Grit – A Book Review

Grit – A Book Review

Angela Duckworth’s book Grit has been well-received and it is generating debates in scientific as well as education circles. The book is based on the research carried out by the author. It provides an entertaining, lucid and informative take on Angela’s findings. The author outlines a wide variety of ways to develop grit and how to nurture it in compatriots. The outstanding concepts about grit outlined in this awesome read point to the quality as a reliable predictor of success. She states that grit can be learned and adopted by virtually anyone regardless of age, gender or creed.

Talent versus Grit

However, some sections of the media seem to miss the point by suggesting that the book is anti-IQ and talent. Instead, the book clearly recognizes the existence and role of talent. The author defines talent as the rate at which individuals understand concepts with effort. She goes on to state that talent has the capacity to distract from the effort needed to accomplish goals.

The author stresses the critical roles played by other qualities, such as social intelligence, kindness and humility. Grit, on the other hand, is typically regarded as the least class-based predictor of future prospects when compared to aptitude. It is viewed by many as being egalitarian.

While measurable intelligence is largely dependent on genetic endowment and environment inputs, the development of grit does not rely on culturally-specific prompts. The later appears to be a more dependable engine of social mobility.

Duckworth manages to bring her discoveries to the reading public in a way that resonates with business approaches. It comes as no surprise that some commentators are convinced that the publication has a place in the business section of bookstores.

Grit paragons

It features two equations showing how grit is better than talent. The first one combines effort and talent to yield skill. On other hand, skill x effort = achievement. However, one does not need just effort but focused effort. In the book, Angela profiles a number of people with indefatigable resolve, whom she referred to as grit paragons.

One of those gritty individuals is thirteen-year-old Kerry Close who managed to clock more than 3,000 hours of practice. The teenager was working towards becoming a National Spelling Bee champion. Her fearlessness and relentless approach to practicing paid off at a tender age. She exhibited amazing commitment to identifying her mistakes and correcting them countless times.

Some of the other grit paragons mentioned in the book include a woman who won the battle against cerebral palsy to become an outstanding British comic. Duckwork also highlighted West Point cadets who survived the rigors of a grueling rite of initiation.

Duckworth’s Grit Scale

The Grit Scale is a set of questions that are aimed at determining one’s resolve, optimism, diligence, stick-to-it-iveness, willingness to work hard, focus and more. She also offers a four-step program aimed at reinforcing grit and a sense of purpose. The first step involves identifying a burning interest whereas the second step is all about regular practice. Meanwhile, the third stage revolves around developing a indefatigable sense of purpose.

In the book, Angela illustrates the importance of purpose-driven grit with the inspirational story of Kat Cole. This young grit paragon is the child of a financially struggling single mother. Yet, she managed to work her way to becoming president of the Cinnabon bakery chain after waitressing at Hooters.

However, some Grit book review comments suggest that this example is feeble and exposes a flaw in the book. The arguments arise from Cole’s proclamations that she is willing to help change the world. The reviewers dismiss the claims as a corporate PR stunt.

Should You Read It?

If you’re interested in the key points of “talent vs grit”, I highly suggest this interesting read.  It goes to show that persistence pays off no matter what you put your mind to.

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Budgeting Tips Every Entrepreneur Must Know

Budgeting Tips Every Entrepreneur Must Know

Creating and maintaining a budget is an essential skill every entrepreneur must learn. The budget is an integral part of business management and a way to manage finances. With a good budget, your business runs smoothly, cash flow is managed, bills and salaries are paid, and operational costs are handled efficiently. Use these tips to take control of your finances and improve your budgeting skills.

Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate.

Mixing business and personal finances is a common mistake among entrepreneurs. Funneling money and credit to your business from your personal account and vice versa is often tempting, particularly at times when you want to maintain a good cash flow. However, this will have negative consequences to your finances, both business and personal. By keeping them separate, you can prepare a straightforward budget and a clearer, more accurate estimate of your sales, losses and profits.

Learn to Prioritize Expenses.

