Category Archives: Leadership

The Theory of Self-Expansion in Business: The Importance of Confidence and Perception

As a business owner, I have observed a phenomenon that I believe has not been fully explored in the business world – the theory of self-expansion. This theory suggests that a person’s level of self-confidence and personal growth can have a significant impact on their business success.

I first became interested in this concept through a conversation with my friend’s husband, Luis, who owns a jewelry shop in San Francisco. Luis, who is short and petite, expressed his frustration with customers who would lie to him or treat him poorly because of his small stature. This sparked my curiosity, and I asked him if he thought customers’ behavior changed depending on the salesperson’s body size.

Luis confirmed that this was indeed the case. He had noticed that customers would never yell at his 6-foot-tall, 300-pound employee, but they would often shout at him, even though he was a skilled and experienced jeweler. I asked if he noticed this had an effect on his business growth. He admitted that he had never thought about it in those terms, but he believed that his business was not as successful as it could be because customers did not take him seriously due to his small stature.

This conversation made me wonder if other business owners had experienced similar challenges due to their physical appearance. I began researching successful business owners of all shapes and sizes and found many examples of people who had overcome their insecurities and used their unique qualities to their advantage.

I also started to consider how self-improvement courses and personal development could help business owners to boost their confidence and develop the skills and mindset needed to succeed in their industry. By investing in their own growth and development, business owners can learn how to overcome their insecurities and leverage their unique strengths and abilities to build better relationships with customers and grow their businesses.

For example, a short and petite jewelry shop owner like Luis could take a public speaking course to learn how to confidently communicate with customers and business partners. A plus-size clothing store owner could take a course in fashion design to gain more expertise in creating flattering and stylish clothing for people of all sizes.

I know that many people still do not believe in the important effect of meditation in their lives, but it’s worth giving it a try. In fact, I suggested to my friend Luis to try a specific meditation technique to help him overcome his struggle with customers treating him poorly due to his small stature. The technique involves finding a quiet place and sitting up straight, then focusing on your breath. After a few deep breaths with awareness, close your eyes and see yourself from the eyes of someone else. See that you are sitting and meditating, and try to look into your details like the color of your clothes and your hair. Then, see yourself growing, expanding, and getting bigger and bigger, feeling yourself in a huge body. Imagine that as you get bigger and bigger, the room that you are sitting in is getting smaller and smaller. Finally, take your attention one more time to yourself from the eyes of someone else, seeing how big you’ve become, so big that you need to tilt your head up to look at yourself. After doing this meditation for at least 15 minutes per day each day, Luis noticed a significant improvement in how customers treated him and took him seriously as a skilled jeweler and business owner.

Ultimately, by investing in their own personal growth and development, business owners can not only improve their own confidence and self-esteem but also enhance their reputation and credibility in the eyes of their customers. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth marketing, and ultimately, greater business success.

If you are interested in this subject I have a few books to suggest:

  • The Power of Perception: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and the Gender Divide” by Shawn Andrews and Lauren Bossio
  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
  • Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” by Amy Cuddy

Surviving a Recession: How Small Businesses Can Survive and Thrive During Economic Downturns

The United States has experienced several recessions throughout its history, with the most recent one being the Great Recession that began in 2008. During this time, the economy suffered a significant downturn, and many small businesses struggled to survive.

During the Great Recession, small businesses faced a number of challenges, including reduced access to credit, declining sales, and increased competition from larger businesses. Many small businesses were forced to close their doors or cut back on staff to stay afloat. This had a ripple effect on local economies, as small businesses are a significant source of employment and economic activity.

It is important for small businesses to be prepared for another recession, as economic downturns are a natural part of the business cycle. Small businesses can take steps to mitigate the impact of a recession, such as maintaining cash reserves, diversifying revenue streams, controlling costs, and seeking out assistance. By doing so, they can improve their resilience and ability to weather a downturn.

