CONQUER BUSINESS LIKE WONDER WOMAN

Far from masking the devastation of war, Wonder Woman plunges its heroine, Diana Prince, into a World War I war zone. When she finds herself on the battlefield in No Man’s Land, Diana is ready to jump in and fight. Her battlefield guide, Steve Trevor, fearing for her safety and losing sight of their mission to find Ares, tells her that they are not there to save lives. Her response: “You’re right. But it’s what I am going to do.”

As she mastered one skill, her aunt and trainer, Antiope, would add on new challenges to build endurance, strength and character. Each new challenge and repetition helped strengthen Wonder Woman’s muscle memory, which enabled her to focus on strategic decisions.

In turn, this strategy allowed her to get everyone on her team engaged with the same goals by transforming their strengths and desires into a team of change agent disruptors who work for the common good.

But, did you also know that Wonder Woman is also an inspiration for entrepreneurs as well?

Wield the power of empathy.

Diana can detect others’ emotions — in other words, she has the power of empathy. That further explains why she’s such an important member of the Justice League.

Empathy is perhaps the most important skill that entrepreneurs can possess. By walking in someone else’s shoes you’re better suited to understand and solve their pain points. That is what entrepreneurship is all about — making the world a better place?

Be fearless in battle, even when the odds are against you.

Diana has fearlessly battled monsters, gods and even allies, including Superman. Even when it appears that it’s against all odds, Diana willingly faces these foes for the greater good of humanity. However, Diana never goes into battle without a plan. She’s an excellent strategist and doesn’t just start smashing everything around her (like the Hulk).

The odds are always stacked against entrepreneurs — particularly women entrepreneurs — so always test the market and validate your ideas before going into battle.

Cultivate a practice of discipline and iteration.

While technology has leveled the playing field of marketing, social media has also created a noisy marketplace where large-scale campaigns can fall short of expectations and cause internal turmoil inside the walls of an organization.

Be a warrior for truth, peace and equality.

Wonder Woman’s goals are to promote truth, peace and equality – despite being an Amazonian warrior. This dichotomy is what makes her character so appealing and a great leader and teammate. It’s also why her most well-known weapon is the Lasso of Truth that forces people to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.

Truth, honesty and integrity also make entrepreneurs heroic. It’s what makes them exceptional leaders. It’s what rallies employees, investors, stakeholders, and customers around them. It’s how they make the right business decisions. It’s what separates them from questionable and shady competitors.

The importance of mentorship – and paying it forward.

Diana sought a mentor before becoming Wonder Woman because she needed a guide to train her to become a warrior. One of Diana’s mentors was her aunt, Antiope. In the comics, Diana returned the favor by mentoring a number of portages like Wonder Girl and allies like Etta Candy and Paula von Gunther.

Entrepreneurs should also seek someone to train and guide them in order to help them hone their skills. Mentors can also share their mistakes and existing business knowledge. However, entrepreneurs pay it forward someday by also taking an emerging entrepreneur under their wings.

Be a warrior for truth, peace and equality.

Wonder Woman’s goals are to promote truth, peace and equality – despite being an Amazonian warrior. This dichotomy is what makes her character so appealing and a great leader and teammate. It’s also why her most well-known weapon is the Lasso of Truth that forces people to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.

Truth, honesty and integrity also make entrepreneurs heroic. It’s what makes them exceptional leaders. It’s what rallies employees, investors, stakeholders, and customers around them. It’s how they make the right business decisions. It’s what separates them from questionable and shady competitors.

 

WHAT MAKES YOU SUCCESSFUL?

Have you ever wondered why or how people like Jeff Bezos or Indu Jain became what they have become? And when you do, what comes to mind as possible reasons? Mostly I hear people saying things like Luck, Hard Work, Focus, and/or Dedication. Hmm, it makes sense but really is that all? Let’s look at them one by one.

Luck: This is the favorite one! Whenever we look at successful people, we call them ‘lucky!’ But what is luck? Is it just a chance, a good fortune? If yes, then how do people get repeated successes? If I were to say that luck is important too, then I would define luck as a confluence of perseverance, prospects and preference. Opportunities present themselves every day to every person. Do they not? But only a person, who recognizes them and seizes them without delay, gets to convert these opportunities to their preferred outcomes. And we very comfortably tag them ‘lucky’. However, a close look reveals that only those people who persevere to look for prospective opportunities to exploit become lucky. Hey, but this is no rocket science! Still why most of the ordinary folks are not able to do so? Why?

