The Pros and Cons of Starting a Business While Having a Job

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If you’re stuck doing some black and white Dilbert-like office drudgery, it can be hard to imagine enjoying a life of color and enjoyment outside of that corporate monotony. Sure, you have your own idea for a business, but you’re sure that you’ll never be able to follow through on it. After all, when you’re trapped in the endless cycle that is living that Dolly Parton-esque 9-to-5 life, you’re only at work for those eight hours, but it can feel as though it’s taking up all your energy, 24 hours a day.

Energy-draining and soul-sucking jobs like that make the dream of starting your own business all the more enticing. You have a dream and you want to escape the day-to-day drudgery of your day job – but is starting a business while working worth it?

Pro: An Informed Decision

This is a big decision, possibly one of the biggest you will make in your life. You thus need to make sure it’s as informed a decision as possible. Working your current job while looking into and developing your business plans can help you determine whether the latter is sustainable and best for your economic future.

Con: Splitting Commitments and Energy

As you already know all too well: you only have so much energy in your reserves. Trying to work your present job while likewise trying to start a whole new business can be completely draining. If you’re already tired from working your present job, ask yourself seriously whether you can or want to work a second job in starting your new company.

Pro: Networking Potential

No matter the industry or your role in it, business is all about networking. If you work both jobs at once, you will have that much wider of a net when it comes to looking into different networking options.

Con: Splitting Your Focus

At the same time, starting a new company requires a great deal of focus. Working two jobs at once means splitting that focus, and that can be quite costly for both your present job performance and your future business success.

Weighing these pros and cons, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what to do.

from Dan Idhenga | Business & Entrepreneurship

Do Not Confuse Leadership and Friendship

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It is a fallacy to think that leadership necessitates being a cold, emotionally distant individual above it all. On the contrary – one of the most important ingredients in creating a positive corporate culture is connecting with your employees. It is by walking and fighting amongst his men that Henry V in Shakespeare’s play is able to sell the idea that he and his loyal English troops are a true “band of brothers,” able to take on any challenge together, no matter how big. On the battlefield, onstage and, yes, in the boardroom, a sense of camaraderie is vital to success.

That being said, there’s a difference between friendship and leadership. It’s something Henry V himself rubs up against in 2 Henry IV, famously banishing his roguish friend Falstaff once he assumes the throne.

Friendship and Leadership – how can we keep one from spoiling the other?

Make Roles Clear

The biggest mistake in this regard is to not make friendship and leadership clear from the outset. You need to have it completely understood between yourself and your friend what respective roles you hold, and, thus, who the boss is. You never want to find yourself in a position where friends think they’re “on par” professionally with the leaders. 

Make Priorities Clear

You also need to make perfectly clear what your priorities are at work. Friends have to know that during work hours, at least, you are prioritizing other things besides your friendship. It’s nothing personal, you just need to be able to focus and give your business work your undivided attention as a leader during work time.

It goes both ways. You also need to be able to put aside work while you’re out of the office and treat your friends as friends – or you’ll soon find yourself short of them.

This can be especially difficult for some given the fact that it naturally means prioritizing work over friendship – but that’s the point. You need to have this hierarchy of needs and workplace roles worked out and clearly defined. 

The more fuzziness you have here, the greater the threat you face to both your leadership and friendship.

from Dan Idhenga | Leadership

How to Avoid Harmful Leadership Situations

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If you’re a sports fan, you know all too well the lasting harm that can be done to a team from having the wrong coach, manager, GM, or owner at the helm. It can be enough to leave even the most successful franchise in a quagmire for decades.

If you’re a businessperson, you know the dangers of that situation as well. We’ve all seen bad leadership situations sour otherwise-prosperous companies or keep promising startups from ever truly taking off. You don’t want that to happen to your company, which is why you’ll want to be on the lookout for and, if necessary, root out harmful leadership situations such as these.

Bad Fits

Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of the wrong fit. To once again return to the sports fan well, we can all think of coaches and players who were great in one city, signed a big deal to go elsewhere, and saw things devolve into a debacle.

That can happen in the business world, too. Talent doesn’t always translate from one corporate system to another. It’s nobody’s fault.

