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How to generate more revenue from your web application today | Nathan Barry

How to generate more revenue from your web application today | Nathan Barry

nathanbarry.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
There are ways that your software as a service web application can make more money today. They aren’t complicated or revolutionary, but instead are practical ideas that you should consider implementing right now.
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Raise your prices.
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“…almost every start-up I have ever seen has set its prices too low. Founders usually imagine that they are selling their wares to people more or less like themselves–which is to say, smart, discriminating consumers. But they would do well to remember that there is a stark difference between selling to consumers and selling to businesses. And if you ask me, all things being equal, start-ups should almost always opt to sell to other businesses.”
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Low prices cause problems
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The customers not willing or able to pay more than $1,000 for a website would also continue to argue over costs throughout the project. They would do everything possible to fight costs associated with change orders, and try to get things for free. Worst of all, they needed the most hand holding and were the slowest to pay.
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Offer multiple packages
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By offering several higher-priced packages (that deliver considerably more value) I am allowing potential customers to pay the price that the book and training is worth to them. If they are just a hobbyist they can pick up the book, which is really valuable, for $39. A more serious developer may pick up the middle package, which includes PSDs and video tutorials, for $79. But someone buying for their software development team may buy the highest package (which includes a multi-user license and sample projects).
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Rename your pricing plans
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But you can take your names a step further by using package names to help your customers decide which is most appropriate for them. My favorite story about this comes from an interview I did recently with Patrick Mackenzie.
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Send out an upgrade email
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No one wants to hit their user or repository limit right when they need to get something done. Imagine needing to set up a repository for a new project due next week, only to find out that you have reached your limit. We usually think that upgrading is as easy as clicking the upgrade button, but for many companies it requires filling out a new purchase request and getting approval. So the offer to upgrade, at a discount, before the new space is needed, could be very compelling.
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A very common mistake made on pricing pages is to assume that the visitor has already made a decision to buy and now just needs to decide which package is the right fit. The truth is that most people are still making a decision, and you still need to sell the benefits of your software. Even on the pricing page.
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Let’s say your middle plan around $100 a month. Sell people on the idea of that plan, how you think it is the best plan for the majority of your customers, and how it is likely the best plan for them. Remember that you are still selling them on the benefits of the software, not just comparing plans.
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Contact customers with invalid billing information
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When You're Too Good for Your Own Start-up

When You're Too Good for Your Own Start-up

www.inc.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
For a start-up to succeed, it needs two key people: a visionary and an operator.
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Together, this duo is the perfect combination to take a start-up from concept to reality.
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Compensating for each other's weaknesses, they form a symbiotic couple, working hand in glove to identify and mine a profitable, sustainable market--and thus, secure the future of their new venture.
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When a start-up founder has the ability to switch easily between the visionary and operator roles, the new venture is more or less guaranteed to languish in a no-man's-land (not quite failing, but never quite breaking through to sustained success, either). 
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The Artisan Trap
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Here's why it happens. Think of a highly skilled artisan--a luthier (guitar-maker) say, or a master tailor. They solicit business from potential customers, then they retire to their workshop to make the artifact. Then they repeat the process: Sell / make; Sell / make. The artisan is never going to become a "big business," but then, in their case, they don't want to, either.
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When a founder of a start-up possesses the ability to perform both the V and O roles, they fall into the artisan trap
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Simple, huh? You're going to concentrate on (probably) the visionary role and find someone else to perform the operator functions (coding, selling, administering--whatever is relevant for your business).
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What Spending $66,372.09 On Paid Advertising Taught Me

What Spending $66,372.09 On Paid Advertising Taught Me

www.quicksprout.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Because I wasn’t satisfied with the volume of traffic I was getting on NeilPatel.com, I decided to test a few different advertising sources… LinkedIn, Google AdWords, Retargeter, Perfect Audience, and StumbleUpon Ads. Here is what I learned:
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Compared to the other paid traffic sources, LinkedIn had the second lowest conversion rate at 1.6%. On the flip side though, it provided the highest quality of leads. I’ve tested it in the past with a handful of other campaigns, and I’ve quickly learned that LinkedIn ads tend to do the best for B2B companies.
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As you already know, Google AdWords can drive a ton of traffic and it tends to convert well. On average I spent $5.62 per click and my conversion rate to a lead was 6.55%.
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I used Retargeter to remarket my Quick Sprout readers and get them to head over to NeilPatel.com. The cost for this was extremely low for the volume of traffic I received as well as the number of leads.
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I was paying under $2 CPMs to have my banner ads shown across the web to anyone who has been to Quick Sprout in the past. My click through rates on the ads were around .2% and visitors converted into leads at a rate of 5.05%.
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I’ve been doing paid advertising for over 7 years now and much hasn’t changed when it comes to buying quality traffic. Google AdWords, LinkedIn, and forms of remarketing still seem to be the best forms of ad buying.
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One Out of Every Two Managers Is Terrible at Accountability

