There’s no doubt that Albert Einstein was a brilliant man. His name is almost synonymous with the word “genius.” Through his work he solved some of the greatest mysteries of our age and helped us understand even more how the world works around us. Most of us probably would think that there is no way that we can ever compete intellectually with a man of this magnitude… and yet I believe he actually gave us the secret to how we can solve any and all of the problems that we face in our own lives: by correctly identifying the right problem to solve.
If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it. – Albert Einstein
It’s amazing that such a simple statement could have such a profound meaning; that in solving a problem, the importance is in identifying the right problem to solve. And yet, most of us are completely guilty of quickly focusing and solving the problem that’s right in front of us without really understanding what caused it.
I read a USA Today article recently titled “Managers to Millennials: Job Interview No Time to Text” and honestly I said to myself,
You’ve got to be joking… texting during an interview?
Sure enough, the article not only mentioned examples of Millennials texting during a job interview, it also listed horror stories from HR executives about interviews with recent college graduates who were answering calls during the interview, bringing their pets to the interview, and even more bizarre – bringing their parents to the interview to negotiate their salaries.
It got me thinking if we have gone too far in our society, educational systems, and parenting in coddling the upcoming generations and not training them about professionalism, etiquette, and frankly how to make it on their own when it’s time to leave the nest and start their own lives.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up? Race car driver, astronaut, fighter pilot; these were all on my list. In high school, however, I was finally certain that I had actually found my dream career. I wanted to be an architect.
It all made sense to me seeing as how I had grown up with an extreme do-it-yourself father who self-taught himself how to fix, reverse-engineer, design, and build many projects and additions to our house. I mean, these weren’t just a simple bench for the backyard projects, but master bedroom and bathroom suites, two-story workshops, and even a full house up in the North Carolina mountains. From all those experiences working by his side, I had learned that I loved building and that I loved creating something new from nothing. It was exciting to take an idea, a design, and make it a reality. Not to mention, I loved the smell of freshly cut wood.
So by the time I was in high school, my mind was made up that architecture was my future. Driven towards this goal, I signed up for every class that I could at school that taught me about architecture and prepared me for my future as the next Franklin Lloyd Wright.
So, who would have guessed it when one elective course in small business entrepreneurship changed my path forever and lead me to start my first business: mPower Consulting.
Funny enough, it was this course that taught me that an entrepreneur is just like an architect.
A recent eMarketer report has identified that this past year has been the first time we have seen a decrease in the number of US residents who access the Internet with a traditional desktop or laptop computer. Instead at least 40% of consumers are using a smartphone or mobile tablet computer and those numbers are only expected to increase. With this boom, it has become ever so important that business owners provide a mobile compatible version of their website for visitors who may be using smartphones or tablets to access their information. However many business owners are not knowledgeable about the options available to them to create such a version and this prevents them from taking advantage of this growing audience of website visitors.
There are essentially three methods of developing a mobile presence: a standalone mobile website, a website built on the principles of “responsive design,” and developing a device native mobile application.
When I started my first “real” business back in 2006, I thought that all my career experience up to that point had prepared me for the challenges that I would face as a new business owner. So it was a bit of a shock when I ran into my first financial crunch and I wondered how I had gotten there. I quickly realized that the things that I thought were important to the health and growth of my business (getting new customers, having a good profit margin, maintaining good relationships) were not near as important as the very thing that kept my business alive: cash.
Through that struggle, the key lesson I learned was that it’s not so much that you have cash on hand to pay the bills or purchase some needed equipment, but that it was in how well you managed the flow of that cash through your business. Any business owner with a decent credit card limit can get through a temporary financial squeeze if payments take a little longer to come in, but no business can last through a long-term financial crunch if they have not been building up their cash reserves. So in the world that is your business, you have to learn “that cash is king.”
The question is: How have you been treating your king?
The Internet has truly invaded almost every aspect of our daily lives. There are reports stating that over 50% of people immediately check their email, social networks, or favorite online sites the minute they wake-up in the morning. We are stuck to our devices from morning till night consuming as much information as can all while we go through our jobs and daily activities. In fact, most of us would probably say that when we had a question or problem that needed an answer, we turn to Google first.
With this, it should not be a surprise that it’s highly recommended that every business have a website to help people understand: who you are, what you do, and why they should buy from you. The problem is that over 95% of these business websites are not very effective in answering all of these questions, let alone one or two of them. (And note, bloggers… you’re included in this too whether you believe it or not. If you’re making money from your blog, then you’re a business!)
We’re going to change that today by going through this list of the 11 must have features that should be in your next website.
In 1998, during my senior year of high school, I had something happen to me that changed the course of my life forever. It was during my last semester of school when all I needed was one more class to fill an open slot to meet the number of credits required to graduate. I was looking for the “Easy A” elective class that wouldn’t be too difficult, too boring, and preferably had little to no homework.
See, I had already picked my career choice of being an architect and had spent the past 4 years studying specifically for that pathway. It’s something I loved, something I grew up doing with my father, and something that – to me at the time – had a very promising future. So I didn’t really care what this last class was going to be, as long as it was easy.
Then the short, little red headed woman had to go walking in the classroom and change… everything.
If you’ve already read my story about how I started my first business – mPower Consulting – then you already know that I was essentially raised with a father who would have prepared anyone to be an architect. If you haven’t read it yet, let me give you the gist of it:
My father was a Georgia farm-boy who learned how to work hard and earn a dollar. As a part of those daily chores and over time, he also learned how to build things, fix things, and generally figure out how to solve a problem with what you had at hand (or in his case, what was on the farm.) So I grew up in a house where he taught us the same things and was constantly fixing something or building some new addition to the house or our property. I myself ended up loving working with him, and after many years and lots of project, I had decided that I wanted to be an architect.
See, in the 80′s and 90′s we had hit the housing boom. It was all about living the “American Dream” and a house – along with the job, car, wife, 2.5 kids, and a dog to complete the set – was the most important piece of the puzzle. So I was certain this was the best career choice I could have ever made… and my father sure agreed.
But, the path I would end up choosing for the rest of my life required a different type of “building.” Funny enough, it was very much the same thing I grew up doing with my father in his workshop, only with ideas instead of wood.