In addition, small businesses have several advantages that can help them during an economic downturn. One of the key advantages is flexibility. Small businesses can be more agile and adaptable than larger entities, allowing them to pivot their business models or adjust their strategies quickly in response to changing market conditions. This can help them to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

Another advantage that small businesses have is personalized service. Small businesses can offer a more personalized and customized level of service to their customers, which can help to build customer loyalty and differentiate them from larger competitors. This can be especially important during a recession, when consumers may be more selective in their purchasing decisions.

Small businesses also have strong community ties. They are often deeply embedded in their local communities, which can help to create a strong customer base and a supportive network of suppliers and partners. This can be especially important during tough economic times, when communities may rally around local businesses to keep them afloat.

Lower overhead costs are another advantage that small businesses have. They often have lower overhead costs than larger entities, which can help to preserve cash flow and profitability during tough times. This can give small businesses an edge in terms of pricing and competitiveness.

Finally, innovation is a key advantage of small businesses. They are often at the forefront of innovation, developing new products or services and finding new ways to meet customer needs. This can help them to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive during a recession.

These resources can help and offer advice on how to get through these challenging times if you are a business owner or you know small enterprises that need to keep aware and ready for potential economic downturns.

  1. The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides resources and support for small businesses, including information on disaster preparedness and recovery:
  2. SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides free mentoring and resources for small businesses:
  3. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) offers resources and advice for small businesses facing economic challenges:
  4. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides guidance and support for small businesses during economic downturns:
  5. The Wall Street Journal’s Small Business section offers news and advice for small business owners:
  6. The Harvard Business Review has a range of articles on small business strategy and management, including during times of economic uncertainty:

These books offer a range of insights and strategies for small business owners looking to prepare for and navigate economic downturns, and may be helpful for those seeking guidance and inspiration.

  • “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries – While not specifically about economic downturns, this book provides guidance on building a resilient and adaptable business that can weather uncertainty and change.
  • The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber – This book offers insights on how to build a successful small business, including tips on preparing for and managing economic downturns.
  • Small Business Survival Book” by Barbara Weltman – This book provides practical advice and strategies for small business owners facing challenging economic conditions.
  • The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander – This book offers a fresh perspective on how to approach challenges and navigate uncertainty in business and in life.
  • Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk – This book provides advice on how to build a successful personal brand and leverage digital media to grow a business, even during tough economic times.

Building a Strong Team Through Open Communication: Why Leaders Should Avoid Saying ‘NO’

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that during the first decade of my career, I was consistently led by managers who lacked the ability to listen to their team. Whenever I requested something, their immediate response was always “no.” And if I persisted, I would either be fired or transferred to a different department. These administrators reminded me of strict parents, constantly saying “no” to their children’s requests: “Dad, can we eat pasta tonight?” “No.” “Mom, can I sleep over at my friend’s house tonight?” “No.” I understand why some parents adopt this approach, but they do so out of fear of losing control and letting the family fall apart. However, I believe that involving children in family decisions from a young age leads to a better outcome for the whole family. In a similar vein, managers who constantly say “no” are not influential leaders in my opinion.

My professional life turned for the better when I was hired by a manager who not only gave me the job, I wanted but also listened to and responded positively to every idea I had. It was years later that I realized there was a significant difference between a leader and a manager. A true leader can inspire and develop future leaders by embracing the ideas and input of others. In contrast, a manager may be able to efficiently run an office until their retirement, but they may not have the capacity to develop future leaders. This distinction highlights the importance of finding leaders who are not only knowledgeable and experienced but also open-minded and inclusive in their approach to leading a team.

After working with such a leader, I was inspired to build my own business, and I strove to be a good leader for the nearly 150 employees who worked for the company. I made a conscious effort to never immediately say “no” to my team’s requests and ideas. If I couldn’t give them what they wanted at the moment, I simply responded by saying, “I’ll think about it.” This approach not only helped me build a strong and productive team but also allowed me to continue to grow and improve as a leader. By being open-minded and considering the perspectives of others, I was able to foster a positive and collaborative work environment that led to successful business outcomes.

