Ways to stand out as a new entrepreneur. Becoming an entrepreneur is an important and hard undertaking. That’s why it’s important to have a distinguishing trait that helps you stand out as an entrepreneur. It’s important to be attentive to the competition and to find out the best way to differentiate yourself. Discover what the best ways for entrepreneurs to excel in their field and increase sales are.

 

What’s most important is to have an element that makes you stand out. A distinctive physical attribute that is valued by the public will always be a plus. One of the challenges we have as entrepreneurs is making sure we offer something different with our brand. What can you highlight in front of other options? And how can you make people choose your brand and not others?

 

Offer competitive prices

 

It’s important to seek to be the “most competitive” option. Price is often a determining factor, especially in these times. However, while low values are a viable strategy, we recommend applying them in a single product. Nonetheless, you should do this when large quantities are produced or sold. Another option to recover an offered price is to mix something with a low-output product. Besides this, you can also put together combos, which always grab the attention of people.

 

Focus on the client

 

Another tip is being customer-centric. Some entrepreneurs often neglect this aspect and make serious mistakes. Something that can help to stand out is to have a good after-sales service. This is a service that not only solves problems but also maintains fluid communication with customers. This way you will be able to collect suggestions on products and keep them informed whatever news comes up.

 

Use social media

 

Digitize the business. Instagram and Facebook are essential in these pandemic times to have a presence on the Internet and social networks. If you use them efficiently to listen and quickly meet consumer demands, you will be more valued by them.

 

Offer many payments options

 

Just as important is providing payment facilities. Today, many online trading options are easy to use and prevent the use of physical money. This, in turn, creates a sense of trust in the customer.

 

Use different platforms to start your business.

 

There hasn’t been a better time to create a new business than now. Thanks to the creation of pre-built platforms of online stores and mass media, such as social media, more and more alternative brand options to show up.

 

Know what makes you stand out from the competition.

 

Not having competition is physically impossible, and it’s not the issue either. There is room for everyone. Thus, defining your differentials is not so much about beating the competition. What’s important is to make clear and easy to understand what makes your brand special. Also, define the reason people might want to choose you.

 

So, what makes your brand special? Make sure to define it and understand it so that you can properly communicate it to your customers.

 

First, you must determine what make your brand stand out and specify it

 

It seems obvious, but it isn’t always applied. The first step for a business uniqueness to be noticeable is that you know what makes you unique. If you don’t know what makes you different, people on the other side won’t see it.

 

This happens because if you don’t know it, you won’t be able to make others see it. And for a difference to really be a differential, your potential customers have to notice it. If not, they will be just words in your head, and they won’t help you improve your business.

 

How to stand out as a company

 

If you want to get different or extraordinary results you should do out-of-the-ordinary things. In short, do what others don’t:

 

Develop self-knowledge.

 

This will help you realize how you are which in turn won’t allow you to not deceive yourself. Self-knowledge will help you have greater control.

 

Work your business model, which will allow you to clearly define:

 

  • What are you going to offer to the market
  • How are you going to do it
  • The person you are going to sell to.
  • How you’re going to sell it to them
  • How you’re going to generate income.

Keep your finances in check 

 

Carry out financial planning with medium and long-term forecasts. This financial analysis will allow you to study your business management. As a result, you will be able to predict its future evolution and thus be able to make decisions with the least uncertainty.

 

Create a marketing plan, entrepreneur

 

This will allow you to meet your sales goals and create customer flows for your company.

 

The difference might be in your product or service, or in the way in which you offer it to your clients. What’s important is to make it clear and easy to understand.

 

If you want to be successful, you must stand out. It’s easy to say it, but doing it isn’t as much. The difference is in the small details, in those that for the common eye is imperceptible, but for customers are decisive.

 

Study the market

 

The key to being different is in the before, that is, in the stage before the launch of your service or product. How can you avoid failure? You have to do very rigorous, very detailed market research. You have to know exactly who is in the market, what they do, how they do it, when they do it, at what cost they do it, to whom they offer it. So, and only so, you will be able to see and know its strengths, its potential.

 

And, of course, also its fissures, its weaknesses, because we all have them, human beings and businesses. Define the niche you want to be yours, find out what isn’t done or what isn’t offered to the customer and focus on it. 

 

As you can see, it’s very important to study the market before entering it. Only in this way will you know how it works and what it lacks. Thanks to it, you can find ways to stand out.

 

Take a look at what you offer, entrepreneur

 

Features, services, benefits, prices and other factors are what will allow you to figure out the approach of your business. By doing this, your chances of success will highly increase, to the point where you will seem a professional and disciplined person. Besides, if you’re right, you will have taken a firm first step, a great first step at that. So, without a doubt, you will be even closer to success.

 

Invest money and time in making the differences clear

 

Once you know what you want to bring to the forefront to make your brand stand out, the second key is to invest time and money in that. This second step is one that it’s often forgotten. Entrepreneurs define their differentials on paper, but then they invest neither time nor money in actually bringing them to life. For a difference to truly work as one, you must invest in it so that other people also notice it. If your difference isn’t clear or appealing, then it won’t help your business.

 

Properly communicate the differences to potential customers, entrepreneur

 

It’s not enough to be unique and different, you have to advertise it.