One Out of Every Two Managers Is Terrible at Accountability

blogs.hbr.org
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
No matter how tough a game they may talk about performance, when it comes to holding people's feet to the fire, leaders step back from the heat.
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It holds up for C-level executives compared to directors and middle managers. It is about the same in different cultures too; although accountability is a bit more common in some countries than others, it is still the most neglected behavior within every region we have studied.
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Zaleznik chronicled how he saw American managers, influenced by the rising popularity of the human relations school, turn increasingly from the substantive work of organizations — creating products and services, cultivating markets, pleasing customers, cutting costs, and getting stuff done — to what he termed "psychopolitics."
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What he meant was that in the 1980s American managers became obsessed with managing their popularity, and were more concerned with greasing the skids, avoiding tough conversations, and maintaining a favorable image. Thus an interest in productivity gave way to process and procedures. Controversy and conflict about what needs to get done and how to do it was replaced with the ambiguity of politeness, political correctness, and efforts to not offend.
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No surprise, then, that at a time when talent retention and engaging employees is de rigueur we get silly advice to management such as, "don't give employees a hard time about their weaknesses, celebrate their strengths."
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The evidence comes from experimental studies of cooperation and the problem of "free-riding," which reveal the individual- and group-level outcomes that accrue when some team members don't carry their weight and drag on the performance of others.
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The first lesson from this research is that within a group, free-riders and cheaters often get ahead of hard working contributors: they enjoy the benefits of group membership without making the personal sacrifice.
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In a nutshell, group performance requires that someone plays the role of sheriff, but it is a thankless job. It is another one of those sticky cases where what is good for the group can be bad for the individual. You know, the kind of stuff that in another era was considered commendable because it served a greater good than self-interest.
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The unfortunate consequence, however, is that no matter what short-term costs an upwardly ambitious manager avoids by not playing the sheriff, they are overshadowed in the long run by the creation of a culture of mediocrity and lackluster organizational performance. Add this up over time and across departments and business units and the aggregate costs of neglecting accountability can be staggering for everyone.
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The only way to run a business | Andy Sernovitz | Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That!

The only way to run a business | Andy Sernovitz | Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That!

www.damniwish.com
Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
1 year ago
Business is not about making money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.
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When you make a company, you make utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.
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Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working.
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  • Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people.
  • You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people.
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    Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business.
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    Managing Up, Down and Sideways : Under30CEO

    Managing Up, Down and Sideways : Under30CEO

    under30ceo.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    There’s a stigma that people management is a manipulative and tricky behavior.  The fact of the matter is that you are doing it in your everyday lives with your family, friends, colleagues and basically everyone around you.  It’s just a fact of life, and when people are good at it, like everything else, it’s a talent and skill that can take you really far.
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    It’s true that ‘managers’ are specifically tasked with responsibility over a group of employees or people and ensuring that the job at hand is completed.  However, on a daily basis we need to manage up as well.
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    That doesn’t mean that you should lose the professionalism that should always be maintained between co-workers, but there is a way to create a balance of maintaining respect while ensuring a certain level of transparency.
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    But generally speaking, most people aren’t like that, and in the long term continuing this habit of mutual respect will ensure that you are a better manager as well when you are managing down.
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    Plan Your Sales Call Strategy

    Plan Your Sales Call Strategy

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    I routinely ask at what point in the sales cycle the salesperson actually lost the deal. The most frequently mentioned response is during a sales call. With this important turning point in mind, let's examine how to develop a winning sales call strategy.
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    Combative sales calls are antagonistic interactions with nonexistent rapport. Most likely, this type of situation occurs because the customer has a preexisting bias against your solution or an incompatibility exists between you or your company and the customer.
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    Unemotional sales calls lack outward displays of affection, and even though the call may last an hour, the customer remains aloof and unsympathetically distant.
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    Customers can experience many different types of reactions to salespeople, ranging from fear and hate to love and trust. For example, combative and synergistic sales calls are at the extreme ends of the spectrum. The winning sales call strategy is based upon executing synergistic sales calls and this is dependent upon establishing four different receptive states with the prospective customer.
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    Personal receptive state. The first priority is to build a personal receptive state by finding intersecting activities and interests you have in common with the prospective customer. By doing so, you develop rapport with the entire person, not just the business person--building a personal friendship that sets you apart from the competition.
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    Match the tone, tempo, and speaking style of your customer to make him or her feel more comfortable.
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    he "technical specification language" consists of these abbreviations, acronyms, and specialized terms. Whether you are selling airplanes, computer chips, or telephone equipment, you need to know the terms and nomenclature of your industry.
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    Your question-handling ability is what helps separate you from the pack and this requires you to speak fluently with the customer in the technical specification language.
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    Business receptive state. When you demonstrate that your primary interest is in the customer's success, you begin to build a business receptive state. At this point, the customer starts to consider you more than a vendor.
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    Instead of the recitation of standard "generic" product features and functions to the customer, the business receptive state is based upon a tailored discussion about business process improvement that is specifically applicable to the customer's environment.
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    People buy products they believe will help them fulfill deep-seated psychological needs: satisfying the ego, being accepted as part of a group or becoming the leader of it, ensuring survival, and avoiding pain. Customers rationalize their political decisions with logic and facts from the technical and business receptive states.
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    continuously ask yourself if you are establishing the personal, technical, business, and political receptive states.
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    12 Guidelines for Deciding When to Persist, When to Quit

