“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are”
Perception is a major and old area of study in the field of Psychology. Perception is how we organize, understand and interpret the world around us: what we see, what we hear, what we feel, what we smell, and what we taste. Dependent upon the business you are in, all five senses may play a role or perhaps just one or two. There is the belief that perception alters and may distort our vision of reality, perhaps masking the truth. If people come to a situation with a preconceived notion of what should be, they might tend to see what they expect, not what is there. So, we tend to bring to a given situation an inherent bias that may color the reality. The point of note here is that in viewing a business situation you need to see what is there, not what you expect to be there based upon previous experience, training, or expectations. That may be difficult to do.
Without a doubt, perception is a complex phenomenon influenced by personal values and/or beliefs, experience, attitude, education and training. An individual’s level of perception also may have some hereditary basis. Perception operates in all aspects of our life: our personal life; our social life; and, most certainly, our business life.
Specifically, what role is played by perception in business? If one accepts and understands that developing a vision, or predicting where a market will develop, or identifying major trends that impact the basic fabric of society, or determining how best to take advantage of an opportunity, is an essential part of running any business, then you accept perception as a basic ingredient in those processes. Sometimes, that hunch or gut feeling one gets is a form of perception. Remember that perception is how we see things and how we arrange and interpret those things to come to a conclusion or to make a decision. Consequently, perception is a principal ingredient in the management of a business and it can be a powerful tool in business, if properly recognized and applied.
A new wave of business leaders are doing much to change their perceptions, particularly in the tech industry, which is leading the drive for a more positive future for the human race. AtSkylab, CEO&Founder Dean Grey is known in the network marketing industry as one of the most inspirational and charismatic keynote speakers and his perception relies on the idea to help others: “It’s a Reward Within Itself”.
Perception in business is a reality. It is an essential part of one’s package of business skills. It is a core competency. To deny these statements is to deny a basic attribute of entrepreneurship, leadership and decision-making. Perception is basic and integral to how we see and assess opportunities and how we will pursue opportunities. It is how we view our business environment and the elements that make up that environment both internal (staff, resources, equipment, services, products) and external (the market, the customer/client, the competition); and, it is much more. It is also the identification and understanding of major trends, especially long-term trends, that affect the basic structure of society (aging population, empty-nesters, women returning en masse to the workforce, decline in manufacturing jobs and the increase in service sector jobs, global economics, growth in the health care industry, information technology and the trend to inter-company collaboration).
Peter Drucker, business management sage of the 20th Century, considered perception the skill essential to making bold, creative decisions. In Managing in a Time of Great Change, he said :
“Today, perceptiveness is more important than analysis. In the new society of organizations, you need to be able to recognize patterns to see what is there rather than what you expect to see.”
Therein lays the key benefit to applying or invoking the right perception. There also is the core problem. We need to see what is there, not what we expect to see. How do we do that? Here are a few suggestions.
Eliminating the ego in decision-making is the major component. The ego is personal baggage based on previous knowledge, previous experience and expectations. It may not be all bad, but, then again, it may. It colors one’s view and may even distort the image that you ought to be seeing. Clearing one’s mind and taking, as much as possible, an open and simple view of the business environment, to see it as it is and not as one wants it to be is the objective. The results of eliminating ego, hopefully, are a fresh view and through that fresh view the identification of new business opportunities.
Related to eliminating ego is this: assume nothing. Assumptions must fit reality. That means having a good grasp on your business environment: the existing situation, the opportunities for growth, what the competition is doing what the client wants (always a moving target), to mention a few. So, assume nothing; get the facts; check and re-check and check again.
Acquire a clear and working knowledge of those long-term trends we spoke of in Part One of this Article. These are the trends or shifts in society, existing and emerging, which change the basic structure of society, including the business sector. These long-term trends significantly affect the business decisions we take, or ought to take.
Perception has always been an important part of the business management decision-making process and will always remain so. Perception, appropriately understood and applied, is a key business skill and is the leading edge in recognizing and developing business opportunities.
“This gives us the opportunity to change our environment and thus, change ourselves for the better.”
Now Is The Perfect Time To Be A Women Entrepreneur
“Women who walks with purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.”
Dr. Farrah Gray
In Silicon Valley, the percentage of women entrepreneur starting technology companies is astronomically low, at a rate around 3 percent. Of privately held companies, only 6.5 percent have a female CEO, and 1.3 percent have a female founder. How is this the case, when women are earning more than half of all bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees for the first time in history?
Despite these disappointing numbers and the gender issues, there is good news too. Women who are in tech are doing well and getting noticed. Recent data has shown that women-led technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieving 35 percent higher return on investment. Companies founded by women also represented a record 13 percent of venture capital deals through the first half of 2013, up from only 4 percent in 2004. In other words, investors are starting to notice that it pays to have a woman in charge.
