RSS

Tag Archives: Self leadership

How to clear your mind and think?


HumanPsychologyIn today’s day and age, when we are surrounded by so many things from mission critical problems to materialistic things, it is difficult to clear your mind. When your job is to put out fires everyday, it is very challenging to clear your mind. After all, how do you find time to think, when you are so occupied already? But at the same time, ignoring the need for thinking allows seemingly healthy, active businesses to fail because of the change they never saw coming, until it was too late. Thus, as a leader, we need to develop a habit of stepping away from our day-to-day activities, and clear our mind. Hence, I am writing this blog to provide you with some pointers through which you can manage to clear your mind, while managing your busy schedule at the same time.

Block your calendars: As a leader/manager, we are used to organize our day through Outlook or Gmail calendar. Then why don’t we use the same mechanism to remind ourselves about clearing our mind for a while? This is the least we can do for ourselves, right? So before another week goes by, clean your schedule for hour or so, and make sure that you keep this meeting with yourself. During these thirty minutes, think. Don’t write, read magazines, or clean your desk. Just think. It would be great if you could do it with your office door close and your computer shut down. Avoid normal distractions, which would otherwise lead you to a different path.

Change your environment: I am sometimes tired of sitting in my office, and I often look for a change to clear my mind. There is no easier way to do that than just taking a walk. A short walk of half an hour provides a great thinking environment for me, and I encourage you guys to try it as well. And yes, during your thinking time, try not to question your mind with a day-to-day problem, although this works well for that, too, but try to think about general stuff or changing environment. For example: What’s changing in my environment that I haven’t thought about? What new skills will my team need in the next year? What barriers exist to my team’s success this quarter? Etc.

Try new things: As a leader, we are often occupied with a routine, where all of our activities are predefined and we follow a same schedule. From playing golf to hanging out with our friends, we become used to a same routine. As a leader, we shouldn’t just challenge our work, but we should also challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zone. Thus, we should try to go to a museum, an art gallery, or a library. Or just visit a mall without any intension of shopping or fly a kite. At the end of your excursion ask yourself, What did I see or experience today that taught me something about my work or my life? Don’t push for the answer, but don’t give up too quickly. There’s always something there; you just need to think till you find it.

I hope, my blog can help you not only clear your mind but develop a practice in your life to think outside the box. If you have any other recommendations, then please feel free to share it here. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

How to kick-start your part-time business without going broke?


PartTimeBusinessHave you ever thought of starting your own business? If so, were you successful in doing so? If not, what is holding you back? Have you ever thought about it? Though I might not be an expert on the subject, I have some experience in starting my own part-time gig, which I would like to share here with you. In this blog post, I will provide you with some advice on how to kick-start your part-time business that you have always thought about, but you didn’t know where to start.

Calculate before you jump-in: Let’s say, you are making $4000/month from your current full time job, and you are saving around $400/month or so. Now, let’s assume that you want to open up a new part-time business of photography, and you are unsure about it being successful or not. In this situation, instead of jumping into the business directly, and getting loans from other people to start your business, you can just calculate the worst case scenario. Assuming that your equipment, advertisements and operational costs being $4000, you can save this much money in 10 months. Let’s say, if you can make this much amount of money in 10 months through your photography contracts, it might not be a bad business after all. Other thing that you want to calculate before entering into the business is….how much will be your operating costs vs. how much money you are expecting to make. Though it might not give you a perfect answer, it will give you a definitive starting point of your finances.

Test your business model: Once you are convinced that you really want to start your part-time business, and once you have done all of the calculations, now it’s the time to test your business model. In order to test your business idea, you might want to meet with your prospective customers to test the assumptions of your business. For example: If you want to open up a new photography business, it would be a good idea to take 1-2 contracts for free. This will not only build up your portfolio, and provide you with some good references, but it will also test your business model. If customer feedback suggests any changes to your current strategy, then go back and modify the appropriate building blocks of your business. And repeat this process with other prospective customers, until you have some amount of confidence in implementing the same business model for money.

Jump in: Once you have tested your business model, now it’s the time to jump in and make some real money. In order to do this, you should capitalize your older customer base to expand your business. Word of mouth definitely helps you to get some business (at least in my experience). Obviously, having some external help from some advertising contractors wouldn’t hurt either. Once your business is up and running, you should continuously assess your business’ profit potential every month. You might have couple of months with some losses, but make sure that you can afford these losses through your current full-time job’s savings. If you are continuously losing money in your business, which can’t be recuperated through your primary job, then it might be the time to get out. On the contrary, if you are making enough profit from your business for more than 6 months, and if you can sustain yourself from that profit, then maybe it’s the time to convert your part time gig into a full blown business.

I hope, these tricks will help you kick-start your own part-time business within few months. Do you guys have any other ideas regarding this subject? If so, please share your ideas through comments below. My readers would be delighted to hear your take on this.

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 30, 2014 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Make your part-time MBA work for you


Have you currently graduated from a part-time MBA program? Do you find it difficult to capitalize on your MBA? Well……you are not alone. Recently, one of my colleague, who has finished her part-time MBA, asked me similar questions. Though she has finished her part-time MBA, she was not recognizing any benefits from it. While I don’t have magical solution to make your MBA work, I have few suggestions which can help you.