Running a business can be exciting and your enthusiasm can make it easy to lose touch with your budget. Avoid overspending by carefully assessing what you are about to spend for and how that expense will help/impact your business later. Only if an expense can help improve your processes, bring in more assets or increase your profits should you consider it.

Keep a Record.

Create a system for keeping your documents for easy reference later. Business receipts in particular should be recorded and stored regardless of the amount. If necessary, make photocopies of important papers and keep them in a separate file. These, along with invoices and receipts will give you a better understanding about how your business is doing and help you create an effective working budget.

Prepare for Taxes.

Do not underestimate how taxes can affect your budget, so set aside money (preferably cash) in your budget to pay for taxes. It is a good idea to plan ahead and set aside cash from your revenue for this purpose. Having enough put aside for taxes will save you the unpleasant surprise that come with tax expenses you are unprepared for, the expense of late fees and the inconvenience of an audit.

Keep a Cash Reserve.

As an entrepreneur, you can expect your income to fluctuate. You may earn more on some days or you may even run your business at a loss initially. To prepare for surprises, always put aside at least 5% of your income to pay for any unforeseen expenses that might occur.

Note Your Expendables.

As with all business-related expenses, there are some things that you can do without in case business is not doing so well or if you need to spend for something important. Know which expenses these are so you can remove them from the expense budget without hurting your business operations.

Consider Allowances in Your Budget.

When you prepare a budget, set up a reasonable allowance for unexpected expenses. This will help ensure that you put aside more money than what you might need. In case of changes such as price increases, miscalculations or an expensive but necessary purchase, you will have enough to cover for the expense.

Review Your Budget.

Perform a monthly review of your budget to determine where you are at the moment. Over time, you will be able to see a pattern of spending and identify areas of improvement. Comparing the budget forecast with the actual expenses can help you determine which steps to take to increase your profit and improve your operations. Over time, you may have to work with a professional bookkeeper for this but having the capability to review and understand your budget will help you create better, more effective strategies for the success of your business.

Five Key Habits that Lead to Success

Five Key Habits that Lead to Success

Success doesn’t just happen to people. It takes hard work, determination and a will to never quit. However, by discovering and implementing key habits, you can increase your chances of your hard work yielding favorable results.

Define Your Success

If you asked a hundred people to define success, you would receive nearly a hundred different answers. Some people believe success is attached to having a certain dollar point in their bank account, others see it as the freedom of working for themselves and able to earn a decent standard of living and still others see success as a level of contentment and happiness with where they are it in their lives. Focusing on your definition of success daily allows it to stay fresh in mind and it drives you to succeed.

Create a Plan

Once you have defined success for yourself, create a plan with manageable goals that have a set standard. The standard is personalized to what you need, but it should be objective and pragmatic. While visualizing helps to see the best version of your future self, creating a plan allows you to see when and what needs to be achieved each day to make that vision a reality. When you set manageable goals, you are better able to organize exactly what needs to be done for you to progress. Not only does it help you to progress, it leads to the crucial discovery of what it increasing your progression, what is causing you to stay static and what is causing you to regress. Include beneficial goals such as waking up at a set time, going to sleep at a reasonable hour and developing a good working schedule as well. Setting a standard is just as vital as it allows you to achieve small victories while providing the clarity needed to determine your subsequent goals. Once you hit those victories, enjoy them for a moment and then establish your next set of goals.

Be Healthy, Be Active, Be Successful

You cannot have a healthy mind without a healthy body. Making sure you are getting adequate rest, eating food that will add to your health, staying properly hydrated and taking the time to exercise daily is one of the most successful habits to apply in your life. You want your mind working at its optimal best and to do that, you need to give it the right tools. While maintaining your health does not guarantee success, it allows your mind and body to work at its optimal best which does increase your chance of success.

Seek Out Success

If you want to be successful, seek out successful people. Network with people who are successful in the field or area of your success. Learn everything you can from them and how they have achieved their success and figure out how you implement those things into your life. Avoid people and connections that are unsuccessful as they will pull you down to their level. You don’t want anything destroying your dreams, and having people who are content to be lazy, who are overtly negative and who are reckless in your life is a good way of doing just that.

