This image was Selin Jessa’s entry in the 2010 Positive Posters International Poster Competition. Here’s her description:
Consider that technically, the glass is completely full – half of air and half of water. Just as you can perceive a glass of water in different ways, I think we need to take a moment and look at our lives from a different perspective – a more optimistic one. Our lives right now may seem too stressful, too hard or too busy but we can make every day better for ourselves and for one another. A positive, optimistic attitude is more than seeing the bright side of a situation, it’s believing in a brighter future.
As an entrepreneur, you’re an optimist, whether you realize it or not. Simply put, the odds are against you, and everybody knows it. But you think – know, even, deep down in your gut – that you can beat those odds.
Optimism alone isn’t enough for success, but it’s a key factor in it. Dr. Martin Seligman, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted more than 600 studies that demonstrate, consistently, that people with an optimistic explanatory style are more likely to be successful, in most circumstances. For instance, a study among life insurance agents showed that the most optimistic salespeople sold a whopping 88% more than the most pessimistic ones.
However, optimism isn’t about being delusional. The most successful optimists still have a firm grip on reality – they are able to assess the situation, and then generate, evaluate and explore their options. This is wherein the optimist’s greatest strength lies. Pessimists tend to quit considering alternatives once they believe the outcome to be inevitable. So, of course, their predictions become self-fulfilling, re-affirming their world view. Optimists keep moving forward because they believe there are always options and possibilities that may not yet have been discovered.
At this point, you may be thinking, “That all sounds great, but how do I become more optimistic? My business/life/whatever sucks right now, and I just can’t see past that.”
Pessimists tend to see problems as permanent (“We’re never going to hit our numbers”) and pervasive(“These leads all stink”). Optimists see problems as temporary (“This quarter’s been rough, but we have some new things in the pipeline for next quarter”) and specific (“There may still be some gems in there that just haven’t shown themselves because the timing isn’t right yet”).
So how do you get from permanent/pervasive to temporary/specific?
Ask yourself a few questions:Do you have a crystal ball? Is the future ever truly certain? Of course not…at least not from your perspective. We’re not trying to get into a philosophical debate here – even if the future is predestined – you don’t know what it is.What are some possible positive outcomes? Explore the possibilities, no matter how unlikely they may seem.What can I do to influence those outcomes? It doesn’t matter if you can’t ensure the outcome – what steps can you take that would simply increase the likelihood of any of those desirable outcomes?What are the exceptions? Whatever your negative generality is, find the exceptions and study them. What makes them different? How can you find more of those exceptions and attract them into your experience?What’s the third option? Pessimists tend to see things in black-and-white, while optimists see shades of gray. Any time you think there are only two choices, consider all the alternatives – yes or no (maybe), left or right (reverse), fries or onion rings (neither).
Change won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen just because you consciously want it to happen. But transformation is possible if you practice it on a regular basis.
“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” – Lao Tzu
This image was Selin Jessa’s entry in the 2010 Positive Posters International Poster Competition. Here’s her description:
If one is considering hiring an outside firm to perform SEO services (Search Engine Optimization) to help market their Online Business or Website there are several questions that need to be asked and some general concepts that should be understood to help make an informed decision while choosing a qualified firm. Below is a list of 10 basic rules to SEO and hiring the right firm.
The first rule to SEO is a good solid website design. Make sure that the firm that is being considered has discussed and is aware of the many on-site SEO techniques that are essential to ensuring the website itself is SEF (Search Engine Friendly). If the website is not designed utilizing the correct SEF strategy than it is much more difficult and in extreme cases may not be possible at all, to achieve significant SEO results. SEF url’s, the correct keyword density, and logical Meta-Tag and Meta-Description information are a few of the on-site SEO pieces that should be employed before any other strategies are embarked upon.
There are many companies out there that are offering ‘backlinking’ as a means of achieving SEO, and although back-linking can be employed as part of an SEO strategy, it is merely one piece of the puzzle so to speak. Back-linking alone will never get a website to the top of Google, Yahoo or Bing, especially if it is merely random links strewn out across the Internet with no plan or context.
Ensure that the firm that is being considered understands how to use backlinking in its proper context and effectively so that valuable resources are not wasted on a strategy that will not produce results.
Ask to speak to a client that has had successful results through the use of the firm’s SEO strategy in the past (ask for references).
