Picking Up and Running With Your Dreams


Alastair Mitchell is the chief executive of Huddle, a cloud-based collaboration software company co-headquartered in London and San Francisco. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Mitchell spoke about his early management lessons, how to handle tough situations, and advice for college students. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Learn how to empower people and give positive feedback: “knowing when to let them take risks and when not to criticize them too hard if things go wrong. You have to back them up and then say, That didn’t work, so how are we going to improve it next time?”
  • When faced with difficult decisions, what would we regret not doing in life?: “What would happen if I were to walk out across from your building and cross the street, and a big red bus is coming the other way and I don’t see it. In that brief moment before it hits me, what would be the thing that I would regret not doing? Whenever I’m faced with difficult decisions, I always apply the big red bus test. Instinctively, people know the right answer, but it can be buried under so many layers of doubt and questions. Starting my own business came from one of those moments. ”
  • Motivate yourself and think outside of the box: “I look for people who think big, who are motivated and who have the entrepreneurial instinct. In my questioning, I’m looking for almost the rough edges — the things on their résumé that look different or reveal an inner drive.”
  • Trust who you are and listen to your gut: “Go big or go home. And just trust yourself. Whatever your gut instinct is, you’ll probably be right seven or eight times out of 10. So just go with your gut. What you’ll regret more is the fact that you haven’t gone with your gut. ”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

How Confident Are Business Owners Going Into The Next Year?

For today’s post, we look back at the same 2014 report conducted by UPS Connect from last week.

When business owners were asked to describe their confidence in their business’ success over the next 12 months, 1 in 4 respondents said they were “extremely confident”. On a scale of 1-7, owners had an average confidence rate of 5.39.  

This is an impressive rating which demonstrates that business owners are leaving the agitation from the past behind and emerging with more confidence.

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When asked what their top priorities were, nearly 80% of respondents reported that it was to increase revenues. Establishing new customer relationships came in at 67%, and increasing profits stood at 60%. 

Growth is the top priority when it comes to what is necessary.

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2014 UPS Connect State of Small Business Report

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UPS Connect conducted a 2014 report for the state of small businesses interviewing more than 300 founders, partners, presidents, and CEOs. With this report, they delivered a list of questions and answers. When asked what are the biggest challenges business owners are currently facing, companies replied with:

1) “Reducing cost of financing.”

2) “Government compliance and interference.”

3) “Funding and/or credit lines allowing my business to grow.”

4)  “The cost of customer acquisition…declining volume per current customer.”

Although owners maintain an optimistic approach in the short term, they are still faced with obstacles from general concerns, costumer acquisition, financial problems, and increased competition.


When business owners were asked about their biggest pain points:

49% of respondents said they “aim for a healthy balance between [their] professional and personal life””; 31% said they prioritize professional over personal.

49% admit they “don’t have the time or expertise to figure everything out.”

37% feel as if they “manage [their] time efficiently”; 23% said they have difficulty managing all the moving parts of their business.


This is some fascinating data to consider within the context of your own small business.

Respect the Opportunities You Are Given

19-CORNER-master495Michelle Munson is the C.E.O of Aspera, a unit of IBM that provides software for high-speed file transfer. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Munson opened up about her leadership style, what it’s like to work for her, and advice on how to achieve success:

  • Forgiveness is the sincerest form of progression: “I’ve made my share of mistakes. But the most important lesson I learned is that there is a degree of forgiveness from people you work with if your intentions are right and you follow through. Because I’ve been sincere, the team has forgiven my mistakes along the way. That’s given me peace of mind and confidence to keep evolving.
  • People WILL have different values: “Not everyone values the same things I do. Some things are universal, like the gratification of achievement, but other things are not, like work styles. I have backed off and allowed people to work the way they do best.
  • Respect what you have: “My biggest pet peeve is people who don’t respect the opportunity they have. To me, respecting an opportunity means embracing it and dedicating yourself to making the most of it.”
  • Go beyond being a critic; learn to solve the issue: “You can’t create unless you have some ability to discern what is lacking or needed or doesn’t exist, and that goes beyond being a critic. It’s very easy to criticize. The real challenge is, how are you going to solve it? How are you going to make it better, with whatever resources you have?”
  • Be a critical thinker: “When talking about career advice “The second thing is critical thinking, which leads to independent thinking, and that comes from a diverse education and stretching yourself with independent-study internships and outside projects and activities. It can come in many forms, but it is paramount to have that in combination with skill and competence in your field, because that’s what allows you to create.”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.