 

It’s important to communicate why they should choose your business over the competition, this is the key to being successful. Thus, you have to show how you stand out in a way that is appealing and obvious.

 

The first step then is to define what those differentials are in your venture. Whether it’s because you specialize in a product, the process, or materials you use, or because you give it a different approach to the rest of your industry. What’s important is that you intentionally define them and write them down.

 

The keys to standing out as a new entrepreneur

 

Above all, you need to have personified attention. The client has to feel that the solutions that you as an entrepreneur and craftsman offer, are only for them.

 

Another great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to use your personality, emotions, worldview, and story to attract customers. You must reach your customers. For this, you can use a website and in it, including a section called “about me”. Here, you can write about your values, your priorities in life and business.

 

Tell your customers about what happens “behind the scenes”. This doesn’t mean exposing everything about your private life. But it’s normal for people to be curious about the person behind the brand. Thus, they may want to know the process behind the creation of your products, your hobbies, and what books you like to read. This is how trust is established.

 Why is starting your own business a great idea? With the right planning, effort and a bit of luck, this could be a great year to start a business. But what are the advantages of starting one?

 

Have business ideas ever come to your mind? Deciding to create an enterprise is not easy. This is even harder when we take into account the amount of competition there is. As a result, it can be pretty difficult finding that something that will make you stand out.

 

Managing your own business entails that you will need to be in charge of almost everything. Because of this, you may have to work harder than anyone else in your business. So, yeah, the income may be tempting, but you will have to do a thousand things at the same time. Only in this way will you be able to ensure the success of your business. All of this leads us to the question, why is starting your own business is a great idea?

 

Why people start their own business?

 

Freedom

 

Some people don’t fit into the present structures and can’t stand having someone on top of them telling them what to do. They are irreverent people with a very strong spirit of freedom. They are people who want to own their own time and who do not conceive a life following a routine.

 

Entrepreneurship is also an opportunity to gain that freedom that many crave. At first, a business may require us to work 16 hours a day, but there is always the satisfaction of working on our own ideas and projects.

 

You can work in your dreams the hours you want having the satisfaction of starting or ending at any time of the day. This benefit can sometimes be a little negative since when starting your venture you must dedicate yourself 24/7 to it, therefore, sometimes it will take away your family and/or friends’ time. However, managing your schedule will allow you to have the freedom to organize your schedule according to your needs.

 

Passion

 

While most people in our society prefer to ignore what their heart tells them, some female entrepreneurs are willing to devote all their time, effort and energy to what they are really passionate about.

 

These entrepreneurs are not willing to spend their time working in jobs that are boring to them. They want to live a life full of passion and challenges.

 

Reduce travel time

 

While many small businesses work from their offices, many entrepreneurs find that working from home costs way less. In addition to providing a familiar, comfortable environment to work in, working from home involves drastically cutting commute times. As a result, they avoid the Daily tangle with public transport or overloaded or cut roads.

 

Money

 

On the one hand, many entrepreneurs start out of necessity; that is because they do not have a sustainable source of income and find in business an opportunity to start making money. Some feel dissatisfied with their current salary and want to earn more.

 

Transcend

 

And, finally, there is a select group of entrepreneurs whose mission is to leave their mark on this world. They do not want to be one more person, they want there to be a before and after their passage through this world. They want to transcend.

 

The goal of these entrepreneurs is not to create big companies, but to solve big problems. Their business initiatives are not limited to generating income, but literally, generate a change in society.

 

They don’t go after money, they go after a dream. They are visionary people who are willing to devote their whole lives to building innovative solutions to problems in our environment.

 

Benefits of starting your own business

 

You’re your own boss

 

Tired of dealing with a boss you don’t like? If you have your own business, the only person you have to answer to is yourself. Being your own boss gives you the freedom to do things your way and implement your own plans. Of course, you live or die for your decisions, but that’s the good thing, right?

 

You will be doing what you like

 

No one undertakes something they do not like or what they do not really believe in. As a result, if you feel passion for what you do then you will have fun working every day.

 

If you’re stuck behind a desk selling insurance over the phone, chances are you’d rather do something else. The good thing about being an entrepreneur is that you get to choose your niche.

 

Thus, as long as you have done your homework properly and found a gap in the market, you can turn a hobby or interest into a profitable enterprise.

 

Being trapped or in a monotonous job, generating benefits for others can end up destroying your motivation after a while. Start your own business and set and meet your own deadlines. It takes a lot of self-discipline. But meeting your own goals can be a great motivation to work hard and take the business forward.

 

Develop your creativity

 

If you have thought about becoming independent and working alone, you will surely have thought about how to do things your way. Being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to express yourself and develop your own concept in the way you choose.

 

Of course, there are always financial difficulties, but the ability to be as creative as you want is much more attractive than unimportant work. It’s not so difficult to do.

 

The news is full of stories about the amount of red tape and taxes that small businesses have to face daily. Recently, however, several measures are now in place in almost all cities to make easy the creation of small businesses. Investigate which support organizations are up and running in your city: NGOs, business chambers, or government support units.

 

It is varied

 

Deal with spreadsheets one moment, with suppliers the next and then take a look around your new office. The work of an entrepreneur is not only a lot, but it is also very varied.

 

If you currently feel uninspired by your monotonous work, start your own business! By having your own company, you will busy using your skills to the maximum. Besides, If you want a career where every day is different, then becoming independent and creating your own company could be for you.

