintain the long-term profitability of your company by investing in your workers. This means workplace training, which many entrepreneurs are familiar with, but also entails looking out for the personal well-being of your workers so they grow along with your company. Over time, this investment will ensure you have a reliable supply of human capital, the most important asset of any business.

4. Monetize your digital presence.

Consider that your business’s digital presence could be monetized, given the right circumstances. If you have a popular  that people flock to, you could be generating ad revenue. Well-followed  accounts can also be turned into marketing tools that increase both ecommerce sales and in-person foot traffic. Entrepreneurs who aren’t regularly reassessing their digital presence to ascertain how they can monetize it are making a money management mistake.

There are many different techniques for monetizing a website, as no business can directly copy the model of another. Ad revenue is alluring, but starting an email list to build long-term brand engagement with your customers is usually more profitable. Sometimes, membership sites that require an account to access can offer selective content to users for a price. If your company possesses unique expertise that the marketplace is seeking out, monetize it with a membership-only website to ensure you aren’t spilling your secrets for free.

None of these  techniques will impede your  efforts. In many cases, monetization may improve your digital outreach efforts. Accessible websites that are free to access may get more traffic, but membership-only sites can generate revenue from a small pool of users and ultimately turn out to be more profitable.

Besides monetizing your digital presence, you should strive to maintain a clean image on the . Modern scandals spread across the web like wildfire, so ensure your company’s social media accounts are in good hands. Similarly, maintain an exemplary personal web presence, as the public face of any business misbehaving on any popular social media platform can reflect poorly on the entire company. Make sure every employee is well-behaved online, though never collect worker or user data without proper notification ahead of time.

Originally published by
Chris Porteous, GUEST WRITER, High Performance Growth Marketer | June 23, 2020

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The millions of small businesses that have taken out Paycheck Protection Program loans received some good news yesterday; the Trump administration affirmed that small businesses will not have to pay back their loans even if they don’t rehire all the workers they laid off; also the SBA released new loan forgiveness forms that slashed documentation requirements and provide an easier path to forgiveness; the new forms added a safe harbor option that allows borrowers to just affirm they were unable to operate at the same level of business activity as before the crisis due to the coronavirus; more than 4.6 million small businesses have borrowed $513 billion from the PPP and there is still $130 billion available; the lending program is scheduled to stop lending at the end of this month. - New York Times

Originally published by
Lendit Fintech News | June 18, 2020


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You could be missing out on a host of brand- and ROI-boosting advantages.

At first, the idea of offering a product or service for free feels counterintuitive. After all, it costs money to run a business. Entrepreneurs need to generate revenue if they want to experience any type of lasting success. But I'm not suggesting you give away the cow at no cost, as it were. Rather, that by strategically introducing giveaways or gratis add-ons, you can enjoy significant future growth, and in these five specific areas.

1. Growing your leads list

 are a tried-and-true method of lead generation. Many B2B brands will provide ebooks or other materials in exchange for signing up for their newsletter. This serves as an easy way to collect email addresses that can be leveraged in future  campaigns. This type of giveaway is so widespread that Content Marketing Institute reports that 88 percent of B2B companies use content marketing for lead generation.

Of course, similar tactics can also prove effective when selling consumer products. Many brands use product giveaways that encourage people to follow them on  or sign up for an email list to gain additional entries. The result is more potential buyers who will receive email and , leading to future purchases.

2. Helping others understand what you have to offer

Free trials are a common tactic used by service providers. B2B software companies, video-streaming services and others will typically provide a limited period when users can test out their service for free. This can prove remarkably effective. Growth marketer Lincoln Murphy suggests benchmark conversion rates of 60 percent for trials that require credit card info and 25 percent for “opt-in” trials.

A recent conversation with Piotr Orzechowski, CEO of Infermedica, provided further insights. "In light of COVID-19, we offered a free risk-assessment tool to help triage coronavirus symptoms remotely," he explains. "Ministries of health in Poland and Ukraine implemented this solution on their websites. It was the right thing to do, but it's also allowed organizations to see how our products work. It gives us a chance to show our commitment to quality service, which will undoubtedly lead to new client growth in the future."

3. Generating buzz for your 

Product giveaways are a great way to grow a following. This is commonly seen with social media contests when a brand or influencer will require that followers tag friends as part of their entry.

When done right, this can generate a snowball effect that leads to many people discovering the brand and its products. In fact, a report from Easypromos found that 99.3 percent of contest participants will share links online if the contest incentivizes getting friends to participate.

