Many communities are still feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy, including power outages and flooding. The importance of listening to instructions and safety information from your local officials and FEMA cannot be understated.
Federal response teams are already providing assistance to affected communities. SBA is closely coordinating with our federal partners to share information in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
- For the latest on the Federal government’s response to Sandy, you can read FEMA’s blog or follow updates on Twitter.
- If you need emergency shelter, you can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross web site, or check your local media outlets. You should also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. Finally, you can download the FEMA smartphone app or text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Standard rates apply
- If you’re not in an affected area, please consider donating blood, because numerous blood drives have been canceled as a result of the storm. To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
SBA plays an important role in disaster recovery efforts for businesses and homeowners. As disaster assessments and declarations are made, various SBA disaster recovery loan programs become available to eligible applicants. We will continue to highlight these programs as communities turn to longer-term recovery efforts.
For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit www.sba.gov/disaster or call our disaster assistance center at 1-800-659-2955.
America risks being "too timid to fail"October 31, 2012: 12:59 PM ET
Like other critical national resources, entrepreneurs deserve nurturing to be a vital and enduring force.
By John Doerr and Ted Schlein, contributors
FORTUNE -- As we fast approach the U.S. elections the rhetoric about the economy is hitting a fever pitch. It is important that policymakers, pundits and the public look past the polls to embolden our entrepreneurs...lest we become "too timid to fail."
Entrepreneurs are re-imagining and re-inventing everything from mobile phones to new businesses -- even whole industries. They are replacing the Old Internet of web sites and pages with a New Web connecting people and places. They are pushing computing, communications and services to the ubiquitous Cloud. They are replacing fossilized, carbon polluting energy with innovative, efficient, and renewable solutions. They are moving from "one drug or device fits all" to targeted therapies and from costly to accountable health care. They are even disrupting the bastions of traditional education -- K-12 through college -- with massively open online courses.
In the process, entrepreneurs are driving economic growth and prosperity. Entrepreneurs are and have always been America's greatest natural resource. Today venture capital-backed companies create 21% of GDP and have generated over 12 million U.S. jobs. But, like other critical national resources, entrepreneurs deserve nurturing to be a vital and enduring force.
Fundamental technological innovation -- from genomics to the Internet -- has always depended on four factors: Federal funding, great educational institutions, risk-taking entrepreneurs and venture capital.
For years most Federal research and loan programs have enjoyed bi-partisan support. However, in this election silly season those programs are being held political hostage. This is just wrong. If we are "too timid to fail" -- if we don't invest in grand challenges -- we will fail to seize the future. Instead, let's increase R&D funding at our great research institutions for what matters most. It makes no sense that today Americans spend more money each year on potato chips than on new energy research. Let's continue to make responsible, strategic investments in key areas of innovation and potential growth. And make sure that research gets applied through technology transfer from university labs to independent companies.
Make no mistake, while advocating investments in federal R&D we must rein in wasteful spending and make hard choices to balance the budget. A disciplined debt-reduction plan like the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles proposal is necessary. But note: no amount of budget cuts or tax increases will suffice without strong economic growth. That requires innovation and entrepreneurship together with targeted investments and tough reforms.
Further, for America to remain the world's Innovation Nation we need an educated, skilled workforce. We must have rigorous, high standards in education, for both students and teachers. We need a real education revolution with speed and at scale. Online learning can transform K-12 through college education. Imagine 100,000 more math teachers armed with Khan Academy courses in the classroom and at home. Imagine millions of community college students getting online skills training or Coursera courses from great universities. There are over three million open jobs in the U.S., unfilled for lack of qualified applicants.
We admit the world's best and brightest to our universities. Let's get them to stay in the U.S. and create jobs. According to a 2007 Duke Study, more than 25% of U.S. technology companies were started by immigrant entrepreneurs who have created 450,000 jobs and over $52 billion in sales. We should make it easier for future entrepreneurs to stay by stapling a green card to the diploma of every foreign national with an advanced degree in engineering or science. The U.S. Congress is debating this very proposal; passing legislation should be a top priority in the post-election lame duck session.
America has long been a nation of immigrants and inventors, of designers and doers. Let's re-commit to Federal funding for bold innovation without fearing failure. Let's drive high standards and outcomes in education. Let's commit to fiscal responsibility and smart investments. And let's staple green cards to diplomas, all so thousands more entrepreneurs grow jobs and win the future.
John Doerr and Ted Schlein are venture capitalists with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Menlo Park, CA.
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A client note sent to Growthink's Director of Engagement Management Brittany Lawson - way to go Ishan!
Making excuses instead of delivering results. “The economy is still in a downturn” and “Our market is going through a major period of upheaval” are both true statements. However, if you’re using them to explain why your business isn’t performing to its potential, you’re simply making an excuse. If those statements are your sole rationale, how do you explain Apple’s hockey-stick growth trajectory? What about your competitor’s increased market share? Stop pointing fingers and shoulder the responsibility. Figure out where your soft spots are and work tirelessly to harden them for battle..
