RT @YoungEnt: "I think the biggest mistake you can make as an entrepreneur is pretending that you know everything." https://t.co/h84n1LNyRn

Protégé Program | ThriveTime For Teens

Written by admin on . Posted in Financial Advice, Pay Your Family First

Protégé Program | ThriveTime for Teens

By Guest Blogger, Angela J. Totman

In today’s collaborative business environment and with the growing priority for positive social influence, it is not surprising that many professionals, entrepreneurs and though leaders seek to participate in a protégé program as part of their give back. Whether through formal programs or individual initiatives, lending insight and guidance is one of the most rewarding and effective ways to give a hand up to others.

protege programAt Pay Your Family First, our mission includes teaching financial education to youth in a relevant and immediately applicable way. We do this through our ThriveTime for Teens board game and in the process are able to create a community of protégés that advocate for the importance of what they’ve learned. Although it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of structure, there are a few key elements to an effective protégé program. They are:

1. A desired beneficial outcome. Our desired outcome is that youth receive the benefit of increased comprehension of money related concepts and that they can immediately apply the lessons learned through game play. We use surveys and questionnaires before and after game play to measure our outcomes.

2. A method for delivery or facilitation of the beneficial outcome. Using the ThriveTime for Teens game as a tool is a fun and relatable way for us to deliver education. It is not only effective, but it takes the burden of the instruction process away from a specific leader and relies on the functionality of the game and the decision making process through game play to create “aha!” moments for players.

3. A succession/continuation process. Because the game is relevant, effective and fun, it lends itself to its own perpetual cycle. This is because the youth that play the game then go on and share it with their friends and classmates who go on to do the same. The game is infinitely reusable and can therefore be a perpetual vehicle for anyone wishing to carry the banner for financial education.

It was through my informal protégé program with Sharon Lechter that I have had the honor to lead the charge in Pay Your Family First’s community programs using the ThriveTime for Teens game. By using the game, we not only see results with an increased understanding of financial concepts, but we but we also facilitated a way for those youth and other concerned adults to continue sharing money and life lessons to friends, family members and students. This is done around dining room tables, in classroom, churches and in youth organizations.

To learn more about the ThriveTime for Teens game and how you can support our efforts in creating a generation of financially capable protégés, please visit www.thrivetimegame.com

Business Mentors & Where To Find Them

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

When you think of entrepreneurs, you may describe an independent and charismatic businessperson like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates. While many entrepreneurs do not fit into that mold, they do share many common characteristics with these business titans. One of the most important traits is the ability to learn from others. For instance, many entrepreneurs find that they – along with their business – experience exponential growth through working with business mentors.

Advice for Entrepreneurial Challenges

business mentors

The sage advice from business mentors can help entrepreneurs navigate a number of business challenges. In fact, one study reported that 70 percent of entrepreneurs with a mentor have a business that survives past the five-year mark. This rate is significantly higher than the business survival rate of small business owners who do not have a mentor.

Finding an Entrepreneurial Yoda

How can you find a business mentor who can offer wise and timely advice? An Entrepreneur.com article suggests considering three types of mentors:

  • A mentor who provides knowledge at a distance – While you may never meet this person, you can glean insights from them through their websites, books, TED Talks, podcasts or webinars.
 
  • Industry-specific mentors – Industry-specific business mentors offer expertise in your chosen industry and are available to meet periodically in person or by phone. You can identify these potential mentors through the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers or professional organizations.
 
  • Personal mentors – Like an industry-specific mentor, a personal mentor can be met through your networking opportunities. However, a personal mentor does not have to be in a related industry. The traits of a successful entrepreneur are typically universal, regardless of the business you are in.
 

A great way to source possible mentors is to either a) ask successful entrepreneurs who their business mentor is, or b) research your idols and find out who their mentors are. Many of the entrepreneurs in our Master Mentor program are referred to us from others who have experienced success. People who know you and also have their own mentors are well-equipped to offer referral suggestions and are a great place to start.

Elements To A Successful Keynote Speech

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in public speaking

keynote speechIn my experience as a public speaker, I have spoken to audiences worldwide on a variety of subjects. I have spoken to businesses, non-profit agencies, entrepreneurs and families. And with each keynote speech I give, my objective is to always personalize my message to each audience through content structure and delivery.

Content Structure

Content structure is important to a successful speech so that your message is well received. Here is a basic outline to follow so that your audience will follow you:

Introduction – Part A. Introduce yourself. Although someone has probably done so already, take a moment to acknowledge the audience.

Introduction – Part B. Tell the audience what you will talk about and what the benefit(s) they will receive from listening.

Main Points. I prefer this to having a formal “body” of my keynote speech. By utilizing main points, I can reorder or remove information to best engage my audience. This flexibility requires that I know my material and can read my audience.

Conclusion – Part A. Concisely recap the main points of the speech and connect any dots that some listeners might miss.

Conclusion – Part B. This is your call to action. Tell audience members what they can do to best utilize the information you’ve presented. Encourage them to take appropriate actions and what resources are available.

Conclusion – Part C. Thank the organization for inviting you to speak and your audience for their attention.

Delivery

A significant element of a successful keynote speech is the delivery. To engage your audience you must:

Know them. Speak with event organizers and conduct research to learn about your audience and their interest in your topic.

Make appropriate eye contact. Demonstrate that you see them as a specific group, not a generic audience.

Modulate your voice. Vary your tone of voice so you don’t put anyone to sleep or speak as if there are exclamation points at the end of each sentence.

Vary your speech pattern. You want to speak relatively slowly but speed it up from time to time to share your excitement about a point or finding.

While these tips may seem simple and obvious, it is important to maintain focus when giving a keynote speech. A successful keynote speech merges your words and delivery into an informative and compelling presentation. Be prepared, be yourself, and engage your audience to assure your words have the desired effect.

Role Of A Mentor In Business | Are You Ready?

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

role of a mentor in businessTaking on the role of a mentor in business can offer some surprising — and invigorating — benefits for seasoned business people. However, it is important to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and grow in new and unexpected ways to fully tap into these advantages.

For example, think of Robert DeNiro’s character, a widower and retired executive, in last year’s movie, “The Intern.” DeNiro’s character is selected to take part in a Senior Intern Program for an e-commerce company and is assigned to shadow the founder and CEO, played by Anne Hathaway. After some initial tension, he ends up advising Hathaway’s character on how to successfully navigate the young business through tricky waters. Yet the movie also makes clear that DeNiro’s character reaps important benefits from his mentoring relationship, including learning about technology from his Millennial-generation colleagues and gaining a sense of belonging in the company.

The Benefits of Being a Mentor

But does “The Intern” have any basis in today’s business world? A 2015 study published in The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring suggests that assuming the role of a mentor in business does offer important benefits for seasoned employees. For instance, the researchers’ analysis found that mentors report higher job satisfaction and a greater commitment to the organization.

The study also suggests that the focus of the mentoring effort makes a difference in the type of benefits that the mentor derives. “Mentors who engaged in career support perceived that they had greater career success, mentors who engaged in psychosocial support reported being more committed to their workplace, and mentors who engaged in role modeling support reported better job performance,” the researchers stated.

Taking on the Role of a Mentor in Business

How can you sign up to be a mentor? I’ve found that networking is the best way to take on the role of a mentor in business. For instance, many large organizations offer formalized mentoring programs through their human resource departments. I’d encourage you to reach out to the HR director to indicate your interest in advising less-seasoned employees.

However, you don’t need to be part of a large organization to take on this important role. I know of many people who work in one-person departments or small businesses who have stepped into the role of a mentor in business. Again, networking is key, whether through professional organizations, area colleges and universities, or government-sponsored mentor organizations.

While your experience as a mentor may not match what is depicted in “The Intern,” your service assisting others can enhance your own business perspective and career satisfaction. I’d encourage you to consider the wise words of Plutarch when thinking about the benefits of serving as a mentor: “The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.”

