12.08.2014

We're Back!!!!

After a brief hiatus, we've returned with more energy and even more information to share! Before the year ends, I'd like to give you a bit of food for thought and provide a peek into how we plan to help you build your business in 2015.

Finish Hard: How Can You Make These Last Few Weeks Count?
This year has been particularly tough for many businesses, including those in Ghana. The threat of Ebola and other macroeconomic factors have put a number of businesses to the test and sadly caused some to shutdown. However, the Christmas season often provides an opportunity to generate additional revenue to offset tough times faced during the year, and plan for the year ahead. Here are a few resources which can help you make the most of these last few weeks of 2014:


 
End of Year Reflection: Where Do You Stand?
As the new year draws closer, it's important to take some time to reflect on what your business has achieved over the last year (i.e. planned and unplanned), where you think things could have been better and what your goals are for the New Year. As you brainstorm pay attention to how you measure success and how you hold yourself accountable.

Building a Better Business: What We Have in Store for 2015
In addition to the resources that we've always made available,  in the new year we plan to share information on:

  • How best you can plan and strategize to set your business up to succeed
  • What it takes to be a successful negotiator
  • How you can fund your venture
  • What role your business has in developing your community
Have a fruitful rest of the year, and see you in 2015! 

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

9.29.2014

Guest Blogger: Pichon Duplan (Expert on the Millenial Generation)


How has being an athlete has informed your journey as an entrepreneur, and in particular what lessons can African entrepreneurs learn from the world of sports?

“Be humble or be humbled” – Two ultimatums every athlete faces at least once in their lifetime. Playing sports on any given day is filled with ups and down, success and failure, but there is one guarantee that will always occur - with effort, determination and knowing the end goal, a lesson will be learned to contribute to the development of one’s self towards success.

Success is defined differently for each person but there are certain factors that guide each individual on the road to their own success - drive to succeed, perseverance, vision and commitment. Every athlete learns the results of each factor and the process it entails towards success along his/her journey playing the sport he/she loves. These are the gifts of sports that fulfil one’s life and encourage specific actions focused on achieving a certain level of greatness you have defined for yourself.

I first learned about the processes as a high school student, picking up a helmet and shoulder pads and having decided that I was going to be the best American football player on the field. In that moment, this was my definition of success on the football field. This was my first time ever playing the sport after seeing it on TV on numerous occasions. I had set a very high goal for myself; the kind of goal that many viewed as difficult to accomplish, but I was determined to reach it. There were times I didn’t have my best days, times I feared I was good enough and times I was not successful. That did not deter me away from my goal but rather fueled the fire to learn from my mistakes and become better – I was building character. This is the type of mindset that I have reinforced as part of my life and part of who I am as an entrepreneur - creating a vision and developing the drive to succeed no matter the circumstance.

Entrepreneurship is a form of leadership governed by innovation and risk taking and the ability to find opportunities within a market to provide value for your customer. Entrepreneurship is not just starting your own business but a way of life to create some sort of value in the community. Without even introducing your product or service as an entrepreneur, your company is judged based on the brand and what the company stands for or is trying to accomplish. This brand and purpose translates all throughout your company as you begin to build a culture around the way you work within your company and your interactions with your customers.

I admire all the young people who have started or attempted to start their own ventures. This shows your dedication to self-leadership and aspiration to make a difference in the world. To continue to fuel your ambition and desire, I challenge each and every one of you to figure out why you wake up to do what you do and create a vision around that purpose. There will be a few times along your journey where you’re at a crossroad, enduring some form of hardship or fear. Go for the Win - as long as you remember your vision and purpose and the mindset of turning every obstacle into an opportunity, you will begin to not only grow as a person, but as a brand, which will translate to the success of your business.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” – Theodore Roosevelt.


Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com


Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

9.22.2014

Bosses and Coaches Aren't All That Different

This month we've spent quite a bit of time drawing comparisons between entrepreneurs and athletes, but what about coaches? Coaches are responsible for managing, directing and disciplining teams and usually are blamed or praised for team performance. Entrepreneurs, particularly those with employees have the same responsibilities as coaches, so why not run your business like a coch? A few things you can start with are:

- Building Trust & Encouraging Accountability: Be open and honest with your team and encourage them to do the same with you and with one another. Open lines of communications mean that at any given point in time everyone knows what's going on. This makes it easier to implement strategies and track performance.

- Incentivizing Team Oriented Thinking & Being a Team Player: One of the biggest enemies of a strong team is individualistic thinking. While it is important to recognize the achievements of and individuals and encourage their professional development, it is even more important for your team to realize that they function as a team. If one person does well, while the rest of the business is in decline what good does that do? Additionally, as a coach you should exemplify team performance by making decisions that serve the decisions of your team rather than just yourself.

While there are many more examples of what business owners can learn from coaches, this list should at least get you thinking. Are you running your business like a coach? Send us an email and share your story today!

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

9.15.2014

Athletes Turned Entrepreneurs



Just in case our previous blog posts about the connection between sports and entrepreneurship weren’t enough, here is a list of famous athletes who went on to become successful entrepreneurs following the end of their playing careers.

·         Michael Jordan: Michael Jordan is arguably one of the most competitive athletes to ever play in the NBA and that competitive spirit has carried over into his career after basketball. As the founder of Nike’s Air Jordan Sneakers and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan has experienced far greater financial success off the court than he did on it.
·         Greg Norman: Greg Norman is a former pro golfer from Australia who won 91 professional competitions over the course of his career. Now that his days of competitive golf are behind him, Norman is the chairman and CEO of Great White Shark Enterprises, a multinational corporation whose subsidiaries include Greg Norman Eyewear and Great White Shark Golf Management Consulting.
·         Maria Sharapova: Maria Sharapova has been a professional tennis player since she was a teenager, but her interests extend off the court as well. Sharapova founded the premium candy line Sugarpova in 2012 and now sells the product in over 30 countries worldwide. The popularity of Sugarpova coupled with her success on the court has made Sharapova the world’s highest paid female athlete.