As a women entrepreneur and sole founder and CEO of a venture-backed digital healthcarestartup, I’ve experienced a positive shift in how I’m treated as a woman in tech compared to the horror stories of women who came before me. This leads me to believe that now is the perfect time to make the leap into entrepreneurship as a women.
Women entrepreneur are being recognized as powerful leaders
Heavy-hitting women such as Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg and GinniRometty are in C-suite roles, running major Fortune 500 companies. Their leadership, and the headlines they garner, have popularized the image of women in high-level roles and opened the door for a conversation about the need for more female leadership in tech and beyond.
Fortunately, women outside of the spotlight are also excelling and being recognized for their outstanding leadership skills. A 2011 study in the Harvard Business Review evaluating men and women in the workplace found that:
“At every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows. Specifically, at all levels, women are rated higher in fully 12 of the 16 competencies that go into outstanding leadership. And two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree — taking initiative and driving for results — have long been thought of as particularly male strengths.”
Considering it wasn’t very long ago that women were relegated to the home and shunned from the boardroom, that is a pretty amazing and inspiring update. And for enterprising female entrepreneurs, the timing of this shift couldn’t be better.
With strong women entrepreneur at the helm, something interesting (but unsurprising) is happening to their businesses: They are growing at a higher rate than their traditional, male-led counterparts. Over the past 10 years, the growth in the number of women-owned firms with $10 million or more in revenues has increased by 56.6 percent, a rate 47 percent faster than the rate of growth of all $10 million-plus firms.
Women in leadership roles also seem to be key in driving the success of an enterprise. The failure rate of startups with two or fewer female executives is 50.3 percent, but with five or more women in high-level positions, the success rate jumps to 61 percent.
In particular, women are emerging as key players in healthcare, both on the ground and in the C-suite. Women entrepreneur account for 73 percent of medical and health services managers, making them the face of healthcare to the general population. And over the last decade, not only has the number of high-revenue, women-owned healthcare and social assistance firms nearly tripled, but those companies are growing at an impressive rate – 54.9 percent across all healthcare and social assistance firms, and nearly 183 percent for firms with over $10 million in revenue.
With healthcare in the national spotlight, women are emerging as successful leaders capable of shepherding America into a new era of health and wellness. Skylab Apps recognizes this trend and has partnered with healthcare professionals creating “Skylab Medical” a Skylab Apps incubator partner company. See more about this here.
The VC snowball effect
Women entrepreneur firms are succeeding and in turn, attracting more venture capital investment, leading to even higher growth. During the height of the dot-com bubble, venture capital investments in women-led businesses lagged pathetically, receiving less than 6 percent of total funds invested in the U.S. between 1997 and 2000. But between 2000 and 2011, that number shot up to 41 percent.
Combine that with the fact that when venture-backed, women-led technology companies bring in 12 percent higher revenue than male-owned tech companies and you have a Pandora’s box of potential.
As VC firms continue to be positively rewarded for investing in women-led companies, they will be more open to future investments. I’d be hard-pressed – and reluctant – to stop this snowball from reaching warp speed.
The women-supporting-women movement is just starting
There are more women entrepreneurs supporting younger and less-experienced female entrepreneurs today than ever before. For example, I had a mentor who had a huge impact on my growth and success, so I’m paying it forward.
Over the past year, I’ve been mentoring a young female entrepreneur who recently raised $1 million for her own startup and was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. The great thing is, 80 percent of female tech entrepreneurs reported having mentors and, in my experience, that bodes well for their future success.
There are more women investors looking for women-led companies, or great companies to invest in and add women to their leadership teams or advisory boards because the numbers don’t lie — the odds of success with women calling the shots.
“It is important to take an active role in shaping our personal and professional networks in order to live the most fulfilling lives possible.”
In my last blog I wrote about the Joy’s and freedoms of working remotely. If you missed it, read it here! This will give you a little better context of what I am writing about in this 5-Step process to finding the perfect remote job to keep you traveling and experiencing the world all while making money from your lap top.
Here is my 5-Step Process.
1 – Find a job, skill, or way that you can actually do that will produce income with out you physically needing to be there.
This is going to be your most difficult task. You may be saying to yourself “well I am a doctor, how could I possibly practice medicine from a laptop?” Well this comes down to how resourceful you want to be. My dad is doctor, a Podiatrist to be exact and he has been looking into what is know as “tele-medicine” which is basically on call and on demand video conferencing from doctors to patients. Say you have a foot problem, you go on the site, set an appointment, my dad would accept it, you are instantly connected, he gives your advice and recommendations and your done. The system charges the patients credit card and they go on their way. Booya, there is a way a doctor can work 100% remotely. You may be surprised what you find if you really start thinking of all the different ways you could monetize your skill sets right from a computer from anywhere in the world, don’t worry, we will get to that in number 2.
2. Get really good with technology.
If you are going to have any chance at being an entrepreneur on the road, then you are going to have to get really good with leveraging technology and automation. What do I mean by this. Well put it this way, I can pretty much run all of my business from my iPhone. Everything from a CRM to a VOIP telephone system that allows me to communicate effortlessly through WIFI any where in the world. This means that if you are planning on getting in to a business that has to ship “real” goods and logistics as well as a customer service dept. will be necessary, than you are going to have your work cut out for you. I am not saying that it is impossible, just going to take a couple extra steps of strategic planning and utilization of technology that automates the process.
3. Simple is better.
A good business is not necessarily a complex business. I would consider a solid business to be one that is profitable, allows you to live the life you desire and takes care of it’s employees and it’s customers. Some of the best businesses that I know of were born out of the simplest ideas or needs by a consumer. Take for example the work we do at the FX365 Institute, we teach people how to trade currencies all over the world from office in San Diego. We have students in 20 U.S. States and 4 countries that take our course 100% remotely and learn a skill set that allows them to make money in the foreign currencies market anywhere in the world from a laptop. Don’t over complicate this part. The less you need to run your business, the better off you will be.
4.How much do you really need to make?
My favorite part of explaining these concepts to people is conveying the fact that a business only needs to make you a “enough” money in order for it to change your life. If you added up all of your expenses annually, and then added in the costs to live in another country or to travel a couple months out of the year I think you will be surprised to find that you don’t need to make $300K per year to achieve your goals. In fact, I have been able to travel about 2 months out of every year for the past decade making around $100k per year. The best part is that I only really needed about $60K to sustain so any extra money that I make on top of my yearly nut goes in to savings and investments. This allows me to stay diversified, active inthe markets using online portfolio managers, and open to new ideas and businesses while I can keep the quality of life I have come to enjoy. The point is to make enough and then a little more. You don’t need to be a millionaire to pull this off.
5. Multiple Streams of Income remotely
I know you have heard this one before, but maybe not through the lens of doing it remotely. Every book I have read on this topic is about real estate and multiple businesses that would require you to physically be somewhere to manage those streams. When you start to venture down the road of working remotely you start looking at businesses in a whole new light.
I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely, follow the links below to check them out:
I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going to go a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely.
Now for the smell test questions:
1. If I spent a year building this business and I left the country for 2-4 weeks with out being able to call back or answer any emails would it still be standing when I go home?
This may take some introspection and some deep thinking about what the business is, who it would involve and what you would need to figure out to get all of the pieces together. This type of think and evaluation will become paramount when assessing situations for your business in the future, so play the tape out and visualise as best as you can where you would see yourself and the business in a year or two.
2. Is this a business I can run myself, or will I need to hire or contract out work to properly run it and if I do, will I be able to effectively manage the team remotely?
If you can do it on your own, great, do it! Unfortunately most enterprises even small ones will need to depend on others to accomplish what ever it is your business will do or provide for people. The question you need to concern yourself with is can you effectively manage then from a far or set the business up in a way where employees or partners can or would be self serving and motivated to accomplish tasks day to day to keep the company running smoothly.
3. On a scale from 0%-100% how much of the business can I automate?
(0%-60% is no good / 60%-80% is ok / 80%-100% is ideal). Automation is going to be key for you to managing efficiently from a far. It will allow you to batch work and delegate important work properly. Also it really allows you to step away from the business or parts of the business for days or weeks at a time and then come back to spot check at a later date. Most importantly automation usually takes the place of what human used to do and will allow you to perform more high value activities for the business.
4. Will it make me enough money to give me the life I desire to have and if so how long will it take to get me to that point? 60 Days? 6 months? A year?
For more on this topic check out my blog I wrote on Time vs. Money! This will really put this step in to perspective for you.
5. Pros and cons list – Now for the final step, write down all of the great things about how the business is going to get you what you want out of it. Examples could be things like “90% automation” or “allows me to travel 6 months per year” etc and then do the same for all of the potentially negative elements about the business. Make sure to be real with yourself here. Don’t sugar coat this part.
Once you have completed all of these steps, then you will have a solid understanding about what you could potentially be getting involved in. I can’t stress the importance of the exercises!
Working as a management consultant for a number of years I have a keen ability to understand what is going to make a business succeed or fail. Unfortunately most folks don’t even think about these things when starting a business. Instead they get excited about the idea, or one aspect of the new business and run with it throwing caution to the wind and ignoring or simply not flushing out the idea and all the pit falls that would ensue first.
Be smart, be savvy and get the business that will give you the life you desire but don’t ever be afraid to give your idea a litmus test! It will save you time, money and heartache in the future. These simple actions will keep you on the right track helping you to avoid a business or an idea that will stand in the way of a more well suited business or opportunity that will give you everything you need.