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No idea is perfect, so just get going; Jeremy Carson, founder of 100bodycare, explains why you don’t need a perfect idea to get going in business

Start-up diary: No idea is perfect, so just get going

Jeremy Carson, founder of 100bodycare, explains why you don’t need a perfect idea to get going in business – and reveals the mistakes he made that saw him take three years to make just three shower gels.

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Jeremy Carson, founder of 100bodycare, choosing ingredients for his products

9:30AM BST 02 Jul 2013

Should I start my own business? It’s a question that many people agonise over throughout their career. They read the business pages and ask themselves if they have the traits, experience and right attitude to risk. After setting up my business three years ago, I’ve come to believe these questions are pointless. In that time, I’ve met many business people – from the founder of international food companies like Ella’s Kitchen, to student enterprises. The founders’ traits, experience and attitudes to risk could not be more different. The only common theme seems to be the drive to make your own decisions. This was what I saw in those people and it’s also what I believe motivated me as I look back and search for the reason I decided to start-up from nothing. My business has just started trading. I make a range of 100pc natural toiletries with sports recovery benefits. It’s taken me three long years to get to this stage in which time I’ve identified the right people to work with, developed product formulations, resolved production issues, tested numerous types of packaging, searched for ingredients suppliers and negotiated with retailers. Where did my motivation come from? It was a complete accident. I had just taken a job working abroad and was one month from my start date when a pain I had in my right ankle was diagnosed as severe arthritis. I needed hospital treatment and couldn’t take the role. Luckily, my future employer agreed to keep my position open for three months. For the first time in my life, I was given ample time to think about what I’d learned over my 12 year career. Like most people on a career break, I debated the merits of starting a business. I was buoyed by the false confidence which came from having once started a business as a student and being labelled as an “intrapreneur” by a large corporation. But, as usual, I concluded the time wasn’t right. However, as the sessions to restrengthen my leg continued, I kept thinking of how frustrated I was with the lack of independence that I had in my previous jobs and would continue to have if I stayed in that life. It always concerned me that in large corporations, it seemed that no matter how far your career progressed you would never really make your own decisions. I remember speaking to a managing director who told me that every month he would fly to monthly meetings to be told what to do by his executive board. With this thought going around in my head I, finally decided that I wanted to develop a business that was uniquely my own. Read more of this post

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What Is Resilience? “Resilience,” like love, is difficult to define. Yet everyone is talking about how to build or maintain it

What Is Resilience?

05 July 2013

Brian Walker, a research fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia and at the Stockholm Resilience Center, is Chair of the Resilience Alliance.

CANBERRA – “Resilience,” like love, is difficult to define. Yet everyone – from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to government agencies, company boards, and community groups – is talking about how to build or maintain it. So, is resilience a useful concept or just a fleeting buzzword? To answer that question, we need to start with a different one: How much do you think you can change without becoming a different person? How much can an ecosystem, city, or business change before it looks and functions like a different kind of ecosystem, city, or business? All of these are self-organizing systems. Your body, for example, maintains a constant temperature of approximately 37 degrees Celsius. If your body temperature rises, you start to sweat in order to cool down; if your temperature falls, your muscles vibrate (shiver) to warm up. Your body relies on negative feedbacks to keep it functioning in the same way. That is basically the definition of resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance, re-organize, and keep functioning in much the same way as before. Read more of this post

China’s Ordos, the Chinese ghost city known for its empty skyscrapers is struggling to repay debt and has resorted to borrowing from companies to pay workers

China’s Ordos Struggles to Repay Debt: Xinhua Magazine

A Chinese city known for its empty skyscrapers is struggling to repay debt and has resorted to borrowing from companies to pay workers, a magazine published by the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Some district governments of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, had to borrow money from companies to pay salaries of municipal employees, Economy & Nation Weekly said in a July 5 report on its website. Ordos local-government entities have amassed 240 billion yuan ($39 billion) of debt, while the city had 37.5 billion yuan of revenue last year, the publication said without specifying annual interest costs. The report adds to signs of strains in an economy that probably decelerated for a second straight quarter as overseas and domestic demand slowed and Premier Li Keqiang reined in credit growth. China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. (1101), the country’s biggest shipyard outside state control, said last week it’s seeking financial support from the government after orders plunged. “Isolated default cases will happen in places like Ordos – – people know investment in these places is unsustainable,” said Ding Shuang, senior China economist at Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. Two phone calls to Ordos’s government general affairs office went unanswered. The city is also known as Erdos. Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said last week that China should be on “high alert” to risks in local government debt. Coal-rich Ordos is known for a building frenzy in recent years, including a new area named Kangbashi that was designed to accommodate 300,000 people.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xin Zhou in Beijing at xzhou68@bloomberg.net

China Cash Squeeze Seen Creating Vietnam-Size Credit Hole

China Cash Squeeze Seen Creating Vietnam-Size Credit Hole

China’s money-market cash squeeze is likely to reduce credit growth this year by 750 billion yuan ($122 billion), an amount equivalent to the size of Vietnam’s economy, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The number is the median estimate of 15 analysts, whose projections last week ranged from cuts of 20 billion yuan to 3 trillion yuan. The majority of respondents also said they approve of the government’s handling of the credit crunch and said the episode reinforces their expectations for policy reforms such as loosening controls on interest rates. Read more of this post

Connect, Then Lead

Connect, Then Lead

by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Matthew Kohut, and John Neffinger

Is it better to be loved or feared?

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Niccolò Machiavelli pondered that timeless conundrum 500 years ago and hedged his bets. “It may be answered that one should wish to be both,” he acknowledged, “but because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved.”

Now behavioral science is weighing in with research showing that Machiavelli had it partly right: When we judge others—especially our leaders—we look first at two characteristics: how lovable they are (their warmth, communion, or trustworthiness) and how fearsome they are (their strength, agency, or competence). Although there is some disagreement about the proper labels for the traits, researchers agree that they are the two primary dimensions of social judgment. Read more of this post

How Experts Gain Influence

How Experts Gain Influence

by Anette Mikes, Matthew Hall, and Yuval Millo

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In 2006 the risk management chiefs of two British financial institutions—we’ll call them Saxon Bank and Anglo Bank—were in similar situations. Each reported directly to the CEO and had, in theory, the same influence in their organizations. But by 2011 Saxon’s risk management group, unified around a common purpose, was deeply engaged in critical work throughout the bank, while Anglo’s, divided into two specialized and loosely connected groups, had little visibility outside specific areas of expertise.

Our close study of these two banks offers lessons for other functional experts in search of influence, from management consultants and internal auditors to HR and marketing executives. We have identified four competencies—trailblazing, toolmaking, teamwork, and translation—that help functional leaders or groups in any organization compete for top management’s limited time and attention, and ultimately increase their impact. Read more of this post

The Uses (and Abuses) of Influence: An Interview with Robert Cialdini

The Uses (and Abuses) of Influence

An Interview with Robert Cialdini by Sarah Cliffe

Robert Cialdini, considered the leading social scientist in the field of influence, was initially drawn to the topic because he saw how easily people could step over an ethical line into manipulation or even abuse. His 2001 book Influence, which laid out six principles of persuasion, was eloquent about the dangers of persuasive techniques in the wrong hands. A best-selling article he wrote for HBR the same year, “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion,” looked at the positive side of persuasion: how managers could use those principles to run their organizations more effectively. Cialdini is the Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and the president of the consulting firm Influence at Work. In this edited interview with HBR executive editor Sarah Cliffe, he drills deeper into everyday uses of persuasion inside businesses and describes new research on the ethics of influence. Read more of this post

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