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How to know which type of workplace lets you thrive

(ENTREPRENEUR) Everyone wants to be a part of a productive, rewarding company, whether as employee or founder, but how do you find that?

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Different strokes

Everyone thrives in different ways, enjoys different types of activities, prefers different kinds of environments. Duh.

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And that diversity is what makes the world go round – we can’t all be neurosurgeons or astronauts or painters or anything else, and most importantly, we don’t want to be.

Everyone wants to do well

I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants to be a part of a productive, rewarding company, whether as employee or founder. And everyone would probably like to be at their best at work, supported and challenged by colleagues. Saying you want to thrive at work is like listing “having fun” as one of your hobbies:

the point is how you have fun, and how you work best.

So how do you figure out the kind of company, the kind of workplace culture, that’s best for you? According to Bill Taylor of the Harvard Business Review, there are four main types of high-performance workplaces.

Community-based

Channel the Three Musketeers while you’re at work by prizing trust, collaboration, and loyalty over all else. Though this kind of workplace values customers, partners, and investors, employees are number one. Kent Thiry, the CEO of Davita – a Colorado-based health care provider – says his company is a “community first and a company second.” He goes on to explain: “We have flipped the means and the ends. Having an adequately profitable business is the means.”

“Building a real community of human beings is the end.”

If you need to feel at home when you’re at work, a community-based workplace might be the best place for you.

Star-studded

Picture the opposite of the Three Musketeers, and you get this type of workplace. It’s every maniacal employee for themselves, and competition is a way of life. This kind of workplace is made up of a bunch of success-obsessed superstars, and it makes for a tough environment.

But if you’re talented and you like to dream big (and actively pursue those dreams), this kind of workplace could be the ideal place for you to thrive.

Investment banks and hedge funds often operate this way, and some law firms, consulting companies, and tech giants also embrace the competitive drive that forces employees to sink or swim. Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good. They are 100 times better.”

Doing good

This kind of workplace is all about the large-scale impact of the employees. People who work in this kind of environment are often self-effacing and willing to sacrifice for the good of customers and other stakeholders. This doesn’t necessarily mean the organization is a non-profit out to save the bees or revive public education.

But this kind of workplace is mission-driven.

A great example is USAA: a financial services company that only – only – does business with active and retired members of the military, and their families. Employees of USAA are passionate about service, and that commitment to the customer has helped USAA maintain and grow a loyal base.

Little and mighty

Some workplaces are a maze of hierarchy and protocol, and good work can get lost or mangled by the process. If you crave a sense of urgency in your work – not just a deadline, but an impetus to ideate and act – a small workplace with few obstacles could be your place to shine.

The revenue may not be massive, but it also could be a jackpot.

Sometimes the size of your workplace only guides your job satisfaction, not your company’s performance.

Now it’s time to take stock of your current organization, or the organizations you’re applying to.Click To Tweet

Are they driven by the things you want to drive you? Don’t just exist at your job, thrive. Look for the kind of company that will better your best.

#Thrive

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business Entrepreneur

If you’re easily distracted, you’re more likely to thrive as an entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) If monotony and boredom at work- well bores you, it’s possible you may fit with the other entrepreneurs with a quick and constantly changing career.

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When Bill Gates was a kid, he knew he liked messing around with code. He couldn’t have known how it might evolve, but he was willing to live in the distraction, focusing on details when needed, but always learning, moving on, taking risks and growing in the process.

Some of the most successful folks among us are not content to sit and make widgets every day. They cannot thrive in a detail and focused work environment. So, it may come as no surprise to know that people who are more easily distracted are also more likely to thrive as entrepreneurs.

According to this study, if you are intelligent and get distracted more easily, those two qualities combined will likely enhance your creativity. And, that creativity and ability to use distraction as an advantage can be channeled to create new things, jobs, companies, etc.

For those of us who are more easily distracted, who enjoy doing different things every day, and who like learning, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a good option is to find a career path that provides the right amount of distraction and which is a great fit for your personality. If you do that your talent is more likely to be apparent because you are playing to your strengths. Also, if you are working in your sweet spot you will be more productive and motivated.

Maybe not surprisingly, the top job for those who live in distraction is entrepreneur. The term “easily distracted” often comes with a negative connotation, but considering an entrepreneur is taking risks, making things happen and creating companies, ideas, products that may have never existed, this spins that idea on its head. Entrepreneurs are the chief cooks and bottle washers of the world. They ideate, create, hire and inspire. None of that is possible in a monotonous work environment.

“Unsurprisingly, meta-analyses indicate that entrepreneurs tend to have higher levels of ‘openness to experience,’ so they differ from managers and leaders in that they are more curious, interested in variety and novelty, and are more prone to boredom — as well as less likely to tolerate routine and predictability,” according to the HBR story.

