The Essence of Entrepreneurship

The Essence of Entrepreneurship

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Antonette Hudak

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When you go to a coffee shop, movie theatre, boutique or restaurant. You normally aren’t thinking about what it takes to give you that experience. You arrive, pay, make your memories and might go back.

I just began working at a restaurant part-time. You begin to see what goes on behind the scenes of the establishment. The vision, preparation, and attention to detail that makes a customer want to come back.

There’s a quote that comes to mind, “A great entrepreneur gives people what they want before they ask for it.”

My experience on the first day was feeling welcomed. The restaurant opens at 5:30 pm and everyone is expected to get there by 4:30pm. The employees have a “family” meal together. Everyone talks and sits around a table together.

After the meal concludes, everyone gets together with the chef to try the specials. He explains every ingredient, where it comes from, and what the night’s dishes are. He talks about the sauces, nuts, spices and vegetables. The menu goes according to what’s in season. The chef buys the produce himself, usually from Amish Farmers in the area.  My job as a hostess is to call all the reservations for the next couple of days to confirm their bookings. I am to keep a log of cancellations and seating walk-ins. Each reservation is pre-set with a table, time, name, and how many people will be in the party. It’s also the hostess’s job to walk around and mark the status of each seated table and if they are on their appetizers, entrees, or desert.This is to keep the waiters up to date on what is going on so that they are always in the know.

Sometimes VIPS arrive that need extra attention and complimentary items like a bottle of wine. The mood is set with lighthearted music in the background. The environment is always alive.  Rustic at home feel, white brick walls. The chef inspects every dish because presentation counts before a customer is served.

Thinking of this business and how it all came together makes me realize how much work, vision, and details goes into it. A consumer needs reasons to pick a place.  Why would they have dinner here? Is it how aesthetically pleasing it is, the organic food, incredible service, good music, an opportunity to enjoy oneself or a mixture of them all?

It takes people, training, leadership and lots of planning.

This is what I believe is the essence of entrepreneurship. The essence of attracting a crowd. Attracting a certain clientele that expects a specific experience. It was all planned. However, the planning did not stop at the opening of the restaurant; it continued to grow, like all great businesses. Entrepreneurship takes artistry, creativity and planning. Perfecting your craft. With failure and experience. Continuously discovering with trial and error. Creating a brand the entrepreneur and consumers are passionate about. It doesn’t come overnight. It takes practice, failing, learning, and interchanging roles. Going into it for the right reasons and using practicality. Most importantly, organizing people and taking the time to properly train them.

As an aspiring entrepreneur. What to study can be your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, bar, film or business of interest. The memories and joy they gave you. Pay attention. With that said, in your own business, you can see what you can offer to the world. Service the world. Giving the customer what they want before they ask for it.

About the Author: 

Antonette Hudak is an entrepreneur working in the entertainment and hospitality industries. She is also a writer and actress. Some of her achievements include writing, directing, and acting in the play “How to Love A Drug Addict” which is now being created into a short film, “Failure isn’t something you should fear, it’s something to embrace” Published by Thought Catalog February 2016, and she is a Reservations Manager for the Nolitan Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in New York City.

 

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10 Traits To Be A Great Leader

10 Traits To Be A Great Leader
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During my time in the industry, I have been introduced to amazing leaders and dreadful poseurs. I have gained many mentors and advisors over the years, and I have compiled the following traits that make some an actual leader.

1. Positive Reinforcement: Not Negative punishment

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I have gained the understanding that you will get the best out of people when you reward them for success rather than punish them for their failures. Those who you punish will start to despise you. One thing that I know for sure is that negativity is an infection that spreads and destroys a corporate culture, especially for new companies & startups. There is no room for negativity when you are trying something new. Lead by rewarding and you will be giving people the motivation to do better.

2. Lead By Example: Don’t Be A Hypocrite

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Everyone hates a hypocrite. If you want people around you to act in a particular manner, you need to lead by example. Some would call this the “tone at the top.” Be what you want others around you to be. People will respect that you practice what you preach and will be more likely to follow suit. Don’t go around smoking in people’s faces, while condemning others for doing the same. You will lose respect and people will realize that if your policies aren’t relevant enough for you to follow than it doesn’t matter for them to follow.

3. Be A Leader, NOT A Boss: Command Respect, Don’t Demand It

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People who say or act as if you MUST respect them solely because they are older or in a higher position are wrong. This will, in fact, result in the loss of respect. If you have to go around telling people you are a King, then you probably aren’t one. Now I am not saying that you should disrespect the higher ups, so don’t go around dismissing everyone. Most of you will be able to think of a person in your lives who tries to be a BOSS and not a LEADER. My favorite example of a leader was when I consistently pulled over 100 hours a week at my first job, and my senior manager sat there working with us, it increased my respect for her and made me believe that we were all in it together.

4. Communication Is Key

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It is often not what you say that makes the difference; it is how you say it that changes everything. Words can be sharper than a sword. They can bring tears of happiness or sorrow to one’s face. They can make or break a deal. For those who do think they need help with this, read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. After you finish reading this book, read Leil Lowndes book, How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships. The first will give you the big picture while the latter will tell you exactly how to do it.

5. Confidence in Decisions: You Have To Mean It!

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If you are pushing a topic that is important, make sure that you have convinced yourself first. If you don’t believe what you are saying, no one else will. Two people can tell you to invest in an ideal opportunity for example, but you will always feel more comfortable with the individual who is sure of themselves. Lastly, after you have made a decision, stand by it. People will hold it against you if you flip flop without a good reason.

6. Own Up To Your Mistakes

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Having confidence in your decisions is one thing, but it takes a real leader to admit when they are wrong. It is better to point the thumb at yourself than to point the finger at someone else. Throwing people under the bus when you made a mistake will only create animosity. Owning up to your mistakes will create respect.