Hard work: “…No, No, it’s not luck, its Hard work or rather Smart work…” This is the answer of most people who don’t believe in luck. Malcolm Gladwell argues in his book, Outliers, that if someone spends 10,000 hours towards any activity, then he can become a world-class expert in it. Or in other words, 10,000 hours of hard work is required to be extremely successful. And I am sure he is correct. No success is achieved without hard work or sweat. Even the child prodigies became world-class experts in their fields, only after working at it for a long time. Mozart had his most famous compilations much late in his career. Sachin Tendulkar was at his best only when he was 24-year-old, although he had started showed brilliance at a young age of 16. I am yet to find a single successful person who hasn’t done his share of handwork. But, why is putting 10,000 hours so difficult? It is only 5 years of work! Still, why do most of ordinary people give up sooner? Why?

Focus

When I asked my dad what one skill is the most important when it comes to achieving success, my dad told me, “Your ability to focus,” when I pressed him on his answer he says, “Focus allows you to drown out the noise, it allows you to say no to things that are not going to aid you on your path to success, it’s the one skill that is applicable to any goal, and the skill necessary to acquire any other skill.”

Focus has allowed me to open for Comedians who regularly appear on Comedy Central within my first year of taking up standup.

Focus has allowed me to put thirty pounds of muscle over the last six years and win my weight class at powerlifting tournaments.

So definitely believe that focus is a key to success.

Courage

Most people will never live up to their potential because they do not have the courage to take the risks necessary.

Most people will not live the life they want, not because they don’t work hard enough, but because they do not have the courage to risks temporary failure.

Being courageous is like taking steroids for your life. You will see massive growth very quickly, but the more you use the greater risks.

Discipline

Where focus is your ability to say no. Discipline is your ability to action, whether you feel like it or not. Discipline understands that your emotions are not meant to help you. It is the ability to see through your own BS and do what you know you should do whether you feel like it or not.

Ultimate Success: Knowingly and unknowingly we often do things that are in line with our inner drive, along with other things as well. The important thing to note is that successful people choses to do only those things that are in line with their inner drive, and ordinary people end up doing random things. And quite often, ordinary people end up spending their lives driven by external forces or drives which are not in line with inner drive, and live a stressful and unhappy life.

If you want to be successful, identify your inner drive, and make the relevant trade-offs. When your inner drive becomes the enabler, then the combination of hard work, focus, and luck becomes possible and success and happiness is achieved.

EVERY PROBLEM IS A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM

With as many problems as we all face in our work and life, it seems as if there is never enough time to solve each one without dealing with some adversity along the way. Problems keep mounting so fast that we find ourselves taking short-cuts to temporarily alleviate the tension points – so we can move onto the next problem. In the process, we fail to solve the core of each problem we are dealt; thus we continuously get caught in the trap of a never-ending cycle that makes it difficult to find any real resolutions.

Pick any leadership challenge; it comes down to problem solving issue. Nothing more and nothing less. Issues always revolve around talent, competition, operation, execution, strategy, etc. Of course these are small problems which a leader can easily solve right? Surprisingly, No.

Most often the problem arises when they try to work on the wrong problem ta wrong time with wrong reasons. This happens due to lack of perception and lack of understanding.

If you ever say “No one can do this as good as I can”, this is a leadership problem itself as well as a false belief.

No one is immune to leadership failure. A leader might fail to recognize the opportunity with various people on the team and in the company. Failures can caused frustration and turmoil, hurt some and confused others. Was the leader solely responsible? Of course not. Did the team members involved bear some responsibility? Of course they did.

When you break it down, problem solving is a competency. It’s a skill to be developed like any other. But the one aspect that makes problem solving more complex than other leadership skills is that the best solutions are rarely created in a vacuum, and rarely do they come from the leader themselves.

ORGANIC VISIBILITY

An online presence for your online business goes far beyond setting up a website that contains the name of your company and contact details. It involves creating a virtual point of business where people can find useful information on your website and interact with you through social media networks.