Communicate with your manager:

GenerationXIf you are like me, and if you are also working on your MBA while working full-time, then you should communicate your intentions to your manager before you even think of starting the program.

Some of you might be hesitant to share this knowledge with your manager, since you might be afraid to see the reaction from your manager. While some managers will see this communication as an effort from your side to change your existing job, 90% of the manager see this as a potential growth opportunity for their employees.

What can happen here? Either your manager will be impressed by your initiative of pursuing further education to help towards your job, or he will just neglect your entire conversation. Well……you don’t have anything to loose here. But if you don’t have this conversation with your Boss, then you have everything to lose.

I remembered, when I had this conversation with my boss…..he was not only impressed by my decision to improve my knowledge, but he also took the initiative to find out more information regarding the tuition reimbursement program in my company. As a result, I ended up paying only 30% of my total tuition cost for the entire program.

Implement your learning at work: 

Most of the people who pursue their part-time MBA want to get a head in their existing job, so that they can get promoted to the next level. Though the idea behind this thought process is very nice, they lose their focus in middle of the program.

I have seen numerous MBA students, who get busy in their day-to-day coursework that they forget to implement their learning at their workplace. Thus, at the end of their MBA program, they have this knowledge which they can’t apply to their existing job, and hence think of changing their job instead of growing within the same company.

By implementing your learning at your current workplace, you will not only practice your knowledge and get better at it, you will also increase your visibility within your peers. Imagine, if you are working in software company as a software developer and going for your MBA in finance. Though these two subjects are completely different, you can still use your finance knowledge to assess the business impact of your new project. Wouldn’t you look more prepared when you are presenting your next development idea to your VP, and providing him with all the stats on how this project will help the organization to succeed?

Thus, you should always try to find opportunities where you can practice your MBA learning at your work place.

I hope these examples were helpful to uncover the full potential of your part-time MBA program. In the meanwhile, if you have any other ideas through which you can make your part-time MBA work for you, then please feel free to share those here.

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why part-time MBA is more worth than a full-time MBA?


Business Week Ranking

This is a long lasting debate. Some people prefer to do a full-time MBA as compared to a part-time MBA. Though you can’t say which one is better over another with utmost certainty, I would recommend part-time MBA for working professionals as compared to a full-time MBA. Obviously, there are various reasons why you want to do a part-time MBA, but some of the primary reasons are as follows:

Cost savings: Unless you got accepted to an Ivey League University for your full-time MBA, I would recommend you to do your part-time MBA from some local University. It will save you some tremendous amount of money. Let’s say, if you were to do your full-time MBA from some University. In that case, you had to quit your job for couple of years. Let’s say, you are earning $50,000/year right now. That means, you are losing $100,000 in two years of your education period, because you won’t be working full-time during that time. In addition to your loss of income, you have to pay for the tuition from your own pocket, which might be anywhere between $50,000 to $200,000. In short, you would be losing on an average around $150,000 ($100,000 + $50,000) during these 2 years of your full-time MBA. Let’s say, you somehow magically find a job in this economy with your full-time MBA, which pays you $15,000 more than your previous salary, then also you will take at least 10-15 years to cover that cost. Isn’t that right?

Minimal risk: Other than the huge cost savings, part-time MBA comes with other additional advantages. And one of the most important advantage is – minimal risk. If you are a working professional, then chances are …… your current employer might be covering partial or full cost for the entire program. Thus, you don’t have to come up with the tuition amount from your pocket. Let’s say, you started your program and in the middle of it, you somehow didn’t end up liking it. In that case, you can just quit, since you haven’t invested much of your personal money in this initiative. In addition to this, you don’t have to spend much time studying for GMAT or GRE, since most of the part-time programs (like Harvard Extension School) offer few classes as Grad Special, and if you perform well in those classes then you get to enter in to the program without giving your standardize tests. This will ensure that you like the program before you actually get admitted in to one, unlike the full-time MBA program.

Understand the other side: When I first thought of doing my MBA, I wanted to do it to understand what my Boss does. Being from a technical background, I always had a problem understanding the strategic decisions taken by my company. I was much more involved in the technology as compared to the business behind it. My part-time MBA provided me with the opportunity to understand the business perspective better. I am not saying that I couldn’t have learned the same thing through full-time MBA, but if I were in the full-time MBA program, then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect this learning to the current work environment. Most of the times, I would learn something from my MBA classes, and I was able to directly apply that learning at my work place. And that has helped me retain approximately 60% of my concepts, which I wouldn’t have otherwise remembered due to lack of practice. And maybe, this is the key reason why one should prefer part-time MBA over full-time program.

I hope these tips will help to choose between full-time and part-time MBA program. Do you have any other reasons due to which you would prefer a part-time MBA program over a full-time option?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to sell your online MBA degree to future employers?


