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6 Reasons People Don’t Believe In You or Your Ideas

Struggling with traction? Here are 6 reasons people may not believe in you that we’ve seen first hand in our interactions in the startup community:

  1. You think success is having an office and fancy furniture.
  2. You listen to loud music on headphones when you should be interacting with your peers and those in your immediate vicinity.
  3. You walk around with inflated titles like “CEO and President” or “Chief Bottle Washer” instead of something more realistic.
  4. You don’t answer messages sent to you on the same day you receive them from people you know because you claim to be “so busy.”
  5. You shun others because you don’t look outside the box when it comes to relationship building.
  6. You dismiss any feedback you receive that isn’t flowery praise as derogatory, dismissive or invalid.

Want people to believe in your ideas? Let’s talk – setup a free 5-25 minute mentoring call at http://meetme.so/RobertBraathe

 

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Encouraging and Managing Idea Creation

This is a research paper I wrote in 2010 for my Managing Creativity in the Organization PhD class – Robert Braathe

As CEO of my company, I’d encourage freedom of expression, creative thinking, and innovation in order to generate significant idea creation. Harvard Business Press (2003) indicates that businesses that flow along an S-Curve when it comes to growth and implementations of ideas. Inspirational motivation combined with intrinsic motivation can be the recipe for motivating creative people to innovate and generate new ideas. (Sosi, Kahai & Avolio, 1998) Companies can face stumbling blocks along the way, but building milestones along the way can offset these issues (Baumgartner, 2010) Creating a culture and workspace that is conducive to learning is also key to running an organization that will innovate and generate ideas. (Harris, 2008) To keep creativity flowing and encouraging groups to collaborate, an organization needs to promote an environment where neutral minds can collaborate freely and exchange ideas openly. (Govendo, 2001)

The S Curve

As innovation occurs, the life cycle of products or ideas takes on different stages of success. Harvard Business Review (2003) indicates that companies must have enough flexibility built in to realize not every idea may be as successful as the next, nor will any product have a similar S-curve of development. As companies introduce new products, or take on new ideas for existing products, they may become competitive with their rivals and hence generate profit from ideas. As companies focus more and more on generating new ideas, they can avoid obsolescence, as often “leaders in one generation of technology are seldom leaders in the next.” (Harvard Business Review, 2003)

Motivating Employees and Cross-Pollination
To ensure that companies and their ideas do not become obsolete, creating a motivational environment that is both leadership driven and intrinsic in nature can be critical to success. Recognition (individual and team), creative control over work, celebration of successes, and rejuvenation through time off or away can all be used as rewards that may motivate employees (Harvard Business Review, 2003). However, intrinsic motivation can be even more effective in having an impact on just how creative teams can be. (Sosi, Kahai & Avolio, 1998)

Leadership can have a tremendous impact on how employees are motivated by participating in a concept known as inspirational motivation. Sosi, Kahai & Avolio (1998) look at a number of factors that contribute to effective inspirational leadership. When leaders express confidence in their people’s ability to achieve objectives and help the entire team feel like their views were expressed clearly, an environment is fostered for creativity. Likewise, when a leader creates stimulation by encouraging revisiting ideas, more creativity results. (Sosi, Kahai & Avolio, 1998)

Stumbling Blocks and Building Blocks

Despite effective leadership and encouragement, stumbling blocks may get in the way of optimum conditions for creativity. These blocks can include resource myopia, fear of failure, and giving up too soon (Harvard Business Press). When employees or management are too near-sighted in their visioning, the bigger picture may be ignored. Similarly, when the culture around them encourages a fear of failure, people may not be as creative. If employees give up on good ideas in their infancy, they may miss out on opportunities to experience greater achievements.