Light work ethic. If your day begins at 9 am and ends promptly at 5 pm with a happy hour, you’ve got no chance in today’s world of dizzying speed. Three-martini lunches won’t get the job done either. While you’re relaxing and reading news on your iPad over a cup of coffee in your robe, someone else is out-hustling you. They’ll put a bullet in your company before you’ve finished that long weekend at your friend’s lake house. Work harder. Make your competitors really feel your presence as you make – and leave – your mark.
A lack of grit and determination. If you sulk in a corner when you’re turned down, there won’t be any room for you at the top. When you’re told “no,” remember that feedback is a gift. Use it to your advantage, deep in the trenches. Figure out how to tell your story better, make your relationships stronger, and get to a positive response faster. The best entrepreneurs are street fighters, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make their company thrive. As a leader, you must espouse this “down and dirty” mentality to your employees: if you haven’t exemplified this, why should they buy into it?
Wasting time. Don’t get me wrong, that picture is hilarious, and that YouTube clip had me rolling, too. Spending countless hours planning the holiday party will certainly make for a lovely evening. Take a step back and ask yourself how you’re spending your day. If you have a list of three major tasks that need to get done over the next 10, 30, 60 days, how are you prioritizing your time to make sure they’re completed to the best of your ability? Organize your day accordingly and focus on the tough stuff – the holiday party should be an afterthought, not because it’s not important, but because it’s not what’s keeping you up at night.
Lacking a commitment to excellence. We become most like the five people we surround ourselves most closely with, in our personal lives. Companies are no different – they’re only as strong as the weakest link. Hiring people with a shared sense of values is paramount: whether you’ve got five people on your team or 5,000, the people on your team are your biggest asset.
Settling. A so-so product that you know is only average (at best) should never leave your office. Demand better outcomes from your teams: people that you know can do better. If you continually push your teams to reach their full potential and seize every opportunity as if there won’t be another chance, your work product will continually improve, as will your strengths as a leader. As soon as you settle, you’ll be outdone by someone who hasn’t.
Blending in. Following the herd is a really simple way to be complacent, develop a ho-hum product, and establish zero sense of competitive advantage. If you want to set yourself apart, make sure you are zagging when everyone else is zigging. Your very first question when starting a business should be, “How am I different from my competitors? How can I set myself apart?” Until you have a strong answer for this question, don’t bother doing anything else.
Selfishness. Nobody became a billionaire without help along the way. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a business and solidify a leader’s place within it. Without this help (both in effort and finances), a successful person wouldn’t be where they are today. The world’s most successful have outwardly expressed gratitude for this assistance by giving back, now that they’re in a position to do so on a grand level. Many of the world’s richest individuals have signed the “Giving Pledge,” conceptualized by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. If you’re a startup without much disposable revenue to give charitably, consider spending a day with your team to help with a community service project. There are ways to be selfless, regardless of how thick your pocketbook might be. You can always do well by doing good.
Nobody got to the top of the Forbes 400 list by putting in minimal effort and crossing their fingers, hoping for a stellar result. By the same token, no company has been an “overnight” success – that myth is quickly dispelled by a ruthless attention to detail, work ethic of a boxer training to make weight, and commitment to thinking differently, never swaying from the vision. Envision what your own success story looks like, and seize every opportunity on the way to make that happen. What are you waiting for?
got it and I will sign and send back to you as soon as possible.Its been really great talking to you too, you have exceptionally been of much help. I have made three entrepreneur ventures without guidance and support. They didn't turn out so well. This time, with you, I feel more comfortable to know I have guidance. To me, the risk is much reduced.Many Thanks for your support so far. I look forward to a great success with you and your organisation.Thanks.
Make no mistake – both are hard to do. And both are amazingly important.
If you’re not tough enough, you can’t win.
It’s just that simple. You can design the best “business models”, create world-class ideas, and rally to your cause amazing advocates. But that doesn’t have much of anything to do with your likeliness of being successful.
“Ideas are only as good as you are tough enough to bring them to reality.”
That’s where start-ups and business leaders fail. They emulate the smart things that they read in magazines like INC and Fortune and in great books and blogs from leaders like Brad Feld and Fred Wilson. But they don’t live them.
And knowing isn’t the same as doing
It’s not the same as trying and failing. It’s not the same as figuring it out on your own. Thinking for yourself. Taking advice and ideas and “owning them”.
Reading words is a great start. It you aren’t learning - exploring and gaining new skills - then you aren’t going to get better.
But, you have to change. And change is hard.
Quality difference is the key to success.
You being different is what changes things. And not just being different to be spiteful. But being different because that change drives you closer to you goals. You need to change in order to be successful.
Once you realize that and start heading down that new path, you’ll realize that not everyone understands what you are doing — and “why” you are doing it. And since they don’t understand, they’ll tell you that you’re off-course. That you are doing something wrong. That you are making mistakes.
