The Invisible Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com Your ideal mentor is virtually in the palm of your hands Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:07:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 When people ask, “how do you find the time to read so many books?” http://theinvisiblementor.com/people-ask-find-time-read-many-books/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/people-ask-find-time-read-many-books/#respond Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:07:18 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17336 When people ask, “how do you find the time to read so many books?” A question that I get asked all the time, is “How do you find the time to read so many books?” Because I view reading as one of life’s simple pleasures, I indulge myself all the time. And I would think it […]

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When people ask, “how do you find the time to read so many books?”

Find the time to read

When people ask, “how do you find the time to read so many books?”

A question that I get asked all the time, is “How do you find the time to read so many books?” Because I view reading as one of life’s simple pleasures, I indulge myself all the time. And I would think it would be the same thing for those who enjoy doing other things. I do not while the time away reading books all day, I do have to work on projects because the bills have to be paid. Besides reading because it gives me pleasure, I also read for information and to further my knowledge about “something.” With the pace of technological change, continuous learning is a must, and one of the easiest ways to learn all the time is by reading the right books. Before I talk about finding the time to read, based on my experience, there is another issue that I’d like to raise first.

I try to pay attention to the kinds of books that successful people read, and one of the things that I have noticed is that many of them read the classics. The classics tend to give your mind an intellectual workout when you read them, making you think deeply. In the Great Ideas lecture, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Essential Value of a Classic Education,” Jeffrey Benzel talks about the importance of reading the right old books. For a few years, I reported on the blog that I was reading the classics. The problem is, although I enjoy reading, I do not enjoy reading the classics that much, and therefore, I never read as many of them as I intended, but I do read as many books as I committed to reading. So the issue for me is not finding the time to read, but reading what I say I am going to read.

Noticing my pattern, I realized that if I am going to read the classics, when I create my reading list, I also have to include other books that I enjoy, such as mysteries, drama, love stories, literary fictions, and every now and again, a few science fiction. But for those who do not carve out the time to read because their days are over-scheduled, to make the time, you have to have a compelling purpose for reading. We are living in an age where we have to be proactive about our careers, therefore we have to keep our skills sharp. When I read broadly, I notice that I am able to generate many great ideas, and you will find that as well.

Compelling reasons to read more books include: Not becoming obsolete, learning a new skill to get a promotion, learning how to solve a problem in your workplace, creating a new product or service. The world is not going to stand still for us, so we have to change. Do not read professional related books only, include some books to read for entertainment. Better still, read books on your hobbies because they could become a side business for you. Now that you have a compelling reason for reading, will you ever find the time to read? Even though I enjoy reading, I make sure that I schedule time for reading because I know that what gets scheduled gets done. I schedule time to read  before I go to sleep at night. I often have a book in my purse, and I have the Kindle app on my computer as well as on my smartphone, and the devices are synced. So when I am riding the subway, or waiting for a ride, or at the doctor’s office, I either read a print book, or an e-book. I find that we spend a lot of time waiting and that’s time we can use more productively.

For those who have a long commute on the bus or train, or drive long distances to work, audio books are the way to go. Zig Ziglar would refer to this period of learning while driving as attending mobile university. The problem with listening to audio books, or reading e-books, is that you often do not remember as much as when you are reading print books. If you want to read a book a week, I recommend that you commit to reading 50 pages each day. The average business book is about 50 pages.

I decided to host The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge where participants read a book a week for 52 weeks with the hope that reading will become a habit for them. I created the Challenge because I was distressed by what I heard at a speaking event – more job losses to robotics and big data. This is something that I as one person can do. The purpose of the Reading Challenge is to read for solutions. But now that the first month of the Reading Challenge is almost up, reading for solutions is not enough, we should also be reading to connect ideas from the books we read. That’s where the true value of reading lies. Imagine the possibilities when you read some books, connect the ideas among them, and you suddenly find a breakthrough idea to forever change your life. All it takes is implementing one great idea. Dee Hock, the founder of Visa, read 1000 books before he found the one book that had a profound impact on his life. In case you are curious, his one book is Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyam. I have read the Rubáiyát, which is an excellent book, but it isn’t my one book. I have not found the “one” yet.

Related Post

Book Review: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, Translated by Edward Fitzgerald 

I must admit that I do not find it easy to read business books, because many of them are as dry as the classics. So the Reading Challenge is somewhat of a struggle because there are several books that I have to read to develop new skills and learn new ways of doing things, but I do it because of a powerful purpose to read. The beauty of the 2015 Reading Challenge is that it holds me accountable, and I also have books to read that are the kinds of books that I truly enjoy. It’s not too late to join the Challenge because I will be hosting challenges within a Challenge. What that means is that, at some point, I will be doing seven books in seven days, and a book a day for a 30 days, so I would love it if you joined me.

This is my way of answering, “How do you find the time to read so many books?” In my opinion, that isn’t the right question to ask me, the better question is, “Why do you read so many books?” If I expect to thrive and succeed in this world, I have to read many books, but I have to read the right books, which is a cautionary tale for me, since I love to take many detours from my reading list. That’s why I need you to hold me accountable.

