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Arianna Huffington Lessons For A Successful Life

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Arianna Huffington, the Editor in Chief and co founder of the Huffington Post, has led quite an inspiring life. With no real motivational force as a child and growing in the midst of women, Arianna’s life choices started forming at the young age of 11. Witnessing the divorce of her parents at the age of 11, Arianna realised early on that if she had to get ahead in life and she had to do it alone. Being brought up by an extremely strong mother and sister, Huffington decided early on that education was what she needed to get successful in life. With English being a language with which she was not well versed, Huffington had to work twice as hard as the other children around her.

The next five years saw Huffington’s journey solidify to the University of Cambridge. Through all the mockery and all the negative feedback, Huffington and her mother worked day and night to ensure Huffington’s dreams came true, no matter what! Their hard work paid off and at the age of 16, Arianna was granted admission into one of the most prestigious colleges at the time. Her admission to the University of Cambridge was perhaps the move which redefined the way she lived her life. Every choice she made and every decision she took after, set the ball rolling for Arianna Huffington. Being a woman in the public eye and responsible for founding the extremely successful Huffington Post, Huffington has a lot to teach people around her. Here’s looking at some truly inspiring life lessons from the woman who broke all barriers and became a true inspiration:

1. Great creativity doesn’t come from burnout

Picture credits: The B Team

Sleep as a necessity came to Huffington when she fainted out of exhaustion in the year 2007. She fainted and had such a bad fall, she broke her cheek bone and had to get four stitches on her right eye. All the Huffington Post offices have nap rooms. When Huffington suggested the idea in the beginning, not a lot of people thought it would work. They told her the idea was ridiculous and her employees wouldn’t ever use the rooms. However, a few months later, the idea took off and now, the nap rooms are booked way in advance! According to Huffington, people cannot function during times of constant crisis and that in order to be successfully happy, sleep is extremely important! One of the rules at Huffington Post is, no one is expected to answer emails or calls after work hours and during the weekend. Even a five minute nap can rejuvenate you and at the Huffington Post, this is a rule of life one definitely follows!

2. Failure is the stepping stone to success

Picture credits: cnbc.com

Looking at all the hardships Huffington faced in her life, one important lesson can be learnt. Failure is not the definition of your life, but is, in fact, the stepping stones to success and growth! If you are not willing to fall and learn from what hasn’t happened the way you wanted, then there is no point in trying to grow, right? This was a lesson Huffington learnt from her mother and as a life lesson, this theory stuck with her for the rest of life!

3. Change the rules to win

Picture credits: Inc

Being brought up by women and being surrounded by women all her adult life, Huffington realised early on, the rules had to be different if she was going to succeed. According to Huffington, there are no questions about the multiple barriers women face. However, there are certain changes which are happening and these changes come under the broad umbrella of the third women’s revolution. The first revolution came with women being granted the right to vote. The second was when women were given complete access to education and equal pay. The third women’s revolution is  about changing the world and getting the women to embrace the world, rather than compete against it. Huffington deems the structure of the workplace as being inefficient for both men and women, in terms of the long working hours and the exhaustion due to these working hours. She believes this needs to change and in her words, “Everyone might benefit from a good nap.” Start changing the way you as a woman are perceived not just on the personal front, but also the professional front. Only when this is achieved, can you really start improving the way the world works.

With great power comes great responsibility and as a leader of the times, Arianna Huffington realised this responsibility. If you think we missed out on any other life lessons from the woman who had it all, comment and let us know!

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Ratan Tata Unknown Facts

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Chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata is arguably one of the most successful people of India.  During his 21 year career, he transformed Tata Group from a national brand to an international brand with his impeccable business skills.

Here is a list of some lesser known facts about the 81 year old industrialist:

1) Though he was born in an affluent household, Ratan Tata had a troubled childhood. His parents, Naval Hormusji Tata and Sooni Tata, separated when he was just 7 years old.  Post the separation, his brother and he were raised by their grandmother.

2)  Ratan Tata has a degree in architecture from Cornell University and he even pursued an advanced management program from Harvard Business School.

 

3) When Ratan Tata first started his career at Tata Steel, his job was to manage the blast furnace and shovel limestone.  It was only in 1991 he became the Chairperson.

 

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4) Ratan Tata is an avid car lover and does not refrain himself from spending on cars.  His car collection includes Maserati Quattroporte, Chrysler Sebring, Ferrari California, Mercedes Benz S-Class and Jaguar F-Type.

 

5) Not many people know Ratan Tata is a trained pilot.  He owns a pilot’s license and is often seen flying aircrafts owned by the Tata Group.  He was also the first Indian to fly the F-16 Falcon in 2007.

6) In 1999, Ratan Tata and his team went to Ford to sell their emerging car business and were humiliated by Bill Ford who said, “You do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all.”  Nine years later, Ratan Tata got his sweet revenge when he took over Ford’s ace car brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, for half the price.

 

7) Ratan Tata received the third and second highest civilian awards, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2000 and 2008 respectively.  In 2009, the United Kingdom honoured him with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

8) Ratan Tata is not included in the world’s richest as he owns most of his shares through trusts and foundations.  If all those shares are accounted, his net worth would be $ 72 billion.

 

9) By his own admission, Ratan Tata came close to marriage 4 times in his life, but backed off each time either due to fear or another reason.

10) Ratan Tata donates millions to education every year.  One particular year, he donated $ 50 million to Harvard University and $25 million to Cornell University, especially for the Indian students studying at the two universities.

