четверг, 30 ноября 2017 г.

Employee Satisfaction: Why Your Startup Should Invest In Your Team

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
Your startup will never reach its maximum potential if you don’t cultivate a positive and inspired community within your office. Your team is as important to the future of your business as cash flow and clients are. If you do not invest in your employees, how else can you foster a team that challenges themselves to exceed even beyond their own expectations of themselves?
The more involved an employee is within the company, the more dedicated they will be in helping propel your business forward because they are equally as invested. Implement these practices into your workplace and start prioritizing the growth of your employees:

Professional development and continuous training.

Before a potential employee comes in for an interview, there is a list of things they are looking for in a company that will often determine whether or not they accept the position. For some, on that list is reoccurring training and development. This education gives employees the opportunity to learn new skills and hone in on their strengths, allowing them to further expand on their talents, which could help them better shape their professional career path.

Curating a welcoming environment.

As your team continues to grow, you want to make sure that the environment your employees are walking into every day is welcoming. Your team spends the majority of their day working alongside one another; creating a welcoming environment is good practice in inspiring collaboration and prosperity.

Encouraging a balance between work and personal life.

If your company is still fairly new, both you and your team will be constantly preoccupied with ensuring that everything is getting accomplished in a timely manner. It’s important that you set boundaries with your employees at the onset that there needs to be a balance between work and personal life. Even if they are adamant about extending their work hours, it’s important that you reset their expectations. There is no quicker culprit for employee burnout than an imbalance of work and personal life.
Make your employees a top priority. When you showcase their importance to the company by investing in them, in turn, they will become invested in the success of the startup, wanting to bring about growth as much as you do.

вторник, 28 ноября 2017 г.

Sustaining Startup Culture: The Biggest Challenges To Overcome

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
This is an exciting period of time to be an entrepreneur. There has been an increase in the number of entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their passions into a fully-functioning, thriving business – some even managing to do it in short periods of time. Funding for startups is also more substantial than ever before, with more alternative options that are replacing the traditional small business loans of the past.
It has been said that we are in the “golden age” of entrepreneurship. What this means is that there are more opportunities available for entrepreneurs to build startups that actually have a significant chance of being successful. This is not, however, to imply that entrepreneurship is easy. It is still a very challenging pursuit, filled with hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and unpredictability. Many small businesses still don’t make it past their first year.
There are so many positive things about startup culture to embrace, but it’s important to recognize the challenges that we still have yet to overcome. If not acted upon, these 3 issues could ruin the progress we have seen so far:

1. A lack of diversity.

There has been some progress in entrepreneurial diversity over the years. For example, since 1997, the number of African American women starting their own businesses increased by over 322 percent, officially recognizing them as the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. While this growth showcases that more minorities are creating a place for themselves within the entrepreneurial world, the numbers are still very disproportionate when compared to the number of white male entrepreneurs.
This is dangerous because it limits the perspectives that are available to the community, which also limits growth.

2. A focus on repeating ideas rather than creating new ones.

After reading the success stories of certain companies, there has been an onslaught of people who, instead of using that inspiration towards their own business ideas, have chosen to piggyback off of the prosperity of others by repeating their success stories. This hinders their growth because they are now competing to grow in a territory that is already full of similar companies. This void in new, innovative ideas being brought to the forefront is dangerous because we are not creating additional products or services that are serving to help sustain our culture and benefit us as a country.

3. The negative connotations around the word “failure.”

Failure is a nasty word and we use it with such negativity. People fear failing because they believe that it defines their worth. Some entrepreneurs are hesitant to even attempt to build their own companies, while fear causes others to take very few risks. This is because the meaning of failure is associated as being permanent. Failure should be celebrated because it provides us with lessons that allow us to propel ourselves forward. Learning from these mistakes is how we can continue to grow and prosper.
As entrepreneurs, we need to come together to combat these challenges that our startup culture currently faces.

пятница, 24 ноября 2017 г.

Financial Security: Preparing For The Unexpected

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
As you plan for your financial future, you are anticipating all of the monumental milestones that will occur as you continue along the trajectory of your life. These milestones are intimidating because they often require you to make very serious decisions that are financially demanding. Some of these milestones include choosing the college you want to attend, committing to signing a mortgage for a new home, starting your own family, diversifying your investment portfolio, saving up for retirement, etc.
But the one area that not many think to plan for, mainly because it is not a very pleasant topic to dwell on, is what to do in the event that a spouse passes away unexpectedly. There are resources available to help plan for this (e.g. life insurance), but it’s also good practice to be prepared for an emergency by having a plan-of-action set in place to ensure everything is organized and accounted for so that you aren’t scouring through a disarray of documents.
Here are a few of the most imperative areas that you should prepare for in case of an emergency:

Estate Plan And End-Of-Life Care

One important conversation that need to happen is what will happen to that person’s physical and monetary elements after they pass away. These documents should be readily available for review once this happens so that everything can be carried out appropriately. Some other information that falls into this category are documents such as: your will, your end-of-life care, your power of attorney, etc. You will also want to make sure that your estate plan is as up-to-date as possible.