The key is to know when to pull the plug. Don’t stubbornly cling to a situation for too long simply “hoping” it’ll yield the results you’d imagined. 

Toxic Leadership

You’ve also probably heard of cases of locker rooms spiraling into drama and chaos. More seriously, instances of racism and the type of sexism #MeToo is trying to root out have made headlines over the past few years. No amount of talent is worth toxicity. If a leader is displaying, spreading, or creating toxicity, they need to be removed before it spreads.

Unsupported Leadership

On the flip side, an unsupported leader is a weak leader. 

No matter the field, results take time to achieve. Being impatient with or otherwise prematurely questioning your managers will simply undermine them, destroying their authority and any chance they have to succeed. Before you do anything rash, make sure you take the time to talk with your manager in person if you have any questions or concerns about their leadership style or direction.

Any equation for success includes quality leadership, so take the time to avoid these common pitfalls.

from Dan Idhenga | Leadership

Why Better Business Bureau Reviews Still Matter

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Once upon a time, the Better Business Bureau was a standard by which businesses were measured, and businesses knew it. They sought good reviews and knew how important it was to secure them. Today, SEO articles and evaluations rule the web.

Even so, even in the SEO world, the BBB remains as vital for the practice of business evaluation as ever – and here’s why.

SEO and BBB 

With so much attention paid to SEO these days, it can be easy to lose sight of other metrics by which to measure business success or, indeed, evaluate the veracity of said businesses. Just because something tracks well in the SEO game doesn’t necessarily mean it’s of the highest quality. There are plenty of SEO snakes out there who have learned how to turn this tool to their favor and who are more than happy to game the SEO rankings with slick content, only for their actual product or services to be anything but satisfactory.

BBB Accreditation

It is for that reason that BBB accreditation still carries heft. We live in an accreditation-heavy age, and having every bit of bragging power and any certification possible can help your chances among discerning clientele. On the flip side, if you are one of those discerning clientele, you’ll be able to get better advice as to the quality and trustworthiness of the businesses in question with the help of BBB reviews. 

That matter of trust is a big one. You don’t want to buy products or services only to find out that the seller has been less than trustworthy about the veracity of their claims or quality of their products. BBB reviews can help you avoid such wastes of time and money.

Think of it a little bit like awards given to quality vintage wines. No matter how slick the bottling and label design may be, there is a big difference between Two Buck Chuck and a fine cabernet sauvignon. Whether you’re a wine snob or just someone looking for a good high-quality bottle, those awards can be a good metric for judging. The same goes for BBB, with their reviews helping you avoid sour grapes and stick to options par excellence instead.

BBB thus continues to stand for independence and quality in business evaluation.

from Dan Idhenga | Business & Entrepreneurship

Actions for Business Success

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If you have a dream to start a business, you might be wondering how you can make it a reality. You’ve read your fair share of self-help articles in this regard, but you are still uncertain as to what to do and how you can best realize your dreams.

Starting a business is an active process, so it’s vital that you take certain actions, mental and otherwise, to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in your new venture.

Cultivate a Clear Vision

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for would-be entrepreneurs is taking those stray thoughts and musings about what they’d like to do and shaping them into a comprehensive company outline and business strategy. A clear vision is an absolute requirement for any semblance of business success. In the same way that a writer needs to take their ideas, put them down on paper, and then set about drafting and redrafting them like mad, so too do you need to proceed from vagaries to a vision by drafting your plan.

Commit to Your Passion

One of the most important things to consider when starting any new venture is whether you have the passion to pull you through – because you’ll need it. Starting a new business means putting in the equivalent of a full-time job’s worth of hours or more, week after week. It means carrying the weight, taking the blame, and being in on every decision. It means doing everything to reach your goal, so you need to make sure it’s a goal you are passionate about obtaining.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Gratification

We all like to take breaks and enjoy the fruits of our labor. That’s fine, and even healthy. What’s considerably more problematic is when that comes at the expense of long-term goals.

Balancing short-term and long-term gratification is one of the hardest parts of starting a new business. Sacrifices in short-term enjoyment sometimes need to be made. Again, however, if you are doing it in service of a greater goal about which you are truly passionate, it will be a sacrifice worth making.