Related Post

Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey. Join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest takeaway from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.

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The King of Shanghai and Now You See Her http://theinvisiblementor.com/king-shanghai-now-see/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/king-shanghai-now-see/#respond Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:05:47 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17330 The King of Shanghai and Now You See Her Below you will find some of my thoughts on The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton and Thoughts on Now You See Her by Joy Fielding. They are not long enough to be a book review. Thoughts on The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton Transitioning […]

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The King of Shanghai and Now You See Her

Below you will find some of my thoughts on The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton and Thoughts on Now You See Her by Joy Fielding. They are not long enough to be a book review.

Thoughts on The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton

The King of Shanghai

The King of Shanghai and Now You See Her

Transitioning from one field to the next is not always smooth sailing, and this is very evident in the King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton. I introduced you to the Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton in 2013 while I was journeying on the first Virtual Literary World Tour. While on the Tour, I read The Water Rat of Wanchai: An Ava Lee Novel and The Disciple of Las Vegas. I enjoyed the books in the series so much that I quickly purchased the other ones – The Wild Beasts of Wuhan: An Ava Lee Novel, The Red Pole of Macau: An Ava Lee Novel, The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (Ava Lee, #5) [Paperback], and The Two Sisters of Borneo. A few weeks ago, The King of Shanghai was released. The main character, Ava Lee, lives in Toronto, in an area that is very close to where I live. The books usually start in Toronto, then Ava Lee travels to another country. In the latest book, The King of Shanghai, as the title suggests, Ava Lee goes to Shanghai, where she stays at the Bund Hotel, a hotel that I am familiar with (I went to Beijing and Shanghai in 2007).

In the earlier books, Ava Lee’s role is a debt collector, and she works with Uncle who had ties to the Triad. People came to Uncle and Ava as a last resort, and when they recover the debt, which they usually do, they are very well compensated. Recovering the debt is never easy, and many times, people seriously get hurt in the process. In The Two Sisters of Borneo, Uncle, Ava’s business partner, dies from cancer, and her heart is broken. She takes time to heal her broken heart until she is ready to actively participate in a new business, where she and her partners, May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda invest in other companies. The King of Shanghai starts off with Ava Lee ready to get back to work. On her trip to Shanghai, Ava meets with Xu, who was Uncle’s protégé. Xu wants to invest $150 million into her firm, and he assures her he didn’t gain the money from gang-related activity. She asks a lot of questions, and Ava tells Xu that if she and May Ling decide to accept the money, he can never divulge the information. Later, she talks it over with May Ling, and they agree to accept the investment from Xu.

At the same time, Xu is trying to get voted in as the top dog of the Triad, and only has one serious competitor. Ava gets dragged into brokering a deal on behalf of Xu, and keeps sinking deeper into the old life. Although Ava’s wish is to change the work she does, and no longer involve herself in violent work, she has a hard time leaving her old life behind. I enjoyed The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton, and while reflecting on the story, it made me realize that transitioning from one field to the next is not always easy, but it is doable. You have to decide what you are prepared to let go, and what you will take forward with you.

Thoughts on Now You See Her by Joy Fielding

Have you ever wanted something badly, only to be disappointed when you finally receive it? That is what happened to Joy Fielding’s Now You See Her. Back in 2011, I saw the book trailer for Now You See Her, and I read the description, and I immediately wanted to read the book. But I wanted to buy the trade paperback version because it would be cheaper. Every so often, while I was in the Indigo Bookstore I would check to see if a cheaper version of the book was available. A few weeks ago, while the store was having a promotion – spend $40 get a $10 bonus card – I checked and I couldn’t believe it that Now You See Her was now in trade paperback, so I bought it.

I decided to add the title to the list of books I am reading this year for the Reading Challenge, and while I was on Amazon, to pin the image of the book to Pinterest, I noticed that Now You See Her only got two stars. Since reading is so solitary and personal, and I decided to not pay too much attention to the reviews. In a nutshell, Now You See Her by Joy Fielding, is about a woman, Marcy Taggart, whose only daughter, Devon, is presumed drowned. Not very long after, a few short years,  her marriage disintegrates because of the strain. Marcy and her husband had planned a trip to Ireland to celebrate a second honeymoon after 25 years of marriage. Since most of the money for the trip is nonrefundable, the distraught mother goes on the trip alone.

While in Ireland, she thinks that she sees Devon, and most of the story is centered on her trying to find her daughter. The story doesn’t work for me. Early on in Now You See her, when the police announce the accident, Marcy rushes upstairs for a suicide note, which she finds one, but doesn’t disclose the fact to anyone. I do not have children, but I can imagine that it would be horrific to go through that kind of experience. Marcy appears scatter-brained and has no real plan. The story has some high points, but in my opinion, Now You See Her doesn’t live up to expectation, although it had the potential to be a great story.

Joy Fielding is a New York Times bestselling author, and what this tells us, is that no one is always on top of her game. We will win some and lose others. I will not write off Joy Fielding because of Now You See Her because I am willing to try some of her other books. Writing a book is not easy, because I have first hand experience, and when an author looks back on her work, there will always be things that she would have done differently.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey. Join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest takeaway from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.

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Getting Corporate Sponsorships http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-corporate-sponsorships/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/getting-corporate-sponsorships/#respond Fri, 23 Jan 2015 22:57:43 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17325 Getting Corporate Sponsorships You’ve probably heard of people who have received sponsorships to fund their event or project or promote their book. But how can you secure your own sponsorships? That’s the million dollar question, and every so often I attend Linda Hollander’s webinar on getting corporate sponsorships. Although I would like to secure sponsors […]

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Getting Corporate Sponsorships

Getting Corporate Sponsorships

Getting Corporate Sponsorships

You’ve probably heard of people who have received sponsorships to fund their event or project or promote their book. But how can you secure your own sponsorships? That’s the million dollar question, and every so often I attend Linda Hollander’s webinar on getting corporate sponsorships. Although I would like to secure sponsors for some of my personal projects like The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge and the Virtual Literary World Tour, I have never taken the time to write a sponsorship proposal. Last year, I applied to the Ontario Arts Council for funding for professional development and I was declined, and it wasn’t a good feeling after the time and effort that I put into the completing their very involved application. No one likes the feeling of being turned down. I have gotten over the negative reaction, and that’s why I attended Hollander’s event to learn about what’s new in the world of corporate sponsorships. Corporate sponsorship is BIG BUSINESS. Sponsors will spend $19 Billion this year in the United States.

Related Posts

How to Get Corporate Sponsors 

Sponsorships: How to Secure Them  

These days, it is not as easy to get corporate sponsorships because a lot more people are trying to secure them. And I know that in Canada, many corporations give to specific causes so you have to conduct some initial research to identify the companies that support your cause and projects. Hollander has assisted many of her clients to secure sponsorships, and for their proposals to stand apart, she recommends that they inject a bit of the personal so they come across as being very human. The sponsorship proposal is critical because it is the one thing that will win you the funding.

Sponsors Will Give You

  • Money you do not have to pay back.
  • Access to key influencers.
  • Media and public relations opportunities.
  • Free stuff.

4 Common Myths about Sponsorships

  1. Business is too small to fund.
  2. Need to be a non-profit.
  3. Need to be in sports.
  4. It’s for the sophisticated.

Getting Corporate Sponsorships – 7 Tips

  1. Make a sponsor wish list.
  2. Be very clear about your demographics.
  3. Don’t sell yourself short.
  4. Have compelling benefits. Align the sponsorship opportunity to sponsor’s business objectives
  5. Whenever possible, make appointments, then listen, to identify the sponsor’s needs.
  6. Have different ways to promote sponsors.
  7. Create a great sponsorship proposal.

3 Trends in Corporate Sponsorships

  1. More risks: It takes time and other resources to secure sponsorships.
  2. There is more competition to get sponsorships.
  3. Sponsorship proposal is the key to securing sponsors.

What You Should Ask for from Each Sponsor

Don’t short change yourself by not asking for enough funding. Ask for the following:

  • $10,000
  • $25,000
  • $50,000
  • $100,000

Elements of a Sponsorship Proposal

  1. Goals of the sponsor.
  2. Story of the property (event, project, book).
  3. Sponsor benefits.
  4. Media opportunities.
  5. Sponsor levels and fees.

What’s In It for Your Sponsors?

  1. Speaking opportunities.
  2. Signage and promotion.
  3. Award presentation.
  4. Branding to test demographics.

Most people will offer the above benefits to sponsors, so take the time to find creative benefits to give to your sponsors.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey. Join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest takeaway from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.

Kindle

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First Principles: The Elon Musk Way to Problem Solve http://theinvisiblementor.com/first-principles-elon-musk-way-problem-solve/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/first-principles-elon-musk-way-problem-solve/#respond Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:30:37 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17315 First Principles: The Elon Musk Way to Problem Solve One of the services I offer is ghost blogging, so to start 2015 the right way, I decided to write a blog post about the books that influenced some of the most successful leaders. Elon Musk was among them, and I had also written a post […]

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First Principles: The Elon Musk Way to Problem Solve

One of the services I offer is ghost blogging, so to start 2015 the right way, I decided to write a blog post about the books that influenced some of the most successful leaders. Elon Musk was among them, and I had also written a post on leadership lessons from the billionaire serial entrepreneur. While conducting this research on Elon Musk, I watched an interview that Kevin Rose conducted with him. Musk talks about using The First Principles Method for problem-solving – he gave an example of what he means by First Principles. It’s a concept from physics, but I have forgotten most of what I learned in my high school physics class. After watching the video interview twice, I understood what Musk was saying, but I didn’t know where to go from there. With that cursory understanding of first principles, I didn’t know how to use the idea to problem solve.

Foundation 20 // Elon Musk: Kevin Rose Interview with Elon Musk

If you cannot view the video, watch it here.