 

You can have a second job

 

Of course, if you don’t like it or can’t give up a regular income, you can always get the best of both worlds. In this sense, you can keep your current job until your company takes off. While fulfilling both jobs can be tricky, it could be an option to start your own business. It could even be the only option.

 

The big dream can become a reality

 

You may think that starting a small business involves nothing more than having your own desk and taking extra staff to open the doors of the business. However, it is possible to grow big.

 

There is no shortage of examples of entrepreneurs who started with a small store with a minimum budget and in a short time began to extend a chain of their own stores or through franchises and the business exploded.

 

Job stability

 

By developing your idea of entrepreneurship you ensure your future work and your professional profile; you will no longer have to wait for a company to hire your services, but on the contrary, you will provide job stability to other people.

 

Lead a team of employees

 

You will have the possibility to decide who to hire to be part of your business and become a true leader. When you have clear goals you want to meet, and you can choose collaborators yourself, it’s easier to find people who connect with your ideas.

 

Work from anywhere in the world

 

One of the great advantages of being an entrepreneur is to be able to choose your place of work, be it your home or an office, you will have the opportunity to start your work from wherever you want and disconnect from these when you like.

 

It can be very profitable

 

If you think that only big companies have big profits, you are wrong. There are countless stories of entrepreneurs who “stick” with a great idea. They take advantage of it and before the first year, they are well on their way to achieving their first million.

 

Although the start-up process is usually very difficult if you manage your business well, the reward is huge. Granted, you will need many hours of exhausting work and will get little money. However, by doing this you will reach a level of success in which you will generate more income than working for a third party. And, from a purely selfish point of view, you will get most of the benefits for yourself.

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see, starting a business could be the best choice you’ll ever make. The road may be tricky and filled with shortages, but the final destination is only one, success.

 

Every reason why you should start your own business, If you have always dreamed of being your own boss and starting a business, this is the signal you’ve been waiting for. There’s no better day than today to start making your dreams come true.

 

 

5 Leadership skills for every leader. Being a leader isn’t easy but they are necessary. People with special characteristics can lead a group to success. However, not everyone is a leader since to be one, one has to have leadership skills. Next, we will show you some excellent traits that every leader must-have. Only with them will they lead their company or organization straight to success.

 

What is leadership?

 

Everyone knows the concept of leadership and how it’s a vital part of the life of any community. In this sense, a leader is someone who has a set of leadership skills. If a person doesn’t have these, they won’t be able to lead anyone to success. Only those with these skills can turn a group of people into a team and allow them to achieve any goal.

 

We live in a world that’s constantly changing. That is to say, there is no living being that doesn’t adapt and move forward. To live is to change. One could say that the present becomes the past and together they determine the future. Famed author Oscar Wilde once said that “the only thing that we know about human nature is that humans change”. He afterward added that failure happens because of people that “believe in a static human nature and not in human development and growth”. Thus, those with leadership skills learn to adapt.

 

Today, leaders are incredibly important. After all, they are the ones leading the constant change in the world. To be successful in your life, you need to know how to be a leader. It doesn’t matter if you’re a politician or just leading a project at work, leadership skills will help you improve yourself. With leadership, new opportunities will present themselves.

 

Leadership skills for leaders

 

A leader is an important figure when it comes to teamwork. Most industries and businesses require teamwork to be effective. As a result, the leader is the person placed in charge of the team. This means that they’re in charge of coordinating the members of the team. They’re also the ones making all the decisions and solving the problems that could arise.

 

The best leaders are those that have natural authority. Indeed, a good leader is someone that leads without forcing their will on people. Thus, if you want to be an effective leader, you must be inspiring and, even more important, understanding. Those around you, be it juniors or teammates, should follow you because they believe in you and respect you.

 

In businesses and similar sectors, leadership is invaluable. It defines the big picture. To be more specific, an industry leader shapers the path that a company will take. For example, a leader is like a ship’s captain. We can also say that a leader is like an orchestra director. Now, we know that everyone is needed for a business to work, but the leader is the one making sure everything runs smoothly. Without a leader, things will simply fall apart. Because of this, the leader is a key role in an organization.

 

Are leadership skills important?

 

The role of a leader is vital for any kind of organization. No matter the type, everyone must have a leader to fulfill any project. After all, it’s thanks to a good leader that projects are successful. Besides, everyone knows a good leader is someone able to guide a group. If people work on their own, the result won’t be cohesive. Thus, failing to deliver efficient results.

 

This situation is the same in many different areas. For example, a hospital needs a director and a country needs a president. The best leaders know that personal benefits are tied to the organization. As a result, when the team succeeds, it means that the leader is doing a great job. That’s why acting selfishly isn’t an aspect of a good leader.

 

The 5 leadership skills that every leader should have

 

If leadership is so important, how do I become one? Which are the specific skills that every leader should have? There are main traits that define a great leader. However, the following leadership skills are the ones at the core of all the most excellent leaders. With them, you should be able to improve as a leader in both your personal life and professional life.

 

  • Emotional intelligence

 

Leaders are very smart when it comes to their emotions. Because of this, this is the most basic trait of a leader. Employees and teammates are more likely to get along with a leader that knows how to deal with their emotions. Thus, to have emotional intelligence is to have leadership skills. Besides, a leader that knows how to deal with their emotions is more likely to easily lead a team. Thus, a leader with emotional intelligence isn’t forceful but rather understanding.

