5 Entrepreneurs On How They Pay It Forward

5 Entrepreneurs On How They Pay It Forward

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

5 Entrepreneurs On How They Pay It Forward

Aimee Tariq Guest Writer Founder and CEO of A Life With Health February 10, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The entrepreneurial journey is a chaotic one, regardless of how long you’ve been at it. It’s easy to get caught up on the tasks, goals, developments, and problems that arise. Daily struggles can morph into sleepless nights. But even when it feels like there’s never enough time to get everything done, it’s important to prioritize the practice of paying it forward. 

Paying it forward is a twist on the idea of paying someone back. Instead of simply returning favors for good deeds done for you — balancing an endless checkbook of goodwill — paying it forward means doing a good deed for someone you don’t owe anything to. Selfless actions without expectation for “return on investment” can spark a train of kindness, social connections, and even transformative life changes. It may sound cheesy, but it’s an important part of making the business world a better place. Paying it forward can create virtuous cycles of cooperation in the workplace, bring about a sense of camaraderie, new partnerships, and increased clout.

There are plenty of ways you can pay it forward to your employees, clients, partners, colleagues or members of your community. Here, five entrepreneurs from different busines sectors explain how they do it.

Share your unique insights with the world

Jeff Minnichbach is founder of the design service No Limit Creatives, and he says one way he tries to pay it forward is by sharing his knowledge with large audiences that might not have access to other learning resources. “There are many ways entrepreneurs can share their insights,” he says. “I normally take the route of podcasts or Facebook Live interviews in which I would share best practices, but there are other routes that can be taken as well, such as creating eBooks, or even simply making a list of helpful resources and sharing it on a company blog post, or in a newsletter.” 

Invest in your community

Ezi Rapaport is social businessman who established the Empower Africa business network, which works to strength the role of the private sector by building mutually beneficial long-lasting relationships with African governments and grassroots businesses. “Empowerment is driven by our ability to appreciate each other, and the value we can create together,” Rapaport says. Creating business inititatives focused on building bonds of trust and goodwill can drive sustainable economic development.

But hope is not lost for entrepreneurs who can’t pay it forward on such a large scale. They can still do things like make donations to local groups or charity organizations. And if an entrepreneur involves his or her staff members in selecting a charity for the company to donate to or volunteer with, that can foster team bonding over a sense of purpose and doing good in the community.

Offer free expertise

A little advice goes a long way. Dr. Edward F. Group III, the gounder of natural/organic health resource site Global Healing Center, is a big believer in offering free advice for the greater good. On his website, in addition to selling health supplements and detox products, Dr. Group also offers free advice on how to live healthy in terms of nutrition, mind and body, green living, and more. Paying it forward this way not only helps others, but also helps establish credibility and thought leadership for the brand offering valuable expertise.

Encourage generously

Taking the time to consistently encourage others is a vital leadership quality. Envouragement shouldn’t wait for annual evaluations. Regular recognition and affirmation keeps team members enthusiastic, and trying their best. Penny stock trader Steven Dux says that before he achieved success (to the tune of $69 million), he was struggling to catch a break, and struggling even more with his self-worth. The one person who continued to believe in him was his mom. “I felt alone, and I felt like I had run out of options,” he says, “But she supported me. I knew how strong she had been and how she didn’t let anybody stand in her way. It was this strength that gave me my own.” You never know where a little bit of encouragement is finding someone. It can truly make a difference.

Give referrals to other businesses

When entrepreneurs refer potential customers to other relevant small businesses for different products or services, it can have a huge impact. “This is a love train that entrepreneurs all over the world should join hands for,” says Farhana Rahman, marketing director of agricultural data service SeeTree. “It’s no secret that word-of-mouth recommendations are the best advertisements, but it was very much the secret sauce to our original success before SeeTree launched in early 2019. Upon launch, in addition to $15M in funding, we also secured partnerships with some of the largest growers while still in beta, thanks to those referrals. So we are paying it forward as well!” 

There are numerous other creative ways entrepreneurs and their companies can pay it forward. They can create scholarship programs, internship programs, nominate people for awards, host periodic events, loan unused office space to charitable groups in need of space, put together care packages, and so much more. The feeling that comes from giving gifts that keep on giving is (quite literally) priceless.


How to Delegate With Confidence

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

How to Delegate With Confidence

James P. Friel Guest Writer Founder & CEO February 11, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you, and then felt like it would have been better if you had just done it yourself?

Or have you ever found yourself holding on to too many tasks because you’re afraid of losing control?ADVERTISING

Most business owners have felt these things as their companies grow and they begin to rely on other people to get things done. But as we all know, as your business grows, you can’t (nor should you) do everything yourself. At some point, you have to learn how to delegate.

The good news is that delegating is not rocket science. By focusing on the fundamentals, you can learn to delegate effectively and reclaim your time.

Knowing what should (and shouldn’t) be delegated

The most important aspect of delegating with confidence is prioritizing tasks and figuring out what needs to be handed off. 

Here are the questions you need to ask yourself to figure out whether a task should be delegated:

  1. Does it need to be done? If it doesn’t actually need to be done, the worst possible thing you can do is delegate it. This would be a waste of time and money. As Peter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” 
  2. Is it a recurring task? If a task is going to repeat, then look for ways to partially or fully automate it.
  3. Can someone else do it? If yes, then it should absolutely be delegated. This will free up your time to focus on your highest-value activities. 
  4. Are you actually the best person to do the job? If yes, then do it yourself, keeping in mind the answer to this question is likely to change over time.

The delegation triangle

Once you’ve established that delegation is the best course of action and what tasks need to be delegated, you’re ready to develop a solid delegation process. 

Think of delegation as a triangle, with the three points being who, what, and when. The delegation triangle can keep you on track and make delegating tasks easier. 

Who: You need to get very clear about who is accountable for completing a task. Don’t just say, “Hey, I need help getting this done.” 

Designate a single point of accountability for each task. The last thing you want is for your team to be unclear on who needs to do what tasks. 

What: Paint a clear picture of the outcome you want. Make sure this is every bit as clear to the other person as it is to you, so you don’t have to go back and rework anything. 

When: Set clear and realistic deadlines so everyone is on the same page. (It’s a lot easier to define the when after you get clear on the what).

Parting shots

One of the biggest things to understand about delegation is that you and your team build trust with each other over time though success. 

With a set process for determining which tasks should be delegating and clearly outlining your expectations for the task, you’ll begin to delegate with confidence, help get the best out of your team, free up your own valuable time and ensure you’re not a bottleneck as your company grows.