VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis gave a joyride in his popemobile Wednesday to eight migrant children who recently arrived in Italy from Libya, in his latest gesture to show solidarity with asylum-seekers and those on society's margins.
Francis picked up the kids, who hail from Syria, Nigeria and Congo, at the start of his weekly general audience and zoomed around St.Read more on NewsOK.com
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It’s one of the questions that keeps budding entrepreneurs awake at night. In fact, the same question, in one form or another, keeps most entrepreneurs and business owners awake at night. Some are navigating the challenges that come with growth, some the changes in the competitive landscape, and others the changes in the economic climate.
For a startup, the biggest and probably the most common challenge is uncovering a sustainable business model. A business model that removes the risk and uncertainty associated with a startup, replacing it with the stability and profitability of a business.
This week I had the opportunity to speak with Marta Cielecka, founder of MyCuddle, a startup in Milan, Italy. Marta is passionate about creating dolls that are eco-friendly and anallergic; safe for the environment and safe for children with allergies. Her passion radiates throughout her website, telling the story of how she brings each unique, handmade doll to life with love.
Marta has done an excellent job of transforming her idea into a startup. Now, her challenge is to take her startup to the next level, to transform it into a viable business.
During our latest call, I shared some of the observations I’ve made working with successful entrepreneurs; the tools they use and how these tools contribute to their success. Here are some of the tools I believe every startup will find invaluable:
Creating a Vision
I recently published a post entitled Expanding Your Business, in which I described how Zingerman’s owners, Ari and Paul, use a technique called visioning to create a vision of the future for their business.
In creating a vision, you clarify what your business looks and feels like at a point in the future – perhaps in 5 – 10 years. The process involves committing your vision to paper, sitting down for 40 minutes, writing from the heart, and creating a vision for something great.
Need help creating your vision, try this technique from Zingerman’s:
Step 1. Pick your topic (in this case your business).
Step 2. Pick your time frame.
Step 3. Put together a list of “Prouds” (3-5 things you are particularly proud of, that are guaranteed to put you in a positive frame of mind).
Step 4. Write the first draft of the vision:
– Go for something great
– Write it from the heart
– Go quickly
– Use the “Hot Pen” technique
– Get Personal
Step 5. Review and redraft.
Step 6. More drafts.
Step 7. Get input from ACES.
Your vision will help keep your business true to your passion and values. Its purpose is to steer you clear of opportunities, relationships, and decisions that may erode your brand or dilute your core values.
Create a plan
Having a vision and carrying it around in your back pocket is one thing, but it’s not going to help you achieve your goals. To achieve your goals, you must translate your vision into an actionable plan. A plan that will take you, step-by-step, toward your goals.
This isn’t a 20 page strategy document that you put together and never look at again, it’s a 2 page actionable plan, that you stick on the wall above your desk and that keeps you focused on the tasks you must achieve to give your startup the traction it needs in order to become a viable business.
The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a set of 20 tools that help entrepreneurs follow through on their plan. It captures your core values, your marketing strategy, your core focus, and milestones for the year ahead.
As a startup, defining your target market is essential. Segment your market, select a beachhead market (the market you will enter first), create buyer personas, identify first customers, and map the process of acquiring the first customer.
One of the challenges that every startup faces is a limit of resources. Luckily, we live in era where tools like the internet and social media make customer research, customer engagement, and brand development infinitely easier and less expensive than startups faced a decade ago. If you have a tight marketing budget, use digital channels to tell your story and promote your brand.
If your beachhead market is local, look for opportunities to display your brand at exhibitions, at markets, at industry events. Identify online and offline groups that potential resellers or customers might be involved in. Try contributing to groups or attending events.
Your objective is to build a tribe; to keep telling your story to people that are inspired by it and who will become evangelists.
“It’s easy to have an idea for a business, the hard part is figuring out where to start once you have one. This book finally gives a Step #1. Whether you are new or practiced entrepreneur, this book brings clarity to the questions to ask and the steps to take.” – Christina Chase
A Final Word – Accountability
The difference between a successful entrepreneur and a less than successful entrepreneur comes down to getting the job done. Days and hours can be poured into planning and strategy development sessions, time that is simply wasted unless you actually execute your plan.
When you are getting started, it helps to have a person that will hold you to account, an accountability partner. This is a person who is objective, a person who isn’t scared to call you out, a person that takes helping you seriously. Once you’ve found the right partner, work on establishing an accountability schedule – daily, weekly, or monthly, at minimum monthly.