 

Now, you may be asking yourself, what is emotional intelligence? This is the skill to identify, understand and control your emotions. Thanks to it, you can improve your personal and professional relationships. What’s more, it will help you to build and achieve your goals and objectives. However, this isn’t all! Having this skill means that you can handle any amount of stress better. As a result, when a leader is faced with an obstacle, they won’t crumble under the pressure.

 

Leadership skills and emotional intelligence

 

There are two elements of emotional intelligence. The first is being able to identify your emotions and control them. It doesn’t mean to pretend that negative emotions don’t happen. It just means that you don’t let them take control of you. An emotionally intelligent leader has as many negative emotions as anyone does, we are human after all. Nevertheless, they know how to manage them better.

 

Someone who knows their emotions can take advantage of them by using them to better relate with people. Because of this, they will have a successful life and succeed in their work. The second element of emotional intelligence is being sympathetic. An emotionally intelligent leader tries to be accommodating with their teammates or subordinates

 

When a leader is emotionally intelligent, they can relate and listen to their team. This leadership skill involves being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes. For example, try to figure out how your team members are feeling. Is the work too hard for them? Are they in a good environment? With this knowledge, you can help them work better. In the same way, understanding the emotions of your stakeholders or customers will help you provide a better service.

 

  • Vision

 

One important leadership skill is having a vision. What is having a vision? Thinking towards the future. Leaders plan, they don’t act as they go along. Without a goal in mind, your work will be unfocused and inefficient. To gain the leadership skills necessary to have a vision, you need to know yourself and your team.

 

Having a vision isn’t just setting up an objective or dreaming big. For example, you can’t force your team to go beyond their limitations. The goals of a good leader are smart. They’re achievable goals that will give your team a sense of fulfillment once they’ve accomplished them.

 

A leader’s vision is a clear image of the desired outcome. The leader’s job is to properly communicate this vision to their team. The vision must be realistic yet idealistic. Big enough to inspire, just not so big that it just can’t be reached. 

 

  • Inspirational

 

One of the most important leadership skills is the ability to inspire and motivate. Many people think that being a good leader is just ordering people around. Because of this, the way they “lead” is by telling their staff what to do and just expect them to it because it was an order. This only creates a mechanical and uncommitted workforce.

 

Inspirational leadership is different. A leader with this leadership skill is someone that creates commitment. By inspiring your team, they will start believing in your goals or the company’s goals. You’re being an inspirational leader when your whole team shares a single objective.

 

An inspirational leader is someone that creates and promotes a positive culture for their business. This kind of culture will allow employees to learn to value themselves, the organization, and its clients. In short, an inspirational leader is someone that aims at making every employee recognize the value of their work. 

 

The leadership ability to inspire

 

In other words, a leader with the leadership skill to inspire will create commitment and this is vital. As a result, an inspiring leader will have employees that deliver quality and success. There are two main qualities of an inspirational leader. These two qualities set apart those with the leadership skill of inspiration from those that don’t have it. The first is the ability to make the team transcend.

 

What does making the team transcend mean? It means that every member of the team will feel that they’re part of something bigger. Thanks to this feeling, they will be proud of themselves and the company. Making a team transcend will facilitate organization and make your employees or teammates work professionally.

 

Second, an inspiring leader knows how to handle the team’s emotions. This is closely related to the leadership skill of having emotional intelligence. In other words, an effective inspiring leader will make every employee feel like they matter. By working with an inspiring leader, workers of all kinds will know that their success is tied to the team’s success.

 

  • Lead by example

 

Being exemplary is one of the leadership skills. If you’re not outstanding you’re going to have a hard job inspiring your employees. Besides, they’re probably not going to respect you. When a leader leads by example, they act properly and fearlessly yet smartly. Your subordinates and teammates are going to feel inspired to do their best if you do your best.

 

When you lead by example, you always have to take responsibility. If things go wrong, you can’t blame someone else. That creates a culture of noncommitment and disinterest. Your success is tied to the company’s success, you can’t simply pretend they’re separate. Thus, as the leader, you must understand your role and accept it.

 

The leadership skill of leading by example involves being able to take risks and be better. You can’t expect your teammates to go the extra mile if you’re not going the extra mile yourself. What does being exemplary mean? Being outstanding, being someone worthy of serving as a model. The best leaders are those that people look up to.

 

  • Hire, develop and coach the best people

 

A leader is as good as its employees. Being able to know which the best hires are is a leadership skill. Become a good judge of character and learn to be able to properly measure someone’s abilities. This is almost as important as being able to see the potential. Not everyone has the same training, and you might lose some of the best people if you don’t pay attention to what they can potentially do. 

 

First of all, be neutral. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves. Because of this, the evaluation of potential hires is a leadership skill. Reading someone’s resume goes beyond looking at their accomplishments. Normally, the four criteria to determine if someone is worth hiring are skills, results, values, and will. However, they’re less straightforward than they seem.

 

The leadership skills for hiring the right people

 

What matters regarding skills is not what the person can now do. Instead, it’s what they could do. Technology is rapidly changing, so the ability to adapt is more important than the abilities someone currently has. Recognizing this is a leadership skill. When looking at an applicant’s “results”, look at them in context. What did they achieve and how did they do it? This will tell you about their potential.