Baumgartner (2010) suggest that a creative idea implementation plan must be considered in order for true creativity to be built and not destroyed. Having the foresight to see stumbling blocks before they become stumbling blocks can be one step in an effective creative idea implementation plan. When opportunities for failure are prepared for ahead of time, they no longer need to be seen as stumbling blocks.
Getting the right people on board in the idea generation process is also important. If you get buy-in from key players in the organization, there is more of a likelihood of managers going along for the ride. (Baumgartner, 2010) Likewise, a 5-pronged approach to idea generation may be effective if practiced – focus, suspended judgment, personal safety, serial discussion, and building on ideas. (Harvard Business Press, 2003) These building blocks to creativity, when in unison, can create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas.

Enriching Physical Workspace and Nurturing Culture for Creativity
Creating a physical environment where workspace is comfortable and people feel productive is critical to success in nurturing creativity. (Harris, 2008) Sometimes, the most effective workspaces are those that are designed simultaneously with the work to be done. (Harvard Business Press, 2003) In studies, the ​effectiveness of work and the design of the workspace are correlated. (Harvard Business Press, 2003)
As for a nurturing culture, Harvard Business Press (2003) stated:
“in the absence of a supportive culture, creativity and innovation are like seedlings planted in arid, rocky, soil. They simply won’t germinate and grow.”
Developing an environment where creativity is molded and nurtured can create efficiencies as well as new opportunities for idea generation. (Harris, 2008) A step-by-step action plan for idea generation can also turn creative ideas into innovations. (Baumgartner, 2010)

Methods for Idea Generation and Enhancing Creativity
Visioning, modifying, and experimenting can be utilized as methods for brainstorming, and using multiple methods for idea generation can be effective in encouraging employees to participate in it. (Harvard Business Press, 2003). Designing award systems can create a climate of innovation. Simply hiring the right people can encourage cross-pollination of ideas, provided that there is support from management (Harvard Business Press, 2003)

Milestones along the way for idea generation can help enhance creativity (Baumgartner, 2010). When companies take Apple’s lead and make creativity and efficiency one and the same, the entire company benefits. (Harris, 2008) Balancing the creative process with the idea and brainstorming process combined can have a lasting effect on any organization. (Harvard Business Press, 2003)

Encouraging Creative Groups
An organization that can work internally to be creative while keeping itself in check can undergo a cultural transformation that leads to greater creativity. (Harris, 2008) When employees feel confident that they are working with a cross-functional team that has its best interests in mind, it can boost efforts to be creative. Exploring the paradoxes of creative groups can help organizations be better at structuring teams (Harvard Business Press, 2009). When teams balance experienced and novice, freedom and discipline, play and professionalism and improvisation and planning, they can help identify the right composition for continued growth of ideas. (Harvard Business Press, 2003)

Application as CEO
As a CEO of a web-based consulting company, I would create an environment where people feel productive wherever they are working. I have found that my independent contractors work best when they are given a loose set of guidelines and are simply given the final product that I am looking for. I allow my supporters to work out their own time schedule as long as they provide me the work in a time that works out best for the customers.

As for inspirational motivation combined with internal motivation, I am a believer that a leader must do what they do not want to do; I don’t necessarily delegate work that is beneath me; rather, I give my supporters work that interests them while freeing me up to do things that are more at the C-level than at the independent contractor level. I manage my own calendar and email, but delegate creative tasks like copywriting and web design to those who have more time and resources than I. This process alone I feel inspires others to do greater work. As for internal motivation, I find that employees work best when they feel themselves that they are doing the work for its intrinsic value and not for some external motivation.

I recently hired a contractor to work an unspecified number of hours a week to work for me. After identifying what she was making at her current part-time role, I gave her a figure that would match her pay but give her the freedom to make her own schedule, which was clearly an internal motivator for her.

As stumbling blocks come along the way, I seek to utilize communication tools that will help enhance rather than hurt communication. I provide employees with a direct line of communication with limited limits. Employees can contact me at any time any day but Sunday, giving them the ability to reach me for any issue that comes up. I don’t demand check-ins from employees on a regular basis as I feel as long as they are meeting deadlines the ends are greater than the means.

