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Treat everyone as if they were the CEO

February 17, 2012 1 comment

The title of this note is a stolen quote I always hear from my wife – I’m not really sure if she stole it from somewhere else, but it is such a powerful quote that I find very interesting.

If you work in for any company, whether it is a small business or a big corporation, you are taught to identify who the big boss is so in the event of you having to talk to him/her, you can behave as much as possible and show utterly respect; if the big boss wants you to jump up, you just need to ask how high. This may be an extreme example, but it does explain the courtesy and dedication you are expected to show.

There is a reality show in which the CEO of a company goes undercover to find out where are the areas of improvement to make the business a better one. The CEO plays the role of a candidate for a position in the company, so he/she gets training from actual employees and while doing it the CEO gets to talk to them to see what they think of the business and how it impacts their lives. It is very interesting how many people care about what they are doing for the company and their interest in helping the candidate do their job well. Of course, there are others  that show their negative side and start to trash-talk about the business and how miserable they feel about what they do. At the end of the show, the CEO reveals his true identity and helps the trainers and their teams in different ways according to the feedback he/she got while undercover.

The CEO could have not had the opportunity to see the true image of the company from the inside out if everyone knew he/she was the CEO. Furthermore, it does happen that by idealizing and respecting one person that much, we tend to forget the rest of the people that work for us and that make probably a bigger impact in our jobs. The cleaning lady that comes to your office everyday to make sure you have a pristine working area, the mailman that always takes your documents where they need to be sent, the co-worker that helped you with a very difficult task while you are out sick, etc. Imagine what your work life would be if you did not have these people around you. They may be a key integral part that of your job.  You need to make sure they always feel respected by you and that you demonstrate how thankful you are of having them around.

What are the opportunities you have to demonstrate appreciation for someone else at your workplace? Find them out and have the privilege of treating others as if they were the CEO.

Categories: Business Tags: , , ,

A startup based on facts

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading a book about good parenting last night. The chapter was talking about the parents being scared of wrong things. It went on explaining a case in which a couple of parents knew that the neighbor use to keep a gun in the house. For that reason, they did not let their 8-year-old daughter play at the neighbors’ home and instead they let the neighbor’s son come to play with their kid at their place. The parents own a home with a swimming pool in the backyard and they felt so good about making the decision of not letting their kid near their neighbor’s in an attempt to protect her. The chapter ended with such an incredible fact though: 550 kids under the age of 10 drown each year in swimming pools while 175 kids in the same age die from guns; this shows how deviated we can get when it comes to analyzing risk due to the limited knowledge we have about the real facts.

We need to make sure our decisions are supported by the right facts in the right moment. When the scenario is a start up business, these are some aspects to consider:

1)Is there really a market?: People can be very creative. Such creativity have made people sell rocks as pets and people actually taking care of them. However, such market is very small definitely short-ended. When starting up a business, the rule of thumb about analyzing a market is to identify where the market pain is and if you have what is takes to ease that pain. If I were to start a business in education, and specifically about high school topics, I would look for information related to the subjects that had the lowest grades in the past 5 years and the ways teachers give their classes. In that way I can come up with a solution that assures people will be coming my way to “get rid of the pain”

2) Who is your true competition?: Identify what is their business experience and determine what needs to be your competitive edge to compete with them. Do you have all the necessary tools to enter the business niche or it would be better to find a different one?

3) What is the financial solvency that your business needs? You need to analyze how much money is needed in order to break even and create a forecast of when your business will generate a profit. Then you need to determine if a bank loan or a venture capitalist is needed in order to make the finances work – find out what financial institution gives the best rates on loans.  It will also be important to get intel on how other similar business did financially during their first months. If after running this analysis you see that money will be a problem, think of alternatives to your requirements and lower expectations for the moment. The first 12 months of a business are the most critical ones financially speaking, so you need to have patience and a good sense of reality.

It was truly shocking to learn about the data the book was mentioning. This showed me how off people can be sometimes just because they were not well informed. In the case of your business idea, make sure you get all the facts straight in order to avoid negative surprises in the long run; you will be thankful you did.