Inspiration and Motivation

Inspiration and motivation go hand in hand. The more inspired you are to achieve success, the more motivated you will be to do what needs to be done. Whether it is listening to podcasts, reading books or traveling to seminars, find something that inspires you every day.

Success doesn’t just happen, neither does successful habits. Rewarding habits take work to implement in your life, but once you do, you are ensuring you are that you will be successful.

When Should Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Job?

When Should Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Job?

Many people are beginning to move into entrepreneurship alongside their professional jobs. While it is safe to jump into starting a business while keeping your job, such an arrangement may not provide you with a potential for greater success. If you have identified an idea or you want to scale up the one you already have, you might be thinking of quitting your job to concentrate on realizing your dream as an entrepreneur.

Many people have rushed into quitting their jobs only to find that their businesses aren’t as successful as they thought it would become. Therefore, the question many people would ask is, “When Should an Entrepreneur Quit Their Day Job? To answer this question, make sure to take into account the following:

Ascertain that your Idea is Viable

While millions of business ideas are born on a day-to-day basis, not all of them are the best or viable. If you have performed your analysis and you are sure that the idea is sustainable and can stand test of the moment, then you can go ahead and quit your job. You could be having a the best idea that promises to solve a need in the market but it may not live longer if the market isn’t ready for it. The trick is to perform a market research to establish the viability of the idea while considering the potential competition on the market.

Ready Yourself for the realities of the Business World

Entrepreneurship has been dressed up nicely as a glamorous path to success, and it is at times and not always. You become your own boss and decide what to do. While there are tech-startups such as Facebook and Uber that have succeeded, there is a general misconception that an entrepreneur can start up a business and the next day he becomes a millionaire. This is not always true. Most ideas conceived die or never become successful and most entrepreneurs end up to their formal jobs again. The truth is that many people who have succeeded have had to travel on the road of challenges sometimes failing times before finding the right bearing to success. Therefore, if you are ready for the realities such as failure and competition that may stall your success, then you can go ahead and quit your job to face the real business world.

Establish a Strong Financial Plan

Quitting your current job would mean forfeiting your sure source of income. Therefore, you need to have an excellent financial plan before you quit. You don’t have to quit a job only to begin borrowing to fund your subsistence and that of your family. Even though you think that your idea is so incredible that it will begin to churn out great returns, this might take time before you can begin to see this happen. Look at your savings to see if they can sustain your current lifestyle for a year or so before quitting. What other fallback options to you have just in case your business doesn’t pick up as quickly as you would have thought or in case you run out of money? Considering these questions might just help you know when to quit the nine-to-five job for entrepreneurship.

Don’t Ignore Talking to people.

Ultimately, the decision to quit your job is personal, but before you quit, ensure to talk to other people that you consider helpful or experienced. You could find alternative options on how to go about the whole idea. Your mentors and spouse might be the best people to help you look at the idea with a second mind. Is your spouse willing to accept the challenges and risks you are about to take? This way, you will be able to get advice on some of the issues that may have missed your minds. In addition, it will help you take corrective measures before plunging into the challenging waters of entrepreneurship.

Maintain the bridge

Ensure that you have exemplary relations with your current employer. The last thing any person can do is to quit the wrong way. You might want to come back if your idea just doesn’t work out. Never burn the bridges that helped you climb your way to where you are now. Consider discussing with your employer about your plan to leave. Ensure that they have found the best replacement before you exit.

Once you have checked on all the above issues and you feel are sure about each of them and are set to leave to become a full-time entrepreneur, you can go ahead. While taking risks and making huge decisions are part of entrepreneurship, extra caution and a lot of preparation is needed to prevent or minimize the challenges that might come your way.

What Does It Take To Achieve Success?

What Does It Take To Achieve Success?