Proper SEO should include high quality content included in the body of the website and posted at various authority external websites that link back to the target website. This is the most effective way to ensure the website is viewed as an authority in it’s area of expertise.
Ask to view reference sites that include content that has either been authored by the SEO firm or has been written for them for their client(s) by them.
Determining the correct keyword phrases to target is the next most important aspect to effective SEO. Choosing either keyword phrases that are already in an overly competitive niche or do not have significant search volume can render any SEO attempts ineffectual.
A good SEO firm will provide a keyword analysis in the area of expertise for the web site’s key area of business to provide suitable options as to which keyword phrase or phrases should be focused upon to achieve the most effective SEO results.
Be sure to ask for an analysis of competing websites and an estimate of the expected amount of improvement related to Google, Yahoo, and Bing and the cost in doing so along with an approximate expectation of the duration of time it will take to achieve the improvement.
Most importantly, be sure to get everything in writing and in signed contract form.
This article is written by Bryan Keller from SilicionIndia.
What should business owners be doing everyday to maximize their time for a return on their investment? For one, spend ample time with your customers. Build their loyalty and they’ll refer your business. Keep a constant pulse on their satisfaction, so you’re providing an amazing service or product now, instead of putting out fires later.
You also need to invest a good deal of time and research in your hiring, recruiting and development process. Yes, you are the CEO, you are a genius and you use your wisdom daily. However, you can not attend to each matter of your business with the same exact energy and potency. You’re eventually going to have to hire on.
And if you’re like many entrepreneurs, then your abilities may be lopsided, excelling at some areas, but lacking to great degrees in others. So it’s very likely that you will need to face hiring soon enough. To hire more effectively, you need to develop a healthy candor about your own capabilities. This will help you pinpoint what type of help to hire on.
And as people are not always as they initially seem, they may not turn out to be a good fit. If this happens, you simply need to let them go. It’s not personal, it’s business. The wrong staff will hold your business back from its true potential. And you’ll actually be holding that employee back as well – there’s obviously somewhere else where they’d be a better fit and be able to contribute more.
Above all, never lose sight of the infinite possibilities that surround you. You must overcome the frustrations of starting or running a business and concentrate on the glory of opportunity.
This post is the sixth in a series of excerpts from OneCoach CEO John Assaraf’s interview with Rita Gunther McGrath, co-author of The Entrepreneurial Mindset, and MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves that Drive Exceptional Business Growth
During my recent trip to India, I flew down to Bangalore for one reason: To meet N.R. Narayana Murthy. Murthy is the co-founder, executive chairman and former CEO for 21 years of Infosys, the first Indian company to go public on Nasdaq and effectively the company that began the $30 billion Indian IT outsourcing market.
Murthy’s idea was so successful that it quickly became controversial—not only within the United States where some Americans feel Indians are “stealing jobs,” but also in India where many are concerned about a tech economy that doesn’t make anything. I wanted to meet with Murthy, because in many ways he’s the best person to address what Indians at home and abroad are facing and where Indian entrepreneurship goes from here.
Here are a few highlights from our meeting:
His Day Job. Murthy thought he was stepping down from Infosys back in 2002, but he couldn’t fully let go. As such, he still works pretty much full time for the company, traveling to meet with customers and running a lot of the company’s mentoring and training programs. The more surprising aspect of his job: He personally signs off on the architecture of every building on each one of Infosys’ campuses that employ some 17,000 people around the world. The one we were sitting in was spread of eight acres and had some remarkable buildings, including one that looked like the Luxor casino in Las Vegas.
I asked why this was a top priority—after all, many Valley campuses are plush but from an architecture standpoint look about the same. He said when GE and other American multinationals were starting to come into his business everyone thought Infosys would lose the local talent war. So Murthy studied why people want to work at a particular place. One of the results was the comfort and design of the facilities. That was in 1994 when Infosys was designing the very building we were sitting in as we had this conversation. “I’ve been in charge of every building since– all over the world,” he says.
Hurting or Helping Local Entrepreneurship? Given exactly how plush Murthy and his colleagues have worked to make Infosys, has he indirectly hurt Bangalore’s entrepreneurship scene by making the risk of leaving so daunting? He smiled when I asked this and said, “We may have unwittingly. But I do feel like the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and kicking in Bangalore.”