Saying “I’ll think about it” instead of simply saying “no” can be more effective. It helps maintain open communication, fosters trust, and ensures that decisions are made with the best information available. It shows that the leader is open-minded: By not immediately rejecting an idea, the leader is sending the message that they are willing to consider it and are open to new ideas and suggestions. This can help to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within the team.

Also as a leader sometimes you need time to make a rightful decision. Saying “I’ll think about it” gives the leader time to consider the proposal and make an informed decision. This can be especially useful when the leader needs to gather more information or consult with others before making a decision. By not immediately rejecting an idea, the leader is inviting the team to discuss it. This can be an opportunity for the team to provide additional information, clarify their position, and find common ground.

In my experience, the most critical aspect of avoiding immediate rejection is that it fosters trust between a leader and their team. When a leader says, “I’ll think about it,” it demonstrates that they value their team’s input and are dedicated to making thoughtful and informed decisions. This approach can help to establish a positive working relationship with the team and build trust over time. By being open-minded and taking the time to consider all options, leaders can develop a more collaborative and supportive work environment.

  • leadership
  • open-mindedness
  • collaboration
  • team building
  • positive work environment
  • decision-making
  • trust-building
  • effective communication
  • employee engagement
  • productivity

Avoiding Business Pitfalls: Top 5 Mistakes to Watch Out for When Making Decisions

1- Having Limited Information:

Making decisions without sufficient information can often lead to bad outcomes. When we don’t have all the facts and data needed to make an informed choice, we may make decisions based on incomplete or incorrect information. This can result in decisions that are inefficient, ineffective, or even harmful. For example, if you are trying to decide which company to invest in and you don’t have all the financial information about the company, you might make an incorrect decision that costs you money. Similarly, if you are trying to choose between different medical treatments and don’t have all the information about the risks and benefits of each option, you might make a decision that has negative consequences for your health. In conclusion, it’s important to gather as much information as possible before making any decision, especially if the decision is significant or has far-reaching consequences. This will help you make the best possible choice, based on accurate and comprehensive information.

2- Lack of Planning:

Lack of planning is a common mistake that can lead to wrongful decisions or failure in proper business decisions. When people don’t take the time to plan and fully consider all the options and potential outcomes, they may make hasty or uninformed choices that don’t align with their goals and values.

Here are some ways lack of planning can lead to wrongful decisions:

  • Limited perspective: Without planning, people often don’t consider all the alternatives and only focus on the most obvious solutions. This can limit their perspective and prevent them from seeing creative and innovative solutions.
  • Uninformed choices: Planning helps people gather all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Without planning, people may make decisions based on limited or incorrect information, leading to poor outcomes.
  • Missed opportunities: Proper planning helps people identify potential risks and opportunities. Without planning, people may miss opportunities or overlook potential risks, leading to decisions that are not in their best interests.
  • Ineffective decisions: When people don’t plan, they may make decisions that are inefficient or ineffective. For example, they may choose a solution that is not the most cost-effective or that doesn’t address the root cause of a problem.

3- Overconfidence:

Overconfidence can reduce our success in making good decisions because it blinds us to the limitations of our own knowledge and abilities. It can cause us to ignore evidence, refuse to seek advice, take unnecessary risks, and make hasty decisions. To make the best possible decisions, it’s important to be aware of our own limitations and to seek out diverse perspectives and information. This can help us make well-informed and thought-out choices. When people are overly confident, they may:

  • Ignore evidence: Overconfident individuals often ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs, which can lead to a lack of critical thinking and poor decision-making.
  • Refuse to seek advice: Overconfident people may believe they know everything they need to know, and as a result, they may not seek advice or consider the opinions of others. This can lead to a lack of diverse perspectives and incomplete information.
  • Take unnecessary risks: Overconfident individuals may take excessive risks without fully considering the potential consequences, which can result in poor outcomes.
  • Make hasty decisions: Overconfident individuals may make hasty decisions without taking the time to fully consider all the options and potential outcomes.

here’s an example of how overconfidence can reduce success in making a good decision:

Let’s say that a person is an experienced stock trader and has had several successful trades in the past. They become overconfident in their ability to make profitable trades and decide to invest all their savings into a high-risk stock without thoroughly researching the company or considering other investment options. Despite their past successes, their overconfidence causes them to make poor decisions, and the stock ends up performing poorly, leading to significant financial losses.