In the digital age, it is absolutely essential for your business to have an online presence. Whether it’s a website, an e-commerce platform, a social media page or a combination of all three, getting your company online will reap major benefits. Even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online. If they don’t see you there, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base and get the word out about your business.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why your business needs to establish its online presence:

  1. Make it Easier for Potential Customers Come to You

Today, if someone wants more information about a company, they’re most likely to do their research online. Whether they’re specifically looking for your company, or they just want to find any company that offers the products or services that your company offers, having an online presence will give you a competitive edge. Potential customers will not put a lot of effort into finding you, and they should not have to. A simple Google search should provide them with all the information they seek.

Real life example: Your business distributes seafood, meats, fine wines and other spirits. A potential customer is having an impromptu family get-together and needs a few bottles of Wine and some shrimp.  She uses her smartphone to search for “wine and seafood near me”. Your company’s website is listed in the search results. After browsing your website, she’s satisfied that you can provide her with what she needs. You’ve just earned another customer!

  1. Make it Easier to Build Relationships with Customers and Potential Customers

Social media is all about building relationships. This is true for both individuals and businesses. Social media gives your brand a voice – it makes your company more “human” and relatable. Customers and potential customers can interact with your brand on a more personal level. It also gives you the opportunity to truly get to know your customers. If everyone is on social media except you, you are missing out on an invaluable opportunity to connect and communicate with your target audience. Social media is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to get persons interested in your company and to form real relationships with real people.

3. Effective Marketing

Online presence makes it easier for you to market your business and sell your products. A properly designed and informative website with well written content enables customers to make informed purchasing choices. The web provides a marketing platform that gives you a cost effective way to reach a wider audience than conventional marketing techniques.

4. Accessibility

It is essential for both small and large businesses to maximize on the benefits of having a strong web presence. Aspects such as dynamic search algorithms and social networks are influential in the process of making it easier for customers to locate different businesses online. A business that does not have an online business is regarded as non-existent in the modern and competitive business environment.

Customers get information through search engines and the internet is an unrivaled source of data. You have the option of hiring professionals who can help you establish an online presence based on their knowledge of factors ranging from latest algorithms to search engine codes. Marketing your business online constitutes your website, SEO and strategic use of social media.

LET’S HAVE LUNCH?

CEO of the organization is often seen as the unapproachable “Devil”. Being on the top of the hierarchy, employees think twice before entering their superior’s cabin. Discussing problems long forgotten, some subordinate get awkward and stutter-y during meeting. This can result into a communication gap between the CEO and his employees, which in long term can affect the management of the organization and later the services provided by them.

A terrific way to foster connection and safety, belonging, and mattering in the organization culture is for the CEO to have lunch with small groups of cross-functional employees on a regular basis.

The spirit of this CEO Lunch program is to spend an hour with the CEO talking about everyone’s experiences at the company, helping everyone get to know one another, and helping everyone see the humanity of the CEO.

Here are the reasons real companies have started having family-style meals:

A closer team

When Impraise, a performance-management software company based in New York, had just five employees, they all sat down and had lunch together. Now, the company has more than 30 employees, and they still eat together at one large table.

“We’ve found this has a great effect on maintaining open communication as we grow, ensuring that people never feel divided, even if we’re working on different things,” Bas Kohnke, CEO of Impraise, said in an email.

The company also randomly picks two employees each day to be in charge of grocery shopping, and to set up and clean up. “These people are always selected from different teams and include everyone from the CEO to the newest intern,” said Kohnke. “It’s a great way to mix it up and make sure people from different parts of the company also have some one-on-one time together.”

Better retention

At GMR Web Team, an internet marketing and reputation-management company in Tustin, California, the entire company has lunch together on Fridays. But the point of the lunch meetings isn’t to talk shop; it’s to improve the relationships among co-workers.

As a result, the company is seeing better employee retention. “Keeping morale high with these team-bonding events not only goes well with employees, but with the company as a whole,” Ajay Prasad, founder and president of GMR Web Team, told me. “People are willing to stay longer because friends are there, too.”

Accessible leaders

As Jellyvision, a Chicago-based tech company that helps people make life decisions, grew over the years, leaders found it more difficult to make employees feel important. If those leaders had not recognized the problem, they could have ruined their relationship with those employees. That’s why, to maintain contact with everyone, Jellyvision created its lunch program.