OnlineMBAHave you finished your MBA through an online program? Are you unable to experience any benefits from your degree? Well…..you are not alone. More than 50% of the employers still prefer an MBA candidate with the traditional classroom experience as compared to an online MBA student. Despite of this stereo types of an online MBA candidate, you can still succeed with your degree. You just need to know, how to sell it. With this blog, I am going to provide you with some pointers through which you can get the same benefit out of your online MBA program as compared to any other in-class MBA program.

Capitalize on cultural awareness:

If you are doing an online MBA from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 level school, then chances are…….you must be working in a diverse team with people from different countries. You should use this experience as your strength during your job search. Mention those specific projects on your resume to portray your knowledge of cross cultural understanding. With most of the major companies going global, this experience will definitely work in your advantage, if presented correctly.

I would also recommend you to provide some specific examples on your resume on how you had solved some of the cross cultural conflicts. These kinds of smaller examples can help you bring up this topic during your in-person interviews. And you can then elaborate on that in further details. It goes without saying…..try to connect your experience with the company’s current needs of working with cross cultural teams.

Be the leader of your virtual teams:

If you think of it, all the project teams in an online MBA program are nothing but a virtual team. In your program, you must have worked with different people from different time zones to finish certain projects. And hence, you should also capitalize on your experience in working with remote/virtual teams. Don’t just say…..”I have worked in a virtual team”. Try to be more specific on your resume. Provide examples on how you resolved issues due to time and language barriers during your project. It wouldn’t hurt, if you can talk about those experiences in your in-person interviews, and maybe summarize with lessons learned during your experience.

In today’s world, lot of companies operate in different locations. Thus, most of their meetings, projects and day-to-day activities are virtual. Thus, if you can prove that you have not only worked in that environment, but you have also learned how to improve those communications in that environment; then you would definitely standout from the crowd.

I hope these tips will help to sell your online MBA degree to your future employer. Do you have any other ideas through which you can show the importance of your online MBA degree to your future employer?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Practical tips on how to become successful in life (Part 2)


Success

In my last blog, I have discussed about how you can come up with the practical definition of your successful life, and how you can break it down in achievable goals. In this blog, I will provide you with some pointers through which you can achieve those goals to become successful in life.

Ask for advice: My Dad always told me…….”If you want to become successful in life, then you need to take help from 2 different kind of people. ONE: Those who are successful according to you. SECOND: Those who followed the same path as you might want to pursue, but who are not as successful as others”. This approach will not only help you visualize your successful life, but also give you an idea on how your future would look like, if you couldn’t achieve all of your goals. One might ask…….where would I find those kind of people? The answer to that question is very simple. Internet. I would personally prefer to ask someone who I know, but you can’t always have people around you, who share similar career goals as you, and who are successful in that. Thus, you can become a member of few online forums, which are related to your interests, and then cultivate your relationships with those members. Once those relationships are established, you can then ask them for their advice. Chances are….they might be able to even help you with your goals.

Give your best to everything you do: I know, this seems to be very obvious, but hardly anyone follows this rule. For example: Let’s say……..you are stuck in a job that won’t lead you towards your ideal success, and you want to get out of that job as soon as possible. At that time, most of the people (8 out of 10) would focus their energy in looking for a better job, and won’t provide their complete attention to their existing job. While this approach might be able to get you a new job that you love, but in the process of finding this job, you might ruin your existing relationships with your current coworkers, and maybe establish a stereotype of being a slacker. Thus, I would recommend all of you to give your best to everything you do. You never know…..maybe your existing Manager might recommend you for the ideal job that you have always dreamed of.

I hope these tips will help to achieve your ideal life. Do you have any other ideas through which you can have a successful and filling life?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Practical tips on how to become successful in life (Part 1)


SuccessFew days back, I was advising one of my friend on how to expand his start-up. During that conversation, I realized that some of my advices are very common for everyone to follow. Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced professional or a proud new business owner, you should always follow some simple tips to become successful in life. With this blog post, I am going to share those tips with you.

Define success: Every person will have their own dreams, and hence their own definition of success. An engineer wouldn’t consider an artist a successful person, and vice versa. Thus, before you start hunting for an ideal successful life, you might want to self-analyze yourself and define your specific success criteria. And while you are in that process, make sure that you consider your happiness as a part of this process. After all, no one wants to be successful and not happy. Right? Let’s say………your definition of success is to make couple of million dollars in few years. To achieve that………you might need to work 7 days a week with existing salary that you earn. In this case, you might want to think if you are willing to sacrifice that time away from your family or not, and then adjust your definition of success accordingly.

Establish achievable goals: Once you have done the hard part of defining your success criteria, now it’s time to establish some goals. Make sure that those goals are achievable, otherwise you will be discouraged when you realize that you can never achieve your goals. Let’s say……..your success criteria is to become a highly paid artist. In that case, you want to establish few goals like…….I will draw at least 2-3 paintings a month, or I will display my art in 5-6 art exhibition a year. Ideally, these goals should be smaller milestones towards your successful life. So, make sure to keep a checkpoint on these goals. I would advise you to revisit these goals every 3 months.

In my next blog post, I will provide you with few ideas through which you can achieve your goals to become successful. Until then, if you have any other ideas or comments about becoming successful in life, then please feel free to share it here on my blog.

Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: