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Culture and Demand: Shaping Entrepreneurial Success in 2019

jason-kulpa-calendarIt is safe to say that, where entrepreneurship is concerned, each new year brings with it a variety of projected trends illustrating new potential shake-ups, market shifts, and emerging demands. This upcoming year, however, may ring in the most significant and diverse list of such trends in recent memory. Namely, continued shifts in youth culture and subsequent changing expectations have redefined several key aspects of entrepreneurial success, and to keep pace, budding and seasoned entrepreneurs will need to be in tune with these trends from day one.

That said, here are several key focal points within 2019’s edition of projected entrepreneurial success.

Emerging culture

Generational culture — especially that of younger generations — tends to be a consistent spurring force in entrepreneurial trendsetting, and the current younger generation is objectively significant for this reason alone. Attitudes and cultural perceptions continue to change dramatically on a variety of fronts, and this in turn has re-shaped major aspects of the business experience — from workplace environments to market demands rooted in autonomous technology. In 2019, expect this phenomenon to continue, especially in terms of consumer personalization and social responsibility.  

Data

The creation, management, and regulation of big data is far from new in an entrepreneurial context, but 2019 sees it reaching new heights as consumers demand more control of their data. This shift is not surprising, given the variety of controversies and big media stories surrounding data breaches and mishandling during 2018, and now, many entrepreneurs are putting stronger emphasis on consumer consent within the purchasing and use of data — both to increase accuracy and to instill peace of mind within their respective target audiences. This, in turn, is sure to create an even broader conversation on the initial generation of consumer data.

The power of content

The current business climate has generated a newfound emphasis on content, from written articles and blogs to videos and multimedia presentations, and this trend bodes well for young companies and established ones cutting their teeth on modern values. Content helps to humanize business interactions by inspiring thought and emotion from audience members; it is an organic, yet effective means of supplementing preexisting engagement methods. Thanks to current technology, there are more venues than ever for content creation and syndication, and paired with the increasingly relevant variable of consumer trust, this too stands as an asset to businesses spanning countless industries.

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Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

jason-kulpa-podcastsBusiness owners, both new and established, should be constantly learning and innovating; this is an obvious fact within entrepreneurship, one that must be embraced and applied quickly to ensure success in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Today, podcasts stand as an increasingly popular and efficient way to absorb new information about countless topics, and this is especially true of entrepreneurship and its spectrum of subtopics — from the dissection of managerial ideologies to the latest tools and tactics employed by rising names and entities.

If you are interested in adding podcasts to your arsenal of knowledge, here are several great programs to get you started.

“Unconventional Life”

As mentioned before, entrepreneurship is changing; it always has been. In a modern context, this change is now synonymous with the unconventional — that is, new and non-traditional ways to approach business and potentially carve new experimental niches. Jules Schroder’s “Unconventional Life” uses this notion as its thematic foundation, highlighting budding new entrepreneurs — most of them under 30 — to extract the unique and exciting ways they are shaking up their respective markets. If your ambitions lie in changing the world on your own terms, this show is a great starting point for inspiration.

“Entrepreneurs on Fire”

Hosted by John Lee Dumas, “Entrepreneurs on Fire” has for several years focused on the transparent, honest approach in entrepreneurship, all the way down to the financial details of its host (Dumas regularly reveals his own earnings, including how much he has made since the show’s 2012 inception). The intent here, according Dumas, is to “emulate success” and subsequently help listeners avoid failure. This show is a dual benefit, as it is both an insightful reference point and a strong example of entrepreneurial decency.

“Legends and Losers”

Though many would rather avoid the topic all together, failure is unfortunately a common part of entrepreneurship. For every entrepreneurial legend, there are many more “losers” who come up short of their goals, hence the name of the “Legends and Losers” podcast. Though the title’s latter group may come off as a bit harsh, the concept of “losing” is handled as a learning opportunity rather than an irreparable defeat. Host Christopher Lochhead aims to “spark your spirit, stoke your perseverance, make you love your failures, and for your inner legend all while keeping you laughing –” a healthy, constructive approach that keeps a sensitive topic accessible.