“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. First Principles is physics way of looking at the world. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths, what we are sure is true, and then reason up from there. That takes a lot more mental energy,” says Musk.

First Principles

First Principles: The Elon Musk Way to Problem Solve

I have read several blog posts that explain First Principles, using the Kevin Rose interview with Elon Musk as a springboard. Many of them are good posts, but I still cannot get a handle on how to use the concept of first principles. I think the concept is an important one because it forces you to look at things differently, opening the doors to innovation. The problem solving models that I have looked at, and presented here, uses what Musk calls analogy. That is, you look at what’s been done before, and yes, it is possible to innovate using those models, especially if you combine ideas in ways they have not been combined before.

Related Posts

How the Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Can Help You Improve Your Problem Solving Skills
Reverse Problem Solving: When You Must Have a Certain Outcome
What Kind of Problem Solver are You?
The Formula for Generating Great ideas
Summary of a Technique for Producing Great Ideas by James Webb Young

Let’s take a step back for a minute, according to Wikipedia:

“A first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. In physics and other sciences, theoretical work is said to be from first principles, or ab initio, if it starts directly at the level of established science and does not make assumptions such as empirical model and fitting parameters.”

I am thinking that what all of this means is that you have to figure out what the real problem is so that you discover the right solution. If this is the case, and I believe it is, then it is worth my time to understand the concept of first principles. Additionally, The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge, is about reading to find solutions to problems that are impacting us, as well as connecting the ideas from the books that we read, hopefully to generate breakthrough ideas. This will be a series on problem solving, and I have some books I will be reading to get to the root of the matter.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started along your learning journey. Join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, linking the ideas from the books you read! If you feel like it, grab a copy of:

  1. How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (Princeton Science Library)
  2. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  3. Physics for Rock Stars: Making the Laws of the Universe Work for You
  4. Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
  5. Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science (Ponderables 100 Breakthroughs That Changed History Who Did What When)

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest takeaway from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone here.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Tips on Note-taking: The Art of Writing While Listening http://theinvisiblementor.com/tips-note-taking-art-writing-listening/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/tips-note-taking-art-writing-listening/#respond Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:02:26 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17301 Tips on Note-taking: The Art of Writing While Listening Taking notes while you are listening is very different from when you are reading. When you are reading, you can easily flip the pages if you missed key information. That is not the case when you are attending lectures and speaker events. And even if you […]

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Tips on Note-taking: The Art of Writing While Listening

note-taking

Tips on Note-taking: The Art of Writing While Listening

Taking notes while you are listening is very different from when you are reading. When you are reading, you can easily flip the pages if you missed key information. That is not the case when you are attending lectures and speaker events. And even if you are taking a course online, it is annoying when you often have to rewind or pause. Many of you who have hung out here for a while know that I conduct many interviews and that I dislike transcribing. I am working on a paid project where I am conducting interviews and writing success stories for a trade organization. Before I conducted the first interview, I crafted the questions, and in between each question, I had several blank lines to write the responses.

Usually when I conduct an interview, I record it and my only focus during the interview is asking the questions and listening to the responses. This time around, although I recorded the interview, I took notes, using all the information that I have learned so far about effective note-taking. The ability to abbreviate came in handy. I took such good notes that I didn’t have to listen to the recording, and I typed up my notes immediately after the interview while the information was still fresh. Some things I noted word-for-word so I can use as quotes, but I was able to paraphrase some of the interview, which helped to speed up the note-taking process.

Further Reading

To Remember More of What You Read, Take Notes by Hand
Taking Better Notes – Learning to Abbreviate Words

Activities to Perform Before Attending a Lecture or Speaker Event

  1. If you are taking a class and have to attend in-person lectures, chances are that you have a course outline. Use the topics and sub-topics to create your own outline for note-taking, leaving enough blank lines for you to record your notes. This is important for the question and answer section where you will often find a goldmine of important nuggets.
  2. If you are attending a speaker event, more than likely there is key information in the promotional material that you can use to create your note-taking outline.
  3. In the template, write down any questions that you may have, as a reminder to ask if the lecturer doesn’t provide the answers.
  4. Write down what you already know about the topic in your template.

During a Lecture/Speech

  1. You need to listen, think and take notes at the same time.
  2. Focus on what the lecturer/speaker is saying and not on the delivery.
  3. You have no control over the speed at which others speak, so be prepared for anything.
  4. Do not write in complete sentences and use abbreviations.
  5. Develop the habit of distinguishing between essential and non-essential information. Peel away all excess information and record only the key points.
  6. Paraphrase what you are hearing because you will take notes faster and remember more of what you hear.
  7. Based on the course outline or promotional material for a speaker event, track the stages of the lecture. Experienced lecturers and speakers often tell you what they are going to tell you, tell you, then tell you what they just told you.
  8. They also give clues that alert you that they are talking about key points and main ideas. Some will even say something like, “If you write nothing else, write this.”