And you’re not. They’re wrong.
Which is why you need to ignore them.
You can take the time to explain and win them over or you can just execute. It’s usually easier to “do” than to explain and persuade. (And you can’t do one really well while attempting to do the other at the same time.)
Which means you have to make a decision. A tough decision. Do you convince or conquer? Flail or fight?
That’s a decision that you have to make each day of the year.
Each morning you have decide if you are going to be tough enough. To ignore the travelers on the path as you blaze a trail to where you want to be.
That decision is yours:
- Be tough. Hang in there. Learn from your mistakes. Do what is hard.
- Sometimes you need to ignore awesome, smart people on your way to success.
Excel at What Does Not Come Naturally: 7 Ways to Lead Better
It may seem counterintuitive, but you don't only want to lead with your strengths. Here's why and what you can do about it.
People often ask me, "How can I become a great leader?" I usually put the ball back in their court.
"What do you do really well?" I ask. "Where do your strengths lie and how are you using them to bring out the best in those you lead?"
Answers to these kinds of strengths questions usually come naturally. I'll often hear responses that reflect the connected, big-picture thinking of someone like Steve Jobs or the flexible nature of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who mentions the need to "refine your idea constantly" in the book, Leadership and the Art of Surfing.
But one thing that often surprises leaders--and I've talked to CEOs and high-level executives at large and small corporations throughout the world--is when I ask about their weaknesses:
"What are your biggest challenge areas?" I ask. "What would you look to improve?" "How do you use the most difficult aspects of yourself in leadership?"
To truly be a great leader, you can't just take advantage of your strengths. You also have to recognize your weaknesses, and learn how to make them benefit your particular leadership style. This will help you come across as authentic and competent.
As the Harvard Business School management guru John Kotter states, "Great leadership doesn't mean running away from reality...sharing difficulties can inspire people to take action that will make the situation better."
The reality is, as a leader, you can't be a one-trick pony. Core components of leadership are understanding your charges, communicating to them, and inspiring them to action, so you need to ensure you speak their language and don't simply rely on your own go-to ways of working. To put it more specifically, a message geared to your own preference for logic and data, for instance, will not resonate to a person who thinks in a more visceral world of collaboration, gut instinct, and people power.
It certainly isn't easy to lead through your weaknesses, but when done well it can be a coup.
I like to use the example of my friend and associate Matt who runs his own consulting firm and is a renowned speaker on leadership. Matt is as right-brained as it gets, with strong preferences for 'social' and 'conceptual' thinking. You can notice this about him immediately, along with his gregariousness. That said, Matt finds it challenging to think or behave in a 'structural' or process-oriented way. He realized after putting in a lot of time doing the things he loved but not always seeing the results he craved that something needed to change. Instead of simply doubling down on his strengths, he more closely examined what he could do better when it comes to operations and he came away with two big ideas:
- He brought in people around him (which he loves to do) who had strong preferences for structural thinking, and he now relies on them day-to-day.
- He put his head down and set aside time to do all his structured tasks at once.
Now, every client gets a detailed agenda at Matt's speeches and every event features a focused follow-up list of action items to ensure that a tangible return from his work is high. You would never know that he has challenges with structured work and that's because he's made a clear effort to go beyond his strengths and lead with his challenges.
Harvard Business Review echoes this strategy, describing that to get to great leadership, you need to "do the equivalent of cross-training" by developing strengths as well as boosting difficult areas.
Here's how to identify where your biggest challenge may be and how to overcome it as a leader:
1. If you have trouble making the case for an idea, you may not love--or be good at--analytical thinking. Consider an idea you have and ask yourself "What issue does this solve?" and "What will the benefit be to our specific objectives?"
2. If you're challenged by details, you likely don't have a preference for 'structural' thinking. Focus on laying out the plan five steps further than you think you need to. Ask "What is every contingency that someone would need to know?"
3. If you don't always think about the ramifications decisions have on others, you may not have an natural inclination for 'social' thinking. Focus on gaining consensus for an idea from employees, customers, or shareholders before pushing it through and ask things like "How will this impact you?"
4. If you don't naturally think big picture, you probably are not a 'conceptual' thinker. Focus on brainstorming how one idea connects to another and think about what the ramifications are a year or two or five down the road.
5. If you're naturally quiet, make sure you've set a time to express yourself, and convey your thoughts and emotions to others. If you're more gregarious, be sure you don't talk over those you lead.
6. If you're a natural peacekeeper, don't be afraid to push your ideas. Don't worry, you won't seem like a bully if you do it respectfully. On the other hand, if you're competitive and driving, make sure you don't bowl over others, but look to build consensus if possible.
7. If you like things focused and straightforward, know that change is constantly happening, and prepare for it. Be open to switching the plan at times. But, if you readily welcome change, make sure you offer your constituents real, valuable rationale as to why something should shift.
We all have unique qualities that come naturally and things we do well. Great leadership is about recognizing what we don't always do quite as well and working to improve.