    12 Guidelines for Deciding When to Persist, When to Quit

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Efforts that begin with high hopes inevitably hit a disappointing sag. It's Kanter's Law: "Everything can look like a failure in the middle."
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    Fatigue sets in. Team members turn over. Impatient critics attack just when you think you're gaining traction. Tough challenges almost inevitably take longer and cost more than our optimistic predictions.
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    Persist and pivot, and the effort could go on to success. Pull out in the messy middle, and by definition the effort is a failure. The issue is deciding which direction to take.
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    Are the initial reasons for the effort still valid, with no consequential external changes?
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    Do the needs for which this a solution remain unmet, or are competing solutions still unproven or inadequate?
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    Is it more cost-effective to continue than to pay the costs of restarting?
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    Are leaders still enthusiastic, committed, and focused on the effort?
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    Is the working team motivated to keep going?
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    Is there a concrete achievement — a successful demonstration, prototype, or proof of concept?
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    Figure out what redirection is needed, strategize your way over obstacles, reengage the team, answer the critics, and argue for more time and resources. Everything worth doing requires tenacity.
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    "You've got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them," Kenny Rogers sang in a famous song about playing poker. That's good advice for any leader struggling with change. It's a mistake to give up prematurely, because the middle is always messy. But be sure to heed the 12 guidelines to choose between persistence or pulling out.
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    The Less-Is-Best Approach to Innovation

    The Less-Is-Best Approach to Innovation

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    In our world of excess everything, savvy innovators realize that less is actually best. They know that delivering a memorable and meaningful experience hinges on user engagement, which is best achieved through a subtractive approach. Anything excessive, confusing or wasteful is intelligently and cleverly removed, or never added in the first place.
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    CEO Kevin Systrom stepped back and cut out the clutter, paring it down into something people could understand and use inside 30 seconds. Snap a photo, choose a filter to transform it into a work of art, and quickly share it through social media.
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    Lean features.
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    Loose reins.
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    Meditation — i.e. a practice that eliminates distraction and clears the mind — is an incredibly effective way to enhance self-awareness, focus and attention and to prime your brain for achieving creative insights.
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    Quiet minds. Leaders at GE, 3M, Bloomberg Media, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Salesforce.com do it.
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    Why Being Broke Is A Founder’s Greatest Asset

    mixergy.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    You would think wealthy founders would be far more effective entrepreneurs than those without access to capital, but as one recent Mixergy interview highlights, the exact opposite is true.  In fact, scrappiness is a key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs (as seen on Mixergy time and time again).  So what’s the scrappiest group of founders?  Those with little or no money.
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    This group proves it’s creativity over and over. In her recent interview with Andrew, Erica Douglass discusses how through collecting used servers (aka. picking up someone else’s garbage) and posting links on slashdot and in IRC chat rooms, she was able to get her hosting business off the ground. Since she couldn’t pay her bills with savings, she lived off PHP development gigs found through Craigslist and ran her hosting company on the side.
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    The point: most entrepreneurs aren’t building businesses the way you would think if you were reading Techcrunch and the rest of the tech press on a daily basis.
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    Most startups aren’t venture funded, and most need to become profitable quickly in order to support the founder(s). In other words, most founders are hungry (literally) and have nothing else to lose.
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    The Presentation Mistake You Don't Know You're Making

    The Presentation Mistake You Don't Know You're Making

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    "Presenter's Paradox."
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    If going to Harvard, a prestigious internship, and mad statistical skills are all a "10" on the scale of impressiveness, and two semesters of Spanish is a "2," then we reason that added together, this is a 10 + 10 + 10 + 2, or a "32" in impressiveness. So it makes sense to mention your minimal Spanish skills — they add to the overall picture. More is better.
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    They don't add up the impressiveness, they average it. They see the Big Picture — looking at the package as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual parts.
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    To them, this is a (10+ 10+ 10+ 2)/4 package, or an "8" in impressiveness. And if you had left off the bit about Spanish, you would have had a (10 + 10+ 10)/3, or a "10" in impressiveness. So even though logically it seems like a little Spanish is better than none, mentioning it makes you a less attractive candidate than if you'd said nothing at all.
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    Highly favorable or positive things are diminished or diluted in the eye of the beholder when they are presented in the company of only moderately favorable or positive things.
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    they showed that when buyers were presented with an iPod Touch package that contained either an iPod, cover, and one free song download, or just an iPod and cover, they were willing to pay an average of $177 for the package with the download, and $242 for the one without the download
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    More just seems like it must be better when you are on the presenter's end, even though it doesn't seem that way at all when you are on the consumer's end.
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    If the bias in presenter thinking is so pervasive, how can we stop ourselves from making this kind of mistake? The short answer is that we need to remind ourselves when making any kind of presentation to think of the big picture. What does the package I am presenting look like taken as a whole, and are there any components that are actually bringing down its overall value or impact?
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    A free carwash with the purchase of any new car is not going to make your cars seem more valuable.
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    And unless you speak Spanish well, keep your ability to count to ocho and ask where la biblioteca is to yourself.
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    The Timeless Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals

    The Timeless Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    As an idea, strategic intent is about setting a bold and ambitious goal, out of all proportion to a firm's current resources and capabilities. Strategic intent takes the long view: the act of such intent is to operate from the future backward, disregarding the resource scarcity of the present.
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    There are two views on strategy. The conventional view is that the firm should assess its resources and match resources with opportunities.
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    Hamel and Prahalad have an entirely different point of view. According to them, the firm should expand its resource base to meet its ambition. This latter view has strongly influenced my work. I did my chartered accountancy degree in India (the equivalent of a CPA), got my doctorate in accounting at HBS, and was teaching financial and managerial accounting at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business when I read the "Strategic Intent" article.
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    But according to Prahalad and Hamel, firms should set unrealistic goals, not realistic goals.
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    Realistic goals promote incremental moves; only unrealistic goals provoke breakthrough thinking.
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    Performance is a function of expectations, since we rarely exceed our expectations or outperform our ambition. As humans, we are drawn to a bold, challenging, and unrealistic goal.
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    As rare as it may be to find examples of strategic intent in business, history is replete with examples of greatness sowed by families. Without resources or sophisticated planning systems, families routinely focus their long-term intent on their children, even when they can ill afford even the basic necessities, and so are able to nurture greatness.
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    "Strategic Intent" is a classic example of the best of HBR. It's an evergreen idea. It was valid in the past. It is valid today. And it will be valid in the future.
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    Seven "Non-Negotiables" to Prevent a Bad Hire

    Seven "Non-Negotiables" to Prevent a Bad Hire

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The seven Non-Negotiables are Respect, Belief, Loyalty, Commitment, Trust, Courage and Gratitude.
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    However, in many cases, the Non-Negotiables have led us to make what others would consider "unusual hires." The result, for our company, has been near-zero turnover — and many employees express the desire and willingness to stay with us for life.
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    We always sought individuals with high character strengths and strong work ethics. In HR parlance, we looked for "athletes," and we talked about assessing the right fit through a strong "gut feeling."
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    We ask potential candidates to tell us about situations where they have exemplified each of the non-negotiable traits. Because each candidate is interviewed by multiple leaders, we compare assessments on each of the traits. Later on, we may also move to an actual scoring system as well.
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    When Kevin Batchelor — now one of our two VP's of Engineering — came to work here, he was not a programmer at all; his degrees were in theater and anthropology. Now, eight years later, his software designs are winning awards.
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    John David King — now our EVP of Sales and Marketing — had no prior background in leading a sales organization. He had heart, spirit, and character, coupled with a law degree and a bachelor's degree in communications.
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    One of them was a firefighter, one an electrician, and one was in the culinary program. Some were programmers by training, but only interested (or so they thought) in programming Internet games.
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    We have a strong community focus — of our near 100 employees, 40 are or have been interns working on flexible schedules to allow them to finish their degrees.
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    In a competitive $1 billion software market we are collegial — we list our competitors' offerings along with our own products on our Facebook page, and we applaud their successes along with our own.
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    Our hiring strategy has built a loyal base of employees during a time when the typical career path is to "keep the options open" and to be at least periodically shopping around.
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    10 Reasons to Stay in a Job for 10 Years

    10 Reasons to Stay in a Job for 10 Years

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    As business owners, we have big incentives to do all we can to keep our talented people around. But beyond our own motives, we think it's often good for employees to stick around, too. Here are the 10 reasons why we think executives and employees need to think carefully before making a jump:
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    1. Seniority: Executives who remain at a single company are able to rise in seniority, rather than having to compete for a stronger role at each new company as they go.
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    Executives who build loyal followings are naturally upheld by their teams, rather than having to defend the authority they've been given in a new firm by decree.
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    3. Stability: If executives are perpetually moving, it's difficult to make long-term plans. A little stability in career and workplace can help them cope more effectively with the stresses that are sure to occur within the rest of their lives.
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    Stability is also appealing to banks--lenders look more favorably on prospective borrowers who've held consistent jobs for a minimum of two years, and preferably more. Vesting in 401K and stock option programs is generally badly affected by hops. So while executives think they may gain an advantage by jumping for a sign-on bonus or raise, in the long term, the employees who maximize vesting schedules and maintain their retirement accounts will likely excel.
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    Executives who stay can spend more time with their families and achieve more lifestyle goals with the extra time off and the extra stock and retirement savings long-term employment affords.
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    6. Self-Improvement: Executives who show the resilience to address their weaknesses rather than jumping ship and blaming their discontent on former co-workers and bosses may often be further ahead.
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    7. Dependability: An executive who is willing to stay the course for 10 or more years (which is typical in Japan and other European countries) demonstrates a level of dependability that companies will generally reward and respect.
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    They typically try their hands at a variety of roles to help determine what they're most passionate about. The difference between moving within a company and moving between companies is that executives are able to retain their status and benefits while also being free to experiment and try some new things.
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    9. Perseverance: It's easy to quit over perceived unfairness or serious challenges. But it shows much stronger character to persevere, to find and enact solutions to problems, repair damage, and to take an active role in turning a situation around
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    Stock option ownership is based on behaviors that align with our 7 Non Negotiable principles, which you've heard us mention before.
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    10. A Say in the Company's Future: An executive can have a positive influence on their company's direction if they're willing to stick with the organization through good times and bad.
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    In essence, we're creating opportunity for our employees to engage as entrepreneurs at every level of the company, without the risks or the drawbacks of founding a startup firm on their own.
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    shouldn't you take a second look at staying put in your own current job?
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    Building For The Enterprise — The Zero Overhead Principle | TechCrunch

    Building For The Enterprise — The Zero Overhead Principle | TechCrunch

    techcrunch.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The enterprise is back. We’re seeing a resurgence of companies to help support everyday work tasks. 
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    But while these successful companies are tackling different issues, their general product philosophy is much closer than many realize.
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    In particular, a universal lesson that I keep sharing with all entrepreneurs building for the enterprise is the Zero Overhead Principle: no feature may add training costs to the user.
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    The real challenge for analysts is that they are already overloaded and tend to ignore additional tools that require training (remember these guys have real time pressure). 
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    Products that require training are a waste of time. Do you remember the last time you took a training class? You were probably in a room with poor lighting, alongside other people who really didn’t want to be there, half-listening to a monotoned instructor (sounds kind of like driver’s education, right?). Did you really pay attention? Of course not. You probably used the event as an opportunity to catch up on your social networks. After all, you’d been given the information in those handouts anyway. And when you actually had to use the system, the frustration set in immediately. Inevitably, you had to find someone in your organization who actually knew the answer or resort to reading the handouts to complete a one-minute task.
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    1. Focus on building a “glide path.” Build the product in a way that funnels users into the experience so that they are becoming increasingly adept at understanding and using the product.
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    2. Use data to find friction. If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it. Instrument the product to monitor user flows and be able to test new ideas in how to iteratively improve your product.
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    3.  Prioritize the design experience. Too often we’ve seen enterprise companies that leave design as the last step in an attempt to add some polish. Instead, put it up front and integrate it into the entire process. It’s a lesson that has served the consumer environment well and will continue to pay dividends in the enterprise environment.
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    . If you are tackling the enterprise, give yourself a competitive advantage and make sure to implement the Zero Overhead Principle.
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    How to Scale a Start-up Using Social Media

    How to Scale a Start-up Using Social Media

    www.inc.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Step 1. Answer everyone.
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    So whether it's interacting with customers on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, or its own blog, across all these touch points the company says it tries to answer every comment posted by customers and fans--whether it's retweeting customer tweets, replying to mentions, or following people.
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    But what really makes the brand strong, says Eat24 social media manager Patty Jordan is its consistent and authentic voice. She's not kidding; the company blog, for example, is actually something you'd want to read. Not only is it witty, it offers people coupons to get them coming back, then says things like, "Want another coupon? No problem. Ask us nicely on Facebook or Twitter," which just keeps the engagement ball rolling.
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    "That's sort of our brand voice," she says. "We can be pretty sassy and that does sometimes rub people the wrong way, but I kind of also feel like that's what makes the brand strong... when you just go for it 100%," she says.
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    "The brand voice isn't written in a manual. It's a mentality that runs through the entire company, so whether you talk to someone from sales, support, social media, you'll get the same voice. It's truly who we are. We do work 24 hours a day. It's not just a clever name," Jordan says.
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    Killer Motivating Tactic: Break the Time Clock

    Killer Motivating Tactic: Break the Time Clock

    www.inc.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The traditional 9-to-5 workweek is just that: traditional, a vestige of a different era when the number of hours an employee clocked on a production line was an easy way to measure productivity.
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    Enforcing strict working hours erodes employer-employee trust.
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    They should want to complete their work--for the good of the company and because they like what they do, not because they feel obligated or forced. 
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    1. It diminishes productivity.
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    Simply filling the requirement of sitting in a chair for eight (or more) hours is not exactly motivating.
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    mployees should have full autonomy to meet their goals however they want--put the onus on them to determine the best process. That way, they’re more likely to own their work and be passionate about being the best they can be. 
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    Employees can and should determine how long they must be at the office to get something done. After all, during a big project you don't want someone walking out the door when the clock strikes 5 simply because she's met her time quota for the day. 
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    Getting rid of employee hours can require a culture change in your company, but you’ll reap the benefits of increased flexibility and autonomy. Keeping employees happy and productive starts with you showing them trust--and enforcing hours shows exactly the opposite.
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    6 Ways to Delegate More Effectively

    6 Ways to Delegate More Effectively

    www.inc.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    “The surest way for an executive to kill himself is to refuse to learn how, and when, and to whom to delegate work,” said James Cash Penney, founder of the J.C. Penney retail chain.   
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    When you grow, you have to know when to let go. You have to know when to delegate down so you can rise up. I’ve learned that people will seldom let you down if they understand that your destiny is in their hands, and vice versa.
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    Don’t look for perfection. 
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    Establish a standard of quality and a fair time frame for reaching it. Once you establish the expectations, let your staff decide how to carry out the project.
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    Provide complete job instructions. 
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    Stop believing you’re the only one who can do the job properly. 
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    If you establish expectations of the goal and the standards to follow, then methodology shouldn’t be an issue
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    Focus on teaching skills. 
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    Check on progress. 
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    Never Say No to Networking

    Never Say No to Networking

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The best networking suggestion I can offer? Always say yes to invitations, even if it's not clear what you'll get out of the meeting.
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    But many of my most fruitful relationships have resulted from a meeting or call in which I was not entirely sure what would or would not come of the conversation.
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    You could call it making your own luck, by increasing the odds of making the right connection. Because you can't assume that you know much about someone you don't know very well. You may know their occupation, industry, and job title — but you don't know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don't know who they know.
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    Hand in hand with this philosophy comes another, highly complementary strategy: When you want something, broadcast that to everyone you meet. When talking about your desires for your business, be honest. A little candor, a little vulnerability, goes a long way in turning a conversation from trite to meaningful.
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    You may be asking, how can I make these connections in the first place? Show up, and often. This should be obvious, but as a busy entrepreneur it's amazing how unappealing it is to socialize with people you don't know when you're working 16-hour days. But everything starts with showing up.
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    Commit to going to one industry-related event per week, then three, then eight. Sign up for events newsletters in your industry (The Fetch and Charlie O'Donnell's This Is Going to Be BIG are good examples for the New York City area). People also tend to offer opportunities to those who are most recently in their memory. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone to an event and exchanged a few warm sentences with someone I haven't connected with in a while — only to hear from them a few days later: "This opportunity to speak / present / fundraise / partner / win an award crossed my desk, and I thought of you."
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    Be the person they saw yesterday as often as possible.
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    The building blocks of a great network aren't purpose-driven meetings — they're casual encounters, agenda-less coffee catch-ups, and even favors for people who don't seem to be in any position to help you right now.
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    Creating Shared Value

    Creating Shared Value

    hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.
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    Teaching Smart People How to Learn

    Teaching Smart People How to Learn

    hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    I am talking about the well-educated, high-powered, high-commitment professionals who occupy key leadership positions in the modern corporation.
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    Any company that aspires to succeed in the tougher business environment of the 1990s must first resolve a basic dilemma: success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning, yet most people don’t know how to learn.
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    they misunderstand what learning is and how to bring it about. As a result, they tend to make two mistakes in their efforts to become a learning organization.
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    They need to reflect critically on their own behavior, identify the ways they often inadvertently contribute to the organization’s problems, and then change how they act. In particular, they must learn how the very way they go about defining and solving problems can be a source of problems in its own right.
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    Put simply, because many professionals are almost always successful at what they do, they rarely experience failure. And because they have rarely failed, they have never learned how to learn from failure.
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    they become defensive, screen out criticism, and put the “blame” on anyone and everyone but themselves.
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    It is a reflection of how they think—that is, the cognitive rules or reasoning they use to design and implement their actions. Think of these rules as a kind of “master program” stored in the brain, governing all behavior. Defensive reasoning can block learning even when the individual commitment to it is high, just as a computer program with hidden bugs can produce results exactly the opposite of what its designers had planned.
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    Why I Decided to Rethink Hiring Smart People

    Why I Decided to Rethink Hiring Smart People

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    It didn't just give me a somewhat different view; it convinced me of the exact opposite of what I had believed before I'd read it.
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    We had a pretty simple recruiting philosophy during our swift ramp-up from inception in 1983 to that point in time: hire super smart consultants because, thanks to their great intellect, they will be able to learn best and fastest.
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    Then I read "Teaching Smart People How To Learn," which argued trenchantly and compellingly that really smart people have the hardest time learning.
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    When something goes wrong, rather than reflect on what they might have done to contribute to the error, they look entirely outside themselves for the causes and blame outside forces — irrational clients, impossible time pressure, lack of adequate resources, shifts beyond their control. Rather than learn from error, they doom themselves to repeat them.
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    "too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing"
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    Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort

    Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort

    www.positivelypositive.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort
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    I hear it all the time from people. “I’m passionate about it.” “I’m not going to quit, It’s my passion.” Or I hear it as advice to students and others “Follow your passion.”
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    What a bunch of BS. “Follow your passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.
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    Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you.
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    1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.
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    2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
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    3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it.
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    4. When you are good at something, passionate, and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.
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    Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.
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    How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

    How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

    www.inc.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    1. Get over the company-name thing.
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    Just pick a name so you can get the administrative ball rolling.
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    2. Get your Employer Identification number (EIN).
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    3. Register your trade name.
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    4. Get your business license.
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    5. Complete a business personal-property tax form (if necessary).
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    6. Ask your locality about other permits.
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    8. Get a business bank account.
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    One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.
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    Get a business account using your business name and EIN, and only use that account for all business-related deposits, withdrawals, and transactions.
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    9. Set up a simple accounting spreadsheet.
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    Worry about business accounting software like QuickBooks later. For now, just create a spreadsheet on which you can enter money you spend and money you receive.
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    And now you're an entrepreneur, with all the documents to prove it.
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    Group Intelligence Correlates With Social Aptitude, Not IQ

    Group Intelligence Correlates With Social Aptitude, Not IQ

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    In large 21st century organizations, executives have recognized that networks and teams play a key role in organizational excellence and are a form of collective intelligence.
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    The study's results identified three factors that groups with high team intelligence possess:
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    The proportion of women in the group (women tend to do better on social perception tests);
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    The ability of group members to read and respond to social cues;
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    Evenly distributed conversational turn-taking, rather than dominance by a few members.
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    In the mapping exercise, we uncovered a surprising and challenging fact — that 4 percent of our team accounted for 50 percent of our cross-functional connectivity associated with this customer.
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    Put Failure in Its Place

    Put Failure in Its Place

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Put Failure in Its Place
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    You've started a company and it goes belly-up. Or you launched a new product and not only does it fail to sell, customers actually hate it. Or you get fired.
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    What happens when you dare to dream, make that dream real, and then fail?
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    "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
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    I am increasingly convinced that dreaming must be a process, an engine of experimentation
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    I've learned it is important to grieve. When we sublimate the sadness, we risk losing our passion, an essential lubricant for the engine of innovation.
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    1. Acknowledge sadness. When you start a company, launch a new product, or take on a job, there is the fantasy of a simple linear world: you will work hard and your dream will happen. And then it doesn't work.
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    If you let a failure become a referendum on you, the millstone of shame will drown you and your dreams. According to the groundbreaking research of shame and vulnerability expert Dr. Brené Brown, this is especially acute for those involved in professional sports, the military, and corporate life
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    "When the ethos is 'kill or be killed', 'control or be controlled', failure is tantamount to 'be killed'." Being perceived as weak elicits tremendous shame.
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    Once we pull shame out of the equation, we eliminate the drag on innovating and gain the lift we need to accelerate back into daring.
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    For most of us, the mere prospect of failure is a take-no-prisoners mind game, pushing us to the edge of an emotional cliff, where shame would happily push us over. But in a world in desperate need of innovation, it's time to bury shame and to see failure for what it is — an opportunity to learn valuable truths and a signal that our start-up, job, product or idea matters, really matters, so much so that we are willing to invest not only our minds, but our hearts. That's something worth dreaming about.
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    It's also why I like this quote from J.K. Rowling: "Rock bottom became the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life".
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    What Psychopaths Teach Us about How to Succeed [Excerpt]: Scientific American

    What Psychopaths Teach Us about How to Succeed [Excerpt]: Scientific American

    www.scientificamerican.com
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    What Psychopaths Teach Us about How to Succeed
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    Adapted from The Wisdom of Psychopaths, by Kevin Dutton,
    Should definitely check out this book
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    Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers—a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and the manipulation of others—are also shared by politicians and world leaders.
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    “I have no compassion for those whom I operate on,” he told me. “That is a luxury I simply cannot afford. In the theater I am reborn: as a cold, heartless machine, totally at one with scalpel, drill and saw. When you're cutting loose and cheating death high above the snowline of the brain, feelings aren't fit for purpose. Emotion is entropy—and seriously bad for business. I've hunted it down to extinction over the years.”
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    Geraghty is one of the U.K.'s top neurosurgeons—and although, on one level, his words send a chill down the spine, on another they make perfect sense.
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    But what if I were to paint you a different picture? What if I were to tell you that the arsonist who burns your house down might also, in a parallel universe, be the hero most likely to brave the flaming timbers of a crumbling, blazing building to seek out, and drag out, your loved ones? Or that the kid with a knife in the shadows at the back of the movie theater might well, in years to come, be wielding a rather different kind of knife at the back of a rather different kind of theater?
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    Psychopaths are fearless, confident, charismatic, ruthless and focused. Yet, contrary to popular belief, they are not necessarily violent.
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    Morning Advantage: Who Are You Calling a Star?

    Morning Advantage: Who Are You Calling a Star?

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    Heslin finds, ironically, that those who believe that others are set in their ways can themselves change and learn to cultivate a more flexible view of human nature.
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    Don’t talk up the brilliance of your stars, which not only disheartens them but closes other people’s minds, as well. Allow time within the ordinary course of operations for experimentation and recovery from the inevitable failures that go with it.
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    resist the temptation to routinely categorize people — focus on what they’re doing rather than on what kind of person (you think) they are.
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    Wanting Meaningful Work Is Not a First World Problem

    Wanting Meaningful Work Is Not a First World Problem

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    "Meaning," she said again. This time, with scorn and a sneer. "Is a luxury. One that I can't afford — and probably never will be able to. That's reality outside the gilded cage and ivory tower. Get it?".
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    one in which meaning isn't merely a luxury, but a necessity.
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    it's equally — if not more — vital that we should fill, to the very brim, our lives. With the searing sense that they have counted in human terms; with the mighty grace and quiet power of meaning.
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    As citizens, we reduce our civic selves to "voting" for the "candidate" who represents our most immediate, narrowest, perhaps self-destructive self-interest — the common good be damned.
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    And so our economies, societies, and polities; our cities and towns; our culture and principles; our imagined future and intended present begin to fray and buckle and crack. That, of course, is the timeless parable of right here, right now, the dismal, failed status quo.
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    It is the act of investing in what we profess to care about; in caring about what we profess to love; in not merely "expressing our values," but valuing that which is worthwhile in lasting human terms, and so arcing the trajectory of not just our own tiny lives, but those of the people around us, towards the just-glimpsed sunrise of mattering.
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    Meaning, then, is something like a responsibility — not merely a need.
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    you and I, homo sapiens, search constantly for tiny flickers of meaning in every tangle and buzz of the world around us, and it defines our experience not just as living things — but as human beings.
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    It isn't a first world problem — but a human challenge. Should one see it as a luxury — and McFood, mega-malls, and debt payments as the necessity — one is mistaking the cubefarm for the open road; the kiss for the feeling; the price for the point.
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    Not for the sake of our own evanescent self-gratification, but for the enduring obligation of fulfilling, one tiny act of furious purpose at a time, the humbling privilege of life.
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    If you and I, despite our iStuff and internet, our wealth and tranquility, are oppressed — not merely relegated by the failure of our institutions to McFutures, stagnation, and lost generations, but subjugated by a broken paradigm of what it means to live well, to becoming emotionally stunted, socially blunted, willing to embrace, like an old friend, the diminution of the fullness of our potential — then perhaps it's by denigrating meaning, the essence of the human experience, to the status of a sumptuous handbag or a shiny watch that we became something like our own perfect army of oppressors.
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    when it comes to life, especially in the teeth of great adversity, one must be savagely pragmatic, relentlessly realistic, hard-nosed, tough-jawed. And there's little more pragmatic than, especially under the Medusa's gaze of misfortune and hardship, looking up, just for a moment, and breathing in the sky.
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    When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Do Maintenance

    When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Do Maintenance

    blogs.hbr.org
    Bill Chambers Bill Chambers
    1 year ago
    When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Do Maintenance
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    Much has been written about customer moments of truth or boss-employee interactions that set the tone, but relatively little has been said about employees' physical environment, which is more permanent, harder to alter, and in people's faces constantly. Failing to keep it in tip-top shape is a powerful visual signal to customers, but also to employees.
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    One large company that was trying to cut costs let trash accumulate and supplies run out in the rest rooms while peeling paint dotted the walls, thereby reminding people several times a day that their needs came last.
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    When the going gets tough, the tough should do maintenance.
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    This happens in all realms. A friend of mine sells the family house and moves rather than invest in maintenance. She'd rather abandon the old house and buy a new one where at least the money gets her something fresh.
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    Companies are governed by the same impulse when they prefer to make acquisitions rather than refurbish existing business units, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy when the neglected businesses start to under-perform.
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    My research has shown that neglecting the physical environment and failing to invest in upkeep is one sign of a downward spiral, the start of a losing streak. Let a little bit slip, and you're on a slippery slope.
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    Improving the school building in appearance and amenities was at the top of the list, and making those investments initiated the turnaround.
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    Economic times are tough around the world. The winners will be the ones that don't use tough times as an excuse to neglect maintenance. By keeping everything well-repaired and upgraded, they will be ready to soar when the economy takes off.
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