“Once a month, the leadership team at Jellyvision is paired at random with a group of employees from around the company,” said Bob Armour, CMO. “Coming together for lunch takes down any feeling of corporate barriers that may arise.”

There are no agendas for the lunches, so the conversation can develop naturally. For example, Armour was recently able to get suggestions on where to go during his upcoming trip to Florence.

Appreciated employees

When a team performs admirably and meets its goals, a meal is a great way to celebrate. No matter how large a company is; free food is a great way to show employees they’re appreciated.

This type of meals helps the CEO to recognize employees and help motivate the entire team

Builds up loyalty.

The secret that a CEO will never tell you? We don’t actually want to be the Miranda Priestley of the workplace, feared and tiptoed around by everyone. Bosses do want to be liked by their team members and establish a great rapport which going out for a meal together whether one on one or with an entire department helps to do. With the more shared meals or coffee outings you share with your team, the more trust begins to build up as well as warming up to genuinely liking your higher-up in charge.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY

Internet has changed the way we look at a problem and then deal with it. Be it the newbies or the old-aged, the technology upgrade facilitated by the entrepreneurs has successfully made everyone more independent. Independence from asking for favors for trivial things such as bill payment, transportation, e-shopping, household chores, etc.

Technology provides a wide range of tools entrepreneurs can use to guide their new companies through the startup and growth stages. Small-business accounting, marketing and communication have been revolutionized by advances in computer, network and communications technology, and businesses in a range of industries continually adapt to take full advantage of technological developments.

A lot has changed for entrepreneurs in the last decade, most of it brought about by improvements in technology.  It has never been easier to purchase a domain name, use a do-it-yourself web design platform and launch a website for your adoring fans.  Nor has it been easier to find the educational resources that empower us to do these things ourselves, or for a low price.  These are the opportunities that my father wouldn’t recognize when he started his own accounting firm in the 1980s.

No more thumbing through the Yellow Pages, or worrying that you’ll miss a call when you step out, or wondering how to stay in touch while you’re on vacation. Who would have imagined we’d have a solution that fits in your pocket?

Now most entrepreneurs see the opportunity to work anytime anywhere as a double-edged sword: free from the desk, but tethered to the smartphone.

The entrepreneurs from the startup sector have been the game changers. This is the sector that has made most out of the smartphone trend and has used it innovatively with technology to improve our lifestyle and mitigating the usual day-to-day hassles. There is a new app in the market every other day that promises to solve yet another problem of our through technology. But the underlying thought behind most of the apps remains the same – easing the hassles of the customers, and making almost everything possible online through mobile. This revolution that has started around two decade back, is now well in its prime. The idea is to make every process and every transaction so simple and transparent that even elderly people can get accustomed with the way these services are availed.

According to internetlivestats.com, India has the highest yearly growth rate and currently has the third largest number of Internet users globally. As per reports, India is ranked 1st in Baseline Profitability Index in 2015. This very fact in itself highlights the fact that our country has a huge potential to develop further and give other developed nations a tough competition through its technological advancements and ‘ideas’. This result indicates a promising future that India holds for all the investors. Looking at this trend, a handful of global multinationals have invested in various sectors of the country and are actually witnessing increase in returns.

After more than seven decades of independence, we can proudly say that we are not only aggressively pursuing economic growth and development but also augmenting the true essence of freedom and technological independence at a macro level. With the government’s vision of a ‘new India’, the country now has a strong hold and continued focus on science and technology and has realized its importance across sectors for a holistic growth.

ENTREPRENEUR OR INTRAPRENEUR?

When a company’s growth begins to dwindle, boardroom meetings grow strained and the finger pointing starts. Executives cry out, “We need a new strategy! We need to hire better people! Our culture is to blame! Our compensation is wrong!” The founder, if he or she is still around, sadly states, “We have more people, resources, and money than ever. But now we are so big we can’t even get out of our own way!”

“Intrapreneurs! What we need are intrapreneurs!” The “hip” executive explains that intrapreneurs are “inside entrepreneurs” who will follow their founder’s example. The intrapreneur, he or she promises, will buck the corporate malaise, risk his or her career to get things done and, is willing to “do the right thing to serve the customer.”

