Patience is a Virtue but Persistence Pays the Bills

Recent figures indicate that as many as 8 out of 10 new businesses fail in the first 18 months. In fact, if you’re any good at the game you have a better chance of walking away from the blackjack table in Vegas a winner then you do of starting a successful business.

But there’s no need to abandon your business plans and start buying lottery tickets just yet, because one of the least talked about secrets to entrepreneurial success isn’t angel investors, it’s good old fashioned persistence. If you can weather the storm at the point when most people would be toss the towel you might just come out the other side on top.

Here are 6 companies that were staring into the abyss but stuck it out to become big time winners.

1. Apple – Few remember it now but there was a time in the late 20th century when Apple was on the verge of going under. It was 1997 and the company had just re-hired founder and former CEO Steve Jobs to help pull it out of a death spiral that had started in 1985 when Jobs walked away to pursue other interests. What he returned to was a company on the verge of bankruptcy; one in desperate need of capital to jumpstart new initiatives.

Where Jobs found that capital sent more than a few Apple nerds running to the freezer for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to soothe their wounded psyches. Because to rescue his now fledgling company Jobs turned to the evil empire itself: Microsoft. Bill Gates agreed to invest $150 million in Apple and Jobs used the money to launch the iMac and perform a branding makeover that started the company on a now 20 year run of market dominance. The moral here? Never be so full of yourself that you are unable to act in your own self-interest.

2. SpaceX – Seems like a month doesn’t go by these days when we don’t see video of a SpaceX launch. The company has become a beacon to an up-and-coming generation of forward-thinking, outward-looking designers, engineers and visionaries. But it wasn’t always that way.

In 2008 the company was just getting its legs when the global financial crisis hit and knocked it for a loop. Investment capital dried up and founder Elon Musk contemplated closing the company down, or closing down his other startup, Tesla, and folding resources from that company into SpaceX to keep it flying.

Unwilling to accept defeat Musk instead submitted a bid to NASA to supply the Space Station and wound up beating out the competition. The $1.6 billion he received from that contract reinvigorated SpaceX and allowed him to keep Tesla afloat as well.

3. FedEx – FedEx was the brainchild of Fred Smith who proposed the idea in a paper when he was a college student during the 60s.

His professor thought the concept untenable and gave the paper a C but Smith was undeterred. In 1971, shortly after leaving college, he started Federal Express. But 2 years later the company was haemorrhaging cash and heading for bankruptcy. After General Dynamics turned him down for emergency financing, Smith took a flight to Vegas on a lark and won $27,000 playing – you guessed it – blackjack (the equivalent of $153,000 in 2017 dollars).

He used that money to meet payroll and shortly after secured an estimated $60 million in venture capital that allowed him to turn his stumbling delivery experiment into what is today the world’s largest delivery company and 4th largest airline by number of planes.

4. Reddit – Reddit today is a household name and reddit.com the 9th most visited website in the world. But it almost didn’t make it out of the starting gate. For months after launching in 2005 the website had a hard time attracting any more than the occasional accidental visitor.

Things were looking desperate and bankruptcy loomed when the founders decided that if the mountain wouldn’t come to them, they’d have to go to the mountain. They established a slew of fake Reddit accounts and began to hold fake conversations on the site that slowly began to attract some real attention.

Once the number of visitors hit critical mass the fake accounts were deleted and, well, the rest is history.

5. Airbnb – Airbnb is a company formed around a single airbed and an idea for creating lodging for travelers unable to secure rooms in overbooked or overpriced hotels. It had the unfortunate luck however to launch just as something called credit default swaps began swallowing the economy bones and all.

As such, the company’s founders were shunned by investors left and right who were turning inward and focusing on short term survival. They had a number of opportunities early on to fold up their tent and go home. Instead they pulled out all the stops in order to raise enough money to build a website and spread the word (including creating custom breakfast cereals based on the 2008 presidential candidates).

Their machinations worked and in 2009 they were able to raise nearly $9 million in venture capital. Today the company has 150,000,000 users and is valued at $31 billion. Pass the milk.

