Monthly Archives: September 2016

Know More When You Networking for All the Wrong Reasons

Call it a personal quest, but it’s a mission of mine to help redefine the way people think about the word “networking.” Why? Because “networking” has become synonymous with selfishness, when at its root, I believe it’s about selflessness.

I founded an organization in 2011 called Network Under 40 to help young professionals make friends and business contacts in a peer-to-peer environment. There, many 20- and 30-somethings share with me the challenges they face in building relationships after college. People’s paths diverge, bars aren’t an ideal location to make friends, co-workers aren’t always friend material and most “networking” events are just guises for singles scenes or pushy salespeople.

Recognizing my gift as a connector, I saw that I could create an environment to provide a solution. Ever since, thousands of people in multiple cities have forged new friendships and business relationships as a result.

Yet, all the while, I continue to hear things like, “networking doesn’t work” and “I don’t need to network,” with which I wholeheartedly disagree. Those who think it doesn’t work are generally looking to quickly gain something or are hanging out in the wrong places. And for those who say they have no need, the moment they need a resource from someone, it’s too late.

You need to be growing relationships at a time when you have nothing to take — only something to offer — so that when your time comes to ask, you don’t appear self-serving.

That being the case, consider checking out these organizations that are helping young people to redefine networking as what it should be doing: cultivating authentic relationships with those with whom you naturally connect — with no self-serving agenda.

1. Breakout
The impact-event company Breakout takes the innovative, creative and entrepreneurial-minded to some of the most interesting emerging U.S. markets for immersive under-the-hood experiences you won’t get as a tourist (or frankly even as a local).

These weekends take attendees out of their daily routines and plant them in new environments, face-to-face with local leaders and change-makers. As a result, deep relationships are forged, and paths are laid out for collaborative impact through resource-sharing.

2. Daybreaker/Dusk
Want to meet wellness and fun-minded peers, but not over alcohol? Then perhaps Daybreaker (or its newest incarnation, Dusk) is for you. Meeting at clubs but at dawn or dusk, and without alcohol, attendees share experiences like yoga and “sober dance parties” and subsequently kick-start new connections.

3. Summit Series
This invite-only group Summit Series could well be described as a “Davos for the next generation.” Whether the setting is a gathering at the organization’s mountain retreat in Utah, or its chartered cruiseliner, those who attend, who want to grow, let loose, collaborate and dream big, meet here. The series is described as a place to “catalyze positive personal and collective growth,” and a place where quick and deep relationships are made.

4. Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC)
Specific to entrepreneurs under the age of 40 with $1 million in annual revenue or the same level of funding, YEC mixes digital and in-person connections among entrepreneurial peers nationwide. It’s a powerful group of young business minds who willingly work together to share ideas and resources and inevitably make friends along the way.

5. Global Shapers
Want to make an impact in your city but not sure how? Then perhaps Global Shapers (a division of the World Economic Forum) is for you (if you’re between the ages of 20 and 30). This is a great place to be if you can snag a spot to sit alongside the future leaders of your city who want to give back in a tangible way. More so, this global network of hubs provides for an incredible web of contacts no matter where in the world you find yourself.

This list only scratches the surface, as there are plenty more organizations and methods to help you expand your network through shared interests, stages of life and experiences.

So if none of these is a fit for you, find alternate ways. My challenge to you is to not become content. Continue to challenge yourself by being around the right people and, in turn, seeing the power for growth, learning and sharing that comes from these networking relationships turned to so much more.

Tips to Be Successful by Embracing Change

Change is a big part of being successful. Not only is change good (if you don’t believe me, look at the fashions of the 70s and 80s), but it’s accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace. While it took 75 years for 100 million users to adopt the telephone, it only took four and a half for the Internet and just over a year for Candy Crush Saga.

This means that you need to keep adapting. It’s both a survival skill and a success skill.

However, change is difficult for people. For some of us, it’s pure laziness. But for others, we don’t like the lack of control or the uncertainty of worse outcomes, bruised egos, embarrassment or failing. People also seem to hate losing more than they love winning.

But, if you don’t learn to embrace change and if you don’t move forward, you will be left behind. So, whether it’s changing the focus of your business, having to learn new technology or replacing a prized employee, you need to know how to deal with change.

Here are four ways that you can learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of change and use change as a success tool.

1. Take small action steps.
When you get your mind wrapped around the concept of embracing change, the first tweak is to just take small steps forward. You are not going to be able to effect a full wholesale change overnight, so just find one small thing that you can do at a time, then do it and then, do another.

