Do these to Successfully Start a Business from Scratch #Success

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By Josh Okello

Great entrepreneurs are great boot-strappers. Boot strapping is where you start a business with limited funds and resources. What makes it challenging is the insatiable demand for personal basic needs. When starting a business from scratch, money going out is always more than money coming in therefore you must be very careful on how you spend every single dime.

So what do you need to do to successfully start a business on a stringent budget?

Write a Business Plan

A business and marketing plan is a GPS showing you the way where your business is headed. Even though your business is full of unrealistic goals and objectives (by the way it is very good to set unrealistic goals) try to be realistic with your finances. Crunch those numbers first and figure out roughly how long it will take before you start getting income, break even, raise your salary and employ a team.

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Often times, when the business is starting, you will be the boss, receptionist, guard, janitor, accountant, chairman and sometimes even the customer. Write a plan with a detailed budget.

Separate Business from Personal Life

Hey, you are already on the road to Silicon Valley therefore you have to be organized. Set aside your private life away from business life. Never mix the two. When writing a business budget, remember to also write a personal budget. I have a limit on how much I can spend in a day and in a week and my goal is to always shrink it further. Before you fund your business using your personal credit card, think twice!

Forget Leisure

Your business needs you and your money therefore you have to make tough choices and sacrifices. Forgo a flamboyant lifestyle and stabilize your business. Never fly a private jet when you are supposed to be riding on a bicycle. Be very keen on how much you spend. Do you really need an office, or can you work from a coffee shop? Do you need to hire assistant or can you hire a virtual assistant? Be wise with your money. Trim down your friends list and focus on those who you can learn from. This does not mean that you totally ignore people, but spend your time with people who can grow you.

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Master the Art of Negotiation

We know you do not want to look cheap but remember that you have less to spend and more to be done. Maximize the utility of every dollar getting out of your pocket. Having too much money does not mean you have enough money. Record every single dollar you spend.

Build Other Sources of Income

When I was starting our organization I had already written a book and was working on my second and third book. I sold my books every evening and that was my goal. Money I got from sales is what I spent on food therefore I had to sell to eat. I closed all my roads and gave myself a tough goal to only spend money from book sales and nothing else. This comprised of my rent, transport and utilities.

If you are a writer, write. If you are a musician, sing. If you are a chef, cook. This also relives you from the daily business stress. Do something fun to de-stress and learn to earn a living out of it. Key point to remember is; never let your complimentary source of income be a permanent plan B. It can kill your business.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

I Asked Three Leaders what Books they Read, the Answer I got Will Shock You

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By Josh Okello

One simple question I like to ask new people I meet, leaders, managers, CEOs etcetera is “what books are you reading these days?”

People are always very honest to share ideas especially in the realm of entrepreneurship. My better-half knows and understand my love for books and it is almost predictable that most gifts I get from her are leadership books. We both like to learn even though we are in different fields. In general, we read a lot.

Back to my story, do you like to learn? As a leader, entrepreneur, how many books do you read in a month? I once walked in a store and asked three managers what they are reading and the answer I got was shocking. I am putting into consideration that not all like to read therefore it is not a crime to not read. You can acquire knowledge through other means.

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One manager told me that reading is not important as the books do not tell you how to deal with each individual customer. Different customers have different attitudes, emotions and personality therefore you cannot read a generalized book and work with that on each and every customer. How true is that? My answer is, “It is very true”. But how can you know how to deal with different customers without learning how to deal with different personalities? How does one acquire emotional intelligence (EI) without learning? Reading might not be your thing but are you in constant pursuit of acquiring knowledge? In philosophy we call it epistemology. Epistemology is the enquiry of what distinguishes justified true belief from opinion also referred to as knowledge.

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The other manager referred me to the manager who gave me the answer above. What does this boil down to? “Resistance to change,” and the mind set of “doing it our way.” how can we be open minded without being ready to learn? You do not have to read in the world of technology we are living in today. Listen to podcasts, audio books, and videos and learn at least one new thing every day. Never be bound to repeating the same old mistakes because you are resistant to books.