6. Uber – Depending on who is talking, Uber is either the greatest thing since sliced bread or Satan’s personal vendetta against taxi drivers. And yet without some incredible persistence on behalf of founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp it certainly wouldn’t have made it into this discussion.

You see being perceived as the devil’s favourite company has a way of attracting negative attention and the company has had plenty. From cease and desist orders to class action and wrongful death lawsuits to charges of operating an illegal taxi business and even charges of sexism. It’s been a steady barrage of negativity levelled at the company but Kalanick and Camp have kept the blinders on and today sit atop a company that generated $6.5 billion in revenue in 2016 and operates all over the world.
The Bottom Line

Success in business requires a good idea hitting the market at the right time. In some cases though persistence – the simple refusal to take “no” for an answer – is every bit as important to avoiding bankruptcy as the idea itself.

Overcoming barriers to learning in the workplace

Overcoming barriers to learning in the workplace

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, overcoming barriers to learning in the workplace is important – it’s the key to personal development, safety, business growth, increased revenues, promotions, salary increases and much more. For some companies there’s a belief that workplace training is a necessary evil – an attitude that’s often grown from resistance to training and change.

If you can understand what contributes to these barriers you can unlock huge potential in your company and your people – you’ve just got to know what to be on the lookout for…

Invisible difficulties and disabilities

Most people have heard of conditions like autism, ADHD and dyslexia – they’re occasionally in the media and sometimes appear in professional publications, but painfully, even people who endure these conditions often don’t know about the impact they can have on learning in the workplace.

Conditions like these are referred to as ‘invisible’ simply because they rarely show any physical symptoms – which can often lead to the misunderstanding that the person experiences life in the same way as someone who’s got more typical brain function. They can become doubly invisible in the workplace since people often feel the need to hide whatever awareness of their condition they have – often thinking that being forthright would lead to discrimination or embarrassment.

What do they look like?

As previously noted, there are little or no physical symptoms that go along with these conditions – and frankly, there are a lot of misconceptions about the behaviour that they inspire. Where you might be aware that people with autism can struggle with social communication or people with dyslexia can have problems with reading and writing you might not realise the following:

  • People with ADHD can be susceptible to intense headaches, restlessness and distraction as a result of not being able to ‘filter’ common background noises. Imagine how the sound of breaking glass catches your attention more than that of a passing car – for some people with ADHD every noise can catch their attention like that breaking glass. 
  • Autism can often result in a lack of ‘flexibility of thought’ – meaning anticipating new scenarios, settings and people is extremely difficult – often resulting in anxiety, stress and physical illness.
  • People who otherwise manage the symptoms of dyslexia can have huge problems with their working memory – because of the sheer effort their brain puts toward understanding the written elements of a role.

So, even if someone manages their role on a day to day basis – it’s obvious how tricky training can become when you’re working with a brain that doesn’t function in quite the same way as the rest of your colleagues. Next time you think someone’s hesitant or not paying attention to training, try to explore the issues a little before getting irritated, there could be a struggle going on you just can’t see.

Mental health and well-being

In a similar way to the ‘invisible’ conditions we’ve mentioned it’s highly likely that some of your team experience the non-physical symptoms of mental health conditions – such as stress, depression, anxiety or a whole host of others.

For some people breaking from the ‘norm’ of a role can inspire uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and even manifest as physical symptoms. Despite a multitude of campaigns to inspire the opposite – mental health conditions can still carry some feelings of being ‘taboo’ – so while someone might be struggling with how they feel – they may try to pass it off as nothing, leading to confusion when training isn’t absorbed or engaged with. 

Preoccupations and distractions

How often have you seen people seemingly in a ‘world of their own’ when they should be taking in a training session? It could be that the post-lunch lull has set it – then again, it could be that their brain is preoccupied with something life-changing that you just don’t know about.

As an example – around 1 in 6 adults in the UK is facing ‘problem debt’ – meaning they’re in a cycle of borrowing they’re unable to break free from. This can mean handling collection agencies, repayments, other jobs – even bailiffs and court appearances. If you think you’re going to get the best from someone while they’re missing calls and knocks at the door relating to finances you’re likely to be mistaken.