Securing Essential Documents

These are documents that have compiled up throughout your life, starting with your birth certificate and including any important paperwork you’ve received since. You will also want to organize all of your most important financial documents, from bank account information to any pertinent investment material.

Obtaining All Passwords

Now that there has been a push for more paperless transactions, there are going to be quite a few accounts that can only be accessed online. Nothing would be more time-consuming and aggravating than trying to relocate passwords or having to go through the process of updating them once you can’t find the original passwords. Put them all in one, easily accessible document.

Seeking Aid For Future Financial Planning

If you were not the one in charge of handling your finances, it may be beneficial to look into hiring a financial advisor to help you bear this new responsibility you are now being forced to take on.
Life is unpredictable. And while no one wants to dote on the possibility of an expected death, it is worth developing a plan-of-action in case a dire situation would occur. If you are prepared for the unexpected, you won’t be left trying to grieve while also trying to get your finances in order.

среда, 22 ноября 2017 г.

4 Steps Towards A Debt-Free Life

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
For some, being in debt is something that resulted from careless spending. Frivolously making purchases for unnecessary commodities with credit cards with the mindset that you will pay it off later by making the minimum monthly payments is the quickest way that Americans get themselves into debt.
For others, debt comes more unexpectedly, perhaps through an unpredicted emergency you were not financially prepared for. Maybe your car broke down and you either had to pay an expensive garage bill or the garage deemed your car unfixable so you are now forced to purchase a new vehicle.
Whatever the cause of your debt is, it’s important that you start developing better money habits as soon possible to get out of debt andprevent additional debt – a very easy cycle to fall into and a difficult one to get out of. It is being estimated that, on average, 50 percent of households currently have debt ranging around $14,000.
Here are some ways you can prevent future debt while also implementing strategies that will help you to work towards managing your current debt:

Step #1: Create a list of all of your debts, including their interest rates.

Don’t skip over this step! Before you can start tackling your debt, it’s important to be aware of exactly how much you have. Write it down in a notebook or start making a list in a spreadsheet so that you have everything contained in one area for future reference. The three most important things you will want to take down: the total amounts you owe, the annual percentage rates (or interest rates), and the monthly minimum payments.

Step #2: Set goals as you work towards paying off your debt.

It will be beneficial for both your stress and your action plan if you can break apart your debt into more manageable portions. Find out how much money you can dedicate to paying off your debt every month and, then, you can do a rough estimate of how many months or years it will take you to pay off the total amount. Set milestones for yourself as you start contributing more money to your debt, whether it be every $1,000 you pay off or every $5,000 you pay off.

Step #3: Focus on the payments with the highest annual percentage rates first.

This is where that list you created at the beginning of the process will come in handy. As you begin paying off your debt, focus on the balances that have the highest interest rates first. Work to eliminate those first by dedicating as much money to them as you can while still being able to pay the monthly minimum payments on your other balances.

Step #4: Find additional ways to bring in income.

If you bring in additional income, that is money that you can be dedicating right to your debt. The thought of working a second job may not seem appealing, but it will only be temporary until you are debt-free again, and this will make paying off your debt go by more quickly.

понедельник, 20 ноября 2017 г.

Life After Tikva: The Future Of Israel

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
Tikva’s Children’s Home welcomes children of all ages, from infants to younger teens. From the moment they enter the home, they are taken care of, given an opportunity of life that would have been unattainable in their previous situation. For years, they are provided with food, shelter, education, and, most importantly, mentors whose mission it is to truly assist them in transitioning into being functional, thriving adults.
After living at Tikva for a portion of their lives, people often wonder what the transitional period from a children’s home to the real world looks like since it must be a bit of a shock for young adults who are so used to another way of life. Here is a look into life after Tikva.

Life After Graduation

Once these children turn 16 years old – and are deemed both mentally and academically mature enough to continue on to the next stages of life – they officially graduate from Tikva. After graduation, they meet with Tikva’s qualified team of professionals, where they are taught strategies and skills that will help them seamlessly transition from life inside the home to life in mainstream Israel. From here, they attend high school, enroll in university, or go into vocational training, pursuing their dream profession.

Tikva’s Programs

There are two different programs that currently help to serve Tikva’s immigrants as they begin building their lives in Israel:
Tikva’s Vocational Development And Employment Placement Program. It can be very difficult to try to build a life in an environment where you feel like such a stranger, let alone attempt to find a job in a foreign area. This program was founded with the intention of aiding these immigrants in narrowing in on their talents and skills so that they can pursue a professional career path in line with their strengths.
Jewish Holiday Program And Shabbat Retreats. It’s hard to not feel lonely when you are in a place so far away from your family, especially during the holidays. Tikva staff makes it their priority to bring people together during the holidays, so, every year, they transport 150 alumni to be in community with one another at hostels throughout the country.
Currently, over 400 children that have graduated from Tikva have gone on to Israel in order to make a better life for themselves – and that number will only continue to rise. I am so grateful that I can help financially support Tikva in changing the lives of so many people!

четверг, 16 ноября 2017 г.

Social Entrepreneurship: The Bond Between Business And Community

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
Starting your own business is an exciting venture. Actually surviving as a small business is monumental – only 10 percent of entrepreneurs can actually say they have done this successfully. One would think that once these two accomplishments have been achieved that an entrepreneur would be satisfied, looking to the future to see the continued growth of their business.
For some entrepreneurs, these feats are simply not enough to keep them satisfied. While they are actively involved in growing their business, anticipating all of the milestones that lie ahead, they want to do more with their business than the typical entrepreneur. The business owners who possess this mentality are responsible for inspiring social entrepreneurship. They believe they have a social responsibility to give back to their community, so they use their business to develop and financially support solutions that address social, cultural, and environmental concerns on both a local and global level.

Social Entrepreneurship In The Workplace

When thinking about social entrepreneurship, you should be able to develop a lengthy mental list of all the businesses who have made it their mission to dedicate their time, energy, and funds to make a difference in the world. The most notorious company in the social entrepreneurial realm is perhaps TOMS shoes, known for their policy of donating one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair purchased online. Warby Parker follows the exact same mission statement, but instead of shoes, they sell and donate glasses to people in need.

What are the benefits of social entrepreneurship?

The main benefit of social entrepreneurship is to know that you are responsible for bettering the lives of people who are in desperate need of commodities that are so readily available to us. However, in addition to these feelings of good will, there are a few other ways that social entrepreneurship can positively impact your small business:
Acquire funding.
Social companies often have an easier time acquiring funding for their ventures. Due to the nature of the company, there are also incentives put in place to help support social entrepreneurs through the government and other various organizations.
Marketing products or services.
Being a socially responsible business is extremely valuable in the eyes of consumers. People are more prone to support a company if they know they are also helping to support a meaningful cause.
Increased support.
Not only will your consumers support your efforts, being actively engaged in helping to bring about change, but other companies that fall within this group are more likely to lend their support in advocating for your company’s mission.
If you have ever considered becoming a social entrepreneur or want to incorporate this practice into your current business model, do some research into how you can be an entrepreneur who puts the needs of others at the forefront of their mission.

понедельник, 4 сентября 2017 г.

Ask Yourself: Are You Destined To Be An Entrepreneur?

Originally published on Tom Leydiker's website.
Entrepreneurs may not appear to be much different than the average person. And in a lot of ways, they aren’t. But in order to be successful in a world of individuals who are all pushing to make their entrepreneurial pursuits a reality, there are certain entrepreneurs who stand out above the rest, who will actually turn their ideas into a functioning business. And of these entrepreneurs, there are qualities they possess at their very core that are quite different from the average person. It is these character and personality traits ingrained within them that provide them with a strong base in order to propel their ideas into successful endeavors.

Are you destined to be an entrepreneur?

Not everyone is destined to become an entrepreneur. It takes more than just great ideas and capital to fund those ideas to be a successful business owner. If one of your life goals is to one day own your own company, ask yourself: do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? If you ask yourself the following questions and can confidently agree that you possess these traits, you are already well on your way.

Are you a problem solver?

Every day, there will be new challenges that you will have to mitigate in order to keep your business functioning smoothly. If you can survive the pressure of resolving a high number of unpredictable issues, and are continuously looking for underlying problems to address before they become unmanageable, than you are equipped to handle the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Can you recognize areas where you need to improve?

Just because you are a confident person doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas that you can improve upon. If you are too prideful to admit that you have weaknesses, then you will not succeed as a business owner. There will be many times you will be forced to reassess and restrategize in order to keep up with the demands of your business. If you are unable to be honest with yourself and flexible enough to make those changes, you could run a company into the ground.

Could you delegate tasks to other employees?

You are bringing your ideas to fruition. You have a vision of how you want your company to be, as well as how you want it to run. It’s okay to put effort into ensuring that it mirrors your expectations, but you need to be able to delegate the smaller tasks to your other employees and let go of that control. You are the mind behind the company, and you also shoulder the majority of the responsibilities, which means that you need to be available to deal with the larger aspects of the business.

Is everything you do done with purpose?

Never do something for the sake of saying you did it. Think about why you are doing something and if it makes sense for your business. Trust your gut and if these decisions are made with purpose, it will be the driving force behind whether your small business succeeds or fails.