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Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurship’

Extra Points: The Present

December 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This holiday season always makes us think of presents. The act of exchanging gifts with family and friends starts ramping up around Halloween these days and goes all the way through Christmas. Today, I’d like to talk about a different kind of present and a different kind of gift.

Barb and I are fortunate to get regular photo updates of our granddaughter. One of the most recent shows her looking right into the camera and flashing a beautiful smile, which for her is a newfound and growing skill! I quickly turned it into the wallpaper for my lock screen on my phone, so I see it often. It dawned on me that infants like my granddaughter live totally in the “present.” And what a “gift” that is. She isn’t ruminating on past failures or calamities; nor is she obsessed with worries about the future and what might or never occur. She’s living completely in enjoying and making the most of her present. For that matter, so are both my dogs. Captain Jack and Bella almost always wear that same impish grin.

Somewhere along the way, we humans lose that gift and start focusing on the past and future. While utilizing the past for lessons learned and cherished events is good, dwelling and living in the past is not. While eager to find opportunity and enjoying the future is good; being filled with anxiety and fear is not.

Here’s my holiday gift to you (actually I’m keeping and sharing from my granddaughter): Live in the present more. The past holds many experiences both good and bad and nothing can change what happened. You can’t write the future in your head because it’s likely to turn out differently than you planned. Be cognizant of where you are today becasue it will soon be the past. We only come around this way once, so make sure your present is truly a gift to yourself and others.

Quote of the Week:

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

~ Harry S. Truman

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get and your company sprint to the finish line, call me. I have ideas on how you can finish strong and start fast! Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Extra Points: The Impossible

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past Saturday I boarded The Santa Train with my granddaughter and family on a 105-year old train in a rural gem in our area. As we traveled the rails back at a brisk 20 MPH, I wondered about what it was like traveling on a train even more than 100 years ago just to get someplace. I thought about soldiers heading out to war, businessmen on travel, and families off to visit families or move to a new place. I tried to put myself in their place and the thought of people traveling on airplanes, communicating instantly with anyone in the world on their watches, and dropping into a Starbucks for a caramel brûlée latte to begin a ride home in a vehicle that plays music and has heated seats.

Impossible to imagine.

I the started pondering the next 100 years. What would we deem impossible? Frankly when I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, the Internet, digital music, and video calls like FaceTime and Skype were impossible to imagine. The fact that this is only 40 years ago, what does the future hold? The impossible is what’s ahead. Sadly, too many people allow the impossible to dictate their lives.

Like I wrote in my book, Unleashed Leadership, people are apt to build “invisible fences” around their lives. Due to fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of what others might think, they choose to eschew trying for the impossible. As we have seen over the past hundred plus years, humans can create artificial intelligence, fly to the moon, and exterminate diseases like polio.

Nothing is impossible unless you just don’t try. To live unleashed, tear down that invisible fence. Captain Jack can’t be fenced in and neither should you.

Go be possible.

Quote of the Week:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get and your company sprint to the finish line, call me. I have ideas on how you can finish strong and start fast! Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Shrimp Tank Podcast with Erin Jones

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Our latest Shrimp Tank podcast episode featured our guest, Erin Jones.

Erin Jones has been involved in and around schools for the past 26 years. She has taught in a variety of environments, from predominantly Black to predominantly White to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. Erin received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007, while working at Stewart Middle School in Tacoma and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008, while teaching at Rogers High School in Spokane. She received recognition at the White House in March of 2013 as a “Champion of Change” and was Washington State PTA’s “Outstanding Educator” in 2015.

After serving as a classroom teacher and instructional coach, Erin worked as an executive for two State Superintendents. Erin left the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction 5 years ago to work in college-access at the school district level. She left her job to run as a candidate for State Superintendent and was the first Black woman to run for any state office in Washington state, a race she lost by a mere 1%. Erin has given TED Talks which can be found on YouTube.  A few samples of her TED Talks are “Passion for Change” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ7xY60a6z4 and “Be A Bridge” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFc9axy2ktQ.

Erin has two children in college, one who works full-time and plays rugby, and a husband, James, who is a teacher in North Thurston School District.

Listen to the PODCAST

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Finish Strong

November 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40What did you resolve to accomplish last January?

Some of the more popular personal “resolutions” might include increased exercise, improved eating and health habits, more time spent with family and less time on social media, and discovering greater life balance.

I find that professional resolutions pale in comparison. They often seem to be carry-over goals of making more money, improving growth goals, hiring more people, expanding demographics, and boosting the bottom line. Well, how are you doing with one month left?