It’s impossible to keep track of people’s lives – but cutting them some slack to deal with what’s going on outside of the office can really help people focus on the task at hand.

Learning styles

There’s a host of different ways to measure or gauge your preferred learning style – generally speaking you’ll find you learn better either by listening, doing, watching or writing about any given subject. So, guess what happens when a room full of ‘doers’ are confronted with 95 Powerpoint slides?! That’s right – you’ve lost the room before slide 3.

Now, you’re very unlikely to have a full team of people whose learning style is going to be exactly the same – so the key is to mix the workplace learning up a little. When everyone’s engaged in a manner they prefer, they’ll reflect on training as a more positive experience, they’ll retain more information and they’re far more likely to engage positively again in the future…

Why are we here?!

Have you ever found yourself plodding through a training course with no real knowledge of what you’re hoping to achieve or whether the end is in sight? Preparing for training should always come with a bigger picture reason as to why people are going to be in the room, what the agenda is going to be and the benefit for all involved.

No one trains for the sake of training; perhaps you’re there to keep up with industry standards meaning you can continue to trade – perhaps you’re there because you have new machinery that would be dangerous if mishandled – or maybe you’re introducing a new way of working. Whatever the reason, imagine your team are constantly asking “what’s in it for me?” – answer the question before it’s actually asked and people will buy in to the course on a far deeper level.

What’s the answer?

If you got here thinking that we’d be able to give you a one-size-fits-all answer to all the issues above that you can implement for your training course next week – I’m sorry to say that you’re going to be disappointed! However, we can come close – if you’ve got the time.

If you can encourage open and honest discussion with a team member then you’ll begin to get a picture of what work (and maybe even wider life) looks like for them. Employees are under no legal obligation to disclose most health or life issues to you – and as such you’re under no obligation to account for issues you know nothing about. It’s only by talking – and on your behalf, communicating a genuine interest and care for the well-being of your team that you’ll begin to learn about what makes each person tick and whether or not your organisation can support.

Make time to talk

Could you implement a fairly informal discussion about a person’s role, how they’re coping and how it’s fitting in to life in general? If you can, you might be able to start building a trusting relationship and inspire the confidence in your team to confide in you about their role – especially if they see that you’re willing to make changes that will make work a more positive and reward place for them.

4 Tips on Launching a Ecommerce Startup for Successful Results

Regardless of the latest recession, there is always room for businesses that are willing to give into the demands of human kind. As entrepreneurs, we must be willing to create, innovate, and sell products. That is where technology comes in.

We must use technology to help shape our behavior online and grow our reputation past the completion. In this guide, we have narrowed down the top tips on what it takes to build a successful business. Whether you’re selling sports equipment or stainless steel banding

Whether you’re selling sports equipment or stainless steel banding globally here are 4 tips on launching an e-commerce start-up for successful results.

Go for Mobile Development

Developing a mobile app will showcase your startup products and increase the success of your business. As the mobile commerce is continuing to rise, the global usage will become a daily part of our lives. Therefore, you must be in tune with the demands of the customer and their behavior in what makes them want to buy your products.

Establish a Structured System from the Beginning

Focus on building a working system that defines how each region of your business works. This will help promote a stable culture of responsibility and achieve more time as the business grows. To make a working system usable, you must use the right tools to handle daily activities. Most e-commerce startups build their system with a complete service that includes POS software, integrated CRM, APIs, and customized programs.

Aim for High Impact Marketing Strategies

There are plenty of ways to market your startup business without running out of ideas. The main key is to market your startup through the ability to relate to your target audience. You can choose to run a blog or advertise, but customers won’t care about what you say until you create an emotional response about why your product will bring value to their lives.

Build Strategic Partnerships

Set your startup company in collaboration with other brands that offer unique value to both yours and their customers. Build friendships with potential influencers to help pitch your business and give you the push you need to endorse the company.

Got any more tips that you would like to share with us? Comment below and let us know!

Infographic by: B2B ecommerce Infographic