Of course, the benefits go well beyond . Contests can lead to exponential growth in your social media followers and email subscribers. They can also dramatically increase engagement through these channels. More followers and higher engagement will naturally lead to more qualified leads and purchases.

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Originally published by
Lucas Miller - GUEST WRITER - Founder of Echelon Copy LLC | July 15, 2020

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It was a sunny day in April. The air was crisp and the walk ahead of us enjoyable.

I stared at the beautiful Embarcadero situated near our  office, feeling grateful for working close to such a stunning view.

Then I shifted my gaze over to Tim, my walking mate for the afternoon. We were on one of many walking meetings we’d shared over the past year. But this time was different.

Tim, a normally talkative employee, was dragging his heels and appeared disgruntled whenever I asked for status updates. He kept his head down, answering only in curt replies.

Something was off.

As his supervisor, I could have easily approached his behavior with a stern stance, by grilling him, or asserting my authority. But 14-plus years of  have taught me one thing: A harsh, adversarial response is never the answer.

Instead, I slowed my pace and asked him how things were going at home. “Is everything OK?”

Tim confided then that his father had recently had a , and that he was taking turns spending nights at the hospital, leaving him tense and run-down.

I nodded. “I’m so sorry, that sounds very hard.”

“How can I support you?” I offered.

We spent some time talking over how to alleviate some of his load at work, and even scheduled some days off for him to be with his family.

After our conversation, it was as if a weight had been lifted. In our meeting afterward, he began eagerly participating, even offering feedback I hadn’t asked for.

Showing genuine care and concern only took a few seconds of my time, but it was enough to let Tim know that I was on his side. 

One of the most overlooked skills in business

Empathy — the capacity to recognize and understand other people’s feelings, to “put oneself in someone else’s shoes” is a critical leadership skill.  tells us that it’s a basic human quality most founders would have in their arsenal, but in fact, it’s one that many leaders often get wrong.

In a commencement speech on June 15, 2014, American business magnate and philanthropist, , stood before an audience of Stanford grads and spoke of channeling optimism into a conviction to make things better.

“If we have optimism, but we don’t have empathy,” he said, “then it doesn’t matter how much we master the secrets of science. We’re not really solving problems; we’re just working on puzzles.”

This has been true to my experience as the CEO of my company . We started with one goal: Create a drag-and-drop tool that enabled people to quickly build forms, even if they didn’t know how to code. As a software engineer, I’ll be the first one to say I’m the biggest nerd I know. I enjoy taking a complex issue and making it easy and accessible.

I’ve had the privilege of growing our small startup to a business with over 250 employees and seven million users worldwide.

And what I’ve learned from being a founder all these years is that people, not software, matter most. Connecting with our team and our customers is the real vision that keeps us moving forward.

I believe the secret to our success lies in empathy.

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Originally published by
Aytekin Tank VIP Contributor Founder and CEO, JotForm | June 11, 2020


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A message of hope and encouragement to help us make it through these hard times.

Market ups and downs, emotional ups and downs, working from home, and a recession has caused many companies and individuals to have feelings of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. This is a natural reaction. But how do we overcome these feelings and move forward?

Brigham Tomco is the CEO of Emmersion Learning. He shared with me some keen insights on how to overcome these recent challenges. 

"I learned many life lessons growing up as a competitive athlete," Tomco said. "A recurring message from my coaches that I heard through the years when my teams were struggling, in a slump or overmatched was 'stick to the fundamentals' or 'get back to the basics.' Uncertainty and turmoil often cause us to forget or abandon what brought us success in the first place. At the time when we need stability the most, our inclination is to try something new instead of sticking to what we know works."

Brigham played football college. On day one of his "two-a-days," the defensive coordinator introduced him to EDDs -- also known as Every Day Drills. He explained that after warmups each day, the team would divide into their position groups and work on the same set of drills every day so that they would master and maintain the fundamentals. And wouldn't you know it? The team got really good at those fundamentals. They became part of each player's subconscious and helped the entire team through adversity.

I think of the EDDs in my life that give me strength and stability.

  • Adequate sleep
  • Daily physical activity
  • Meditation/prayer
  • Serving To Others
  • Setting and achieving daily goals/priorities
  • Showing gratitude
  • Getting outside in nature

When life gets busy and stressful, I forget to do these things. In reality, our EDDs must be done every day and need to take priority.  