 

Fighting all the hurdles that came his way, today Ratan Tata is the king of the corporate world.  Thank you, Mr. Tata, for being an inspiration to an entire Nation.

 

Comment below and let us know which of these facts surprised you the most.

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5 Essential Skills Required To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

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All the high net worth individuals in the world are where they are because they developed a certain skill set, which in turn helped them to reach their goals.  Mere knowledge of your niche area won’t help you become a successful entrepreneur. While you need patience to run a business, you also need to focus on developing some critical skills which not only help you run your business but also can help you solve any problems that might arise in your entrepreneurial journey.

Here is a list of 5 skills you should start developing if you aspire to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

1) Creativity

As an entrepreneur, you will face new problems every day and for entrepreneurs, creativity isn’t just about coming up with new ideas, it is about being able to adapt to new situations quickly and finding solutions for problems as and when they arise. You will also have to constantly improve and upgrade your products and services to stay alive in the market. Therefore, creativity is the most essential skill an entrepreneur should possess.  

The brand Apple is synonymous with creativity, thanks to the genius Steve Jobs. When the iPhone initially launched, critics came up with a 100 reasons as to why it would fail and it almost did. With his creativity, Steve Jobs kept upgrading the product and today, it is the best selling smartphone in the world.  Steve Jobs’ creativity was the driving force behind Apple’s product design and marketing.

 

2) Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. It is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to communicate with employees, customers, investors, peers and mentors. One simply cannot manage a great team or  provide a great customer service if one is not an effective communicator. Irrespective of whether a person runs a startup or a Fortune 500 company, communication is the key skill that he must develop.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson who himself is a student of communication, calls it “an art”.

 

3) Salesmanship

As an entrepreneur you should be able to sell sand in the desert.

Salesmanship is one such skill without which, it is nearly impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur. The soft skill of sales goes hand- in -hand with communication and is key to run a successful business.  An entrepreneur should be able to sell the business idea to investors, their products and services to customers.

Salesmanship plays a key role in building trust between the company and the customer.

Mark Cuban, an American businessman, investor and the owner of National Basketball Association often emphasises that salesmanship is the skill that made him millions. When asked what he would do if he lost it all, he replied saying that he would pick up a sales job and was pretty sure that this could make him a multi-millionaire again.

 

4) Money Management

If you cannot manage money, you cannot manage a business. Period!

Financial management is the most important responsibility of an entrepreneur, especially in the startup stage. Knowing your cash flow can make planning and budgeting for financial needs easier. This is a key skill to develop if you are aiming to be a successful entrepreneur.

Elon Musk, the 46 year old CEO of SpaceX and Tesla often states that he does not spend his $ 20 billion fortune on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, he invests his profits back into his business for its development.

 

5)  Ability to find and manage people

Having great people on your team will make life much easier for you. It gives you access to new strengths while building a company culture of which people would want to be a part.  Hiring the right people is key to building a successful company. Along with hiring the right people, an entrepreneur should be able to manage them efficiently. He should be able to assign the right kind of tasks to people considering their strengths and weaknesses.

The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos follows a three question method of hiring people for his company.  

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?

Only when he is satisfied with these answers, will that person work for him.

Being an entrepreneur is a complicated task and your success as an entrepreneur is the result of the small actions taken over a period of time.

If you notice you are lacking a skill or two, focus on nurturing those skills today so you might be able to enjoy success tomorrow.

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Reasons Why Businesses Fail

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According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 business fail within the first 18 months of their inception and the sad reality is, almost all the businesses fail because of the entrepreneurs who handle it.  While there are a multitude of conditions which could lead to a business failure, most startups which fail, make similar mistakes.  Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why businesses fail.

 

1) Starting a business for the wrong reasons

Most people start a business with a desire to earn a lot of money.  While this is a benefit successful entrepreneurs achieve after years of hard work, starting a business for money is not the right entrepreneurial mindset.  The driving force for your business should be your passion, not your desire for money. Entrepreneurship requires a lot of dedication, hard work and patience and if you lack passion, you will most likely lose interest in a few years and eventually end up failing.

 

2) Lack of proper planning

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Planning is an important part of running a business.  If you do not work according to a proper plan, your business is most likely to fail.  A good plan consists of definite short term and long term goals and will also define where your company will be in the next few years.  Lack of such proper planning will cause irreparable damage to your business.

 

3) Lack of funds

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The most common reason why startups fail is the lack of proper funds.  Budding business owners often do not understand money management and are likely to underestimate the amount of money they require to start a business and might even have unrealistic expectations about profits. As a result, the money spent on the business becomes more than the money earned by the business.  This leads to debt and when this debt becomes too much, they are forced to shut it down.

 

4) Lack of value

The heart of any business is the value it creates. The higher your value, the more will be your customer base and the more you will earn.  Your product or service should be more valuable than your competitors’. In other words, your business should be able to offer something new.  If your business lacks value, it is bound to fail.

 

5)  Early expansions

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It is rightly said that slow and steady wins the race.  New entrepreneurs are often in a hurry to expand their business to other markets and this is the leading cause for bankruptcy.  Expanding a business is good, but before you enter new markets, make sure you maximise your existing market. If not, you will most likely be forced to close your business due to bankruptcy.

 

As they say, failures are stepping stones to success and as a business owner, the success of a business mostly lies in your hand. If you ever failed trying to run a business, learn from your mistakes and start over again. Most of the billionaires today are people who once failed.

 

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