When You Book A Keynote Speaker

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in public speaking

book a keynote speakerAs a professional speaker, I have participated in many events across the globe. One challenge facing many event organizers is selecting a keynote speaker with relevant appeal to the intended audience. There are two key components when you book a keynote speaker: The message and the speaker’s experience.

The Message

Before you book a keynote speaker, determine the goal of your event and the needs of your audience. Next, identify your message, which can include:

  • Inspiring new ways of doing, thinking or being. Are you launching a new product or service, expanding your reach through new offices or markets, or simply wanting to achieve more with current resources? You need to inspire your audience to embrace this new order and strive for success.
  • Creating new outlooks, structures or paradigms. The world is changing at a rapid pace and success often depends on an organizations ability to redefine itself.
  • Informing your audience about changes to an industry, market, service or process. While factual, the message should also address the questions and concerns of the audience as well as the information’s impact on the organization.
  • Addressing internal or external challenges that threaten the prosperity of the organization. In addition to discussing the specific challenges faced by your organization, the message should provide your audience with the tools they need for success in these circumstances. By clearly identifying your message, you can select the best candidate to present the keynote speech.

The Speaker

To have relevant appeal, a keynote speaker should have direct expertise in the message topic. But you do not want them to present a canned speech. He or she should be relatable, yet recognized as an authority. The speaker’s priority should be to meet your needs, not sell a product or service. A keynote speaker with relevant audience appeal should have:

  • Strong speaking skills and credentials
  • The ability to actively engage the audience
  • Expertise on the message you’ve selected
  • Understanding of your organization’s situation as it relates to the message
  • The ability to combine this information to create a personalized keynote address.

When planning a conference or meeting, giving careful consideration to your keynote speaker selection can make or break the success of your event. When you identify your message and book a keynote speaker with relevant audience appeal, you will start things off on the right foot.

Keeping Your Intellectual Property Online A Secret

Written by admin on . Posted in Intellectual Property

 Why Keep your Intellectual Property Online a Secret?

By Guest Blogger, Michael Lechter

intellectual property onlineThe importance of managing intellectual property online cannot be overstated when starting a new venture or making changes to existing businesses. Innovation is a leading area of focus for new businesses, and protecting your work, your ideas and most importantly your opportunities for the future is critical.

Many entrepreneurs…

  • a) overlook IP management completely
  • b) are so proud of their trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc., that they can’t wait to sing their own praises from the rooftops.

In some cases, that is a risky course of action to take. Intellectual property online, business strategy and how you make decisions on what to make public and what to keep a secret, or whether you play your cards close to the vest are all important decisions to make and to communicate to your team.

So, why keep your intellectual property online a secret? Let’s start with three facts that impact strategic considerations.

  • As a basic proposition, unless the other guy is subject to some contractual obligation, copies copyrightable content, or creates some likelihood of consumer confusion as to source of goods or affiliation with you, he can legitimately use and copy any information and unpatented products that are not kept secret. Therefore, keeping things quiet may provide less exposure to risk of someone kiting your ideas.
  • A public disclosure of an invention has consequences. If you are interested in patent protection, you have a one-year period from that public disclosure to file your patent application in the US. And, unfortunately, patent protection in many foreign countries would be foreclosed. In this case, public disclosure may expose you to being “scooped” during this year or having to defend that someone jumped in and got a patent on your idea.
  • Under the new patent law (American Invents Act), whomever files patent application on an invention first gets the patent, unless you can prove they “derived” the invention from you. However, if you disclose your IP to someone, and they file a patent application on an improvement of your IP – the derivation provisions of the law may not help you. This is important to note. Because of your disclosure, some of your rights to first come patent protection around your idea may be compromised.

Obviously, how you handle intellectual property takes into account your goals, a well planned out approach and a mini business plan. These are built around risk management and capitalizing on successful positioning of your ideas, products and service.

The bottom line: It is highly advisable to have an IP expert among your inner circle of advisors. In fact, it is imperative.

When Do I Need A Business Mentor?

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

when do i need a business mentorEntrepreneurs often ask When do I need a business mentor? Some of us may question if we are in the right place for a mentor or be so laser focused that we may not be thinking of the benefit a mentor brings. It’s a path of innovative thinking. The risk is missing an opportunity to reach optimum potential as well as finding out just when you think you know everything that your Achilles’ heel is something so obvious.