 

Finally, know that will is the engine to a great performance. For this reason, hire people that want to do better. Normally, these people will also have the right values for your business. Understanding an applicant’s personality and reading between the lines is an important leadership skill.

 

Personal leadership tutoring with Coach Virginie Lemay-Vriesde

 

These tips will help you become a better leader, remember a good leader is one that has them. Nevertheless, they might not be exactly what you need.

 

Enter my program if you want more personal tutoring that specifically addresses your weakness and strengths. Make contact and being your journey towards becoming a successful leader. 

 

When we speak to children, whether they are 5, 10 or 15, we often ask them: What do you want to be when you grow up? Some will say they want to become a pilot, a firefighter, a school teacher or a doctor. Some others do not have a straight answer. I was one of them. I never really knew what job I wanted to do. The only thing I knew from a young age, is that it had to do something with languages, with traveling, with living abroad. 

When we get older, we often fall into a routine; getting up, working (whether it is to work for a company or for oneself), going to bed. We frequently forget to pause and ask ourselves the question: What do I want to be when I grow up? How do I want to look back at my life when I am 80? Thinking strategically and having a long term goal in mind is something we have to do if we want to be successful and achieve our goals.

Have a long term goal in mind

Answering the question ‘How do I want to look back at my life when I am 80?’ is not an easy question to answer. It can take days, weeks, months or even years to answer it. You also may not be able to answer that particular question but you should ask yourself, every so many years: what do I want to do in 5, 10, 20  years? Once you have found your purpose in life and/or your long term goal, you can start working backwards and establish (short, medium and longer term) goals so that you can look back at your life and be proud of what you have achieved. 

Having long term goals in mind helps you stay focused. You may not know yet how you are going to achieve these goals, you may not know when you will achieve them. But by staying focused, you’ll be able to recognize when an opportunity will present itself and you’ll just have to grab it. In 2003-2004, I wanted to leave the Netherlands. I wanted to go and live either in Spain or in Italy. I was not speaking fluent Spanish or Italian, I did not know how I could move to one of these countries. Yet, this was my goal. And in 2006, the Quality and Training Manager of the Italian subsidiary of the company I was working for, resigned. The Italian Management team approached me and asked me if I would be interested to take over his job. I of course said yes. I was thrilled. It was because I had put my goal out there, to the Universe, that my dream came true somehow. Many people knew what my goal was. I had worked hard and had done my research. I had never anticipated my Italian colleague would resign. When he did, I was ready. 

 

Identify the gaps

Once you have a clear idea of your goal, you can identify the skills you need, the habits you need to have. You know where you are now which helps you identify the gap between the current situation and your goal. You can then start to work on them. What new skills do you need to acquire? And do you need to unlearn something? What habits do you need to get rid of? What new habits do you need to start doing? 

You may have already started to work on some new skills or competencies. But you may need to level up, read books, follow some webinars or training to develop them and improve yourself. 

You may also want to hire a coach or a mentor to brainstorm to have an accountability partner, who can challenge you and ensure you are taking action. Being motivated and taking action are sometimes not enough. You need to be disciplined and act on a consistent basis to make progress (see one of my previous articles here.)

 

Setting priorities

The main challenge is that people often do not prioritize the right things. They think everything is important. And by putting everything at the same level, nothing stands out. That is how the routine starts. People no longer know what is a priority.

It is critical to spend some time planning. Of course, being spontaneous once in a while, doing things at the last minute, is ok. We all need some flexibility. However, when it comes down to the bigger picture, this is where you need to stay rigid and focus on your goal if it is important to you. The way you approach things may change, the timing for which you’ll want to achieve your goal may also vary, as some things are outside of our control (the situation we’re currently experiencing is a perfect example). However, if something is important enough for you, you will find a way to achieve your goal. Take a break. Reflect, pause, evaluate and ask yourself: what do I need to do this week, this month, this quarter, this year, the next 5 years, so that I can achieve my goal by 20xx. 

 

Remember this: the most successful persons are planning years, decades ahead. They have also had setbacks and certain things probably did not happen as planned.  But they keep working at it. Continuously. Focusing on their long term goal, their vision. 

 

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Preparation is key.

When we have a deadline, we often focus on the task we need to do: going through an interview, delivering a training or presentation, providing a report. There are important milestones that we need to go through to achieve our goal. To be successful in achieving these milestones, two things are essential (see my previous article: The keys of success). However, there is one thing we often underestimate: preparation. 

 

Why is it important?

Even though preparation can be boring and not always fun, it is one of the most valuable things you can do to avoid stress and anxiety as the deadline approaches.

Being prepared as much as possible is critical if you want to be successful. When you are prepared, you can tackle challenges more easily and more efficiently. You will also be and feel more confident when you’ve worked on all the things you need to know and on the things you control.

In business

When you are looking for a job and get an interview, nothing is more important than doing your research, Find out about the company you’ve applied for, their values, their financial situation, locations, culture, etc. Find out more about the role by reaching out to people in your network who may work there or ask your connections if they know people working there. 

