Wednesday, November 29, 2017

5 Ways to Boost Brainpower and Creativity

By Scott Vollero

Clearly, your brain is your most valuable asset. But how often do you nurture it to keep it that way?
As with most of your body's muscles, your brain needs exercise to stay at the top of its game. An active well-functioning brain keeps you productive at work, ensures the decisions you make are smart and gives you the tools you need to come up with new ideas and problem solutions.
How can you keep your brain sharp and increase creativity? Follow these five tips.
1. Exercise Your Body
OK, you're busy. An hour at the gym is not going to happen. But, you can fit in a daily walk, even if it's a 15-minute walk around your office building. 

“That little walk allows your brain to do amazing things. Regular physical exercise improves cognition, memory and protects against degeneration.”—Scott Vollero

Exercise also relieves stress. Find ways to engage in physical activities, such as one or more walks and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, throughout the day.
2. Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is essential for optimum brain function. The best way to get vitamin D is direct exposure to the sun. Your skin needs 10-minutes of sun exposure per day without the use of sunscreen. If you live in an area where sun is limited or cannot go without sunscreen, consider taking a supplement. Speak with your doctor about how much to take.
3. Take Breaks
A Hiroshima University study published in The Atlantic found that the formula for optimal productivity is taking a 17-minute break after 52 minutes of work. Scientific observations concluded that your brain, just like any other muscle, tires from repeated stress. In other words, your ability to perform at optimum capacity diminishes over time. Your brain needs periodic breaks to refresh itself. So, work hard for 52 minutes then spend a few moments looking at cute cat videos. It's good for your brain.
4. Eat, Drink, Sleep
Your brain thrives when it and the rest of your body feel good. Avoid eating junk food and get plenty of rest. And, believe it or not, drink coffee. Best done early in the day so it doesn't interfere with sleep, drinking coffee with caffeine actually does help your brain function. Coffee helps you focus, boosts intelligence, improves your reasoning capacity and increases reaction times.
5. Develop and Improve Your Natural Creativity
When you were a kid, you asked questions. You wanted to know about everything. If you're like most adults, however, you've gotten caught up in the day-to-day and lost some of your natural curiosity, and with it the inborn creativity, you once had. Creativity drives innovation. It gives our brains the ability to interpret events, predict outcomes and produce ideas.
Here are a few ways you can get those creative juices flowing again:
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Change your routine. Drive a different route to work. Order something you've never tried before off the menu. Even small changes invoke new ways of thinking.
  • Learn something new. Take a language class in person or online. Learn a new skill. Take on a new challenge.
  • Play games. According to Entrepreneur magazine, playing Tetris not only has positive effects on the brain, but playing Tetris after a traumatic experience has been shown to decrease the negative memories of the event and victims suffer fewer flashbacks. Logic games keep the mind sharp. Word games increase vocabulary.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs: Do You Have What It Takes?

By Scott Vollero
A lot of people dream about starting a successful business. Very few actually take the first steps toward entrepreneurship, however. Of those who do, fewer still have the personality traits to take their ideas to fruition.

“It turns out that successful entrepreneurs have personality traits in common that make them more likely to succeed.”—Scott Vollero