Successful people realize that having a good mentor is critical at every stage of development, and there are many good reasons. Here are some things to consider:

  • Look at the track record of other innovative entrepreneurs, like Mark Zuckerberg. Most of us had no idea that Mark was mentored in the beginning of his journey by Steve Jobs. And this kind of mentor relationship is not unusual. There are other famous entrepreneurs who have been mentored by other notable, successful people.
 

  • Expand your experience foundation. Working with a seasoned mentor is a good choice for an innovative entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is not looking for answers, but for access to their experiences and wisdom. Seasoned mentors have been solving problems for a long time and have done their share of innovating.
 

  • Ask the question, When do I need a business mentor? If you are in a business slump or you’ve decided that what got you here won’t get you where you want to go, it’s time for a mentor. Choose to work with someone that can ask questions others don’t, and bring valuable insights based on experience. Chances are you will accelerate your business progress and potentially become a better leader, person, and entrepreneur at the same time.
 

  • ONE good idea, insight, or eureka! moment can be all it takes to catapult your vision to the next level.  Catalysts for business growth and success are often ideas that change a business owner’s frame of reference forever. The experience and perspective of a mentor gives you insights beyond your own line of sight
 

I have had mentors throughout my entrepreneurial career. My frame of reference changed as a result of the people I worked with, my mentors. I found incredible ways to make a difference through education, financial literacy, games, affiliations, and by giving back. The journey has impacted millions and exposed me to relationships I may never have developed otherwise. And one of my greatest honors has been to mentor others as they grow their businesses.

If you currently don’t have a mentor in your life, whom do you know that you can reach out to?

Importance Of Reviews Within An Organization

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring, teamwork

importance of reviewsOne of the best ways to grow any business is to build a team around you with strengths that allow you as the business owner to stay focused on the vision and growth of the company.  Keeping team members motivated is key to them owning responsibility and driving growth. Performance appraisals or reviews can be one way to accomplish this if used strategically. Reviews are often met with apprehension by the person receiving it and inconvenience for the person giving the review because of the extra paperwork and the time it takes away from regular business. But, when you consider the importance of reviews to all concerned, it can help to create a more productive and positive work environment.

Let’s take a look at the many benefits of performance appraisals.

Building Relationships

The ideal relationship between team members is cultivated daily and promotes collaboration and healthy interaction. When there is a good rapport between team members and those they report to, the performance appraisal conversation allows for more open, natural communication, which benefits all individual parties and the business.

Recognizing Strengths

It is always easier to start off a performance appraisal by recognizing a person’s strengths and contributions. Regardless of the overall performance, there can always be something positive to say. This helps to put that person at ease and reinforces the value of their contribution to the business. Everyone has something they bring to the table. This part of the review can also be a time to chart measurable accomplishments since the previous evaluation, if applicable.

Identifying Needs

The natural next step is to discuss any areas where there may be lack of improvement. Identifying opportunities and strategies to increase performance growth can help to put this typically uncomfortable conversation in a positive light. There should be no surprises when it comes to employee reviews if expectations are consistently communicated clearly. This is part of that open communication within an organization.

Providing Motivation

Setting goals for the next benchmark period can help to provide motivation and encouragement. When a team member knows that they are supported and feels empowered, the chances for success increase. Providing personal or professional growth opportunities such as training seminars or mentoring can be just what someone may need to carry their progress to the next level. And, frankly, knowing that the company has a vested interest in your growth can go a long way.

As you can see, the importance of reviews for team members absolutely has a direct effect on having a successful business. When an organization cultivates open, constructive, and supportive communication, the work environment—and the business itself—has greater potential to thrive.

How to Get a Mentor For Your Business

Written by Sharon Lechter on . Posted in mentoring

get a mentor for your businessAs an entrepreneur, you undoubtedly understand the value that comes when you get a mentor for your business. Having a seasoned mentor offers a multitude of advantages to help you navigate what may be uncharted waters for you. But, have you considered if the gender of your mentor might impact your course?