Success is something that many people aspire for. However, not everyone is prepared for the obstacles they have to face to get there. Therefore, while each person wants to be successful, only the brave few who are ready to do whatever is necessary can obtain it. If you’re an entrepreneur, pay close attention!

How does a person achieve success? Here is how they do it.

Dream Big

This is something that anyone can do. Everyone has a get-rich plan that they play over and over in their heads. Dreaming big is something optimists do best and while it might seem like a waste of time, it is actually the first step to becoming successful.

A person needs to know where he or she wants to be in life. This is the sketch of the blueprint, albeit the initial one.

Plan It

Is the dream feasible? Johnny wants to become a rockstar. He has a dream of basking in the adulation of his fans while he lets his guitar riffs loose on stage. He dreams of the spotlight on him as a stadium packed with fans scream his name.

So how does Johnny make this dream become reality? He has to start planning. It has to be a feasible plan. He starts with guitar lessons, just the basics until he is familiar. He moves on to advanced classes and becomes good at it. Unfortunately, Johnny has stage fright and never becomes a rock star because he is unable to conquer his fear of performing in front of a crowd.

Planning is making an outline. However, one should not miss any of the important steps. This outline will be filled with tasks that one might not want to do. If these tasks are necessary to ensure the accomplishment of a goal, one has no choice but to fulfill each and every one. If that seems impossible, find a new dream.

Network

It is important to widen one’s horizons. Like does attract like. Meeting people who will be beneficial to one’s goals will help simplify things greatly. This is why networking is important. The connections a person makes can be invaluable to accomplishing his or her ultimate goal.

Sadly, not enough people make the right connections. Some miss possible connections while being waylaid by other “pressing” concerns. Widening one’s list of connections is truly invaluable to attaining success in any field or industry.

Practice Delayed Gratification

Individuals used to instant gratification are less likely to be successful in comparison to those who grew up understanding the purpose of delayed gratification. A study was done on children in 1972. It was called the Marshmallow Experiment. This study involved putting a marshmallow in front of a child and seeing if he or she could control the urge to eat it while the researcher left the room for 15 minutes.

A follow-up study was done over the next 40 years. Data showed that the children who were able to refrain from eating the marshmallow were significantly more successful than their counterparts who couldn’t fight the urge. They had better social skills and test scores. They were also better at dealing with stress.

Top performers understand the value of delayed gratification. They sacrifice their time slaving away to perfect what they do and they know it will pay off. The ability to deliver each and every day, even when one feels that he or she is already better than most is one of the key factors towards success.

Grow

Growth and change is essential. One has to adapt to new technology and different ideals to stay current and to mature. A person with a fixed mindset thinks that things cannot be changed and that factors will remain the same forever.

A successful person factors in evolution as part of his or her outline to success. The true potential of each person is unlimited. With enough training, a positive mindset and adaptation, he or she can accomplish great things.

Success is nothing but a word unless a person puts in a good deal of hard work and is persistent enough to handle the obstacles that might come his or her way. The road to one’s goals will be filled with unforeseen hurdles. Success is not easy and it is not for the weak of heart. It comes to those who understand the value of sacrifice, hard work and resourcefulness.

The E-Myth Revisited: A Book Review

The E-Myth Revisited: A Book Review

The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber, is a book that focuses on why so many small businesses fail to attain their goals. And to express his thoughts and opinions or deliver the message, the author incorporates several fictional business owner characters. The narrative also makes significant references to systems at the workplace, and how they dehumanize or not dehumanize the employee.

Major Takeaways from The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited has a lot of uplifting words and suggestions for budding entrepreneurs to excel in their respective ventures. The advice doled out isn’t specific to a particular product/service or industry, but is generic that could apply to a range of businesses. The following are some of the primary things we learned or were forced to ponder over after having done reading the book:

• The author clearly explains why most businesses fail. One of the reasons being most individuals start businesses to be their own boss or make profits. Only the minority sees a business venture as an opportunity to work for and under themselves. And to be an efficient employee of your own business, one has to learn the technical skills needed to excel at the vocation.