The problem with many of these resolutions is that once met somewhere in the year, the foot will often ease of the gas pedal and coast into the next year. If you feel that happening to you, it’s a mistake.

While December is filled with holiday parties, end of the year reports, and an enormous amount of other distractions, it doesn’t have to be a time where nothing gets accomplished. In fact, for the savvy business professionals, it’s time to go fast and furious while others enjoy too much holiday cheer.

Look, I’m not suggesting you bypass the spirit of the season. On the contrary, revel in it while at the same time sprinting hard through the end of the year so that the momentum carries you into a fast calendar year-start.

A few suggestions on how to begin that mad dash:

Find ways to help your clients finish their year sprinting. Create new opportunities to meet people that you didn’t get to work with this year. Be innovative and create a new service or product. Stop emailing and pick up a phone to talk to someone. Smile more. Seek out opportunity each day. Improve your self-talk. Set a growth goal (personal or professional) for each day. Ask for help when you need it. Stay enthusiastic.

Life’s too short. I’m as guilty as the next person in taking each day for granted that there will be a day to follow and time to catch up. The time is now. It matters not if it’s the last month of a year or the third. Commit to sprinting through your life each day; not in a hurry, but in running a great race that keeps you living life fast and furious.

Quote of the Week:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

~ Aristotle

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get and your company sprint to the finish line, call me. I have ideas on how you can finish strong and start fast! Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.

Shrimp Tank Podcasts

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

shrimptanklogo

What better way to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week than to highlight a whole bunch of excellent ones and their stories?!

You can binge watch all 28 episodes on my You Tube channel. Click here to watch Episodes 1 through 28. Want to listen to the entire podcast for each? I don’t blame you! Go to iTunes and search for Seattle Shrimp Tank (there are other cities so make sure you get ours!), subscribe, and start listening.

Important note: The 29th episode is TODAY at 3 pm PST. Go to our website to listen live with our guest, Ralph Nilssen from eSource Coach.

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Being Entrepreneur

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

58842029-Dan+Weedin+Unleashed-43 copyIt takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur.

It requires a rare blend of risk taker, visionary, creative thinker, resilience, perseverance, confidence, and tenacity to even start a business, much less run one successfully. It’s not for the faint of heart. Since the week of November 13-17 is Global Entrepreneurship Week, this month’s column will offer entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs ideas on growing and protecting a successful business.

The dictionary defines entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” With all due respect, I would revise that to “always” with considerable initiative and risk to health, wealth, and sanity. While entrepreneurs built this country, it’s never been the easy way to go in creating a way of life. As both a former employee and an entrepreneur, I can confidently say that employees rarely lack the full understanding or empathy for what it takes to start and build any business. It’s the ultimate risk and reward situation. To that end, let’s examine a few thoughts I have for both starting and growing a business:

Starting Out:

  1. You have an idea on how to create a business out of your skill set? Great. You’d better also have a passion for it because you will be tested. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you will die on a hill for it, and sometimes that’s what it might ask you to do. It’s a two-sided sword you must wield: competence and passion.
  2. You need boldness and confidence. This is no place for the meek. While humility is a personal virtue, nobody wants to hire a humble consultant, attorney, IT expert, contractor, CPA, or brain surgeon. I’m not suggesting arrogance, which is aloofness with no care for the well being of others. Confidence is believing that you are highly skilled and able to improve the conditions of others with genuine concern for their improvement. You must be able to boldly project and communicate that confidence.
  3. You need to line up enough financial reserves for six months. While it may not take that long to get going making money, you don’t need the stress of a financial burden to cause desperation.
  4. Create a marketing “process.” Business plans look good on a shelf, but often don’t ever get looked at. What you need to focus on in as acquiring clients. That means picking up the phone, setting meetings, and solving problems for them.
  5. Plan for obstacles. Bad things happen. Whether in your control or not, you need to create a strategy and plan for being resilient. It’s a combination of adequate insurance, strategic planning, communications, and practice.

