Jump-Start Your Week: Monday Motivation at the Hub!

On Motivation Mondays, community businesspeople as well as Adams Hub clients will be able to sit down, one-on-one, with Diane Dye Hansen, Chief Inspiration Officer of What Works Coaching and CarsonNow.org Columnist, and set a course for a successful week. Everyone needs to start the week off on the right foot–it doesn’t matter if you are a CEO, business leader, entrepreneur, manager, or an employee at in a local business. Yet most of us end up simply reacting to the events of our week rather than driving toward our goals and focusing time in our areas of highest priority. You’ve probably about the importance of focus. A mindful plan of action for your week will pay off in higher productivity, steady progress on your big goals, and greater satisfaction in your work.

During your Motivation Monday meeting, you and Diane will look at your week, calendar out your activities, and identify opportunities for growth. You’ll prepare for your challenges and Diane will help you build in touchpoints for growth and success. During your intensive 30-minute session, Diane will do all this with you and help you set an intention to keep you going. This will allow you to capitalize on opportunities and keep your motivation strong all week long.

Come see Diane starting February 6 from 10-2…your first two sessions are free!

Innovator Interview: Justin Huntington, DRI researcher and MapWater co-founder

Read our blog, 8 Daily Habits that Boost Productivity

 

INTERVIEW: Dr. Justin Huntington of MapWater

How did MapWater come into being?

justin-speaking-at-googles-earth-engine-2016-user-summit

Dr. Huntington of the (co-founder of MapWater) giving a presentation at Google’s Earth Engine 2016 User Summit.

Water and agriculture in the western U.S. are multi-billion dollar resources that are central to the regional economy and future development. An important component of water development, management, and sustainability in the western U.S. is a detailed accounting of historical and current water use from irrigated agriculture. There is a great need for accurate, defensible, and timely maps of water use that are summarized on a field-by-field basis–the spatial scale at which water rights are managed. MapWater is a new company founded by researchers at the Desert Institute that provides satellite-based field scale water use and vegetation vigor products using multiple NASA and non-NASA earth observation platforms and spatial data-sets. These products can be used by water and natural resource agencies to support day-to-day decision making, long-term water resource planning and management, hydrologic studies, and obligations for water governance and interstate agreements.

 

Why do you do what you do?

Helping to better manage and protect natural resources using new satellite and cloud computing is quite exciting and inspirational. Just a few years ago making field-scale water use and vegetation vigor maps was very labor intensive and expensive. Now days we can make maps in seconds compared to days or weeks.

What was the most exciting development for you in 2016?

The use of cloud computing to quickly make maps and data summaries that are easily assessible to end users via a web browser.

What lies ahead for 2017?

We are working with several government and NGOs to develop products that best suit their needs.

How has your experience at Adams Hub contributed to your success?

Adams Hub has provided the support and environment to accelerate research to , and development of a sustainable model.

Contact Dr. Huntington at JustinH@.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs Assembly Carson: Where do you want to go in 2017?

Local entrepreneurs can begin their year on the right foot: Entrepreneurs Assembly (EA) Carson starts the New Year on a new schedule: the second Wednesday of the month from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Entrepreneurs, , small businesses, even people working on a new business idea are welcome. There is no charge to participate, and meetings are held at The Studio at Adams Hub, 177 W. Proctor, in Carson City.

EA is a Nevada non-profit whose mission is growing opportunity and prosperity throughout the state through entrepreneurship and . There are now thriving chapters in Reno, South Lake and Incline. EA also launches chapters in 2017 at UNLV and Henderson, Nevada.

City officials and local business experts meet with a group of visiting Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative fellows at the Adams Hub for Innovation in Carson City, Nev. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016.  Photo by Cathleen Allison

Entrepreneurs Assembly Meeting at The Studio at Adams Hub. Photo by Cathleen Allison

During each meeting, round tables facilitated by experienced volunteer business who act as a “virtual business incubator” in which participants work on their business, not in their business. Confidentiality is key, as members discuss their business . Mentors and peers alike join in the lively interactions, and the formulates a plan of action for the next 30 days. (EA is not a or leads group, though networking happens and business leads often occur.)