Prepare your answers to some of the common questions (tell me more about yourself; why do you want to work here; what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc.). Don’t forget to prepare questions to ask the recruiter, hiring manager etc. Interviews are a two-way conversation and candidates often forget this, 

When you deliver a presentation or a training, you also need to spend as much time preparing as possible. It helps you create something that will interest your audience and you can link things between a project, the company, the department, to your presentation. When you are well prepared, you will have worked on everything that is in your control (have a backup ready in case you have some technical issues; be ready to answer questions or objections; know the layout of the room in case you have to do some team exercises, etc. ). The more information you have beforehand, the more chances you have to show your professionalism, knowledge and expertise. 

Preparation is key.

 

In life

Same as in business, if you want to put all the chances in your corner, you need to prepare. 

When you want to cook something special, you usually need to look at the recipe and buy the ingredients in advance. You also need to make sure you have all ustensils so that you can make that special dish. Unless you’ve been cooking that special meal several times in the past, you need to spend some time in the preparation to be sure you’ll be able to make that dish on time.

Whether you want to run a marathon or start a new fitness routine, you need to first know your exact goal and where you are starting from. Same thing if you want to improve your health and lose some weight. Once you have identified the gap, you can prepare, put actions into place that will help you achieve your goal. You may have to buy certain equipment, buy certain food or change your schedule. All of this requires preparation. 

Preparation is key.

When traveling

When you want to travel for pleasure or business, or need to move abroad, preparation is also critical. 

What is the cost of living? Which places can you visit? What type of food do people eat? How is the weather? If you are a woman, are there areas you need to avoid? 

If you got a job abroad, find out about the tax system and if there are many expatriates. You also should enquire if the city you’re going to has (international) schools for your children and if your partner will be able to find a job easily. These questions may not be relevant first but things can go quickly sometimes, and the better you are prepared, the easier the transition will be. 

Preparation is key.

 

Conclusion

Whatever your goal, make sure you set some time aside to think, organize yourself and work towards what you want to achieve. Obviously, sometimes unexpected things happen, but when they do, they are mostly things you cannot do anything about. 

So remember that preparation is key, not optional! See it as an investment that will allow you to relax more and will put you at a competitive advantage. Even though it may seem like a ‘waste of time’, being prepared will in the end save you time and money.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ ‘There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Colin Powell

#vlvcoach #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #mindset

This article was also shared on Linkedin.

Yes! If you want to become a better leader, you should be(come) a dancer.

I’ve said it before: leadership and dancing have more in common that you may think. When you are a dancer, there are some powerful lessons you can draw that will help you in business as well.

 

Lead and motivate people

When you dance, as a leader (usually the man), you need to lead your dance partner. You need to let her know what she needs to do: does she need to turn right or left? Does she need to turn once, twice, more? Does she need to slow down or speed up? Without a clear guidance, your dance partner will not know where to go or what to do. When you are the woman (and in that case you are not the one leading) you can still lead your partner. This is especially true if you dance with a beginner and you are already at a higher level. By making some subtle suggestions or providing some advice, you can provide guidance to this new dancer.  When we do that, we are not trying to take over from them,  but we are influencing them through encouragement. 

In business, your role as a leader is to lead your team members. Having a vision of what you’d like your business to become is like knowing what type of dance you want to do. Your team members need to do what you want them to do in order to achieve a certain goal. If you do not lead them in the direction you want, some people will go their way, which may end up being completely the opposite of what you want them to do. For that, you need to communicate with them regularly, encourage them and guide them so that they know they are on the right track. When you lead people, encourage them and guide them, you’ll be able to achieve your goals and hopefully have fun in the process, just like with dancing,

 

Everybody is different

Whenever you are in the office or on the dance floor, remember that everybody is different, You therefore have to adapt yourself to your counterpart. Is your team member new? Then you will need to guide him/her more, give them some time to practice, provide them with some tools or tips so that they can learn their job better and quicker. If your team members have been in your team for quite some time, they already know your style of leadership. They will know how to approach you, communicate with you or ask you questions. Same with your clients, suppliers, etc.  Just like with your team members, you need to adapt yourself to them and need to be able to manage change. 

When you dance salsa (or any other partner dance), you will often dance with different people. Some have been dancing for years while some others are just starting. Some dancers will dance cuban salsa, while some others will dance puerto rican salsa. No matter who you’re dealing with, make sure you observe, listen (or feel in case of dancing) so that you can adapt yourself to the person in front of you. The last thing you want is for someone to feel lost or completely disconnected because you have not been willing to adapt yourself to his/her level.

 

Building trust

Any relationship is based on trust. Whether you want to get clients, lead a team or dance with someone, you need to start building the relationship so that the other person trusts you. 

In business, you need to lead by example, say what you’ll do and do as you said. For a relationship to be successful, you have to be trustworthy so that people know that they rely on you if they ask you to deliver something or if there is a challenge or an issue.

When you dance with someone, the man needs to trust that the woman will follow what he wants her to do. The woman needs to trust the man that if he wants her to do a certain figure, he will not break her arm or leg! Dancers build on each other’s strengths, they rely on each other, and they need to be able to trust each other to perform.

There are many other similarities between dancing and leadership, and I had already shared some others in a previous article. That is why I help people Succeed in the Adventures of Leadership and Self Assurance (SALSA 💃🏽 )

This article was also shared on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #leadership #leadershipdevelopment #globalleader #globalteams

“Your health is your wealth”, we all have heard this expression.

In these days where most of us are stuck at home trying to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, I can’t help but think that this expression has never been truer to me…

Being healthy does not only mean being ‘fit’ i.e. not overweight. It also means being healthy in our mind. 

 

Physical health

When we say ‘health’ the first thing that comes to mind is usually our physical health. It is important to practice a sport regularly to feel good, to build your muscles and stamina. It also helps to release your stress and to sweat to release toxins from your body. Practicing a sport regularly helps you stay in a good condition and prevents you from having certain aches. After I had my serious car accident, dancing helped me build my muscles again. And these last two years, I’ve also started doing yoga. It helps me strengthen my muscles, especially those in my back.  

It actually does not matter which sport you do. Whether you like to run, play golf or tennis, dance, swim or cycle, as long as you do something regularly. 

 

Food

Being healthy also means paying attention to your nutrition. Many diseases we get are because of (1)  deficiency in vitamins and minerals and (2) toxicity. We often eat processed food and even though they may taste deliciously, they are often the food with the least nutrients to nourish our bodies. In addition, these processed foods often have lots of additives which, in the long run, make our bodies ‘toxic’. Think also about all the chemicals we use (not only to clean the house, but I think about the pollution we have outside. I also think of what we, women, use; the make up, nail polish, the color for our hair, etc.). By eating as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, we are helping our body – and mind – stay strong. We are providing them with vitamins, minerals, basically nutrients that are critical for our health. 

 

Mental health

Having a healthy mind is also critical to being healthy. What does it mean? It means trying to have positive thoughts, practicing affirmations. When you are constantly thinking ‘bad’ thoughts, you will stay in a negative framework. To have positive thoughts, pay attention to the words you use. Challenge yourself when you say something like “I always fail” or “I can never do this”… Is it REALLY the case? Is it really “ALWAYS” or “NEVER”? Or are you just exaggerating? 

Being mentally healthy also includes meditating or praying. It includes focusing on the present, the ‘now’. It also means removing as much negativity as possible. It means letting go of negative emotions and practicing gratitude. I know that in these challenging times, it is sometimes very difficult to let go of the negativity and practice gratitude, but there is always a silver lining in any situation…

From my experience, being healthy mentally is THE most important. The mind is stronger than the body. Napoleon Hill said it “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve” and Henry Ford as well: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

To summarize

All of these actions take time and practice. Nothing will change from one day to another. But by doing little things every single day,, you will see some positive differences in the long run. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

 

We should always be our Number 1 priority. 

This is not being selfish. 

This is being a leader, our own leader (see my previous blog on this). We can only help and support others if we can help ourselves first and are (mentally and physically) healthy. 

 

#vlvcoach #leadership #health

This article was also published on Linkedin.

This week, because of the current situation, I held the first virtual meeting with my Toastmasters club. Being forced to move a meeting that has always taken place face to face, and moving it to virtual, is not always easy.

Members of my club had not been very enthusiastic about it. Some had never used zoom, some others were wondering how we would interact with each other virtually.

There are obviously things we could no longer do:

  • We could no longer shake hands when introducing someone of thanking them for their speech or evaluation
  • Look around at the audience was no longer possible
  • We could not really move around the ‘meeting room’

 

However by using a few ‘tricks’ you can ensure that everybody feels involved, part of something and that everybody enjoys their time during these virtual meetings (have a look at my previous article for general tips on working from home).

Spend a few minutes explaining the tool

Make sure you explain the basic functionalities of the tool so that first time users do not stress unnecessarily. In my case, when we used zoom, I shared my screen and showed people where they could mute  and unmute themselves. I also showed them the different views they could have (gallery view versus speaker view). I also explained them the ‘Chat’ option and how they could message everyone or one single person. 

 

Look at the camera

This is counter intuitive but when you are speaking in front of our computer, we have a tendency to look at people. However, to really connect with people, you need to ensure you look into the camera, and NOT at the participants. It takes a bit of practice to think about doing so every time, but it works. People feel like you’re talking to them when you really focus on your camera, and not on the people who are on your screen. 

 

If someone seems a bit lost or is not engaged

When you are the host and you see someone who seems to be struggling with something (they cannot mute themselves, or they do not remember where the ‘Chat’ button is, make sure you help him/her via chat and guide him/her. If nobody is talking, you can take over and talk the person through explaining the steps he/she needs to take. Make sure you keep the conversations going whenever possible, asking questions and/or making jokes in between. 

 

During our first virtual session, we got very creative. 

In Toastmasters meetings, there is always someone keeping track of the time. In face-to-face meetings, we usually use green, yellow and red cards (or some clubs use mini ‘traffic lights’) to let the speakers know how much time they have left. Virtually  in our session last week, the time keeper used different backgrounds (green, yellow and red) to show the time left.

To vote for the best improvisation and the best speech, each of us sent our vote to the Toastmaster of the evening privately, That is how participants got to understand and put in practice the use of the chat option.

 

Before closing the meeting, I did a round table to ask impressions of participants. 

Everybody was very positive. Some even said they did not expect the meeting to be as good as it was. We also identified a few areas for improvement, which we’ll implement during our next virtual meeting.

Virtual meetings do not have to be bad. You simply have to make sure everybody is involved and that they have all the necessary knowledge to use the tool properly.

This article was also published on Linkedin.

