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Entrepreneurship: Can You be an Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Manager?

phone 7_17_13 011Being an entrepreneur can at times be challenging. You have a desire to help others via a product or service that you are selling. Your hope is that the public will want what you have and buy it. This will open more doors for you as an entrepreneur and you will in turn make money. It’s the dream of everyone starting a business; doing something that they love and making money at it.

While it may be the dream, the reality can be very disheartening at times. What many young entrepreneurs don’t realize going in is the sacrifices they are about to make. Demands on their time, the fact days only have 24 hours and not 36. One of the things I found when we started our company was how valuable time can become. We never think about our time when we punch a time clock.

Demands on time are one of the first subjects I discuss in consultations with new clients. It is something that is taken for granted for the most part. Most people never put in 18-20 hour days so at the end of the month they can tally up the score and make a run at the next month. Growing up we never give time a thought. One day we wake up and we’re 18 the all of a sudden 21, before we realize it we are thinking time has passed us by.

Time management is a critical element when managing your business. So just how do you “manage” your time as an entrepreneur? The solution is much simpler than many think, although executing the game plan may be difficult at times.

Make a schedule, I know this sounds cliché; however, it is something a business has to do. Analysis your businesses needs and make a schedule accordingly. One of the organizations that were a huge help to us when we got started was the Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Administration is the bible of business knowledge. It was created and designed to assist in giving small businesses the tools and resources they need to have a solid foundation to start on. Our society is built upon business and the more prosperous businesses are; the more prosperous our society is. It’s good for the economy.

Another organization that we found an extremely valuable resource is S.C.O.R.E. This non-profit organization was created by retired executives to offer tips, workshops and more for entrepreneurs. They know where you’ve been and offer resources to help you succeed in your endeavors.

When I speak to the new wide eyed young business owner that has just recently hung their shingle, I’m constantly reminded of many of the mistakes I made. Having a basic understanding of business practices is of upmost importance in establishing the foundation of any business.  One of the biggest mistakes we made when we started was not analyzing what our company’s goals were and establishing policies to help us get there. Something we should have taken the time to do, the lesson learned, develop your company policies before you need them. Some times policies will include they way you’ll manage your company.

Here are some items in regards to management that may help you…

If you an Entrepreneur/Business Owner and are going to be the manager you want to be sure that you understand how to put yourself in the position that leads your team efficiently and effectively. A strong team enhanced by an even stronger leader can greatly increase your bottom line. In order to be an effective manager you need to remember the following:

  1. Good Communication – Having good communication skills is vital to being a successful manager. If you can’t communicate your needs and expectations to your staff then you’ve lost the battle before you even begin. A good manager must be specific in what they want and be able to talk to their team in an effective manner that will get results.
  2. Industry Knowledge – A good manager must know the industry that they are working in. You can’t lead others or delegate to them if you don’t know the industry in which you work. You have to know that they are doing the job properly.
  3. Good Organizational Skills – A good manager must be highly organized and detail oriented. They need to be able to manage their time effectively. In addition they need to be able to prioritize tasks so that the most important things get completed first.
  4. Strong Team Building Skills – A good leader needs to know how motivate and inspire their teams. A good manager knows when to praise, when to reprimand and how to reprimand and how to inspire them to achieve more than even they may realize they can achieve.
  5. Excellent Customer Service Skills – A good manager needs to know how to work with the public. They need to be able to handle customers who may be upset with a product or service. A good manager knows how to de-escalate a situation and get it under control quickly while still maintaining the trust of the customer and keeping the integrity of the company intact.
  6. Self-Motivation – A good manager is able to motivate themselves and work independently. They don’t need someone looking over their shoulder, telling them what to do every minute of the day. They can set goals for themselves and achieve them.
  7. Trustworthy – A good manager is trustworthy. They can be relied on to get the job done and are seen as someone who is very dependable. They don’t need constant supervision because even when no one is around they are trusted enough to know what they need to do and to get it done.
  8. Conflict-Resolution – A good manager has excellent conflict resolution skills. If a situation arises they have the skill set to defuse the situation. These situations can be volatile if not handled properly and quickly.
  9. Able to Accept and Promote Change – Change is hard for a lot of people. Some people just don’t deal with change well. A good manager needs to handle change well and be able to foster the ability to accept the change in his team members. With a good manager in place change can be easier to accept by everyone around them.
  10. Dedication – A good manager is dedicated to their position, their company and the people they work with. They believe in what they are doing. Dedication can foster a strong sense of “team” amongst the staff.

Being a good Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Manager is about more than just having a title. It’s about more than just dictating each and every day to those around you. A good Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Manager needs to be multi-faceted. They can blend easily into almost any work environment. A good Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Manager has many parts to them. They can take those parts and blend them to benefit the task at hand and the company over all. It takes a unique individual to own a business and manage employees and oversee day to day operations.

As we move into the consulting arena there is one thing I do remember my father telling me. No matter what, always make time at least once a day to stop and smell the roses. I never really understood what that meant until I started overseeing this company. Well I definitely make the time and some days the smell of freshly ground coffee stands in for the roses. However, in those few precious minutes of every day I find the solace needed to keep my sanity in the wild wacky world of being an Entrepreneur/Business Owner/Manager.