“The beauty of this format is that it creates accountability for entrepreneurs, who are generally accustomed to going it alone,” says Matt Westfield, the founder of EA. “This helps keep them on track, moving forward, and making progress. Just as important, our members are able to discuss challenges and concerns that they may not even share with their family members. Our motto is founders helping founders.

Since its inception in 2011, EA has provided support to over 1,000 Nevada entrepreneurs.

To participate, RSVP to grow@adamshub.com or call 775.222.0001.  You’re also welcome to simply show up on the evening of the meeting.

 

 

8 daily habits that boost productivity and reduce stress

For , self-management is one of the keys to success. Not all of us are “monomaniacs on a mission,” like an Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, so most of us exist in that space between wanting to accomplish our goals and wanting to have a life. With the ubiquity of technology, we can work anytime and anywhere, so we do. Entrepreneurs frequently admit that we’re the worst bosses we ever had.

Goals are crucial, but it’s our daily habits that enable us to reach them. During the years that I ran two companies and oversaw 50+ employees, I learned a some best practices that were powerful boosters, not to mention sanity-savers.

1. Don’t start your day with email. If you do, other people’s priorities (and crises) become your own. Reserve the first hour of your day, when you’re freshest, for tasks that require concentration, creativity, or both.

2. Focus on accomplishing just three key things a day. Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach says this is about all we ever manage to do anyhow, and trying to accomplish more sets us up for failure. (If you’re Elon, you’re allowed 100 things a day.) Focusing on three key things helps you focus and provides that all-important sense of accomplishment.

ferriss-quote3. At the end of the day, write down what you’ve accomplished. There’s nothing more dispiriting and de-energizing than looking at a list of things to do that’s as long as your arm, and then adding something to it. Take a minute at the end of the day to write down what you actually did. This prevents you from focusing only on what’s left to do.

4. Move all the items that you can from your “to do” list to your calendar. This is a tried and true technique that really works. It keeps your to-do list from reaching terrifying proportions while it allocates time to the items on it–and that enables you to visualize exactly what you can (and can’t) do.

5. Delegate that! I consulted with many company owners who claimed that delegation “didn’t work,” as an excuse for why they were so overworked and underproductive. Most bosses never learn that there are two distinct transactions involved in an effective delegation: you need both the delegee’s understanding of the task being delegated (can they do it?) and their agreement (will they do it?) Nail down both and you’re golden.

6. Set a brisk operational tempo. Verne Harnish’s classic book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits prescribes a rhythm for business operations that generates a sense of purposeful urgency (not the more popular and widely-used fear and hysteria.) In this system, the rhythm builds steadily from day to week to month to quarter to year to years.

  • Daily: A minutes-long “huddle” in which team members participate in a quick discussion of their top priorities for the day (see previous habit)
  • Weekly: the tempo continues with a one-hour weekly meeting (we changed the name of ours from “operations meeting” to “progress meeting.”) We started those with a quick round-robin of “good news” and “acknowledgements.” As leaders, it’s important for us to make sure we look back at what we’ve accomplished, rather than focus on the stuff that remains to be done.
  • Quarterly: half-day sessions to review progress toward our goals and plan next steps. We conducted these as off-site mini-retreats. This was time to step outside of our daily routine and get strategic.

7. Revisit your goals daily. Remember your awesome strategic plan for 2016? Yeeaaaah. Harnish specializes in fast-growing “Gazelle” companies and offers a famous “One page Strategic Plan” which is one of the most practical and actionable (not to mention free!) tools I ever came across. It enables you to take your company’s long-term BHAG and break it all the way down into quarterly bite-sized chunks, on a simple chart that everyone on the team can read at a glance. While his book explains how to use the plan, he also offers seminars on the topic. Thousands of companies swear by it.

8. Use Different Days in Different Ways. When I first encountered the Strategic Coach I had a 24/7 work lifestyle and so did virtually every I knew in Silicon Valley. I’d just met a terrific guy, but after a month of dating, he told me flat-out, “You don’t have time for a relationship.” Fortunately, I was just about to start attending Strategic Coach sessions.