Other careers that are great fits for those of us (me included) who enjoy distraction are PR/Media Production, Journalism and Consultant. What these fields all have in common is, there is never a dull moment, switching from task to task is pretty commonplace, and you will do well if you can be a generalist – synthesizing information and weeding out the unnecessary.

Not sure where your strengths lie? Here’s a quick quiz to give you some feedback on how curious you really are.

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Business Entrepreneur

How can a small business beat a large competitor moving in next door?

(BUSINESS) How do you stand out when a big competitor moves to your neighborhood? Reddit has a few suggestions – some obvious, some not so much.

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Small businesses, especially restaurants have been hit hard by lockdowns. Many closed for good this year, and those that are still hanging on are in a precarious position as their local economies shift.

Last week, a user on r/smallbusiness asked a timeless question that is especially relevant right now. Reddit user longbottomjr writes: “We have a strong competitor moving in next door in a few months. Our restaurant is one that pays the bills but […] I feel that if this new competitor takes up enough market share we will lose our restaurant. Can anyone chime in with resources/ideas I can use to help put together our plan of action?”

Comments quickly pointed out what common sense would dictate.

First, ensure the basics are covered. Being clean, quick, friendly, and high quality will take you far, no matter what competition you’re up against. And as u/horsemullet said, “Customer service also happens before someone walks through the door!” So make sure that your online hours, contact info, menus and social media accounts are up to date and accurate.

Another point emerged that is less intuitive: Competing businesses will naturally gravitate towards similar locations. This is a well-established phenomenon known within game theory as Nash’s Equilibrium. In the restaurant industry, this is actually a good thing. It brings entirely new customers to the area and ultimately benefits all the other nearby businesses, too.

Take advantage of the attention by offering something other spots don’t, like loyalty rewards, specials, unique offerings, or meal deals.

Speaking of the area, a great way to stand out from larger competitors is to build relationships with the community you serve, as u/sugarface2134 emphasized. “In my city there are two Italian restaurants in the same location – just across the parking lot from each other. We always pick the smaller one because the owner truly makes you feel like a member of the family.”

That’s an advantage of being a small, local business that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. Get to know your customers personally and you will not only create loyal regulars, but friends as well.

One of the top rated responses, from u/seefooddiet2200, made an often overlooked but critically important point.

“Talk to your staff and see if they have any ideas. These are the people that are working every single day and may know one or two ‘annoying’ things that if they were switched would make things easier. Or maybe they see that there’s specific things people ask for that you don’t serve. Every single [one] of your employees is a gold mine of insight, you just need to be open to listening to them.”

That is applicable to any business owner who wants to improve their practices.

Ask employees what they think, especially the ones who have stuck around a long time. Not only do they know the ins-and-outs of their jobs, but this builds rapport and trust with your staff. A good boss realizes that employees are more than their job descriptions. They have valuable thoughts about what’s working and not working, and direct access to customer’s opinions.

Good luck, u/longbottomjr! We’ll be rooting for you.

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Business Entrepreneur

How a newly funded coffee delivery startup is thriving during COVID

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Seattle’s Joe Coffee finds successful funding in hyper specific clientele and operations even mid-pandemic. But how did they do it?

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Amidst a pandemic, you might not expect a small company with limited clientele to thrive. Yet, Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based delivery service, is doing just that.

Joe Coffee, an aptly named coffee runner, has received millions in funding, a large chunk of which was raised mid-pandemic. Their mission is simple: to bring coffee from smaller shops to local consumers, especially without endangering either party.

There’s a lot to be said about Joe Coffee’s valuation and mission, but what’s more intriguing is their unlikely success.

A food delivery service that focuses on coffee may not seem that niche, but when you look at Joe Coffee’s determination to stick to the Seattle area, coupled with its staunch resolve for frequenting smaller shops (e.g., not Starbucks), the service begins to look pretty specific–and, in an economy that honors sweeping solutions, this is a welcome change of pace.

The way their service works is fairly simple: Joe Coffee provides shops with signs and information on how to order through the Joe network, then consumers are able to download and order through a mobile app on all of the usual platforms. Joe Coffee takes a nine percent cut of the order total, credit card fees included.

In return, customers are able to order from their favorite, local, non-chain coffee shops, both supporting them and sustaining their caffeine addiction at a time where alertness is paramount and grouchiness is all too common.

What’s truly interesting about Joe Coffee’s example is that it demonstrates an availability for small services with extreme specificity in terms of operating capacity. By sticking to unique businesses in a relatively small metropolitan area (as opposed to, say, multiple cities), the service is more likely to be successful in execution and delivery, thereby solidifying its relevance to both consumers and businesses alike.

And, by playing into the need for curbside pickup or home delivery these days, Joe Coffee only furthers the perception that its service is necessary.

If the country begins to reopen–whenever that happens–it will be no surprise to see Joe Coffee maintain a relationship between consumers and smaller businesses in the Seattle area. For anyone offering a similarly niche service, this is a perfect example of a company to which you should pay attention.

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