If you would like information on our basic business consultation  package or discuss ow to develop policies for your company please do not hesitate to contact us at customer_service@aladayllc.com.

Thanks for tuning in…

Until Next Time

Happy Gardening

The NSA: Doing US Citizens a Service or a Disservice, You Decide

NSA-header-2012-b

 

I realize this has nothing to do with Organic Farming, Property Preservation, Window or Custom Woodworking. However, I do feel that it is important to all of us and since I have been asked my several of the bolg followers and our customers about the current state of affairs with the NSA, I thought I’d share one of the security updates I am singed up with.

downloadThe blog comes to us from;

Mark Maunder
Wordfence Creator & Feedjit Inc. CEO.
I hope you find it as informative as I did. I know that there is a lot of uncertainty in the actions of our government towards the hard working tax paying citizens of this country.
Hope this helps some of the many questions I hear out there every day…

 

 

 

General Alexander’s Keynote Speech at Black Hat 2013

I just finished listening to the Keynote presentation at Black Hat 2013, the largest hacker/CyberSecurity conference all year, from General Kieth Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency.

The NSA is obviously not in everyone’s good graces since the Edward Snowden revalations and the atmosphere was tense with the organizers who introduced Alexander choosing their words carefully when introducing the General and politely suggesting that he’s doing the conference a favor by appearing and asking the folks attending to be constructive in their questions. That didn’t prevent a few hecklers from engaging the keynote speaker.

I was rapidly taking notes throughout his presentation because in my view, this is one of the most important public appearances the NSA has made in it’s history. To put this in perspective, the controversy about the export ban on strong encryption in the 1990′s and the “clipper chip” the government was designing to “listen in” on us pales in comparison to the current controversy the NSA is facing. And with General Alexander as it’s director appearing in front of the largest gathering of the World’s CyberSecurity professionals, I had a strong sense this morning of being part of history in the Augustus Ballroom at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The full audio of General Alexander’s speech is available at the end of this blog entry.

General Alexander started his speech by focusing on the rationale of why the NSA monitors communications. He also gave us a sense of the people involved in the three letter agencies including the NSA and mentioned several times that 20 cryptographers were killed on deployment in the Middle-East and the sacrifices that employees of our various government branches make to do their job.

He spoke about how the NSA’s reputation has been tarnished and that all the facts are not on the table. He never mentioned Snowden by name.

He was heckled a few times during the last third of his speech. Nothing too offensive and the crowd didn’t seem too supportive. Black Hat attracts a fairly sophisticated and mature audience these days and I suspect they were more interested in hearing what the Directory of the NSA had to say and then form their own opinions.

He said that the CyberSecurity tools that the NSA uses are very similar to the tools that we use, the main difference being the oversight and compliance in their programs. He said that the concepts of oversight and compliance are important and are missing in the current discussion about the NSA and what they do.

Here are a few of what I thought were the most interesting concepts and quotes from his speech:

  • The NSA monitor communications and store meta-data which includes time, source and destination phone numbers. It does not include names or addresses.
  • Then there is a database which he compared to a “lockbox”. This contains the actual content of communications.
  • “Only 22 people” at the NSA can authorize looking into the Database containing the actual content of communications.
  • “Only 35 people” at the NSA are authorized to run queries on the database containing the content of actual communications provided they have been given access.
  • These people “have to get trained and pass tests” to get authorization to run queries on the database of communications.
  • In 2012 there were less than 300 telephone numbers that received approval to look at the content of actual communications.
  • Those 300 phone numbers resulted in 12 communications to the FBI.
  • The intent was to find a terrorist actor and identify it to the FBI.
  • The general spent some time talking about PRISM and how it’s used for foreign intelligence.

Quotes:

  • “Our people have to take courses and pass exams to use this data.”
  • “What you’re hearing, what you’re seeing, what people are saying is “well they could”. The fact is that they don’t. And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them and they would be held accountable. And they know that from the courses they take and the pledge they’ve made to this nation and they take that very seriously. There are allegations that they listen to our emails and they do all these things. They don’t. And if we did, we would be held accountable. 100% auditability on what we do here.” [Referring to NSA employees abusing their access to our personal data]
  • “If we tell everyone what we’re doing the adversaries will be able to get through our defenses.”
  • “The damage that has happened to our country is significant and irreversible.”  [Referring to Snowden but not by name]

General Alexander was heckled throughout his speech with the final shout from the audience being “You should read the constitution.” His response was “I have. You should too.” to massive applause from the audience.

I don’t hold a strong political view one way or the other regarding the current NSA controversy and the General’s speech. I do know that families who work in high security jobs make sacrifices, the most basic one being that they can never come home and share their day with their spouse and kids. I also know that bad governments use fear to increase their powers and I’ve seen the damage this does first hand when I grew up in Apartheid South Africa from 1974 until 1991. So I think accountability and transparency is very important. The fact that the director of the NSA has the guts to stand up in front of the most vocal and engaged members of the CyberSecurity community speaks to a level of transparency and accountability and I think is a good indication that they realize they are still accountable to us.

The full audio of General Alexander’s speech is available on Soundcloud.

Until Next time Happy Gardening
and phone conversing and playing in Cyberland!!!

 

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