Dan Sullivan had us divide our week into three distinct days: Focus Days, Buffer Days and Free Days. A Focus Day is one spent 80% in your area of “genius,” activities that you do better than anyone else.  A Free Day is a 24-hour period in which you do not do any work, talk about work, or think about work. (If a family member asks you how your is going, you pleasantly remind them that it’s your Free Day and you’ll have to get back to them. You’ll be surprised at how quickly others around you get trained.) A Buffer Day is when you do things like email, meetings and, well, the stuff that occupies most “normal” work days–and importantly, get ready to enjoy a peaceful Free Day or rock a super-productive Focus Day.

My Free Days enabled me to invest in my relationship and I ended up marrying aforementioned Terrific Guy. Even if you only start with one Free Day per month, the experience is incredibly liberating and rewarding. The hardest days to carve out were Focus Days. Even with 20% of the time allocated to non-Focus interruptions, it’s can be hard to get back on track. You may want to spend your Focus Day out of the office.

As entrepreneurs know, there’s no shortage of good ideas out there. The difference is execution. Execution requires discipline–and good daily work habits are the way vision becomes reality.

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Your Business with Strategic Alliances: the Basics

One of the most effective business-development strategies for startups is a process that’s employed by mid-size to large companies every day in the United States. It’s the use of strategic alliances.

I hesitate to call them “strategic partnerships” as many do, because they’re not really partnerships per se. A partnership denotes shared risk and shared reward, but this isn’t usually the case. Typically, the parties in a strategic alliance will keep the relationship at arm’s length until the comfort level, expectations, and rewards of the relationship become evident.

Strategic alliances are business relationships that are usually built with no money or investment of capital.

Typical goals:

  • Expand visibility in a new market sector
  • Confer legitimacy or prestige to the parties, especially when one is new or unknown

A strategic alliance must be a win-win, but the way each party “wins” can be quite different. Strategic alliances are most beneficial and impactful when they are built between businesses with complimentary offerings, that serve the same markets and customers. They work best when they consist of unrelated offerings that together create a synergy.

So how does this differ from sales and marketing? First and foremost, this is definitely not about selling to other people’s customers. The quickest way to kill a strategic alliance is to treat it like your new sales channel. It’s about building relationships and business development. It’s a matter of having a vision for your organization and identifying which resources can aid the strategy. What other organizations can be aided by what we do? How can our products or services help others?

Startups and small businesses have a tough row to hoe to gain traction and customers in competitive markets. Throwing money at the market is one way companies try to overcome the deficiencies, but startups rarely have that option. Even if they did, success depends on how and where the dollars are spent and the metric(s) utilized to measure it. Most startups and small businesses don’t have endless amounts of cash to spend on marketing, nor can they effectively measure which piece of the marketing and communications budget actually creates the greatest ROI. In my startup companies, we always look early on for powerful strategic alliances to help drive our agenda, identifying other non-conflicting agendas in the same marketplace. We create a more dynamic message and/or solution, and we do that on a shoestring.

Here’s an example, one we’re working on right now for my new software company. In the new company we’ve identified some real problems in the boutique hotel industry, and it’s easily costing small hotel owners tens of thousands of dollars per year and up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to rectify these, or upgrade. One way to get customers in the target market is to start cold-calling hotels that fit the profile we’ve identified. Anyone who has ever cold-called a market knows just how hard that is to get anyone to even listen to you, much less buy from you. The odds are in the low 2% range, which means that for every 100 calls made, only 2 will result in an appointment or sale. Those are some rough odds for anyone in this era of small business customer acquisition, and phone screening.

Our primary strategy is to align with the organizations that cater to this particular industry. It does help that in this case we have a thirty-year relationship with several hoteliers, and know the founder of an industry association that includes a membership of 20,000 small-hotel chains all around the world. We’ve pinpointed something of value for the association, are building it, and providing it to the membership as a value-add to their base dues. Then (ta-da!) there are two more tiers of premium products that will be available for the members at higher price points, providing services that tether us to the customer base in long-term ways.

Why is it important to identify key players, associations and memberships within your particular industry? There are many reasons, but one of the best is creating a legitimate one-to-many relationship.  Other parallel reasons for pursuing the associations and memberships in a particular market are to create parallel legitimacy with a recognized or established organization. Being able to use of share their brand alongside your brand is a powerful message to would-be customers and other alliances.