I would like to hear your honest feedback and hopefully books that you are reading/listening to this month. If you are looking for a simple leadership and entrepreneurship book to read, you might consider: Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership. Comment by suggesting at least one book for our leaders to read.  Let us learn together.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Success is for Open Minded People

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By Josh Okello

Have you wanted to attain a dream in your life, so bad that you cannot sleep without thinking of it? How irresistible do you get when you come up with a big, crazy and scary idea that could either lead to epic failure or epic success?
A lot of people generate great ideas but only about 20% of the total ideas generated by human beings are implemented. Are you in the 20 percent? Good news is, that you do not have to belong to the group of 20% to generate an idea. Ideas can be generated by anybody and if changed to practicality, they can be achieved by anybody.
Another great news is that you do not have to be all knowing to attain your goals. If you have an idea with potentials of transforming and improving humanity, then you can assign other people to implement it.

It takes people with open mind to attain big and scary dreams in life. We are living in a world where technology has made life easier, communication easier and so is networking. So what does it really take to succeed in life?

Focus
You can be gifted in a number of things but you can only succeed if you put your focus in one of them and execute it to the best of your ability. Pick one thing and do it to the final.

Open Options
This ties very close to the title of this post. To be successful, you must have more than one option. If you are thinking of designing an application for android or iOS, OS, your options are either, doing it yourself, asking a friend to do it for you or hiring a paid professional to do the task for you. You do not have to be a wizard to design a techy-app. Apps can be build by nearly anybody through a number of programming platforms such as Java and android with Java as the core language. One of my strong philosophies is that if you can think it, you can attain it. Find ways of executing your vision.

Try to Fail
One of the reasons why I admire failures is because they try. It is better to try and fail than to fail to try. One of my driving force is being told what I am not great at. We are living in a world where failing is nearly immoral. This ideology has immortalized failure making failures look like outcasts in societies. This school of thought can only drive us backwards.

Another problem is that those who fail do not like being corrected. If somebody is showing you what you are doing wrong, never take it personal. He who corrects you loves you. Be open and receptive to challenges and great ideas.

Empower Others
In our organization, we have a team of Five and once a year, we take one week to do nothing but to develop new ideas, write down the plans of execution and present it to the group. Each and everyone comes up with their own creative idea. Ideas always range from technological advancements, new programs, project proposals, communications, new software, new apps e.t.c.

Everybody always look forward to this week because it is a week of freedom. Nobody is tied to the company principles but to their own creativity and open minds. The more ideas we generate, the likely chances that we will find one that works. We are already having a team of geniuses that we cannot let come to office and go back home in the evening. Our goal is to tap into the wisdom they brought to the organization after their interviews.

Make Tough Decisions
If an idea is not making you uncomfortable then it is most likely not to be a great idea. Big ideas, come with big stresses, they are scary and ugly. They leave you wondering how your customers will react, they are risky but they are also the ideas that transform the world. The world is not transformed by cowards but by those who believe that they can positively impact humanity. Be restless and relentless, do things that make you uncomfortable, test your guts and the more you do it, the more you become flexible with big changes.

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

How to Handle Stress

 

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By Josh Okello

This  is a brief post I am posting after finishing a very hectic project. I wrote it on a train on my way from work after a very stressful month. I hope you can relate. 

In some way, the amount of stress we get from work is directly proportional to level of success we get. In this case, the higher the stress levels, the greater the rewards and that is how it should be. This does not mean that stress leads to success but it is a possibility.

There are small risk takers and mega risk takers. Entrepreneurs are known for their ability to absorb stress with strong hopes that they will get better rewards out of it.

If you are committed towards solving a big challenge and if you do it right, then you are going to reap all the benefits. A lot of people focus on how big the challenge they are going through is and that is what wares them out. Any time you meet a tough challenge, it is important to first position yourself above the challenge. This way, you are in control and not the challenge controlling you.

Human beings are blessed with one of the greatest tool ever and that is our brains. Often times it is easy to panic than to solve a problem and that is the wrong way to handle work stress. The difference between successful people and not so successful people is the resiliency to take the worst beatings.

No stress is big enough to challenge those who fully believe in their efforts. Most challenges we meet on the way are questions asked by fellow men and if we do not have an answer then we shift to panic mode. Another cause of stress are multiple imaginary problems that are not there but our minds tell us that they will never let us succeed. Leaders who see value in their efforts understand that there is nothing that can challenge them to change their minds on what they are passionate about. Keep plugging in, you are about to succeed and above all, never let your ambitions to succeed be tainted by dreams of failure.

 

© Joshua Okello 2015.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.

Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

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“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” —Denis Waitley

By Elizabeth Stincelli

          Your Comfort Zone

Why break out of your comfort zone? You will never create anything new if you don’t stretch your boundaries and break out of the status quo. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to see new possibilities and forge a new path to achieve your goals. Your life experiences are fuller and your horizons are broader on outside. You get to define who you are and how you view opportunity. Are you going to play it safe? Or, are you going to risk it all outside of your comfort zone?

                    Overcome Fear

Dan Stevens believed, “The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fear.”  Don’t let fear prevent you from thinking in new ways and trying new things. You’ll be amazed at how resilient, capable, confident, and courageous you can become. Learn to let go of the need to be in total control. Step outside your comfort zone, set aside your fear, and try something totally different.

Welcome Challenge

  1. R. Martinez said, “I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.” You possess a wealth of knowledge and experience. Trust this knowledge and experience to help you confront and overcome the challenges you will face outside your comfort zone. The satisfaction you receive from successfully prevailing in light of challenge allows you to create rewarding work. If you never feel uncomfortable you are limiting your possibilities and your growth. Embrace challenge; reframe your goals so they include learning new things and exploring new experiences.

Take risks

Edward Whitacre, Jr. told us, “Be willing to step outside your comfort zone once in a while; take the risks in life that seem worth taking. The ride might not be as predictable as if you’d just planted your feet and stayed put, but it will be a heck of a lot more interesting.” Let go of the idea of perfection; it is a concept that is unattainable and causes you to avoid risk. With risk, you face the chance of failure but, also the opportunity for great success. Visualize obstacles, see yourself overcoming them, and then take the risk. You may not always win, but you will always grow.

A New Normal

Robin S. Sharma explained, “As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” That which is scary will eventually become comfortable. You will open yourself up to amazing new experiences. You may even meet new people and develop new relationships. You are a work in progress.  Break out of your comfort zone, face your fear, overcome the challenges, and take the risk; you’ll be glad you did.

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

What is important, success or happiness?

By Josh Okello.

As is with any debate, there are always antagonists and protagonists, those against an idea and those who hold it firm and do not want to lose it. And this week’s topic of discussion is, what is important, happiness or success.

Some of the debates, comments and answers I got from twitter over this topic were that success and happiness are complimentary. This might be true but contrary to my beliefs. In my opinion, a continuous pursuit of happiness is more important than a strong desire to succeed. What is it that you find joy in and you value so much that you never get bored doing over and over again?

How many people do we know who were once successful, (however your definition of success is) but today are going through tough life challenges? So is success all that is?  For what is a man who has not been taught what to do with success after attaining it? These achievements can lead to frustrations and boredom of the highest calibre.

The dictionary definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  While happiness on is defined as a mental and emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Is it therefore good to be happy or successful?

Albert Einstein a theoretical physicist once said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.” (Wisdom quotes app). If what makes you happy is creating value either in your life or in other people’s, then you are headed in the right direction.  It is very rare to be successful without failing, does that mean that we have to quit after a few attempts? If we make pursuit of happiness our ultimate goal, then no matter how many failures we go through, we will still be able to rejoice knowing that there is that one moment when we will succeed and it does not stop at success.

Success is always considered greatest by those who never succeed. For any moment you attain a prize, you will realize that there is more to be done to maintain that rank. After all why would Olympians try to break their own records? Usain bolt the fasted human being a live on the surface of earth keeps working hard towards beating his own record. Why? Because all he needs is happiness not success.  He has already been successful by breaking world records. It does not only stop at being the best.

A purposeful living consists of incessant desire of happiness that can only be attained through hard work. Just as Benjamin Franklin, a scientist and a writer once said, “Happiness consists more in small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune, that happen but seldom.”  (Wisdom quotes app).

Happiness therefore, underwrites a greater drive of all beings. The entire purpose and end of human’s actuality should be planted in happiness.

© Joshua Okello 2014.

Joshua Okello is a B.A graduate in Business Administration, International Development and Philosophy. He is also the author of the book Strategies of Entrepreneurial Leadership He has exceptional skills in organizing, coordinating projects and capacity building initiatives with key emphasis on livelihood programs; microfinance through savings and credit led models; business development services and entrepreneurial leadership. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Canadian Christian Organization geared towards giving hope and transformation in lives of the chronically poor in Africa.