Lastly, the continue to encourage creativity and idea generation, I allow employees to work from home or wherever they feel comfortable, and meet with them via phone or video chat. If they prefer, I make the time to visit them at their place of business virtually or onsite where applicable. Although there may be added cost on my part, the time I do put in for these on-site visits is much more valuable.

Conclusion
Creativity is enhanced when employees feel that they are valued and respected. When leaders at all levels are willing to make the effort to provide employees with the resources to grow, idea generation becomes part of the culture. Setting up an environment in which employees feel welcome through physical space and team composition clearly impacts how the company creates ideas and how effectively they are implemented.

References
Baumgartner, J. (2010). The Creative idea implementation plan. Retrieved from
http://www.jpb.com/creative/ciip.php

Govendo, J. (2001). Six steps for encouraging employee creativity. Retrieved from
http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/501-
550/article533_body.html

Harris, L. (2008). Facing idea engineering roadblocks. Retrieved from
http://www.ijme.us/cd_08/…/100%20ENG%20107%20section%202.pdf

Harvard Business Review Staff (2003). Managing Creativity and Innovation. Boston, MA:
Harvard Business PressPerseus Books Group

Sosik, J., Kahai, S & Avolio, B (1998) Transformational leadership and dimensions of
creativity: motivating idea generation in computer-mediated groups, Creativity
Research Journal, 11: 2, 111 — 121

Early Startup Community Tips

Startup Communities always start out small and become bigger well known communities. Many of these communities are outside of branded and popular startups such as Silicon Valley. There comes many tips on how to become a successful start up in your own community by effectively knowing how to recruit the right people and having planned ahead. Here are tips and recommendations for entrepreneurs looking to create a startups in their community.

Young Startups Look Out!

Financial stability is one of the hardest yet the most important mission.
Here are 5 financial strains that an entrepreneur needs to consider to be SUCCESSFUL:

1. Production Efficiency- in an emerging company or business, try to keep production cost as low as possible. Since this will be the most consistent expenditure.
2. Sales and Marketing- are necessary expenditures for startups. The company needs a name in order to be given recognition and and create visibility. When calculating the return in investment this task is complicated, the most cost effect strategies need to be sought.
3. Consistent Revenue- For young companies the initial revenue can be unpredictable; therefore, the company must do everything they can to keep their initial customers that are attracted to the service or good. So the company can have a consistent customer. Make sure to keep the prices of products or services in an appropriate margin.
4. Workforce Balance- The workforce/ staff should be able to handle the exact amount of work that comes in. Staff should not be understaffed or overstaffed because there is a risk of collapsing or losing money. Employees should be added gradually as the company grows.
5. Cash Flow- the checks and balances of the company should be kept in check. When the employees are paid and when the customers are paying should be efficiently calculated to avoid any sort of negative cash flow.

For more information click here.

How to See Opportunity

A major key to being successful in life is the ability to see opportunity when it happens. By recognizing the problem from the beginning helps you identify and create both an interesting and creative solution. A key step into spotting opportunity would be to think outside the box. It is important to notice opportunities that may have been missed. Another way to see opportunity would be to completely understand your business and/or product inside and out. By understanding your company’s history and preparing your company’s future, you are more than prepared to notice any opportunity and not let them get away. Having confidence in yourself and your business will get you anywhere you want to go in life and will help you develop an open mind to welcome new opportunities. Written by Darrah Hernandez

How Entrepreneurship Changes People’s Perspective of the World

Choosing a career is arguably the biggest decision a person can make. It can determine the people that will surround you on a daily basis, where you will live, how much free time you will have, and even the person you will become. Entrepreneurship gives people a unique opportunity to have more control over these intimidating changes than most, but it comes at a huge risk. There is much talk about how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur and the fierce determination needed to succeed, but there should really be a discussion about the benefits to a person’s outlook that comes from this career path.