When we founded the non-profit Entrepreneurs Assembly (www.EA-NV.org)  five years ago, it was established to assist entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs in honing their business models and keeping them on track in 30 day intervals. Early on, we established strategic alliances to provide funnels  for the programs and legitimacy for the unique and valuable things we were doing to create and grow businesses. We worked with the folks in Reno at EDAWN, and provided them with a key entrepreneurial metric they did not have. They helped us with marketing and a bit of funding which continues to this day. We strategic-alliance-imagealso knew early on that the university was key to many aspects of our programs and their success. Our educational courses have been accredited now for several years and 20% of our EA membership are students and former students all of whom are now building fantastic companies right here in northern Nevada, instead of moving over the hill to work for Google.

In launching EA in Incline Village, we knew that working with SNC was critical to the equation. They have an entrepreneurial program up there, but not a community outreach mechanism, which is what we have. I spoke to my pal Kendra whom I’ve worked with for years in business plan competitions. She was excited to launch, so we did, but we couldn’t have done it without the critical alliance in Incline!

Now here we are in Carson City, where we’ve been working strategically with Adams Hub for innovation to build a culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration in Carson City. This entails working closely with NNDA and other local entities to create a collaborative network of businesspeople who can help each other and drive fundamental success.

No organization can operate solely on its own. All of them need resources, networks, customers, and strategic alliances. The alliances help each entity accomplish more than it could on its own, tap into new markets, create new synergies, and most importantly help organizations thrive and prosper. It works!

Embracing Entrepreneurship at Christmas

a christmas tree farm in oregon

We are beyond excited for the holiday season! Entrepreneurship is an opportunity no matter the time of year, and to prove it we are highlighting a festive start-up business idea! Although the possibility of operating a Christmas Tree farm is a distant dream for most of us, the facts of the business are intriguing. Take a look at this informative article!

WiCis wins international honor for its I-Streme App

On November 15, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, The Palm Dubai, Adams Hub coworking member company WiCis received the Thuraya 2016 Innovation Award for Best App. The Tahoe-area company received the international honor for its newly-launched WiCis Sports I-Streme App, a disruptive technology for the outdoors which promises to render satellite messengers and sports watches obsolete. I-Streme works anywhere on the planet with WIFI, 3G, 4G or satellite. Its purpose is to “monitor, share and protect” by transmitting data about the user’s geolocation, altitude and speed, as well as key biometrics.

Thuraya, a leading mobile satellite communications company, serves global customers that include industry leaders from sectors such as energy, media, marine, government, and NGOs. Thuraya’s technology has been embraced by adventure travel and extreme sports enthusiasts.

“The awards are a great catalyst for the creation of new ideas, products and applications, because they draw upon the creative skills of our development partners,” said Bilal Hamoui, Thuraya’s
Chief Commercial Officer.

The I-Streme© app connects and protects users while running, boating, hiking and climbing. I-Streme-enabled wearables also produce medical-quality biometrics, including oxygen, heart rate and body temperature, and can transmit them as frequently as the user desires, enabling athletes and adventurers to be closely and continuously monitored during demanding adventures and climbs.

I-Streme is platform-independent, so its data can be viewed on any platform, including iOS, Android, and Windows. WiCis I-Streme is built for social sharing, making it easy for followers to track their favorite adventurer regardless of where they are in the world. The app enables users to send texts to their public dashboards and get SpotCast weather information live wherever they are. Data is also stored so the user can review it any time.

WiCis I-Streme© integrates with an array of proven wearables and technology, which the company’s development team members have personally field-tested in the Sierra and Himalaya. A recent expedition to Everest by WiCis, in conjunction with Thuraya, was live-streamed on its public dashboard, using the I-Streme app.

Founded in 2011 by Harvard and Stanford anesthesiologist Dr. Leo Montejo (also founder of Picis) in the Lake Tahoe area, the company’s goal is to promote the use of mHealth and tracking devices to make adventure sports safer and engage their followers with real time data that is either private or also available to social media platforms.

Dr Leo Montejo did his residency at Harvard in anesthesiology and critical care medicine, has been a Professor at Stanford in this specialty, and is an extreme sports enthusiast. Dr. Montejo has participated in three Himalayan expeditions.