Current Entrepreneurs:

  1. Have a board of advisors. Too many entrepreneurs go the “lone wolf” route. The smartest business owners are the ones that surround themselves with experts and sages. Executive coaches, technical experts (finance, IT, Human Resources), and peer groups are crucial for assuring you don’t get caught breathing you own exhaust.
  2. Constantly reinvent. Don’t become stale; rather constantly seek ways to build the better mousetrap; to differentiate yourself from the competition; and to find new ways to help your clients. Business (and life) is about changing realities. Be on the cutting edge of change.
  3. Hire strong people. Building a strong team is paramount to growing and transitioning out of your business. Don’t settle for warm bodies; rather demand excellence from your team. That starts with you. Modeling and mentoring is required to build a top-flight team of employees.
  4. Plan for obstacles. Look familiar? Let’s just say “ditto” for the suggestions from above. Entrepreneurs may be resilient by nature, but often get bloodied and bruised in the process. Make it easier for yourself with proper pre-planning of crisis and critical systems.
  5. Remember to have fun. I’ve met too many entrepreneurs that work themselves to a frazzle. They become a worse boss than the one they left to start a business. Entrepreneurship is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, then you should go get a job working for someone else. It’s not worth the sacrifice if you’re not enjoying the journey.

Bonus: Vibe Coworks in Poulsbo will be offering an exciting lineup of events, activities, and workshops to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Check out their schedule at www.VibeCoworks.com. What an opportunity to learn more and engage with fellow entrepreneurs.

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are the engines that run our communities and country. You are responsible for hiring and developing more people that the Fortune 500 companies. You’ve taken a huge financial and emotional risk, with hopes and dreams of making a better life for yourself and your employees. For all of you, I leave you with three final words of encouragement as you end one year and prepare for the next:

  1. Don’t listen to the haters. You know who they are. They are energy suckers and will only harm you and your business. Stay positive and focused on the next step in the journey.
  2. Don’t be one of the haters. Positivity starts with self-talk. Worry is a bully; it gives you nothing and only takes. Keep your confidence and boldness up.
  3. Utilize help. There’s no glory in being stubborn and trying to do it on your own. There are colleagues, experts, and friends that can help in a multitude of ways, be it emotional or financial. Find those friends that believe in you and always keep fighting the good fight.

It takes a special kind of crazy to be an entrepreneur. Go be crazy!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 My November column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

Extra Points: Smells Like Entrepreneurial Spirit

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This is Global Entrepreneurship Week and we are going to focus our attention on the what I think requires a certain amount of crazy to do…start and run your own business. Additionally, I will share my ideas on the spirit required and you don’t have to start your own business to take advantage of it.

This country was built on the shoulders entrepreneurs. The railways and roads were built; commerce was conducted; and people were employed and able to live out the American Dream becasue of the courage and perseverance of men and women that chose to metaphorically hang up their own shingle, unleash their potential, and create their own destinies.

There’s a unique spirit that entrepreneurs have. It’s a unique blend of confidence, passion, skill, stubbornness, resilience, cleverness, and crazy. Being an entrepreneur is not for anyone that can’t (or won’t) deal with failure, conflict, drama, and the well-meaning unsolicited advise of family and friends that think they are making a mistake.

So what drives that spirit? After having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past three decades, I’ve observed it’s one main thing that propels people to traverse this often bumpy, but always fulfilling way of life: they simply won’t accept someone else being in control of their lives and futures. They’ve found a skill they they love, turned it into a business that employs people and serves clients, and ultimately creates the life they want to lead.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not blind to the reality that many business owners slip into situations where they become despondent, financially strapped, and sometimes have to give up the dream. While this is true, it is also true that the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve ever met have had the unabashed belief in themselves that they could overcome anything and opportunity was knocking daily.

Final thought: I promised to talk about entrepreneurial spirit in those that work for others. The most valuable employees are those that have taken an entrepreneurial spirit towards their work and why the do it. They treat the business as if it were their own, and that spirit catapults them higher and higher on the stairway of success (okay it’s playing on Pandora as I’m writing this and I was inspired…). All of us can share that olfactory sensation of entrepreneurial spirit as Nirvana once sung about. The task at hand is all yours, regardless of your station.

Do your embody that entrepreneurial spirit?

Note: Follow me on social media to get a daily dose of entrepreneurial spirit this week. I will also be posting on my blog. Finally, this week will also be the start of special discounted pricing on services that will last through the end of the year in some cases. If you have that spirit, invest in yourself and your business. It’s the best money and time you’ll spend.

Quote of the Week:

“Life is like the monkey bars: you have to let go to move forward. Once you make the decision to leap into entrepreneurship, be sure to loosen your grasp on old concepts so you can swing your way to new ones.”

~ Leah Busque, American businesswoman

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get your company culture stronger and more robust. Contact me to discuss how you can better and more quickly reach the results you want. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.