What happens? Management chooses an intrapreneur hoping that this “champion” is victorious. If successful, this person becomes the company’s future leader.

Despite their righteousness, why don’t more intrapreneurs succeed? Because in doing what is right, intrapreneurs hold a mirror up to their peers, forcing them to confront what they and their company have become. Just like a middle-aged, weekend warrior exercising after years of complacence, when a stagnant company tries to transform into a high-growth business, the picture is not very pretty.

Entrepreneurs vs. Intrapreneurs

Let’s face it, when under pressure to grow, organizations of all kinds look to their roots and their previous successes for answers. Rekindling business growth inside an organization often represents the toughest challenge to a maturing organization.

Can it regain its entrepreneurial spirit and continue to thrive despite its mature culture?

By turning to intrapreneurs, the company hopes it can have the best of both worlds. It can work if owners follow the above steps.

Intrapreneurs, by definition, embody the same characteristics as the entrepreneur: conviction, passion, and drive. The more the intrapreneur expresses him or herself, the more the company is forced to confront its own effectiveness. If the company is supportive, the intrapreneur succeeds. When the organization is not, the intrapreneur usually fails or leaves to start a new company.

Every effective worker has intrapreneurial traits that may or may not culminate in an entrepreneurial life. Ask yourself how close are you to becoming an entrepreneur? Your answer will help you to decide whether you should stay or you should go!

DOMINATE YOUR MARKET

Let’s cut to the chase shall we? To succeed in business you need to constantly out-think and out-maneuver your competitors in order to out-sell them.  Business success is about identifying a market segment you can dominate and then owning that segment.

If marketing is critical to the success of any business — and believe me, it is — how do we reconcile that with the reality that few business leaders actually understand marketing and give it the focus it deserves?

While selling is relatively straightforward and intuitive, marketing is not. Marketing is complex and nuanced. That’s why it mystifies so many, and yet it’s absolutely critical to business success.

The marketplace is a volatile place. Like a field built on a fault line, it can crack at any moment. Sometimes, that results in economic anxiety, but at others, the cracks can reveal some stupendously profitable new market.

  1. Have deep-rooted knowledge of your target audience.

Business follows people. The deeper you understand the people in your emerging market; the easier it becomes to serve them the right product.

For Boris Mordkovich, the founder of Evelo, an electric bike company, says, “Success in entering new markets and taking over comes when you spend heavily in getting to know your product’s target audience, and aggressively serving them your products based on the customer information you have on them.”

“Not everyone is your target customer,” he added. Previously, we were heavily targeting the 20s and 30s for our electric bikes. But fortunately, due to our heavy investment in knowing our target audience and how to serve them, we accidentally discovered that our main customers were on the older side: 50 or 60, baby boomers, recent retirees, and that singlehandedly helped us build on the market.”

  1. Differentiate or die.

As a business owner, it’s a necessity to have a differentiated value proposition. But differentiation isn’t just about focusing on what you’re best at. Often it’s more about positioning: how you define and segment the market.

For example, how did WhatsApp, a four-year-old company with one app, 55 employees, and no revenue to speak of garner a half-billion highly engaged users and end up being acquired by Facebook for $19 billion? After all, the market is flooded with thousands of apps, including dozens of messaging apps, some from the likes of Google and Apple.

The answer is part focus group of one, part market segmentation, and part development. Its founders wanted a simple messaging app that didn’t store messages, collect user data, or bombard users with ads, games, and gimmicks. They thought others would want that, too. That was their value proposition.

If you can’t distinguish your company and its products against the competition in a way that’s meaningful to customers, you’re doomed to slim profits and minuscule market share. And just because you say you’re different doesn’t make it so. If customers don’t agree, forget it. That’s how marketing connects products to customers: through a differentiated value proposition. Without it, you’re doomed.

  1. You can never afford to lose a customer.

There’s a lot of confusion over cause and effect in business. Too many entrepreneurs think it’s all about them and their employees. It’s not. Not even close.

There are actually three and only three major stakeholders in any company: investors, employees, and customers. Investors give employees money to make and sell products to customers. Without customers, employees lose their jobs, and investors lose their money. No customers, no company.