A check-in might take the form of an email, a phone call, or a video call. It doesn’t have to be long. The objective of the call is to have you feel accountable for getting through a set of goals you need to achieve to move your business forward. Knowing that you have to account for your progress should should keep you on your toes.
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Lebanese activists chant slogans during an anti-government protest in front the main Lebanese government building, downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Organizers of the “You stink” protests that have captivated the Lebanese capital postponed anti-government demonstrations set for Monday evening after a night of violent clashes with police during which dozens of protesters and police officers were wounded. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko hands over a flag of a military unit as a soldier kisses the flag before a military parade on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day in the capital Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Speaking at the parade, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine would continue to increase its troop numbers in order to fend off the attacks of separatist rebels. (AP Photo/Mykola Lazarenko, Pool)Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)Disaster response personnel walk next to the wreckage of an Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison aircraft that crashed in Soibugh on the outskirts of Srinagar on Aug. 24, 2015. The pilot bailed out and was rescued by an army helicopter near the crash site, after the aircraft went down on a routine training flight, officials said. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images) NASA astronauts shot this unusual photograph of a red sprite above the white light of an active thunderstorm. The sprite was 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) away, high over Missouri or Illinois; the lights of Dallas, Texas appear in the foreground. (NASA)A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Aug. 24, 2015, in New York. As the global economy continues to react from events in China, markets dropped significantly around the world on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped over 1000 points in morning trading. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (L-R) French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Off-duty serviceman Spencer Stone next to off-duty serviceman Alek Skarlatos on Aug. 24, 2015, during a reception at the Elysee Palace in Paris, to be awarded with France’s top Legion d’Honneur medal in recognition of their bravery after they overpowered the train attacker. (Michel Euler/AFP/Getty Images) Conservation activists hold banners as they demonstrate in Nairobi, on Aug. 24, 2015, against the release on bail of suspected ringleader of an ivory smuggling gang Feisal Mohammed Ali on Aug. 21 by a court in Mombasa, where he has been in jail since December last year after he was arrested by Interpol agents in Dar es Salaam. “Ivory kingpin” Ali is charged with possession of and dealing in elephant tusks weighing more than two tonnes — equivalent to at least 114 slaughtered elephants and worth an estimated $4.5 million (4.2 million euros). (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) A woman squats in a window of a badly flooded hall after strong rains hit Shanghai on Aug. 24, 2015. Heavy rains brought by a cold front and enhanced by passing Typhoon Goni, currently near Japan’s Okinawa islands, brought flooding to many districts across Shanghai. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) A boy from Syria standing at the entrance of a tent cries and calls for his mother in the port of Mytilene, on the Greek Aegean island of Lesbos, on Aug. 24, 2015. With 1200 to 2000 people reaching the shores of the island in inflatable boats from Turkey on a daily basis, both of the island’s transit camps are full, and many migrants choose to sleep in the port and parks. An aid groupd warned on August 18 that an unprecedented spike in refugee arrivals on Greek shores is pushing the resort island of Lesbos to “breaking point”. In the week prior to that alone, 20,843 migrants—virtually all of them fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq—have arrived in Greece, which has seen around 160,000 migrants land on its shores since January. (Achilleas Zavallis/AFP/Getty Images) A baby and a woman, framed by a life buoy, who were rescued together other migrants, wait to disembark from the Irish Navy vessel LE Niamh at the Messina harbor in Sicily, Italy, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Italy’s coast guard says it coordinated the rescue of some 4,400 migrants in a single day, Sunday, a record-setting number, as smugglers took advantage of idea sea conditions off Libya to launch a fleet of overcrowded, unseaworthy boats. (AP Photo/Carmelo Imbesi) Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, Pa. Kane is accused of leaking secret grand jury information to the press, lying under oath and ordering aides to illegally snoop through computer files to keep tabs on an investigation into the leak. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) James Stumbo (2nd L) and Kevin Norton (R) both of Iowa, stand in court during their arraignment at Boston Municipal Court in Boston, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, with their lawyers Steven Goldwyn (L) and John O’Neill, Jr., (2nd R). Stumbo and Norton were arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and other firearms charges after allegedly threatening the Pokémon World Championships at Hynes Convention Center in Boston. (Chitose Suzuki/Boston Herald via AP, Pool) Palestinian boys ride a donkey to go to school on the first day of the new school year on Aug. 24, 2015, in the West Bank village of Susya, south-east of Hebron. (Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)
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BARI, Italy — The Greek coast guard says the death toll from a fire on board a Greek ferry in the Adriatic between Albania and Italy has increased to five….
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