With these actions and considerations in mind, you’ll have a better idea as to how to conceive of and pursue business success.

from Dan Idhenga | Business & Entrepreneurship

Why Some Leaders Are Left Behind

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You put in your hours and effort day after day at work. You give your all to the company. You’re also the one that’s consistently passed over for promotion. What are you doing wrong?

It’s a sad fact that far too often, deserving managers are passed over simply because they fail to stand out to management. They’ve done their research, ticked all the boxes for what you’d want in a leader from a personality standpoint, and yet never seem to be able to make things come together. They may be able to advance the company’s fortunes, but they’re not able to do so for their own.

What could be causing this, and what can you do to change things?

Leaders at Risk

To begin with, you need to be aware that some fields are more susceptible to being overlooked than others. In particular, if you work in a managerial role that emphasizes marketing or sales, especially for large chains, you are at an elevated risk of being overlooked compared to other managers.


For one thing, chains are, by their very nature, massive and somewhat impersonal. Even multi-national companies that make the effort to try and build a positive culture among team members still conglomerates. They can’t possibly keep track of every last manager at hundreds, perhaps thousands of locations in multiple countries.

By contrast, startups and tech and education firms have a tendency to be more aware of the personnel they have on hand due to their smaller size, more specialized nature of their work, or both.

Failing to Deliver Big

The biggest reason you might be overlooked is simply failing to deliver. How many times have we seen middling quarterbacks overlooked or outright replaced after falling short too many times?

There’s also the question of production – less isn’t more. You don’t want check downs, you want touchdowns, not 5-yard gains but 90-yard bombs – or the business equivalent thereof.

Don’t let yourself be overlooked and underrated. Make sure you stand out, get the job done, and you might just be the MVP manager of your company yet.

from Dan Idhenga | Leadership

Educational Content Is Good for Business

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As the saying goes, Knowledge is Power – but for whom?

In the business world, the answer is for both consumers and customers alike.

On the consumer side of things, it can help them to have a clearer idea as to the products and services offered and whether or not they suit their needs. This, in turn, gives them a greater sense of confidence when it comes to determining whether or not they want to purchase your product – or, indeed, what your product even is and what sets it apart.

Meanwhile, for companies, educating consumers about these principles can be a great way of informing them of a product’s virtues without it feeling like a hard sell. By educating their clientele on the virtues of a given product, businesses can give potential customers a better idea as to why they should purchase their products over those offered by competitors.

Educating consumers really is a win-win move.

So, how can you best go about creating content which will educate your consumer base?

SEO Articles

One of the best ways you can educate your consumer base on those virtues is via SEO articles. These articles are naturally going to get traction anyway, if they are constructed well, due to their search engine optimized nature, and that added attention given to a feature of a product or aspect of your service can give clients a clearer view of what to expect.

Content with Solutions

We consume certain products with an eye towards solving problems. If you buy tools from a hardware store, for example, you are doing so with an eye towards building or repairing things, and you thus need tools that can help prove a solution to your construction and repair needs.

Content with the goal of educating consumers works the same way. You need to present your products or services as an organic solution to consumers’ problems. Backlinks are your friend here. They can subtly link consumers to your company in an article that is otherwise geared toward educating them on a given issue.

Done tactfully, educational articles can be a smart move for both companies and consumers alike.

from Dan Idhenga | Business & Entrepreneurship

Show Your Team That You Value Them

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No one makes it to the top alone, you need help. That means you need team members, which means you need to show them that you care.

One of the biggest mistakes managers and CEOs make is overlooking the people in the trenches. Without your team, you’re nothing, and you need to show them you know that. What’s more, showing your team that you value them can be a great morale booster. People like to know that the work they do matters to people, not least to the people employing them. 

Show, Don’t (Just) Tell

It’s true of good writing, and it’s true of good leadership – show, don’t tell. Of course, this in and of itself is somewhat simplistic, as you sometimes need to outright tell the audience certain facts in writing, and it doesn’t hurt to explicitly tell your employees you value them.