7. Discipline in Private

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If you ever have to have a serious conversation with someone or have a disagreement, talk in private, whether it is business partners or even those working underneath you. If you yell at someone in front of others, you will look like a jerk, embarrass the other person (create animosity) and no one wins. Have an adult conversation in private. The person in question will respect you more for it, and you will have a higher chance to make a difference. Exception: On very rare occasions when you need to make an example of someone.

8. Do Your Research: Know the Facts

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Don’t be a know it all, unless you actually know it all. One of my personal favorites is when people run their mouths about a topic they know nothing about. Have you ever heard the line in the movie American Gangster, “the loudest one in the room is the weakest in the room?” Make sure that you have the facts and do your research. It will make you and the people you’re representing, look weak if you’re ignorant about the argument you’re making. It is better to stay quiet if you do not know a topic than to pretend like you do and make a fool of yourself.

9. Don’t Complain Unless You Have A Solution

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You are wasting everyone’s time if you complain about things and don’t propose a solution. You will only be adding to the problem. I have been to so many meetings where I have seen people complain about issues without finalizing the discussion with a solution. These actions are useless, and nothing will change.

10. Keep An Open Mind: Hear Everyone Out

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You are not always right contrary to what you may or may not believe. Open your mind to criticism and do not shut people out. Sometimes you employees can give you another perspective that you may not have considered that can change everything. Put your pride aside and sometimes allow others to have a say. It will give them the importance, and you may learn something.

 

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Essential Business Reads

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Welcome back, it’s time for another FBS blog post! Listed below are a few of my favorite business books (in no particular order). These books have provided me with inspiration, knowledge, and positivity. All things that I believe are essential in anyone’s life. Although these books are business related, I truly believe that anyone can read them and learn a lot.

 

First on the list is The E-Myth Revisited  by Michael E. Gerber. Gerber speaks about why most small businesses fail and what to do about it. The author explains how every business needs three skill sets: 1. The entrepreneur (the dreamer and visionary), 2. The manager (the organizer) and 3. The technician (the worker). The technicians, who love what they do, decides to start a company on their own instead of making someone else rich (great!). Now the reason that this business will most likely fail is due to micromanaging by the technician (not so great). They will want to make sure everything is done the way they have always done it. Gerber explains the issue here and expands on what corrective action should be taken. It is a great book for anyone thinking of opening his or her own business. The E-Myth will teach you lessons that you would most likely learn the hard way.
The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss (what a title) may catch you off guard as you read it. Some of the things he preaches seem a bit outlandish at first, but will eventually strike a cord. The book is split into four sections: 1. Defining your goal and figuring out what you really want (and for those of you who cannot decide, he helps you figure it out), 2. Eliminate your distractions by learning how to be effective instead of just efficient, 3. Automate your cash flow, resulting in an increase of income and finally, 4. Liberate yourself by increasing mobility. He speaks about how he went from monotonously working for someone else for 40 hours a week to starting his own business and working 80 hours a week. The 4 Hour Workweek tells you the story of how he eventually transformed his life to working just a few hours a week while also making money and enjoying life. This book will inspire you to take charge of your life. If you work at a deadbeat job that doesn’t appreciate your work or if you are struggling to live your life while running your own business, The 4 Hour Workweek is for you.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is one of the first business books I ever heard about. A friend introduced it to me when I was unsure of where my professional life would take me after college. It is the story of the author and a comparison of his “rich dad” and “poor dad.” It just so happens that his biological father, who has a doctorate, went to Ivy League universities, believes in working hard and saving money was the “poor dad.” Who would have thought? All the while, his “rich dad” (his friend’s father) who dropped out of school in the eighth grade builds an entrepreneurial empire by using his financial literacy and street smarts. Kiyosaki walks you through his life experiences to offer you a new perspective. Some people have criticized him about whether he was completely truthful in his book, but his message is loud and clear no matter what. I still believe that this book is a must read for anyone.
Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. No, this is not the movie with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. This is a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the essayist, scholar, statistician and risk analyst. The book dives into how unpredictable severe events are and how people underestimate their significance. These events are referred to as Black Swans. The three attributes that define Black Swan events are those that are irregular, have an extreme impact, and are eventually explainable (only in hindsight). Taleb’s writing style is very smooth and easy to read. You really feel like you are there with him when he explains some of his life stories. The Sunday Times even placed the Black Swan among the 12 most influential books after WWII.
Hold: How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses for Wealth by Steve Chader is my usual real estate plug-in. Hold is the opposite of a get rich quick book, rather it focus’ on how one can create a lifetime of wealth through rental real estate investments. The book also comes along with downloadable content that puts the book into better perspective. As some of you know, along with business consulting, I have been heavily involved with rental real estate properties for years. This book has played an important role in my recent real estate knowledge while also continuing to offer inspiration.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Al Switzler and Ron McMillan explains a skill that is very important in business, communication. In work settings, it is not uncommon that you will come across a number of critical conversations. Whether this be about a raise, a business deal or even heated conversations with a business partner it is vital for you to know how to approach the subject. I have experienced instances at my old jobs where tensions were high due to deadlines and cooler minds have prevailed. This book goes over certain techniques that will allow you to have a leg up in these instances.

This will likely be the beginning of a series as I have learned so many things from business books. I chose the above reads for this post as they cover a variety of topics. It is important to read inspirational books that spread positivity when working at the conventional job or owning your own business. They will motivate you to do better by providing a new perspective. Who knows, a book can be the final push that will change your life forever.

I will now leave you with a quote that I like from Oscar Wilde,

 

 “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.