If you're a budding entrepreneur, you may be wondering if you have what it takes.
Here are seven personality traits winning entrepreneurs have or developed. How many do you have?
1. Highly Self-Motivated
Despite rumors to the contrary, there are no overnight successes. To succeed, an entrepreneur has to be highly self-motivated, believe in themselves and are positive their business model is viable. Starting a business and turning it into a profitable company takes time. There will be ups and downs. There will be fits and starts and restarts. Can you remain positive through the bad times? Are you self-motivated enough to keep going no matter what?
2. Strong Leadership Skills
Are you the go-to person at work or at home? Do you like to be the person in charge? Do others come to you for advice? Great leadership skills require a willingness to reach a goal no matter what. Great leaders know the road to their goal may not always be pleasant or easy, but it doesn't matter. They'll get there anyway. Effective leaders are proactive go-getters. They don't sit back and let opportunities fall into their laps. They make them.
3. Creativity, Innovation and Versatility
Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to recognize opportunities and create out-of-the-box innovative solutions. They also have to wear a variety of hats, particularly in the beginning. As an entrepreneur, you'll be responsible not only for pursuing opportunities, selling your service or product and growing your business, but also for answering the phones, paying the bills and ordering supplies. Can you keep creativity alive?
4. Business Knowledge and Skills
To efficiently run your business, you'll have to set up internal systems, processes and procedures to keep track of inventory, invoicing and billing, supply purchases, taxes and other business-related transactions. You'll have to devise filing systems and routines to follow to ensure proper tracking. You'll most likely have to come up with a workable telecommunications system. Setting up an office involves more than throwing a computer on a desk. Do you have the skills to create the proper work environment to efficiently run your business?
5. Big Picture Vision
Entrepreneurs look not only to the here and now, but have a big picture vision of what the future holds. Where do you want to take your business? What do you expect your business to be in five years? It's that future vision that keeps entrepreneurs on the right path. Without a realistic future vision on which to base decisions, there is no direction. A business without a set purpose flounders.
6. Willingness to Fail
The most effective entrepreneurs take risks. They try new things. They carve new paths. They know that not every new attempt will succeed. That's OK. An entrepreneur realizes that making mistakes is an integral part of success. Learning from mistakes and moving forward with new knowledge leads to a greater chance for future achievement.
7. Decisiveness
There's no room for procrastination or indecision when you're an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs possess the ability to quickly assess a situation and make a decision without hesitation. Opportunities are lost when too much time passes. Are you able to make quick, yet informed decisions? It's what successful entrepreneurs do.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.

Monday, November 6, 2017

How to Rock Your Inner Boss and Delegate the Right Way

By Scott Vollero

Successful entrepreneurs are great at a lot of things. They think outside the box, they see the big picture, they're willing to take risks and they're determined to succeed. What entrepreneurs may not be so great at, though, is being the boss.
Delegation doesn't come naturally to most entrepreneurs. If you're an entrepreneur who has either already hired people or getting ready to, you owe it to yourself and your employees to learn how to boss effectively. If you don't, it doesn't matter how talented your employees, they'll walk out the door.
Follow these tips to find your inner boss and make sure your employees stay happy and productive.
Delegate and Let Go
You're good, but admit it — you aren't an expert on everything. That's precisely the reason you hire people — to fill your skills and knowledge gaps, give you time to pursue big picture solutions and to provide a solid and well-rounded functioning business.

“Delegating is difficult for many entrepreneurs because up to this point, they've been doing everything themselves.”—Scott Vollero

Entrepreneurs like being in control. Allowing someone else to take over a specific area seems unnatural and frightening.
But, if you're confident you hired the right people, delegate to them and let them do their jobs. Resist the urge to micromanage. Empower employees to make decisions within their assigned area and back them up if an issue occurs.
Adapt to Personalities
Remarkable employees come in a lot of different packages. One person may be boisterous and work best in an environment around other people. Another may be more introspective and works best in a quiet place without a lot of distractions. Put each person in the environment that lets them be the best they can be.
You also have to adapt your management style to fit each individual's needs. Some people may prefer lots of face time to talk things out. Others may prefer written communication and the opportunity to discuss work as they need. There is no “one size fits all” when you work with people. Get to know each employee well enough to learn the most effective ways of motivating them.
Show Yourself
Employees won't get behind you if they see you as an aloof entity. To truly engage employees, they must view you as part of the same team. Sure, they expect you to direct them in their work, but they also want to know who you are and see you as a real person.
Become transparent. When you make decisions, explain your reasoning. If possible, include your team in the decision-making process. If you make a mistake, admit it. Ask for your team's help during crisis situations. Your company succeeds when you and your employees pull together and are all invested in its success.
Remember They're Human
Your employees are human beings with lives outside of work. Sure, that sounds obvious; but you’d be surprised at the number of managers who act like their employees are machines. An employee may need extra time off work at some point or need assistance with a personal situation. Be generous. Figure out ways to reduce work stress levels and help them out during the crisis. It's what great bosses do.
Make the Tough Decisions
Yes, being a boss means empowering employees and giving them the best possible environment in which to work. But if an employee is simply not working out or lacks the desire to improve, it's your job to let them go. An ineffective employee not only isn't productive, but can reduce the morale of your top people. You can't let the situation fester. Be a boss and make the tough decisions.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Avoid the Nightmare: 5 Tips for Hiring the Right People

