Business

Finding Your Groove

Vortex

For those who are middle-aged and finding it difficult to either become entrepreneurs or wishing to rejoin the workforce, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most important thing to remember is that middle-aged workers have a lot to offer, including a wealth of life and work experience, esprit de corps and loyalty.

Of course, anyone can try entrepreneurship, and in today’s world, freelancers are increasingly becoming the bulk of the workforce. In the not too distant future, there will be more freelancers than individuals employed in a traditional full-time job.

Whether you are looking to become an entrepreneur or an employee, there are still some things you will have to do. You need to have clarity around the idea you want to execute in a new business or they type of company or business where you would like to seek employment. Skipping this basic step and doing or taking “anything” is simply a recipe for failure. Lay out a clear vision for what you want to do, why and how to get there.

I’m a big believer in being prepared. If you’re prepared, you can “wing it”. If you don’t know what you’re talking about and you make everything up as you go along, it’ll eventually catch up to you. So, research and learn about what it takes to be successful. Understand how the field may be changing and what it takes, including marketing yourself or the business, to be successful.

Being an entrepreneur or employee still requires realistic expectations. Yes, high expectations are important, as are dreams and vision, but no matter what you do, it always takes a great deal more work than you ever expect. And, so setting expectations that are based on sound reasons and assumptions is going to get you much further.

Things have changed drastically due to globalization, outsourcing, disruption, innovation, position redundancy and automation. Yes, everything was different ten or twenty years ago, but if you are looking for employment, recognize that even the selection of candidates is different today.

Now a resume will be initially checked by software programs that search for unique key words in order to identify candidates for further consideration. This happens before a pair of human eyes even looks at your resume. Those resumes that make it past that first hurdle then go to a human resources specialist who will devote about 6 seconds to reviewing it. Imagine the odds of getting chosen in many positions, based on those two realities.

Today, a lot of success comes in not only what you know but also whom you know. It is vitally important for both employees and entrepreneurs to network. If you happen to be an introvert, this can be a challenge. A good technique is setting a goal to invite one or two people a week for coffee. If you have the personality and are more adventurous, attending networking meetings is a better way to go since you can meet many more people and use your time more effectively.

Your overall goal is to make as many meaningful human connections as possible. In a startup business, these individuals can become your customers or lead you to new clients if you have the solution to a need. Otherwise, in the job market, by networking, you are helping to position yourself outside of the resume stream that will first get vetted by a computer and then a specialist. It allows you the opportunity to potentially get your resume in the hands of the decision-making hiring manager.

Focus groups, networking meetings, coffees, employment and business conventions– anywhere you can show your true colors in person are all effective strategies. Don’t rely on only one strategy. Use a variety of them and see what works best for you.

If you are middle-aged, you may have experience and a bias that you may not realize. It happens generation after generation. You have older employees or entrepreneurs who have to work for, or with, much younger people. It doesn’t matter. Even if they don’t have the experience you do, you probably do have something to learn from them. Be open and willing to work with a younger person, including a boss.

Don’t allow the assumption be true that the older you become, the less inclined you are to be up to speed on the latest technology. Consistently brush up on technology, computer skills, social media and news so you can compete and operate in today’s world.

Try to lead a healthy lifestyle. It might not seem important, but it is crucial to success. You need to be at the top of your game, and this means mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You want to have vitality and energy–no matter your age.

Unfortunately, life can be hard and especially in an environment with constant change. Employers want success. Customers want the same things. The reality is no one cares in business about your issues, complaints or baggage. All they care about is high performance. Remembering this will only help you.

Be willing to go the extra effort, as this will differentiate you from your competitors. Although middle-age is an advantage, it can sometimes be viewed as a disadvantage, so just accept this as a fact of life, don’t work against it. Instead, go with the change and use it to your advantage.

Finally, realize this, any one–no matter the age–in order to survive and thrive needs to be smart and work hard. Utilize all of your skills and leverage and extend your network to its fullest. Always be willing to learn. In today’s world, everything changes constantly. As someone once said, “Life is a contact sport”.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: April 10, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Lost Art of the Thank You

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I meet people every day. In a typical week, I am called, have a meeting, receive an email or am introduced to someone new. I make it a point to stay connected with new people I meet whom I think I can help. I believe in the principal of net-weaving.

One thing that I sometimes find, which would go a long way, is the simple “thank you”. I wonder if it is becoming a lost art. I am not the only one who thinks this and have had this conversation with friends and colleagues. Actually, it really isn’t an art when you think about it; it’s simply common courtesy.

My parents raised me to reach out and to serve. I do this as much as I can. In today’s world, we are all living at hyper-speed and that’s ok. When someone new reaches out to me for something, I quickly assess if I can be of service. If I can, I am all in. If I can’t, I let them know and I try not to waste anyone’s time. No matter what, I am always appreciative of the time they took to reach out to me.

No one is an island and no one can do everything alone. So, to that end, I sometimes find myself reaching out to people to help me on something or I hear about colleagues who network in the hopes of developing new business. However, time and again, I have seen opportunities for a sale or new business being presented to someone who does not care or appreciates the effort.

I think, it’s something much more simple. Common courtesy seems to be going the way of the old horse and buggy, and at the end of the day, that makes bad business sense.

The fact of the matter is that no matter how great your product or service is, you are probably not going to get new business or make the sale if someone does not trust you. Being appreciative of what someone can do for you – perhaps provide you with new business – is important. We need to remember that this world, nor anyone in it, owes us anything.