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Maintaining productivity in the age of quick and easy distraction

jason-kulpa-productivityDistraction is essentially the bane of productivity. You can’t get anything done if you can’t concentrate, and you can’t concentrate if you are constantly being distracted. This is the key reason so many people complain about the constant noise being made by their phone, the constant drip-drip of e-mail notifications and the endless rabbit holes of the internet, which is only a click away.

But there is more to this problem. If you examine the dynamics of it long enough it is not hard to notice that loss of productivity is a symptom of a bigger problem, and that is overreach. It’s not necessarily the fact that a person can’t accumulate enough productivity at the end of the day, it’s more a function of the fact that no amount of productivity will overcome the burden they have placed on themselves. They simply have too much on their plate. At that point, distractions aren’t necessarily preventing productivity, they are an escape from the impossible.

Simplify

Work that can be done — and done well — is both more engaging and capable of mitigating distractions. The human mind is more than capable of engaging fully with a task and tuning out distractions if a person really wants to do what they are doing. On the contrary, when the work itself is distracting because it is disorganized, unclear or obviously pointless, then practical distractions have a much easier time derailing the productivity train because the person attempting the task is looking for a reason to quit. Some tasks must be completed regardless of their desirability, but those less desired can usually be made more approachable via simplification or consolidation of efforts.

Planning

Authors have a trick for reaching their writing goals each day, and that is to plan out what they are going to write in advance. It does few authors any good to sit down to a blank screen and try to compose on the fly unless they are very good at weaving a compelling narrative out of nothing but imagination. In this vein, it is far easier in most cases to make some plan and then try to adhere to the plan along the way.

Planning is the natural enemy of distraction because it is likely to produce a list of actions that will engage the person performing the work. Since workers are authoring the plan in the first place, they can avoid the kinds of distracting tasks that will derail their own efforts.

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Five Management Styles and Why They Work (Pt. 2)

jason-kulpa-styles2

Effective business management is subjective in that every managed employee is different, therefore requiring a unique approach in terms of their productivity, adherence to office structure and policy, and overall learning pace. For example, some employees may hate to be micromanaged while others may hinge on it to maintain weekly organization, and these two approaches alone can be subdivided and personalized depending on the expectations and demands of the company at large.

To get the most out of your direct reports, you will need to identify and leverage an appropriate management style that will foster their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. Bad management costs businesses billions of dollars each year, so it is imperative that you put your best foot forward as a leader and maintain a healthy management culture.

That said, there are several effective management styles commonly observed in offices spanning countless industries. I already covered a few of these styles in a previous blog, but here now are two more that may work for you.

Affiliative management

Affiliative managers are focused primarily on harmony within their respective teams, which they typically lean on to mitigate problems before the fact — and if they do, the team will be ready to meet it head-on in unison. This strong sense of foresight is applicable to any management scenario, as managers are, at times, responsible for seeing the big picture before others. Pair this with a knack for communal problem solving, and you are left with a management style that should all but guarantee order and organization, even if you only apply certain aspects of it.

Authoritative management

Many of today’s managers tend to forgo the authoritative management approach — at least at first — as it tends to come with a negative connotation in most professional circles. However, there are constructive and healthy ways to assume the authoritative role without damaging working relationships or souring yourself in the eyes of your peers. Put simply, some workplace situations simply require a firm leader to take charge and lay down the plan in its entirety — especially those that involve a chaotic or unorganized structure. This approach can be temporary to address a problem or it can become the norm to ensure such a culture never resurfaces, but either way, the best rule of thumb is to remain composed and polite in your authoritarian role; no one is saying you have to be rude, scary, or otherwise unpleasant. A manager/employee should always be as humanized as possible.

 

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