By Scott Vollero

Your sister-in-law’s second cousin’s best friend didn’t turn out to be the best employee, did he? And remember the time you hired your daughter’s best friend? What a mess that turned out to be. It only takes one nightmare employee for you to realize you need to hire better.
You're ready to hire someone but you don’t want to make the same mistakes. What can you do to hire the best people from now on? Here are five tips to get the job done right.
1. Ask Not What the Employee Can Do For You, But What Your Position Does for the Employee
Although it sounds backward, the Wall Street Journal reports that United States and Canadian researchers found that qualified applicants are put off if a job posting is nothing but a list of qualifications and demands.
By far, the most effective listings offered employee benefits such as collaboration with talented people, constructive feedback channels and avenues for employee growth. Write job descriptions that not only describe requirements, but employee advantages as well.
2. Focus Less on Hard and More on Soft Skills
Clearly you don’t want to have to train someone from scratch, but soft skills are vitally important in new hires. If a candidate doesn’t have every single job requirement but has an eager, positive and intelligent outlook, they may be exactly the right person for the job.
3. Ace the Interview
Yes, if you want to hire the right people, you have to conduct an ace interview. Give your applicant your complete attention. Don’t place too much emphasis on technical skills. Listen to the applicant’s answers. For example, if you ask the applicant why he left his last job and he blames someone else, ask for more details. The applicant may have a legitimate reason to blame the other guy or his answer may be a red flag that he is difficult.
You can also learn a lot by asking open ended questions. For example, ask your applicant where she’d like to be in 10 years time. Her answer could give you insight into her ambition and drive.

“A great interview is give and take. Invite the candidate to ask questions about you and your company.” — Scott Vollero

Answer truthfully with a realistic description of what working for your company is like. A candidate who’s hired and doesn’t like the environment does not make for a happy employee.
4. Be Social
You will most likely do a quick background check on potential hires, but don’t forget to look at an applicant’s social media accounts. Of course, what employees do with their personal lives, unless it’s something illegal, is their own business, but you can tell a lot about what type of worker an applicant might be from their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
5. Avoid Hiring Relatives, Friends and Friends of Friends, Most of the Time
Surprisingly, hiring relatives or friends does work - once in a blue moon. But most of the time, if you value your loved ones, just say no. If you enjoy your friends, simply say no. It’s not worth the aggravation and very possibly the end the relationship.
Bio: Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Interview with Entrepreneur and Innovator Scott Vollero

In this adapted excerpt from an exclusive interview, Scott Vollero talks about how he succeeds as an entrepreneur and shares some tips to help others start and grow their businesses.
1. You've started several successful businesses. How do you come up with the ideas in the first place?
Scott Vollero: The idea behind every successful business, mine included, is a solution to a problem. For example, Autocats Inc. came about because we saw the need for an innovative process to extract trace elements of platinum, palladium and rhodium from used catalytic converters. No one else was doing it. It was an undeveloped and undiscovered solution. And it took off. The best business ideas come from providing new and more efficient processes to better meet a customer's needs.
2. In your experience, what are the best strategies for growing a business?
Scott Vollero: The one consistent strategy to grow a business is focus on what the customer needs. A business plan is great but if it doesn't include meeting and exceeding the needs of your customer, the business could fail. Begin by exceeding customer demands and be willing to change along with them.
3. How do you stay focused and productive?
Scott Vollero: There are several ways I stay focused and on track. I keep detailed notes throughout the day and review them over breakfast. I complete one business-related task daily, no matter how small it seems. And, I take care of myself. I exercise, try to get enough sleep and make time for quiet reflection. To run a business well, you have to take care of all aspects of your life.
4. Do you have advice for the young entrepreneur?
Scott Vollero: A higher education is desirable, of course, but in order to succeed you need to develop high value practical skills as well. How can you develop high value practical skills? With real world work experience. My first full-time job was at an investment bank. I learned how to work with people and the importance of loyalty to my colleagues and customers. I gained experience by working and moving up the ladder in a variety of different industries. I developed critical thinking and teaching skills. The skills I learned then keep me going now.
5. Any last words of advice for entrepreneurs and business executives?
Scott Vollero: Don't become complacent. Challenge yourself every single day. That doesn't mean you have to climb Mount Everest or that it has to be a business challenge. It simply means moving out of your comfort zone and doing something different. I find it's the best way to hone my coping skills and deal with the unexpected.

Scott Vollero is an international entrepreneur and expert in the precious metals and automotive parts recycling industries.