• An individual cannot don all business hats. For a business to sustain or your interest to stay intact, it’s important to delegate work and not put a one man show. Most small businesses, to survive and succeed, need three people: a manager, technician and entrepreneur. And a person will get exhausted by the end of the working day or kill his motivation and passion for the business if he tries to be all the three.

• A business must have a system or process to itself that can be replicated. The business owner’s efficiency and profits tend to be higher if he can systematize proceedings. This makes it easier to train people and make them do the expected. Most small business owners fail at this aspect. They don’t have a system in place, and those who do have one have a system that may get dated with time or isn’t designed keeping in mind the prospects of the business becoming bigger in the future.

• To succeed, a business not just needs an excellent idea but the owner should also be qualified to know how to run a business. Your business schools may help you learn business skills in a scattered manner, but this book makes you more eligible to start and run a business.

Areas Where the Book Falls Short

This book by Michael E. Gerber may be quite popular and have its dedicated fan base, but this doesn’t mean the book is without its flaws. For starters, quite a few people have complained about the narrative being stretched out to last more than 250 pages, which could have been easily skimmed down to below 100 pages.

Also, some critics have indicated that the author, in order to validate his point, invents new characters during several stages of the prose. This approach was not just repetitive but was also annoying to a certain extent. And not to mention the ad placements for his own company within the text.

Conclusion

Overall, it’s a great book for people who’d like to start their own business or individuals who are already heading a business but would be better off learning a few essential tips and tricks. However, as aforementioned, the book is a bit too long and it could be hard to finish this book if you’re not an avid reader. Fortunately, the book is also available as CDs, which you can hear to. But since most people read books and not listen to them, we felt this point had to be highlighted.

Top 3 Business Books of 2016

Top 3 Business Books of 2016

Why You Need To Read These Books ASAP

Several top selling business books have hit the market this year. Authored by the gurus in the game, it is detrimental not to get your hands on a few of them and get to know where the business world is headed. It is progressive to keep afloat with new strategies, insights, and advice from respected business persons and authors to keep expanding and growing as an entrepreneur. This article gives a brief summary of the top 3 business books that have topped the shelves in the year 2016. I will tell you why these books is a must read.

Money: Master the Game

money-master-the-gameWritten by the well known Tony Robbins, this book is quite the tool you need to gain mastery over your finances. Robbins enables you to achieve the above by following seven basic principles that have been recommended by financial experts and if observed to the letter, will deliver the results. First, you need to take control of your finances, save it, do not channel out your money left right and center. Secondly, know the rules and costs of investing your money. Thirdly, set goals that are realistic to your earnings and lifestyle. Fourth, know to balance between high risk ventures with potential high returns and the secure investments. Fifth, learn how to aim at increasing your margins by targeting top returns, while at the same time reducing risks. Sixth, do not ignore professional advice. Keep learning how to invest small and reap big through making informed choices. Lastly, make your life and that of others better, it is why you are earning your money anyway.

The Third Wave

the-third-waveIn his book The Third Wave, the lead author Steve Case gives an entrepreneur’s vision of the future. I personally recommend this book as its visionary approach sounds like inside information which business people and companies must embrace to remain relevant in the future. It is ideal for giant tech company executives, tech enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs with a keen interest on the Internet evolution. The book looks at how the Internet has evolved in waves. The first wave involved the development of infrastructure by companies such as AOL, the second comprised the emergence of companies such as Google that moved with speed to utilize the laid out infrastructure. The third wave will be an opportune time for new start-up establishments and the existing to integrate with the Internet of things. Those who will not take the steps to innovate for the future will likely face a decline.

Shoe Dogshoe-dog-book

Produced this year, this is a first from the founding member of the giant Nike, Phil Knight. In these intriguing memoirs, the chairman of board at Nike gives a candid account of his journey from selling shoes from the back of his car to being the founder of one of the most recognized brands in the world. The story is about a strong will to achieve, expertise, and unrelenting self drive that combined with luck to gift the world a brand that symbolizes pure greatness.