Immediately after the lecture/speech, or not much later, read through your notes, review and revise if necessary, then write a short summary that includes the key ideas. Effective note-taking is not difficult, but it takes practice to become second nature.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey, so grab a copy of TOPS Cornell Note Taking System Legal Pad, 8-1/2 x 11, White, 50 Sheets/Pad. And join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest take-away from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.

Kindle

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Joy of Six: the six secrets to running a successful business http://theinvisiblementor.com/joy-of-six-the-six-secrets-to-running-a-successful-business/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/joy-of-six-the-six-secrets-to-running-a-successful-business/#respond Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:10:55 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17288 Joy of Six: the six secrets to running a successful business At a recent event I attended that Ellevate Network, Toronto hosted, Marg Hachey presented the six secrets to running a successful business. She is qualified to speak about successful businesses because she has ranked in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women Business […]

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Joy of Six: the six secrets to running a successful business

At a recent event I attended that Ellevate Network, Toronto hosted, Marg Hachey presented the six secrets to running a successful business. She is qualified to speak about successful businesses because she has ranked in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women Business Owners in Canada eleven years in a row, and she used her personal advisory board to accelerate her company’s growth 1100% in six years.

Six Secrets to Running a Successful Business

1.    Compelling Business Model

To operate a successful business requires having a compelling business model, which includes understanding your target market and hiring the right people to work in the company. We are living in interesting times, and some of the models that once worked, that business owners are familiar with, no longer work – they are broken. If you are in that situation with a broken business model, there is no need for you to worry. Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in their exceptional book, Business Model Generation, outline several disruptive models, some of which will work for any organization.

secrets to a running a successful company

Joy of Six: the six secrets to a running a successful company

The book is based on nine building blocks that you have to master before moving forward.

9 Building Blocks of the Business Generation Model Canvas

  1. Customer Segments (CS): Who are your customers and why will they buy from you? What are your customer archetype? Know and understand your customers in detail.
  2. Value Proposition (VP): What product/service are you creating and for whom? What need are you filling? What problem are you solving? What pain, are you addressing?
  3. Channels (CH): How will your product/service get from you to your customers? Is your distribution channel virtual or physical?
  4. Customer Relationships (CR): How do you plan to acquire and retain customers? How will you get traffic to a website or to a physical location? How do you plan to grow your customer base?
  5. Revenue Streams (RS): How do you plan to make money? What value are customers buying?
  6. Key Resources (KR): What do you need to make the business work? What key assets do you need? People? Financing? Warehousing? Customer list?
  7. Key Activities (KA): What actions will you have to take to operate the business? What are the most important things to do to make the business work?
  8. Key Partnerships (KP): What activities will partners be performing? What are you acquiring from partners?
  9. Cost Structure (CS): What are the fixed and variable costs to operate the business? What are the most expensive activities? Are there economies of scales?

Related Post

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

2.    Strong Management Team

To run a successful business, a strong management team has to be in place to ensure that all critical function are covered. The team has to have the skills to cover financials, sales and marketing, operations, technology, service and product delivery and so on. If the team doesn’t have the critical skills needed to run the business, it can outsource the functions.

3.    Profitable Business Model

Business owners cannot successfully run a business unless they use a business model that allows them to make money. And it’s isn’t just about making money, they have to know where the money is coming from and how they are spending it. They also have to be able to read financial statements.

4.    Effective Marketing Strategy

Who are your prospective clients and customers? What are their unique needs – what are their pain points? What does the buyer journey look like? How do you convert a prospect into a customer? How are you going to initiate conversations with your target customers? An effective marketing strategy includes the answer to these questions and more, and must include both online and offline tactics. In Marg Hachey’s case, she partnered with a supplier to pay for trade shows. How can you think differently, and mobilize your suppliers and other service providers to help you market and sell your products?

5.    Use Robust Technology

Robust technology does not mean the latest technology. What it means is having adequate technology to run your business smoothly. This also means that you easily and efficiently generate all the critical reports required.

6.    Have Huge Market Potential

The last secret to running a successful business is having huge market potential. That means there are other players making a profit in the market and not just your business. To capitalize on a market that has huge potential requires an understanding of ideal customers and clients, knowing and growing your market.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey, so grab a copy of Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. And join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest take-away from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.


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Have you read these 6 must read books? http://theinvisiblementor.com/have-you-read-these-6-must-read-books/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/have-you-read-these-6-must-read-books/#respond Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:30:07 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17281 Have you read these 6 must read books? I have thought about some of the books that I have read and enjoyed and decided that I would share the reviews again 6 must read books since I have a lot of new blog readers. The interesting thing about The Invisible Mentor blog is that most […]

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Have you read these 6 must read books?

Have you read these 6 books?

Have you read these 6 books?

I have thought about some of the books that I have read and enjoyed and decided that I would share the reviews again 6 must read books since I have a lot of new blog readers. The interesting thing about The Invisible Mentor blog is that most of the content is evergreen and the most popular blog posts are ones that I wrote a few years ago. These books will inspire you, and are very appropriate for the start of a new year.