JUST GET AN IDEA

Every business must be open to opportunities. One important thing to remember, that’s pretty easily forgotten, is that every single company in the world once started with a founder or a founding team saying a simple Yes to an idea. Ideas are powerful things – they can be the most powerful force imaginable, in fact. That’s because ideas are what causes the world to shift, change and transform. The beauty of business though, is that ideas always evolve. The idea you start with isn’t necessarily the idea you finish with.

Whether the IDEA is original, borrowed, or bought, the IDEA is the heart of any business through all stages if its life. If there’s no idea, there’s no business. The IDEA is what will keep you fired up, and give you pride. Plus, the IDEA is the most fun part of business. Look around having in mind some new idea or opportunity.

It isn’t always about making more money; sometimes it’s about having more freedom and a higher quality of life. How happy and sated you are also has a big impact on your productivity in the workplace. If you’re simply going through the motions in your job and you’re clearly unhappy, then it might be time for a change.

If you look back at some of the most successful businesses in the past 100 years, they’ve been companies who have been ready to adapt at any given time, whether that means adapting to a new market, a new technology or a new competitive landscape. Take Apple – they started out as a business selling simple, handmade home computers. Today, the bulk of their money comes from manufacturing the most successful phone ever built. That’s an enormous change, and it’s one that every business should be committed to facing at some point in their existence.

For many companies, the obstacles to this kind of evolution are often obstacles of scale and preparation. It’s difficult to know if your business has the resources, the talent or the financial runway to support a shift in what you do and how you do it. Knowing that you can support a strong move in a new direction is the first step to ensuring you have a future as a company. So how do you get there?

You really have to establish a firm grasp on your business’ health. You’ve got to be able to track and manage as much of the data and the information around your staff, your productivity, your cash flow and your projections. To be in the perfect position to face change and transformation, you need to work through every aspect and element of what your company does, measure it, and build a reliable dashboard that can provide you with the right knowledge at the right time.

Embrace new ideas. That’s the way our clients build innovative services and products and build the future of their companies!

SOW SEEDS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Schools teach the basic sciences and math that lay the foundation for higher education. They also teach students to think ‘out-of-the-box’; however the extent of going beyond the conventional depends on individual tastes. As compared to institutes abroad, Indian schools are limited when it comes to practical education. Most of us, irrespective of whichever generation we may be from, would have acquired more than our fair share of bookish wisdom rather than actual working knowledge of anything. This is one of the reasons we are afraid to venture into dark waters for the fear of the unknown. Books may teach us to flap our hands & legs and hold our breath to swim but reality is much more difficult, especially when one is taking baby steps!

For decades there has been debate on whether academics are the right people to teach entrepreneurship and if, in fact, it is something which can be learnt. Some argue the only way these skills can be taught is by entrepreneurs themselves dissecting their successes and failures and sharing real-world, practical experience. Others say entrepreneurship cannot be taught; that successful entrepreneurs have distinct traits which are innate, and that certain people are hard-wired to see opportunities and pursue them through new and innovative means.

A course on entrepreneurship for high school students has become the need of the hour to empower students to think out-of-the-box, look at unconventional ways for problem-solving and identify needs that have not been met, says Husien Dohadwalla.

Schools should accommodate a more practical method of education so that children will not be afraid to try what they want as they get older. For the seeds of ideas to germinate, a lot of effort, motivation and sacrifice is needed. While growing up, a young adult spends about 70% of his or her time in school, where teachers and peers have the power to make or break them. Therefore, it is very important for schools to realize this and groom each student with utmost care and responsibility.

Practical schooling approach will aid students from all socio-economic backgrounds because it helps cultivate unconventional talents and skills. Early exposure to an environment that hones their penchant for innovation plays an important role in developing the characteristics that are critical to become successful business magnates.

Students will develop analytical skills and core competencies which will help them become future tycoons. They will also develop practical skills like identifying business opportunities, making business plans, applying and coordinating the business growth.

Within our education system, entrepreneurship should be transversal competent. By developing a common description of entrepreneurship as a competence, one can fill in the gap between the world of education and the professional world.

Keeping these factors in mind, ENTREPRENEUR VISION program designed by ICCE is the need of the hour. This program will aid participants to understand a practical approach towards Entrepreneurship and create a better future for nation.