But telling without showing is shallow. You need to back it up with action. That means you need to actually show your team you care, which in turn means knowing what you can do that would resonate with them.

All of this, in turn, points to the real key here – knowing your team well enough to know what they value that you can give to show how much you value them.

Doesn’t that mean caring about your team in the first place?

Team Rewards

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. Rewarding teams is a staple of corporate culture. Not only is it gratifying, but it tacitly rewards teamwork, which is always a good way to build a positive corporate culture.

Individual Rewards

For as great as team rewards are, however, it’s just as important to recognize the individuals that make up the greater whole. A huge part of showing people that you truly value them is by recognizing them as people, and not just employees. Take the time to interact with your employees on a personal level.

If you value the future of your company, you’ll want to make sure to show the people that make it happen you value them every day.

from Dan Idhenga | Leadership

Ways Leaders Can Remedy Occupational Burnout

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What do promising pitchers, opera singers, and business professionals all have in common?

They are all far too susceptible to burning themselves out early, or wrecking their careers later.

Pitchers are throwing harder and faster than ever before, which puts more strain on their bodies, thus leading to more of them tearing ligaments and requiring surgery, losing them significant playing time. Opera singers are cautioned against trying roles which are too far out of their range or otherwise focusing only on roles which are “too heavy” too early. A lot of heavy soprano work early in an opera career can blow out a beautiful voice far too early.

Then there are career professionals, struggling against occupational burnout.

Here are a few strategies to help you deal with burnout.

Honesty Helps

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one in the first place. If you are an employee suffering burnout, try telling your boss. This can be terrifying – what if they tell you to “work harder, or else,” or simply fire you on the spot for “complaining?” The fact is bosses that act this way in response to the occasional polite, mild statement that someone’s being overworked is likely not a boss for whom you want to work.

If you are the boss in this situation, remember – having talented pitchers overthrow can ruin them forever, and overworking talented employees like a slave driver will just lose you employees and respect among those remaining.

Search for the Cause

Instead of being impatient with overworked employees, try and find the source of the problem. Maybe you can shift things around to try and address the root cause and ease the burden on that employee without creating slack for others. Maybe someone else is ready for a promotion or could use a bit more to do, and they could assist this burnt-out employee.

Seek Long-Term Solutions

As a business person, you know the importance of long-term solutions. An employee being burnt out by way too much work week after week won’t be cured by one afternoon out for lunch. Don’t use half-measures. Try and address the problem in a long-term sense.

In so doing, you’ll be doing yourself, your employees, and anyone with whom they work a big favor.

from Dan Idhenga | Leadership

Prove the Value of Business Development

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If you have ever found yourself in the position of having to sell a company on the concept of business development, chances are you have been asked one question in particular:

“What is business development?”

Part of the reason why this question can be hard to answer even for people who work in the industry is that “business development” can almost sound a little redundant. After all, we already associate “business” with “development.” What type of business endeavor doesn’t emphasize or strive for development?

That’s why it is helpful to note that business development is concerned with specific forms of development, and how it can create sustainable growth for your business.

What does this add up to, and why is it valuable?

Long-Term Development

The big selling point of business development is the fact that it focuses on developing your company for the long term. Other forms of business development focus on short-term or one-time gains. This can help, of course, and they have their place in a company’s development plan. 

In sports, however, while free-agent signings can give a huge boost and help teams win, for true sustained success, you need to build for the long term by developing a core of young players.

The same holds true for businesses. Short-term gains are great, but to really succeed, you need long-term development to succeed.

And just how can you do that?

Business Development Strategies

Some of the most effective business development strategies include the following:

  • Encouraging companies to think more about the “why” of their actions, thus creating a greater degree of introspection and forethought when planning out strategies
  • Making sure long-term planning is a priority, with targeted goals stratified along the way so short-term progress can be met and checked as part of a grander overall plan
  • Explaining these principles to management in such a way as to encourage their endorsement of and engagement in the process

With this process in mind, you’ll be able to develop your business strategy with long-term goals in mind in such a way as to prioritize sustainable growth, better understand where, how, and why you’re gaining ground, and thus figure out what you can do with that information.

from Dan Idhenga | Business & Entrepreneurship

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