Category Archives: Entrepreneurship Tips

Are You an Entrepreneur or an Intrapreneur?

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When people think of the word “Entrepreneur”, they automatically envision a successful business owner who has traded the shackles of corporate life for the freedom of self employment. While many people strive for this, some see the benefits of being an entrepreneur within their own companies. This is called being an “Intrapreneur”.

Here is the definition from dictionary.com:

an employee of a large corporation who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services, systems, etc., and does not have to follow the corporation’s usual routines or protocols.

See, entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting your own business. It can also be about being an agent of change and innovation within your own company. Many people overlook this as a viable career option and instead look at the corporate world as a punishment for not taking enough risks.

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30 Day Challenge Update and a New Book

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I just entered the second week of my 30 day challenge to post new content every day and so far it’s been great!

Today, I’m going to recommend a book I just finished. The book is called Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath. I’m a big fan of the books that the Heath brothers have written including “Made to Stick” and “Switch”.

In Decisive, the Heath Brothers delve into the psychology and process behind decision making. Although Decisive puts emphasis on business decision making, there is also a number of great ideas on personal decision making.

One of my biggest takeaways from the book is a decision making process called “WRAP”. Wrap is an acronym that stands for the following four ideas:

- Widen your Options
- Reality-Test your Assumptions
- Attain Distance Before Deciding
- Prepare to be Wrong

You’ll have to read the book to get a better understanding of the process but i’ll leave you with a link to the book website where you can read the first chapter for free!

Pick up a copy of Decisive and learn how to make better decisions.

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How to Develop Your Personal Brand – Part 1

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When I bring up the concept of “Personal Branding” to non-marketing people, they look at me like a deer in the headlights.

So what’s a personal brand? I’d describe a Personal Brand as the culmination of everything professional about you including your style, resume, reputation, social media presence and of course your work. Developing a strong personal brand is key to maintaining your competitiveness in the marketplace as well as giving the professional community an idea of who you are.

The first step in creating a personal brand is defining how you want the outside world to see you. Think of qualities that you exude as well as characteristics that would set you apart from others. For example, one of my key characteristics is that I wear a suit every day. A lot of people wear suits every day so what I do to differentiate myself is to have fun with it. As I’m passionate about style and men’s fashion, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to craft the perfect professional outfit that represents both my personality as well as projects confidence. When I walk into a room, I try to create an impression in not only my outfit but also in the way I carry myself. Some people will argue that it’s the person, not the suit that makes the man but I disagree. I think that while your work should speak for itself, the way you dress and carry yourself in professional situations makes a significant impact on your professional success.

The second step to creating a Personal Brand is to think about what comes up when people type your name into a google. Do pictures of your latest weekend bender come up first or is it your Linkedin profile? Social Media is a great way to start conversations, express your ideas online and create a living record of your life experiences. That being said, it can also be a powerful tool in building your personal brand. These days, most employers will conduct a google search of prospective employees. Even potential clients may do a search on you to get a snapshot of your background before deciding to move forward with that big contract. Using social media to create a strong personal brand is a great way to show off your work as well as give people an idea of who you are online.

Here are a few ways you can use social media to build your personal brand:

- Write a blog!
- Make sure your Linkedin Profile is up to date.
- Use Twitter to interact with your industry online
- Use Pinterest to tag articles and pictures
- Use Linkedin and Facebook to share great articles, videos, books and ideas
- Use Amazon.com to review great books you’ve read
- Record a Podcast!
- Comment on blogs
- Start an online portfolio and link your social media profiles to the site
- Post a photo gallery to flickr.

There are tons of other ways to increase your personal brand online. The idea here is to make sure that you tag everything and use SEO to make sure your name comes up within the first few searches in Google.

Remember that while you want to create a positive professional image, you also want to be authentic. At the end of the day, it’s not about how many times your name pops up on google, it’s about the quality of how you are being represented and what it says about you.

You should like the Pinstriped Suit on Facebook!

10 Ways to Become More Valuable to Your Company

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Feeling undervalued? Here are 10 ways to become more valuable to your company:

1) Keep up to date with the latest technologies and practices in your industry.

2) Improve your knowledge through professional development opportunities, conferences and classes.

3) Ask the tough questions that nobody wants to ask.

4) Join the trade association for your profession.

5) Get to work earlier and spend some time thinking about ways to improve your companies processes, business practices or customer service policies.

6) Cut down on unnecessary meetings.

7) Offer to help a colleague or senior manager with a project that may not be part of your portfolio but can add value to them.

8) Improve your communication skills to better tailor your message to your audience.

9) Find ways to increase positive media attention for your company.

10) Research new software tools that might be useful for improving the effectiveness of your company or department.

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How To Design the Perfect Interview Outfit

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Dressing for an interview is a crucial element in winning the job. Although it has been said that it’s the man (or women) not the suit that matters, the reality is that first impressions are everything.

So the question is, is it possible to over dress for an interview?

I’ve had the privilege of sitting on both ends of the table and in my opinion, I don’t think it’s possible to over dress.  Although some companies are more casual than others, I think it’s generally understood that interviewees will typically dress with the idea of creating an excellent first impression.

A friend of mine interviewed at a local tech company for a sales position. For the interview, he wore a suit and tie. When he walked into the interview, he found that he was the most dressed up person on the floor. He said that this made the interview a little awkward. My friend later asked me whether he should have dressed more casually for the interview. There are many schools of thought on this.

If you are interviewing for a position at a company that has a relaxed culture, I think most people can get away with simply wearing a suit with a well paired shirt. Although some people may disagree with this logic, interviewers are looking for both aptitude and  cultural fit. The means that in the interview,  the hiring manager is typically are looking at you through the lens of whether or not they can imagine you working at the company.

On the other hand, it can be argued that you can never really overdress for an interview. A mentor of mine insists that it’s always better to be overdressed than to be too casually dressed. I tend to agree with the more conservative approach because dressing too casually can often backfire

Here are a few tips for designing your interview outfit:

  • Focus on fit! Well fitting suits exude confidence and attention to detail.
  • The tie can make or break an outfit so choose wisely. Slimmer ties are back in vogue.
  • Shine your shoes. Unpolished shoes look incredibly unprofessional.
  • Use classic accessories such as tie clips, cuff links and pocket squares. But don’t go over board. Stick to simple designs.
  • Make sure your suit and shirt doesn’t have wrinkles
  • Dress to your comfort level. If you’ve never worn a tie, then consider leaving it out as it may make you feel awkward in the interview.
  • Wear bold color combinations and pair it with greys and blacks.
  • Do a bit of research on the company to see what kind of culture they have. You would most likely plan your outfit differently for a law firm versus a tech company.
  • Wear your favorite professional work outfit to your interview. A well put together outfit that you’ve stylized exudes confidence.

One last point, is that while looking sharp is really important, it doesn’t replace preparation. Make sure you’re on your A game both in your outfit and in your head.

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