Did you miss today’s Lunchbox Learning?

This afternoon, Bob Ash (an Adams Hub mentor) gave a dynamic Lunchbox Learning session on Negotiating–In other words, how to get what you want! Pick up your copy of the notes here. Additionally, make sure to check out Mr. Ash’s mentor page here at adamshub.com! Hope to see everyone back for our next Lunchbox Learning session on December 6 from 1-2 pm.

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Mr. Ash gets students involved and uses real-life situations, making for a captivating lecture!

rsvp to grow@adamshub.com

The Wisdom of (Small) Crowds

Scratch the surface of most (go on, I dare you) and you’ll find…a scratch-resistant surface. Most entrepreneurs have hard shells. As the pop culture stereotype goes, you gotta be tough to be an . Not just tough, but a lone genius or a rugged individualist. Most of us are accustomed to going it alone.

Maybe you’re familiar with the Peter Principle. It holds that employees are promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. But plenty of entrepreneurs doggedly work their way up to incompetence, too. It’s something called Founder’s Syndrome. Here are the symptoms, per Wikipedia:

  • The founder makes all decisions, big and small, without a formal process or input from others.
  • Decisions are made in crisis mode, with little forward planning.
  • Staff meetings are held generally to rally the troops, get status reports, and assign tasks.
  • There is little meaningful strategic development, or shared executive agreement on objectives with limited or a complete lack of professional development.
  • There is little organizational infrastructure in place, and what is there is not used correctly.
  • There is no succession plan.

Does this sound like you? No founder can succeed without “working on the , not in the business,” as Michael Gerber’s business classic The E Myth describes it. Yet the vast majority of US business owners don’t take the time to step back and examine their strategy, ask the big questions, or seek out the opinions of our peers or outside experts.

Very few of us have a board of directors or even an informal . (There are companies who offer “virtual” advisory boards, but over the years I found many of these to be prohibitively expensive or run by people without the kind of entrepreneurial experience I sought.)

So entrepreneurs can be a little…secretive. Not surprising really: many of us start companies so we don’t have to answer to anyone else. There are plenty of chips on entrepreneurial shoulders. This can lead to some less-than-productive behaviors, such as bottling everything up and feeling as though we should have all the answers. Many founders’ families–even their spouses–have no idea what’s keeping them up at night.

So what’s a rugged individual to do?

Entrepreneurs Assembly is a business-support organization born in the Great Recession. It’s a non-profit, where members get to experience expertly facilitated round-table discussions about their biggest issues, the stuff of insomnia.

EA’s motto is “Founders Helping Founders,” and it’s clear to see that the magic of these round tables is a set of fresh ears and fresh brains who can help you think differently. Even if it’s just for a few hours once a month. EA members help each other identify blind spots and remove road blocks.

Of course, you’ll leave the meeting with “marching orders” for the next 30 days. And suddenly, you’ll rediscover the beauty of accountability. (You said you were going to terminate that toxic employee in last month’s meeting, and your peers are waiting to hear how it went. No wiggle room. You can’t pull that “I’m the boss” card to explain why you postponed the inevitable…again.)

Best of all, few of those crucial “marching orders” require that you spend any money. EA Founder Matt Westfield keeps members focused on their customers. You’re going to spend some time, certainly, but some of the most profound changes you can make involve talking to people and doing research. Engaging with your customers or your marketplace.

At every meeting I see resources shared: a or another member provides an email or phone number for a key contact that can provide help. Someone writes down a book or blog to read, or suggests an app to try. Some of the resources are so laser-focused, so ridiculously relevant for the individual involved, it’s hard to believe the serendipities. But that’s what happens when you leave your hard shell behind and get real, and really honest, with other people who are on the same path. And by the way, confidentiality is a sacred vow to EA members.

The founders of EA saw a huge gap and are busily filling it, with chapters in Reno, South Lake, Incline and now , where the meeting is held in The Studio at Adams Hub, 177 W. Proctor. And did we mention that there’s no charge to take part?

Our final meeting of 2016 is being held November from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. is your chance to “work on, not in” your business. For more information, email grow@adamshub.com, or call us at 775.222.0001. You can also visit www.ea-nv.org.