4- Emotional bias:

Emotional biases refer to the ways in which our emotions and feelings can influence our decision-making. When emotions are involved, we may be more likely to make decisions based on irrational thinking and less likely to consider objective facts and logical reasoning. Irma Parone the author of WIN X: The Problem-Solving Model to Win Exponentially with Customers, Employees, and Your Bottom line, gives us some valuable entrepreneurial tips:

Decision-making is a science, a practice, but it is not an exact science and, as we know, it’s very much connected to our emotions, to how we feel on a given day or time.”

Here is a sad but true example of how emotional biases can cause bad decision-making in a small business:

A small business owner is facing a difficult decision about whether to lay off a portion of their workforce to cut costs. They have a strong emotional connection to their employees, who have been with the company for many years, and the thought of laying them off is causing them great stress and anxiety. As a result, they may make a hasty decision to lay off more employees than is necessary, or to avoid laying off anyone at all and put the company at risk of financial collapse.

5- Groupthink:

Groupthink is one of the common mistakes in the process of decision-making. Groupthink is a phenomenon that can occur in groups where individuals are under pressure to conform to the opinions of the group rather than think independently. Groupthink can lead to poor decision-making because it can:

  • Suppress dissent: Groupthink can lead individuals to suppress their own opinions and thoughts to conform to the views of the group, resulting in a lack of diverse perspectives and information.
  • Create an illusion of unanimity: Groupthink can create a false sense of unanimity, making it seem like everyone in the group agrees with a particular course of action, when in reality, some people may have differing opinions.
  • Reinforce faulty assumptions: Groupthink can cause individuals to reinforce each other’s faulty assumptions, leading to a lack of critical thinking and poor decision-making.
  • Limit creativity: Groupthink can limit creativity by discouraging individuals from considering alternative solutions or ideas.

I feel that my weakness in making good decisions most of the time is that I am under the influence of groupthink. To change this, I need to take some steps for myself. Firstly, I need to acknowledge the influence of groupthink in my decision-making and be more intentional about overcoming its effects. Secondly, I need to encourage open communication and make sure that everyone in the group feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions, even if they differ from the majority. Thirdly, I need to seek out diverse perspectives and gather information and opinions from a variety of sources, both within and outside of the group. Fourthly, I need to practice critical thinking and challenge myself to consider different perspectives and evaluate the evidence and arguments presented by the group. Finally, I need to make independent decisions and trust my own judgment, even if it differs from the group’s consensus. By following these steps, I can help myself overcome the influence of groupthink and make better, more informed decisions that align with my values and goals.

The Sorrows of Broadway: A Walk Through a Pandemic-Stricken Street

I was walking down the street from my workplace to Grand Central Market to grab a coffee when suddenly I felt how sad Broadway Street was. Broadway is a major street in downtown Los Angeles, California. It runs from the eastern edge of downtown, near the Los Angeles River, to the city’s west side. It is one of the oldest streets in the city and was once the city’s main commercial thoroughfare.

It’s possible that the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the atmosphere of Broadway, leading to a decrease in foot traffic and overall activity. Many businesses along the street may have closed or reduced their hours of operation due to the pandemic, which can contribute to a less vibrant atmosphere. Additionally, the economic downturn caused by the pandemic may have led to job losses and financial struggles for many people, which can also contribute to a more somber mood.

I almost cried as I waited for the light to turn green to cross 4th and Broadway. A little further on the sidewalk, there was a homeless man sitting right in front of the Grand Central Market, begging for food, and a few people were in line to order their egg sandwiches. No one seemed happy.