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Originally published by
Randy Garn | June 10, 2020

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Small business owners across the United States are feeling more upbeat about the state of the economy as a growing number expect the downturn to be “short-lived,” the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports.

The NFIB’s optimism index jumped 3.5 points in May to 94.4, a “strong improvement” over its April reading of 90.9, the small business group noted in a press release.

The improvement comes after the NFIB’s index plunged earlier this spring to levels not seen in a decade in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown in states across the country, with the index was running as high as 104.7 last November.

After plunging 24 points in April, optimism over future business conditions rose 5 points in May, with 34 percent of business owners now expecting improved economic conditions over the next six months.

The survey results for the NFIB’s index, in turn, were taken before last Friday’s stunning Labor Department jobs report, which reported a drop in the jobless rate to 13.3 percent on a wave of 2.5 million new jobs.

“As states begin to reopen, small businesses continue to navigate the economic landscape rocked by COVID-19 and new government policies,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in the release.

Still, small businesses face a number of challenges, with a combination of remaining restrictions on business activity by states in response to the coronavirus — and ongoing health concerns by consumers — putting a major damper on sales.

The number of small business owners reporting a nominal increase in sales dropped 8 points in May from April amid a big drop in retail sales across the U.S. economy.

Fully 20 percent of small business owners expect to make capital outlays over the next several months, the NFIB reported. That’s down from the 52 percent who spent money over the last six months on new equipment, vehicles, expanded facilities, fixtures and furniture, and land and buildings as well.

“It’s still uncertain when consumers will feel comfortable returning to small businesses and begin spending again, but owners are taking the necessary precautions to reopen safely,” said NFIB’s Dunkelberg.

Originally published


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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Data Gumbo Founder Andrew Bruce was in the middle of closing a Series B investment earlier this year when one of his investors decided to hold off on providing the funds until August as the COVID-19 pandemic surged.

His Houston-based technology company creates an interconnected blockchain network to streamline smart contracts management for industrial companies, such as oil and gas. This is an industry also affected by the pandemic due to people staying inside rather than driving.

Bruce told me he worked out a bridge loan with existing investors and is now in the process of putting the Series B together again with better sales and a stronger story. This extra time is also enabling Data Gumbo to clear some existing hurdles, he added.

“Companies like ours are saving the oil and gas industry money, so sales are booming,” Bruce said. “It turned out to be a good thing for us to hold back and be able to come out with a more positive story.”

While not every startup funding story ends positively, entrepreneurs agree they face a difficult funding environment. As Bruce mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic is playing a big role in investors not writing as many checks right now.

To the point, Israel’s customer research startup Wizer Feedback Ltd. surveyed more than 100 venture capital funds back in March, and reported that more than half said they are either halting new investments altogether or significantly cutting back. The survey also found that investors thought this environment would last 12 months.

I recently spoke with some entrepreneurs about why they decided to take the funding routes they did. Some even addressed how they are pivoting during the pandemic to stay on course.

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Originally published by
Christine Hall | June 8, 2020

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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

SoftBank is putting its money where its mouth is.

The Japanese investment conglomerate has revealed plans for a new $100 million fund that “will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color,” according to Axios.

SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure apparently shared the news of the Opportunity Growth Fund in a letter to employees this morning.

Considering that SoftBank has made headlines for less than favorable reasons as of late, the fact that the firm is one of the first to actually announce a new fund dedicated to funding people of color is well, notable.

For those of you who are not aware, SoftBank has been dogged for overinflating valuations with its fat checks. A number of its portfolio companies over the past year have laid off (Zume), shut down (Brandless) or endured some other scandal (WeWork).

But SoftBank is also the same firm that unveiled plans last year for a $5 billion SoftBank Innovation Fund, or what it described as “the largest-ever technology fund focused exclusively on the fast-growing Latin American market.”

As reported, the Opportunity Growth Fund immediately puts a significant amount of capital to work for businesses owned and operated by people of color.

According to Claure’s letter, the fund will invest in “companies that use technology to disrupt traditional business models,” and will donate an unspecified portion of gains from the fund’s investments to organizations focused on “creating opportunities for people of color.”

A company spokesperson told Axios that companies have not yet been identified to add to the portfolio, nor has capital been dedicated.

In addition, Claure wrote that SoftBank would not collect its traditional management fee on the fund and will reinvest 50 percent of the gains into future programs with similar focuses.