So, we need to understand that although our customers or clients might have a need, there is still someone else that can probably provide them the service and the fact that they are considering you is important. As powerful as Apple is, it still has competition from Android.

If you don’t treat the people who are trying to make your life or business better with appreciation, you will lose their loyalty. Sure, you may get the short-term goal of some immediate business from them, but you will lose their loyalty and eventually their business. Clients and customers want to be appreciated.

In today’s world, it is important to go back to basics in order to stay ahead of your competition. Going back to basics means treating your client or customer with respect and appreciation. It means taking a genuine interest in what they need and want and seeing how your product or service can make it happen for them.

It doesn’t take that much effort to show your gratitude, and if you do, you will stand out from your competitor.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: September 30, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

No Time to Waste

Sun Rises From Haleakala

Living life today with the goal of making it is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes challenges or goals require so much effort on your part, and and sometimes it is almost easier to quit. But, when you reach those points that is exactly when you cannot quit and you have to go on if you want to climb your mountain. You have seen people who cannot see and somehow, after mustering all their reserve, climb Mt. Everest. The other day I read about a person who had no legs – just the prosthetics – and he did the same thing. How do they do it?

First, it requires an incredible desire to make it. Second, it requires an incredible discipline to stay the course and stick to the plan that has been thought out and set. No deviations, aside of something coming up unexpectedly, which always happens, and then you deal head on, re-adjust the route and come back to the plan.

But before you decide what route to take, what plan to follow or where to go, you need to decide what’s important to you. Whether young or old, whether you go at it later in life because of X or lost time because of Y, or you have not lost any time because you’re starting out fresh, it is your time to take on the day and seize the moment, even if you do not know where to begin.

First realize that the rules of have changed. In order to reach a goal, it requires even more work than you may be used to experiencing. Provided you realize what your natural talents are and also perhaps by receiving some feedback from friends, you can embark on a goal where you feel you have an edge.

For example, if you are looking for a career, realize that not everybody is cut out to become a scientist or an engineer. But, you can follow your heart (and your brain) and do what you want to do.

Be willing though to take calculated risks.

And, always be ready – every day – to give it your best and more than your all.

In every goal in life and everything you do, you are competing with so many others. At times people who are more qualified than you. Does it mean you pack it up, get depressed and climb under a rock? On the contrary, other factors can come into play that can give you an edge over a seemingly better candidate on paper; factors such as your drive, motivation, determination.

Can you take a different approach than everyone else? Can you handle a little more calculated risk? What happens when you take a more direct approach? What does your network look like? Non-existent? Do you know any people? Can you change into an extrovert if you are not?

In business these days, you need to build a network of people you know outside just your friends and relatives. People who you can reach out and talk to when you want, people who will offer to connect you with others because they believe in you and that for many reasons will promote your efforts.

But you need to be able to reciprocate. The old approach of knocking on doors does not work very well these days. Although many people still use it if they have no connections, it is not the most efficient way and will usually take so much longer than working through your established network, your acquaintances and through the people you met during the course of your life.

And, it takes work to maintain those relationships. You don’t just meet someone, then do nothing with them for a number of years and then when the need arises, you reach out to them. No, it doesn’t happen this way. You have to build and nurture that connection. It requires a lot of effort on your part, but it is an absolute necessity to achieve your goals.

Life can be very hard, and to make your mark in this world, you’ve got to be willing to give it your best and then some. There will be tough and bad times, which you might have already experienced, where things might not come your way for some time. But, you need to continue to fight – no matter what – even when someone promises you that “you’ve got this in the bag” and then you never hear back. Even when you thought you hit your goal, only to be left standing wondering what happened.

Do not ever despair. Don’t let other people’s comments or life’s unpredictable moments define you and your future. Learn from your mistakes and failures. And then, continue to dream and follow the dream no matter how hard it looks, because eventually it’s going to be fine. Devise and stick to your plan, making course corrections as necessary. Have the stamina and tenacity to make it happen. Don’t let anyone get the best of you.

And, most importantly, always be grateful of what you have, because even in the darkest hours, you still have a lot, whether it be your next breath or the gift of a sunset on a particularly difficult day. Stay to the task and know that no matter how the “weather” is out there, you will eventually reach your goal – or something better.

May your dreams become reality.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: June 10, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Startup Funding Basics

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I have been asked a number of times to write about fundraising, especially for startups due to my background being involved for some time in for-profit fundraising globally.  Although the mission of the blog is not so much related to this area I thought I will cover some basics for those of you who want to start and fund their own business, follow their dream and contribute in doing good deeds to society.

At first you start with your idea. Something well thought out. You will definitely need some initial capital either from your own or maybe support from family and friends. Since it might be easier for them to believe in you. If that is not an option, you can turn to angel investors where you would have to pitch your idea.

There are also incubators, companies that will help you in the beginning take the first step by offering you initial funding of support in return for equity.

In addition, private equity companies can get involved if part of their portfolio is to help startups. You would have to research these companies to see their preferred areas of interest. I have to say though it is not easy initially to get their attention. Reason being, they find startups to be risky, as you would probably know.

Now there are exceptions. If they like your idea so much and you have been able to show that you have invested out of your own money 5 to 10% of the capital needed and you have put together a well thought out and delivered business plan with financial projections. Your management team is also very important and should consist of individuals with experience and a proven and successful track-record similar to the business you are starting. You need to have someone on the team who was able to deliver a company from point A to point B.

All these are some of the minimum requirements to have a chance to be considered.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: June 2, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.