Professional athletes are becoming more and more known for the business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit once their playing days are over. The reason they have succeeded in their post-career endeavors has not been because they were phenomenal athletes, but rather because they were able to utilize the skills that brought them athletic success in the business world.


Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

9.08.2014

How Much Do Entrepreneurs and Athletes Have in Common?



Continuing our exploration of the relationship between sports and entrepreneurship, let’s discuss the types of qualities that successful athletes and entrepreneurs share. It seems that the personality traits that lead to success on the athletic field are the very same traits that lead to success in the business world.

·         Competitive Nature: In both business and athletics ventures, there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome in order to triumph. Whether the obstacle is an opposing team who just won a championship or a Fortune 500 company that happens to be a competitor, athletes and entrepreneurs never lose the desire to rise to the top.
·         Practice: There isn’t a person among us who hasn’t heard the age-old adage “practice makes perfect”. Just like athletes, entrepreneurs will have both strengths and weaknesses, but they can work towards perfection by practicing to the best of their ability. No entrepreneur or athlete can ever reach their true potential without continual practice.
·         Leadership: Every sports team has a captain who seeks to lead the team to victory. Every new business has a founder who seeks to steer the company towards success. The parallels between the two are more than apparent. Success in both the athletic and business worlds relies on the ability of leader’s to motivate their team to perform at the highest level possible.
·         Perseverance: One thing every athlete knows is that there is no easy way to the top. Everybody will lose and get knocked down at times. However, entrepreneurs and athletes share the same desire to get back up after a setback and keep fighting until their ultimate goal has been achieved.

The qualities mentioned above are just a few of the similar traits that are vital in the realms of sports and entrepreneurship. It is these qualities that differentiate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful entrepreneurs.  


Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

9.01.2014

The World Cup and Your Business


About one month after the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we think it’s important to reflect on how sports might relate to entrepreneurship. The skills that are cultivated on a playing field are very similar to those skills required in starting a small business. Entrepreneurs may want to look at the basic principles of organized sports in order to ensure a greater level of success. Let’s take a look at what these principles might be!

1.      Building a Team
Similar to how a sports team cannot rely on a single player to lead the team to a win, a single player needs a support system of teammates in order to collectively lead to a win.  It is therefore important for you as an entrepreneur to surround yourself with business teammates who will both supplement your individual talents as well as celebrate your successes and support your visions. Furthermore, you should make sure to have teammates you provide you with encouragement as well as critical feedback—like sports teams do with their teammates.

2.      Find a Good Coach
Often times what happens in team sports is that the teammates themselves lose sight of the entire game. This is why teams always have a coach or a group of trainers guiding them and constantly giving them feedback and teaching them multiple strategies that can lead to a win. Likewise, an entrepreneur and his team should work closely with someone (or a group) of likeminded individuals not involved in the actual development of the business (similar to how a coach does not play the sport on the field). This will allow you to gain an outside perspective on your business plan and also gain insight on how you might improve your strategy.

3.      Setting Goals
Athletes tend to have multiple goals. Whether it’s becoming better at a particular position, winning that week’s game, or making it to a future championship game. Similarly, entrepreneurs should set both short-term and long-term goals. Setting goals increases one’s focus, which is essential in any team-based setting. By setting goals, entrepreneurs will constantly be required to review performance and adjust strategy in order to make sure that those goals are eventually met. This will also allow you to identify areas of opportunity or future growth—if you are successful at meeting your goals, how might you increase your success rate even more by altering your strategy or business plan? Or, should you keep it the same?

Have you or someone you know applied your experiences as an athlete to your business? Share your story!




Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

8.25.2014

Implementing Technology Solutions on Your Own!



Competing in today’s business environment requires entrepreneurs to constantly keep up with technology in order to gather the necessary information to make the best business decisions. Integrating technology awareness into a business’s day-to-day agenda, will allow a company to flow more smoothly and efficiently.

Research has shown that companies can incorporate into their business a technology awareness strategy in four simple steps. Businesses can easily ensure that they have a competitive edge by following these four steps:
1.      Identifying their business needs
2.      Assessing the resources available to them
3.      Ranking the resources in order of usefulness
4.      Making the time to use the resource

Technology is an essential aspect of every business and “Do It Yourself (DIY) Web Technology” has recently become extremely popular with entrepreneurs in fulfilling their fundamental start-up needs. For example, Twitter’s new Bootstrap application offers entrepreneurs at any skill level an easy framework for web development. Bootstrap allows anyone to create a website on their own from start to finish, while minimizing the expenses that go with hiring a third party to carry out tasks that could easily be accomplished on one’s own!

Similarly, AfriDesign is an African company where business owners can monitor, track, and report their own business processes without the use of a third party. Similar to Twitter’s application, with AfriDesign business owners have the mobility and control over their own business operations, thus limiting costs. AfriDesign allows entrepreneurs to collect data more quickly and have information delivered to them in real-time anywhere and at anytime! This application is a great way to heighten tech awareness within a company as the business and its employees monitor all business processes themselves.

By identifying business needs and learning how to meet those needs on one’s own, companies can increase technology awareness and independence. Try integrating the technology awareness strategy to your business!
 

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com