The ability to create and control something that you are passionate about gives entrepreneurs a better understanding of the concept of being the master of your own destiny. The ability to choose your team and what your product associates itself with builds an attitude that looks outwards of the limitation that society typically places on it’s members. When asked about careers in college, it is often implied that you will be working for someone else. The chance to be your own boss and not have to report to anyone is seldom brought to light. Experienced entrepreneurs are able to look past this and apply this mindset to other aspects of their lives.

Independence is a skill and habit that is mastered by entrepreneurs. Of course there is the need to collaborate with others in the industry, but entrepreneurs are able to choose who these outside forces are. The ability to create your own timeline and not have to check over work with coworkers allows for fewer restrictions and a feeling of freedom that many are not able to experience in their professional lives. This is liberating and decreases the stress of pleasing others, which creates a more positive frame of mind in general.

Hope is of great importance to entrepreneurs, and a skill that is not developed overnight. It has to be learned and built upon. Those that risk it all to be entrepreneurs have to be optimistic that the rest of the world will also see the potential in their idea that the creator does. There is a need for trust  and the positive thoughts generated from this are powerful in their ventures. When the world is looked at with the thought that anything is possible, the best qualities in everything begin to be blatantly obvious.

Creativity is the key to first coming up with a concept that you can make your career, and it is further developed as you delve into the industry of your choice. Making something that has never been done before is daunting and demands unconventional solutions to problems that appear, such as how to set it your business apart from competitors, finding an audience, and finding funding. There is no blueprint to finding success for an entrepreneur, so they must find their own path.

Although there are so many opportunities for independence for an entrepreneur, networking is a prominent factor in business today. It assists entrepreneurs in getting their product out there through word-of-mouth, which is a very cost effective form of marketing. This also adds a personal touch to your product and allows for your message behind the company to be prominent to investors. Entrepreneurs learn how to bring up their ventures without it seeming that they only have interest in someone’s money. They also have the ability to maintain relationships long-term with many different individuals, in order to keep contact across different fields.

SAFE Investing: Startup Financing 101

SAFE Investing

  • Simple Agreement for Future Equity
  • It is only a five page document that was created for the purpose of simple seed investment on startups
  • A financing tool that provides a lower cost and speedier alternative to convertible debt financing.
  • This is the right to obtain a preferred stock of a firm
  • Created by Y Combinator
  • 4 variations of SAFE: cap and no discount, discount and no cap, cap and discount, no cap or discount
  • If there is an acquisition or IPO the SAFE holder can get money back or convert holdings to common stock
  • There is a SAFE MFN option meaning that if a holder gets certain terms and later investors get better terms, the MFN kicks in and the SAFE holder will get the terms amended to the better terms.
  • Still covered by securities laws
  • It goes on your cap table just like a warranty or option
  • SAFE only allows for conversion to the next round of financing
  • SAFE allows for a one time payout or conversion of equity
  • SAFE is not a debt instrument and is instead defined as a type of warranty and therefore has no interest rate
  • Also has no maturity date
  • The most alike financing tool to SAFE is a convertible note but a convertible note is a debt instrument with a maturity date and interest rate while SAFE has none of that, it is a simpler financing tool.
  • Websites I used: http://www.spitzbusinesslaw.com/blog/safe-a-new-financing-tool-for-startups/ https://shockwaveinnovations.com/2013/12/21/reviewing-the-new-safe-investment-instrument/ https://blog.indinero.com/seed-investment-7-ways-to-compare-safe-to-convertible-notes/

BEYourStart in Saratoga Springs for Startup Saratoga October 11, 2017

Robert Braathe of BEYourStart Startup Accelerator will be attending the Startup Saratoga event on Wednesday October 11th.

Braathe Enterprises, based in Saratoga Springs since 2008 and founded in 2005, has provided consulting and training for entrepreneurs and business leaders in a variety of industries including IT, e-commerce, hospitality, not-for-profits and consumer products.

He most recently worked with startups this summer as an Entrepreneur In Residence at a startup accelerator in Troy, NY.

Meet Robert at this event or contact him at 518-290-0812 for more information.