  1. Review: Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp: Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp, Founder, Chairman and CEO is an autobiography which weaves in the story of the renowned five-star Four Seasons Hotel chain. While reading the book, I noticed distinct similarities between it and The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization. Both Nordstrom and Four Seasons are best-in-class and they compete by having impeccable customer service.
  2. Review: The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: I wanted to learn more about Nordstrom, the company I knew in name only, after participating in the webinar “Innovate the Jobs Way: 7 Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success,” and reading and reviewing The Innovation Secrets of Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Gallo so I purchased The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization by Spector and McCarthy. Nordstrom is known for its impeccable customer service and by reading this book you will learn about some great ideas to introduce in your business.
  3. The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success: Carmine Gallo has identified 7 principles to guide innovation based on what he has learned from studying Jobs, the Co-founder and former CEO of Apple. I enjoyed reading The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success because I had to stop several times and think about what I was reading.
  4. Review: Briefcase Essentials by Susan T. Spenser: Susan T. Spenser attained phenomenal success in areas that are non-traditional for women so I decided to focus on her experiences which she outlines in Briefcase Essentials: Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace.
  5. How to Build a Successful Business by Doing These 10 Things: Diagnosed with bone cancer, Sam Walton’s family encouraged him to get serious about writing his biography. I recommend that you give Sam Walton: Made in America a read and I am sure you’ll not agree with all of his philosophies (I don’t), but if you own a business, or planning to start one, you’ll find information that you can immediately apply.
  6. Review of How to Build an Empire on an Orange Crate by Honest Ed Mirvish: I am always interested in rags-to-riches stories to discover how people attain personal and professional success, and that’s what How to Build an Empire on an Orange Crate by Ed Mirvish is about. In the book, which is an autobiography of Honest Ed Mirvish’s life, you learn these lessons and much more. I enjoyed reading How to Build an Empire on an Orange Crate and learned a tremendous deal from someone who had the Midas touch.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey, so grab a copy of these 6 must read books:

  1. Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy
  2. The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook For Implementing Great Service in Your Organization
  3. The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success,
  4. Briefcase Essentials: Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace
  5. Sam Walton: Made In America
  6. How to Build an Empire on an Orange Crate: Or 121 Lessons I Never Learned in School

And join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest take-away from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Book links are affiliate links.

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Creating a personal advisory board http://theinvisiblementor.com/creating-personal-advisory-board/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/creating-personal-advisory-board/#respond Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:19:58 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17277 Creating a personal advisory board A recent study revealed that 93 percent of small medium enterprises attribute their success to mentors. No business or professional for that matter can succeed without the right kind of support, and the support needed changes at different life cycles of the business and person’s career. Several years ago, I […]

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Creating a personal advisory board

personal advisory board

Creating a personal advisory board

A recent study revealed that 93 percent of small medium enterprises attribute their success to mentors. No business or professional for that matter can succeed without the right kind of support, and the support needed changes at different life cycles of the business and person’s career. Several years ago, I attended an event, and I was delighted to hear the speaker say that one mentor is not enough, since no one person can give you all the support you may need to attain professional success. This is something that I have believed for a long time. If you are a business owner or a senior level executive the road you travel can often feel lonely because many of the people who surround you do not understand what you are going through, or even why you are doing what you are doing. So you do not end up feeling like Atlas, carrying the world on your shoulder, it’s important for you to build a support network of personal advisors consisting of people who you can occasionally call on. And even if you have not attained the professional success that you strive for, a personal advisory board can help to show you the ropes, so to speak.

Creating a personal advisory board can give you the support you need, providing you with invaluable information, and the members can share their experiences and act as a sounding board, giving you their perspective on a variety of issues that are affecting you. Before you create a personal board of advisory, regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur or not, you have to understand what needs are prompting you to seek advice. Start assessing your needs, for instance, when you assess your skills, what knowledge gaps do you identify? What expertise do you need to develop to work on a new project? What is the best way to market your products and services? What skills do you have to acquire to achieve your professional goals this year? After you have assessed your needs, ask yourself what is the fastest route to getting what you need? Who are the people who can help you to get the best information?

Prospective advisors are all around you? Who are your service providers? Who do you volunteer with on projects in your community? Who are knowledgeable people in your industry associations? Who are interesting speakers at conferences that you attended with whom you connected? Which of your online friends have you had interesting and enlightening conversations with? Who are the people who are already succeeding at what you are trying to do? Looking at the people whom you have access to, both online and offline, which ones have values that align with yours, who can provide you with what you need?

Offer to take someone out for a meal to get his or her advice, or have a phone conversation, whichever is more convenient for your prospective advisor. Always be upfront with your expectations, and give the other person the opportunity to say “No” without it being awkward for them. For entrepreneurs, business owners tend to make the best advisors because they understand the challenges of running a business, and are familiar with issues such as hiring the right people, marketing and selling, financing, launching products and services, having the right technology and compensating fairly. You want the people on your advisory board to have expertise in the areas where you have knowledge gaps. When you have found a group of people who are willing to serve as members of your personal advisory board, clarify each person’s expectations of the relationship, be clear about their willingness to be available, then structure your requests to meet those needs.