Financial situations can have a major impact on people’s emotions and overall well-being. Moreover, I think financial stress can cause feelings of anxiety, worry, and depression, which can be further exacerbated by an economic downturn like the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Job losses and financial struggles can lead to uncertainty and insecurity about the future, which can have a significant impact on mental and emotional health. Additionally, financial difficulties can also lead to practical problems such as difficulty paying bills and maintaining housing, which can add to the stress and negative feelings. With the ongoing pandemic and the financial struggles of many people, it is not uncommon for some people to feel sadness, uncertainty, and insecurity about the future.

I was thinking about the ways I could be somehow useful to my community. Maybe I could:

  • Volunteer my time or skills. Many organizations need volunteers to help with various tasks, such as providing meals, running errands, or providing counseling services.
  • Support small businesses. Consider shopping at small, locally-owned businesses instead of large corporations.
  • Help spread awareness. Share information about resources and assistance programs with friends, family, and community members who may be struggling.
  • Be kind and compassionate. Showing kindness and understanding to those around you who may be going through a difficult time can make a big difference in their lives.
  • Participate in community activities, such as cleaning up a park or organizing a community meal, that can bring people together and build a sense of community.

These activities are good but not good enough to overcome the current economic situation and financial difficulties we all face. The government should provide financial assistance to small businesses in the form of loans, grants, and tax breaks. Non-profit organizations should work hard to cover more small entities and support them financially or provide them with business improvement advisory services.

Small businesses also need to be proactive and take responsibility for their businesses in different ways such as:

  • Take advantage of digital marketing strategies such as social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization to reach more customers.
  • Form partnerships with other businesses or organizations to share resources and customers.
  • Reduce their costs by implementing cost-saving measures such as reducing inventory, negotiating better deals with suppliers, and cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Diversify their products and services to adapt to changing market conditions and reach new customers.
  • Develop new and innovative products or services to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Learn to be flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions and customer needs.
  • Always seek advice and counseling from experts in the field or from business development centers to help them navigate the current economic situation.

Time Management for Office Assistants

Time management is an essential skill for office assistants to master. It is crucial for them to be able to prioritize tasks and allocate their time effectively in order to meet deadlines and fulfill their responsibilities efficiently.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

There are several reasons why time management is an essential skill for office assistants.

First, it helps to increase productivity. By effectively managing their time, office assistants can complete more tasks in a shorter period of time, freeing up more time for other responsibilities. This is especially important in a fast-paced office environment where there is often a high volume of work to be done.

Second, good time management helps to reduce stress. When office assistants are able to manage their workload effectively, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. It is not only beneficial for the individual, but it can also have a positive impact on the overall working environment.

Third, it helps to improve the quality of work. When office assistants have the time to focus on their tasks and do them to the best of their ability, the quality of their work is likely to be higher. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and a better reputation for the office as a whole.

So, how can office assistants effectively manage their time? Here are some tips:

  1. Set goals: It is important for office assistants to clearly understand what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Setting goals can help to provide focus and direction, allowing office assistants to prioritize tasks and allocate their time accordingly.
  2. Create a schedule: Office assistants can create a daily or weekly schedule to help them stay on track. This can include blocking off time for specific tasks, as well as incorporating breaks and time for unexpected or urgent tasks.
  3. Use a task list: A task list can be a helpful tool for office assistants to keep track of what needs to be done and when. This can include both long-term and short-term tasks.
  4. Avoid distractions: Distractions can be a major time-waster for office assistants. It is important to minimize distractions as much as possible, whether it be turning off notifications on electronic devices or finding a quiet workspace.
  5. Learn to say no: It can be tempting to take on additional tasks or projects, but it is important for office assistants to be realistic about their workload and not overextend themselves. Learning to say no when necessary, can help to prevent burnout and ensure that tasks are completed effectively.

Overall, time management is a crucial skill for office assistants to master. By setting goals, creating a schedule, using a task list, avoiding distractions, and learning to say NO, when necessary, office assistants can effectively manage their time and increase their productivity, reduce stress, and improve the quality of their work.