If you can start with an end goal, work backward and break your goal into small action steps until you can get to the very first one in the path. This is usually something that you can control or do yourself. Once you accomplish that milestone, then you can tackle another. These small steps make change palatable and easier to accomplish.

2. Be willing to go back in order to move forward.
Get your mind wrapped around taking a few steps back in order to be able to go forward. Visualize trying to jump across a creek. You can’t just jump standing from where you are. You have to physically move backward in order to give yourself the momentum needed to run and take that leap forward.

Success is not linear, though I wish it was, so expect that when you face change, there will be a time that you have to move backward. This may be in terms of status, pay or some other factors required to get to the next level. If your mind knows that’s part of the process and removes the uncertainly around it, it’s easier to embrace.

3. Check your ego.
Typically, the biggest roadblock to change is you. Often, there’s little downside other than facing your own bruised ego when you evaluate change. To counteract this, quiz yourself about the downside of pursuing change if it doesn’t work out. If the downside is primarily concern about failure or people pointing and laughing at you, it’s time to get over it.

4. Fail correctly.
For some reason, most of us were never taught to fail. Our entire school system is set up so that success is given a gold star and failure is ridiculed.

This is unfortunate because failure, when done properly, is a good thing. It’s required for taking on risk and pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. That is, if you do it the right way.

The right way to fail means doing it quickly, inexpensively and never the same way twice. You don’t want to have too much money or time hinging on any one outcome. If you do, then failure is bad, taking time and money away from other opportunities.

Testing your route on smaller scales in rapid succession allows for the risks to be lessened. So, try something that doesn’t cost too much or take too much time. If it works, take the next step. If not, your failure isn’t financially or otherwise devastating.

And, of course, you need to learn from your failures so that you don’t repeat them down the road.

Change is necessary and it’s not evil. Learn to love it and you will be poised for success.

Starting a Successful Business With This Tips

When you start your own business, you’re certain to hear a lot of different advice. Most of it will come from people who don’t know the first thing about running a successful company. Turn to the internet, and you’ll be overwhelmed by a multitude of articles and lengthy lists on the subject. Don’t make the mistake of overthinking and overanalyzing it all. A few simple steps now can start your business down the path toward success. Here, we outline the five basic tips we’ve followed to help us run our company.

1. Begin with a detailed plan.
This one is a must: Develop an in-depth plan that fully details how you’ll attack the challenge ahead. Your plan should define any opportunities you’ve identified, clearly state your mission, describe your target, establish measurable goals, and set deadlines for each milestone along the way. Remember that while it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally vital to be flexible enough to pivot when needed.

2. Get out there and network.
Our business would not be where it is today without all the professional networking we did when we first started. We continue to emphasize networking today. Until you’ve established your business, you’ll need to create your own word-of-mouth. Be your own brand ambassador, touting the benefits of working with your business and showing why people should give you a chance.

Start your own momentum. A wealth of events, trade shows, and networking groups exist to connect you with other professionals. These initial connections can lead to future business prospects, mentors, and strategic partners with the capacity to help grow your business.

3. Surround yourself with the right people.
The right mentors and strategic partners aren’t the only people with whom you’ll need to align. Surrounding yourself with a great team is equally important. Build your staff with smart, talented, and driven employees who share your vision. They can not only transform your business but also accelerate its growth. Hiring positive, can-do employees helps create a culture that encourages teamwork. Foster an environment in which everyone participates, so you can collectively celebrate your company’s successes.

4. Stay ahead of the curve.
You can’t afford to be rooted in the present and solely focused on the day-to-day. It’s crucial to keep one eye focused on the future, including upcoming movement in your industry. If you aren’t anticipating the next big thing, you’re destined to fall behind. Successful business owners study trends and anticipate what’s coming around the bend. This allows them to nimbly adapt and evolve.

Stay current on emerging issues in your field by faithfully reading trade magazines and websites. Keeping pace as your industry changes assures you’ll have your finger on the pulse to predict what customers will want — and which direction your competition might move.

5. Find a healthy work-life balance.
Running a successful business requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. It’s paramount to find a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be a challenge to do so. It’s easy to let work dominate your life. Don’t. It could result in your losing touch with those whom you consider most important. It’s also crucial to take care of your own health and well-being. Your business can’t run without you. You might believe you need that perpetual hustle to stay sharp and succeed. But that pace can and will burn you out, ultimately limiting how much you can achieve if you don’t take time for yourself.

Find ways to maintain perspective and preserve healthy relationships outside of work. Set aside time to get your body active in ways that energize and invigorate you, and schedule catch-up time with friends and family. They’ll help recharge your batteries and inspire you to persevere as you dream even bigger.