Take the time to determine and understand what your advisors need because all great relationships are based on give and take. It goes without saying that it is important not to abuse your relationships with the members of your personal advisory boards, and find ways to express gratitude and show appreciation for their contributions to your success. It’s also worth saying that in the age that we are living in, there are a plethora of very good books written by experts that can teach you what you need to know, so do not bother your personal advisory board, if what you need can easily be found in a book.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey. It’s not too late to join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest take-away from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

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Think Like A SheEO by Vicki Saunders, Book Review http://theinvisiblementor.com/think-like-sheeo-vicki-saunders-book-review/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/think-like-sheeo-vicki-saunders-book-review/#respond Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17269 Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs by Vicki Saunders and MJ Ryan I used to say all the time that I do not read business books because they usually do not provoke deep thought. Recently I changed my mind because there are some interesting and game-changing books are […]

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Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs by Vicki Saunders and MJ Ryan

Think Like A SheEO

Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs by Vicki Saunders and MJ Ryan

I used to say all the time that I do not read business books because they usually do not provoke deep thought. Recently I changed my mind because there are some interesting and game-changing books are being published. Last week, I wrote the summary/review of Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds by Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl. And today, my focus is on Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs by Vicki Saunders and MJ Ryan. There is change in the air, and that is a good thing, because there are so many things that are broken in our world. We have to change the way we do things if we expect to succeed in the New World.

Related Post

Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds by Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl

I met Vicki Saunders recently, and she is a very likeable and giving person. She is always talking about radical generosity, and she not only talks it, but walks it as well. Because Vicki is someone whom I admire, I was somewhat wary about reviewing her book for my blog. She did not give me a copy of her book, I purchased it for myself at Indigo Gift and Music Store. I have read and reviewed books, first in my newsletter, Ambeck Edge, and then here on my blog since 2004, so I would like to think that I have established trust with people so they believe that I will write what I feel. I know what I like, and I enjoyed Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs. Before I delve into the book, the one criticism I have is the size of the font used. I am over 40 years old, so I would have preferred a bigger font size.

For those of you who have not heard the term SheEO before, according to Vicki Saunders, “SheEOs are women who leverage their passions and strengths to create businesses that build new models, new mindsets, and new solutions for a better world. SheEOs discover their own path and create success on their own terms.” Most people would love to create success on their own terms, but they are fearful for whatever reasons, which stops them dead in their tracks. And the success rate for small business does nothing to inspire confidence in most people who are looking to start a new business. But Think like a SheEO provides tools to increase the success rate. Vicki is big on collaboration, and suggests that you work with others whose skills complement yours.

As a serial entrepreneur, based on her many years of experience running both successful and unsuccessful businesses, Vicki has distilled her experiences into eight principles, which form the basis for each chapter. In every chapter there are exercises for the reader to do. And as can be expected, the chapters build on each other.

8 SheEO Principles

  1. Principle 1: Everything is Broken…What a Great Time to be Alive
  2. Principle 2: Meaning is the New Money
  3. Principle 3: You Can’t be Someone Else and Lead
  4. Principle 4: It Doesn’t Have to be Hard
  5. Principle 5: You Can Have What You Want
  6. Principle 6: Follow the Energy
  7. Principle 7: Integration is the New Balance
  8. Principle 8: It’s a Post Hero World

There are several tools in the book that I found useful. For instance, in Principle 2, you will find detailed information on how to discover what matters to you. This so important because these days, so many people want to find meaningful work, work that matters and can have a positive impact on the world. There is an exercise to decide your core values, how to overcome self-limiting beliefs, and how to determine the type of business that you want. In Principle 3, you learn how to find your passion, and in the chapter, the formula, MASTERY + MEANING = SUCCESS, struck me as being profound. Another section in the book that I quite liked is the Five Questions, which can be used in a variety of situations when you need clarity.

The Five Questions

  1. What do you want?
  2. What do you have?
  3. What do you need?
  4. How are you going to get it?
  5. What are you going to do with it once you get it?

Answering the five questions forces you to think things through, which is important in business. And Vicki provides an example so you get a sense of what’s expected of you, and how to proceed with the exercise. For those who like to learn about new trends, there is a section called, Five Promising New Trends.

Seven Big Ideas from Think Like a SheEO

  1. Learn to see opportunities where others see crisis. Give yourself permission to imagine something that hasn’t existed before.
  2. It’s believed that Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This is at the heart of the SheEO philosophy – you need to be yourself, playing your own game to win, and to claim your authenticity. You have to live with yourself, so be yourself.
  3. Look at other people’s success to learn lessons, but align them with your vision, personal values and ways of working. Keep what works in your situation and toss out the rest.
  4. Working from your strengths creates excellence, otherwise, if you are working from your weaknesses, the best you can hope for is mediocrity.
  5. When you go through something for the first time, you pass through a stage of not knowing, and that’s okay, because it’s the same for everyone.
  6. If you want to accelerate building your network, or getting new clients, when you really connect with someone, ask them to introduce you to five people who are like them.
  7. Use self-reflection to move forward. Look at what is and is not working, so you can switch gears.