Working from home. The coronavirus is now forcing people to do so in some countries.

A few months ago, I wrote an article about how to manage / lead a virtual team (for those of you who missed it, here is the link).

With the current situation with the coronavirus, the advice I mentioned in my article is still valid and even more critical.

When you were managing a team onsite and suddenly, everybody is forced to work from home, you are now dealing with other challenges and another dynamic.

Here are a few more advice I’d like to give in these challenging times

Keep communication going

In normal circumstances, you hopefully had regular one-on-ones and team meetings with your team members. Now, you’re all working from home and do not see each other. Make sure you keep the communication going. Set up a chat group so that you can greet all your team members every morning and ask how they are doing. You can use this chat for casual conversation or to ask business related questions. You can also use this chat group to ask who needs help and who can help (maybe some team members live in the same area and can help each other with groceries, or taking the dog for a walk). The most important is that your team members still feel they can contact you (or anyone in the team) if they have questions or concerns. 

Be flexible

With schools or kindergartens closed for a few weeks, some people will have their children at home. This means they may be struggling attending some conference calls or send certain reports/mails at times previously agreed. Try to show some empathy and be flexible. If they cannot deliver a report by let’s say 10:00 AM, they may be able to deliver it by 14:00. In these exceptional circumstances, show some flexibility and understanding, People are dealing with these issues the best way they can, they will appreciate it if you show some flexibility and allow them to do their job with some changes in their schedule.

Implement virtual ‘breaks’

If you were having some regular coffee breaks with your team members, or if you legally need to provide breaks to your team members, why not use this 5/10/15 minutes break to meet virtually? Have a video conference call or use the chat group I mentioned earlier to give people the opportunity to speak about anything but work. Try to bring some fun. Share something funny you saw on the internet (a picture, a small video etc.) and encourage everyone in your team to do the same. This will help you all relax a bit and recharge your batteries. 

Remember

This situation is unprecedented. This represents a change for everybody. It is a change for you, whether you are a manager or a team member. Everybody deals with change in different ways. Everybody has to adapt to this new situation, even if it is for a short period of time. 

Make sure you are all supporting each other, that you show empathy and understanding. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Together we are stronger ⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

#vlvcoach #leadership #management #virtualteams #remoteteams

 

This article was also published on Linkedin.

When we start our career in a company, many of us aspire to become a manager one day. Being a manager means additional responsibilities, a higher visibility and also most of the time an increase in salary.

However, what does it take to become a manager? Here are a few tips based on my own experience…

Show the value you provide

It’s easy to say you want to become a manager, but nobody will hire you or promote you if they do not see your worth / the value you bring. Show what you can do, your strengths and your expertise. While doing that, make sure you achieve the goals that were set, on an individual basis but also how you contributed to achieve the team’s goals.. Make sure you are also willing to learn and that you keep improving your skills and knowledge.

Be proactive

Don’t wait for something to happen. If you see an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities or to improve a process or a system, don’t wait until you are asked to work on it. Be proactive and volunteer. If there is a problem with a tool or a process in the team and you know you have the answer (or know you can find it), don’t think ‘it’s not my job’. Work on it and propose a solution or show that you have found a solution.

Let your manager known

Even if you are very good at what you do, are proactive and show you can become a manager, do not assume your manager knows for sure you want to become one yourself. When you have your 1-on-1 meeting or performance review, tell him/her that you’d like to grow further in the organization. Mention that you would be willing and ready to take on new challenges and new responsibilities. Explain you feel ready to manage a team and that you have already accomplished x, y, z that show you have the potential. It’s important not to just say it but that you also come with proofs or accomplishment to demonstrate you are ready for the next level.

Make sure you have some key skills

Reliability, integrity, decisiveness, problem solving, team building, etc These are some of the skills you need to have to show you can become a manager. Nobody will want to have a manager if they cannot rely on them. Nobody will want to work with someone if they are not trustworthy and show integrity. A senior manager will not want to have a direct report who manages a team who cannot make decisions or solve issues.

And do not forget…

Becoming a manager requires you to change your mindset. You are/were an individual contributor. This means you were mainly focusing on yourself and your job. When you become a manager, you now mostly have to deal with people. This means you have to ensure they do their job and achieve their goals. It also means that you need to support them and provide them with the training, tools and/or policies and procedures so that they can do their job properly. As a manager, you are also there to help your team members when they face challenges. You need to communicate with your team members and have regular meetings with them. You also need to report to your own manager about your team, their achievements and challenges.

Basically, your focus will shift. You will need to look at the bigger picture rather just than your own contribution.

Managing people is great when you are a people person, but it can be time and energy consuming.

Final thoughts

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I was first appointed as a team manager was the following: “It gets lonely at the top”. You may be friends with some of your colleagues. However, when you become manager and they become your team members, they also become your employees. You need to be able to differentiate what is business versus what is personal. Not everybody will be pleased that you got promoted. Some others will not want to hear your feedback or will disagree with what you do or say. And that is why you will probably lose some friends along the way.

And it’s ok.

The most important thing is that you stay true to your values. Stay honest, keep working hard to show your worth. Keep managing and motivating your team in achieving goals. And before you know it, you’ll be able to go to the next level, becoming a managers’ manager!

#vlvcoach #leadership #management #leadershipdevelopment #managementdevelopment

This article was also published on Linkedin.