Further, I asked about Bangalore’s Zippo-flipping, free-spending generation of young techies who’ve graduated to a huge wave of multinational jobs that pay them far more than their parents ever made, in many cases more than the rest of their families combined. Murthy didn’t deny that that instant-gratification, “gimmie” contingent was strong in the city he helped build, economically speaking. But he blames the Internet and the mass-cross-pollination of Western pop culture, not the bigger paycheck from companies like his.
“We are moving towards a uniform, global culture with an intense competitive spirit and an intense desire for instant gratification,” he says. “But I have a firm belief that each generation is better than the previous one. The Indian entrepreneurs today are more daring than we were.” (This from a man who became a capitalist after after hitchhiking across communist Eastern Europe and getting thrown in jail for chatting up someone’s girlfriend on a train. “More daring” is a tall order, young Indian techies.)
Is India’s Tech Community Too Addicted to Services? Clearly, services has been a great business for Infosys and the hundreds of dollar-millionaires and even more rupee-millionaires that the company’s generous stock program has created. But a lot of Indian CEOs and investors complain that in most cases services-based tech businesses are a great way to get revenues quick, but not a way to build a huge, high-growth business. There’s a big question of whether India’s tech sector has a worrying lack of product-building know-how.
Murthy says it’s a progression. “India missed the industrial revolution, but Indians had intelligence,” he says. “We had to make do with pen and paper. We were always forced to look at the abstract. What is happening in India today is the creation of jobs. Let’s create jobs as long as they are legal and ethical, it doesn’t matter, as long as we make money. The time will come for creating products. I wouldn’t lose sleep over this. If we create enough jobs we’ll raise the confidence of the youngsters and they’ll create products.”
India’s Infrastructure. Here’s something it’s hard for even Murthy to be upbeat about: India’s shoddy physical infrastructure. Murthy has traveled the world and it’s frustrating that so much money has poured into the country he loves, and yet, the infrastructure is still so shockingly bad.
There is progress—Infosys for instance has benefited from a new overpass that cuts down on the drive to the campus by more than thirty minutes. (See!) But it’s not moving nearly fast enough, he says. “I don’t know if we will reach the level of the United States or China,” he adds.
Murthy gave a more nuanced explanation than the usual “it’s corruption” answer you get in India. He explained that 65% of India’s population lives in rural areas and 35% live in cities. And there’s such polarity between the quality of life that politicians have to appear to be doing more for the villages than the cities if they want to get re-elected. That leaves prosperous economic cities blighted by poor sewage systems, pollution spewing generators and beggars weaving through traffic tapping on car windows. “Different emerging nations take different paths,” he says. “In China, they chose to emphasize giving people economic freedom first and political freedom second. In India we chose the opposite path.”
Hurting or Helping US-based Indians? All you have to do is read the comments on one of Vivek Wadhwa’s posts to see the ugly, anti-immigrant, anti-Indian fervor that’s been whipped up in America, post-recession. A lot of it has to do with outsourcing. I asked Murthy if he felt his company and industry’s huge success has indirectly made life harder for Indian-Americans. He turned the blame on xenophobes like Lou Dobbs and grandstanding politicians who use the wedge issue to get viewers and votes.
But it’s an issue he has to address a lot. He answers it by saying every morning he gets up and gets a Pepsi out of his GE Fridge and drives his American car to work where he sits down at his Dell computer. India used to have companies that made soft drinks, refrigerators, cars and computers. But the American ones were better. Allowing them in hurt Indian workers in the short term, but provided a far better quality of life for a much bigger swath of Indians long term. He argues outsourcing has done the same thing for US companies. Greater efficiencies and cost-savings enables these companies to stay competitive and there’s no reason they can’t—in theory—plow those savings into better local jobs or job training.
This argument isn’t going to pacify hate-mongers, because nothing will. Murthy knows that too and while he regrets it, he seems to accept it as reality.
Advice for Entrepreneurs. Murthy has started a $170 million venture fund, so although he spends most of his time still at Infosys, he clearly cares about encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs. He had two big pieces of advice for them. One, be able to articulate what you do in one sentence. If you can’t, you don’t have a good idea. And two, make sure the market is ready. Businesses are killed, not congratulated, for being ahead of their time.
from TechCrunch by Sarah Lacy