Originally published by
Mary Ann Azevedo - Christine Hall | June 3, 2020

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Image credit: Nigel Parry

If you think something is impossible, it will become impossible. It's time to think differently.

“This is impossible.”

We’ve all said those words recently. I sure have — about managing my increasingly needy children, or fitting deep work into fragmented days, or just finding a moment of peace in a constantly noisy house. In fact, no joke: I’m three sentences into writing this column and I have already been interrupted twice, moved locations three times, and am now blasting white noise next to my head so I can concentrate. Productivity just feels…impossible.

But stop right there. Do not use that word again, no matter how tempting it is. Because when we say something is impossible, we do ourselves real harm. Impossible should be banned from our vocabulary.

To appreciate what I mean, consider life in the early 1800s.

Back then, scientists were experimenting with a radical idea: surgery without pain. What if patients could somehow be numbed, or made to fall asleep, so that they didn’t experience the agony of being sliced open and repaired? It would be a triumph of humanity, and it would revolutionize medicine.

This was slow work, as you might imagine. There was a lot of trial and error, and many skeptics. One naysayer was Alfred Velpeau, a French surgeon. “The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera,” he said in 1839. “It is absurd to go on seeking it today. ‘Knife’ and ‘pain’ are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patent.”

In other words, he said it was impossible.

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Originally published by
Jason Feifer - ENTREPRENEUR STAFF - Editor-in-Chief
May 28, 2020

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Here's how you can make everyone on your team feel important and respected, regardless of where their offices are.

Although the exact definition of a workplace culture may be different in your company, most business leaders realize the importance of creating a strong and positive culture. A positive culture leads to more creative, happy and productive team members, and more importantly, it also helps everyone work together as one cohesive unit.

But, how can you achieve this when you have employees scattered across the world? Well, just because they’re not physically together doesn’t mean it's impossible. In fact, if you use the following techniques, you’ll be able to successfully create a vigorous workplace culture for your virtual employees.

Be patient — not everyone is built for remote work.

Here’s a reality check. Not everyone is cut out for remote work. That means in a perfect world, you hire those who can. It can be a lengthy process after scooping out candidates on sites like Toptal, Upwork or FlexJobs. After that, you want to screen potential hires and review samples of their work.

Then, make sure that they have access to all of the tools and resources needed to do their jobs. They should also have been trained in how to use whatever technology you’re relying on for communication and collaboration. And make sure that you are available to guide them and have deployed tech support when needed.

Most importantly? Be patient with them. It’s going to take some time to figure everything out, like how to set up their home offices and block out distractions.

Establish or refine your company’s values.

The foundation of a strong workplace culture is the values that it’s built on. Having cool perks like cereal bars and unlimited time off are well and good, but it’s your values that unite teams, keep them focused and create a positive and productive environment.

Gitlab, one of the world’s largest all-remote team, has six values that have helped the company thrive:

  • Collaboration “where any team member can approach any other team member to learn, seek input, or ask for advice.” Additionally, feedback and encouraging everyone to contribute are also a part of Gitlab’s culture.
  • Results that “focus on rewarding outputs rather than inputs.”
  • Efficiency means grating autonomy while expecting employees to be held accountable by documenting everything.
  • Diversity and inclusion are necessary since you’re working with people from all over the world. As such, you need to be respectful and empathic to others.
  • Iteration is “encouraging small steps and empowering individuals to propose a minimum viable change.”
  • Transparency is straightforward. Keep employees in the loop and provide feedback on where improvements need to take place.

“To be effective, and to impact the culture in an ongoing, meaningful, sustainable way, values must be more than words written on a page,” note the Gitlab team. “Values must be lived, with each day representing a new opportunity to refamiliarize oneself with said values and strive to implement them in every professional interaction.”

Create psychological safety.

At some point, we’ve all been here before. We see a disaster approaching, but instead of speaking up, we remain silent. The reason? We just didn’t feel safe enough to engage.

How can you prevent this within your organization? By promoting psychological safety.

“A culture of psychological safety enables employees to be engaged,” writes Jake Herway for Gallup. “They can take risks and experiment” and “express themselves without the fear of failure or retribution.”

“Juxtapose this type of culture with one where employees feel too intimidated to speak up or share a new idea,” adds Herway. “It's hard to imagine these employees can mentally allow themselves to be engaged at work.”

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Originally published by
John Rampton - VIP CONTRIBUTOR - Entrepreneur and Connector | May 29, 2020



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