To get the most from Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs, you have to invest the time to work through the exercises, and in the end, you will learn how to problem solve, work through the fear that holds you back, and you will even learn how to develop a mission statement.

I think this book resonates with me because it articulates what I have thought and felt for a while now, and it gives me permission to be who I am. If you are looking for new ways to define success and meaning in your life, this book is for you!

Get Started Here – I want to help you get started on your learning journey, so grab a copy of Think Like A SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers and Entrepreneurs. Join The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge today, connecting the ideas from the books you read!

In the meantime, THANK YOU for your time… Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter! What was your biggest take-away from today?

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you grow and blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

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How are you celebrating National Mentoring Month? http://theinvisiblementor.com/celebrating-national-mentoring-month/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/celebrating-national-mentoring-month/#respond Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:00:45 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=17264 National Mentoring Month January is National Mentoring Month, how are you celebrating it? National Mentoring Month was created in 2002 to focus national attention in the United States on the need for mentors. I try to write at least one article in celebration of the occasion, but this year, I have struggled with what to […]

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National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month

How are you celebrating National Mentoring Month?

January is National Mentoring Month, how are you celebrating it? National Mentoring Month was created in 2002 to focus national attention in the United States on the need for mentors. I try to write at least one article in celebration of the occasion, but this year, I have struggled with what to write. Last year, I did something different when I profiled Napoleon Hill’s invisible counselors, who are the same as invisible mentors. I seldom view mentoring the traditional way, and when I was not thinking about how to celebrate National Mentoring Month, it occurred to me that the people in my LinkedIn group, Leaders are Great Readers, who are participating in The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge are my peer mentors – we are mentoring and supporting each other for the entire year.

Related Post

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Reading Globally: The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge

I enjoy reading, and I usually have a list of books that I know I am supposed to read, but somewhere along the journey, I am constantly taking detours. I read the same number of books that I commit to reading, but not all titles I committed to. When I announced the Challenge, I included the names of books to read, and those of you who have read this blog for a while, will recognize some of the titles that have appeared year after year on my to-read pile.

So what makes this year any different?

At the start of the month, most of the people who are participating in the Challenge, stated the four books they commit to reading for the month, and I listed my four books. One participant finished his book in a few days and gave us the key ideas from the book. This made me even more determined to finish reading the books I committed to. Peer mentors, and other mentors, hold you accountable, so you are likely to achieve your goals. And you strive to become your best self.

The first known incident of the concept of mentors is found in Homer’s, The Odyssey. When King Odysseus leaves to fight in the Trojan War, he asks his good friend Mentor to watch over his young son Telemachus. In the story, Mentor as himself, is not mentioned that much, so I cannot evaluate the quality of his mentorship ability. However, Goddess Athena, who has a soft spot for Odysseus, disguises herself as Mentor, appears to Telemachus, encourages him to stand up against his mother’s suitors, and to go in search of his father. Athena knows that Odysseus is alive, but she doesn’t want to tell Telemachus.

Telemachus takes up the call to find his father, while Odysseus perseveres as he overcomes challenges after challenge to return to Ithaca to his wife and son. Both father and son are on a hero’s journey, with Athena as a guide. As the Goddess of wisdom and intelligence, Athena offers father and son the insider knowledge they need to succeed on their hero’s journey. The Odyssey demonstrates mentorship in action. Later, mentor morphed into what it is today. According to Wikipedia, “The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a 1699 book entitled Les Aventures de Télémaque, by the French writer François Fénelon. In the book, the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.”

In Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds by Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl, the authors describe their version of the hero’s journey. “The hero travels a path of behaviors to solve his or her quest. Along that path the mentor helps the hero by providing a magical gift (product or service) that satisfies the hero’s desires and creates a shared journey (experience).” In the context of peer-mentoring, each mentor plays two roles, both hero and mentor. And in the Leaders are Great Readers group, the participants, the heroes, mentor other participants, to encourage them on their reading journey. The participants of the 2015 Reading Challenge are heroes and heroines because they took up the challenge to read a book a week for 52 weeks, and they are mentors because they are supporting and cheering on other challenge participants.

Mentors are important, and they can play a part in your professional success. What areas do you need support in? And who do you know that can give you the support? Do you have contacts who would make great peer mentors? Why not start a peer-to-peer mentoring group to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Get Started Here – I want to help you get the most out of your learning journey. As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, grab a copy of Homer’s The Odyssey to see where it started. It’s not too late to take part in The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge. Join my LinkedIn group, Leaders are Great Readers.

You’ll get support from me to help you grow professionally, and I will also give you some of the tools and resources to do so.

Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you blossom professionally. You’re never alone!

Liked this post? Share on social media as well as subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why I founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour so you’re never alone. I mentor you by offering book reviews and book summaries, interviews with successful people, mini biographies, and tools and resources. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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