Clearly, there are both successful women and men in this world. When looking at what makes them successful, there are a number of traits that are common among leaders, regardless of gender. But, all people have individual gifts, and some of those gifts can be attributed to the nature of your gender.

What Should You Consider?

When looking to get a mentor for your business, you naturally want to consider your desired goals and how you want a mentor to guide and teach you. You will want to get a mentor for your business that has already accomplished something similar to what you intend to accomplish yourself. If they have sailed the seas ahead of you, there is a better chance they have successfully navigated through waves of experience and the connections that would also help you realize your potential.

Male Or Female?

So, can it make a difference if you choose male or female mentors? There are a couple of ways of thinking on this. Some people might say that a male mentor is good if you want to get connected and increase your visibility or if you need sponsorship. You might also hear that women mentors are more approachable and able to help bridge the male/female gap internally because they have likely done it themselves.

Perhaps you are familiar with situations or circumstances that would provide evidence of the descriptions above. I have referenced many times how science shows us that the brains of men and women work differently. But, do these molds hold true in every circumstance? Not necessarily. When all is said and done, I believe who you choose as your mentor depends on your comfort level with them and your particular goals.

What Matters Most

In my career, I have had mentors and I have been a mentor. From my experiences, I have found that it is best to find an advisor with whom you can connect and are proud to work with. Most importantly, your mentor should have the experience necessary to help you ride the current of running your business. They should be your lookout as you steer the course toward personal and business success. So, in choosing a mentor, whether they are women or men truly depends on what works best for you. Successful mentors come from all walks of life. The real matter at hand is choosing a mentor wisely and then fostering that relationship. The right mentor can make all the difference in the world.

How to Motivate Your Employees

Written by admin on . Posted in teamwork

motivate your employeesHow do you motivate your employees when people are motivated in different ways? Dr. Isaura Gonzalez, guest blogger, explains the simple answer:

Ask them!

Of course, this may seem to you like an obvious approach. Or, you might be wondering if this will cause more issues because you expect to get as many different answers as you have employees. And, you also might be thinking if it’s really worth your time to manage everyone’s needs when you already have a lot on your plate to keep your business thriving.

It Takes People

What is important to realize is that your business can only go so far on its own devices. Businesses are made up of people. And those people need to stay motivated and engaged to be effective and productive members of your business community. Taking the time to understand your employees’ needs will go a long way and produce numerous benefits to your company’s success.

Survey Says…

When you reach out to your employees, I suggest doing so via an anonymous survey. Include multiple choice options and questions that require open-ended answers. This will increase the likeliness of honest, open responses. Remember, you will have your outliers…those who feel a cruise vacation is due just because they show up to work every day. And you will also have employees who are completely satisfied with doing their work for the good of the company and are happy enough just to get a paycheck for their contributions.

Most employees, however, are somewhere in the middle. They understand that they have a job to do, but they also appreciate being appreciated and receiving recognition for a job well done.

Fore!

This may sound like an odd analogy, but I like to equate the issue of employee motivation with a golf swing. You can look good, and you can have all the right equipment. But, if you don’t step up to the tee and provide a decent follow through, your ball will go in the totally wrong direction. It’s the same with how you motivate your employees. If you give the impression that you care, but don’t provide follow through in ways that are meaningful to your team, they won’t help drive your business to the next level.

So, my advice to you is to talk to your employees. Find out who they are and what is important to them. Make work fun and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Be flexible. Empower your team. Reward them. In turn, they will help you and your business get that coveted hole in one.

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ABOUT

Sharon Lechter has combined her expertise as a CPA and an international bestselling author with her unmatched passion for financial literacy and entrepreneurship to inspire change for individuals and businesses across the globe for over 30 years.

Credited as the genius behind the Rich Dad brand, Sharon’s current partnership with the Napoleon Hill Foundation uniquely positions her as a stand out in the personal development industry. As a driving force behind these two mega brands, Sharon has demonstrated her entrepreneurial vision and business expertise while empowering audiences with messages of hope and prosperity.

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