What can Microsoft’s AI chatbot experiment teach young entrepreneurs?

If you didn’t hear about Microsoft’s recent artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot misfortune as the story was unfolding, you won’t have to search hard on the web to find out about it.

As an experiment, the tech giant set a chatbot loose on Twitter. Named Tay, the AI programme was designed to interact with Twitter users and to get ‘smarter’ as more people communicated with it.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, web users fed the chatbot a series of controversial remarks, which it in turn incorporated into its own comments and responses. After just 16 hours, Microsoft was forced to shut the programme down and apologise for any offence it had caused.

You might be wondering what young entrepreneurs can learn from a poorly executed experiment in AI research. But in fact this high-profile and embarrassing blunder highlights a number of important issues that I think all aspiring businesspeople should be aware of.

A solid plan is essential

The engineers behind this AI experiment might have thought they’d done all the necessary planning and preparation to ensure the success of the project, but they were quickly proven wrong. The fact is, in the business world thorough preparation is always essential. Whether you’re gearing up to launch a new company, you’re about to release a product or you’re rolling out a marketing campaign, paying attention to every last detail will help you to avoid costly and potentially humiliating mistakes. This means factoring in enough time to do all the relevant preparations properly, ensuring that this process isn’t rushed and corners are not cut.

Expect the best, prepare for the worst

Decades of business experience around the world dealing with a variety of different companies and projects have taught me to expect the unexpected – and to be ready to react quickly and effectively if and when problems arise. The engineers at Microsoft seem to have been taken by surprise by the response of Twitter users to their chatbot, and it’s all too easy to be blindsided by unforeseen complications in business. The key is to be adaptable and resilient enough to recover from these difficulties.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again – and again! In a statement made after Tay was removed from the internet, Peter Lee, Microsoft’s vice president of research, said: “We will remain steadfast in our efforts to learn from this and other experiences as we work toward contributing to an internet that represents the best, not the worst, of humanity.”

This comment perfectly encapsulates the never-give-up approach that entrepreneurs need if they are to fulfil their ambitions. Even the best businesspeople experience problems. One of the things that set these individuals apart is the fact that they have the courage and conviction required to keep going and to reach their goals, regardless of what happens along the way.

 

As Cobra Group of Companies founder and chairman, Chris Niarchos knows exactly what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. He started his first business in Sydney in 1988 and has since gone on to build one of the largest and most high-profile direct sales and marketing companies in the world.

 

Why a positive approach is a must for aspiring entrepreneurs

Not everyone aspires to be an entrepreneur or run their own company, but for those who do choose it, it can be a highly rewarding career path. In my case, it has enabled me to fulfil my professional ambitions, work with some amazing people and see the world.

But, as any entrepreneur will tell you, it’s not all plain sailing and a positive approach is one of the most important qualities that businesspeople, especially aspiring entrepreneurs, can possess. I’ve found that a good attitude can help in a number of different ways…

Keeping a clear head

Letting negativity creep into your thought process makes you more likely to panic in challenging situations.

Most of us know from our personal lives that negative emotions such as fear and anger can reduce our ability to think logically and find rational and/or creative solutions. The same is true in business; if your thought process is dominated by emotions, you’re more likely to act irrationally.

In contrast, if you can stay confident and be optimistic about the future, it’s much easier to keep a clear head and work through any issues successfully.

Being a more effective leader

Keeping a positive attitude helps you to be a more effective leader. Your colleagues will feed off your confidence and enthusiasm and, in turn, this will make them feel better about your business and their roles within it.

Most people want a leader who can see the bigger picture and stay positive even if times are tough seroquel 300 mg. If you can do this, you’ll find it easier to attract and retain the top talent within your organisation, which is a major factor in the long-term success of your business.

Boosting your energy and productivity levels

There’s no getting around the fact that running a company takes plenty of hard work and dedication. Another benefit of maintaining your positivity is that it can make it easier for you keep your energy and productivity levels up. Having a positive vision for your company’s future makes those long days seem worthwhile and it helps you to stay focussed.

Keeping your stress levels in check

You can’t expect an entirely smooth ride when you’re in charge of a company, but an optimistic outlook can keep your stress levels in check.

If you have confidence in your abilities as a leader and you believe in your business model, you will find it easier to cope with potential problems. On the other hand, people with a more negative outlook can find that their stress and anxiety levels soar when they encounter difficulties.

 

Appco’s Chris Niarchos started his first direct sales company in Sydney, Australia at the age of just 22. From the outset, he had the vision of turning it into one of the world’s most successful sales and marketing businesses – and with operations in almost 30 countries across the globe, he has realised this ambition. You can find out more about Appco Group and the Cobra Group of Companies by visiting their websites.

3 things I didn’t know about being an entrepreneur

I know from my own experiences that starting out as an entrepreneur can be exciting and professionally rewarding – and it can also help you to provide a good quality of life for your loved ones. But before you set up your own company, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what’s in store. With this in mind, here are three things that you may not know about setting up and running a new company.

You can’t expect success to come overnight.

We’ve all heard examples of entrepreneurs being propelled to fame and fortune virtually overnight, but for the vast majority of businesspeople, it takes time to build up a successful company.

The initial stages of setting up a business are in many ways the most demanding and you will need to have patience to get through them. It can take some time for even the best start-ups to turn a profit so you have to be prepared to play the long game.

To achieve results and ultimate success, you must have a sound business plan in place and then be willing to put in the necessary hard work to bring it to fruition.

You’ll spend a lot of your time reassuring others.

One thing that takes many entrepreneurs by surprise is the amount of time and energy they have to devote to reassuring those around them. From telling partners and family members that the long hours you are putting in will eventually pay off to assuring banks that they will hit their targets, there are plenty of people to inspire and/or put at ease.

To maintain morale and motivation levels within their companies, business owners also have to provide their teams with visionary and positive messages. If you want to do this convincingly, you must have confidence in your business and in your abilities as a leader. You can’t let your self-belief waver; it’s important to remain upbeat and optimistic about the future – for your own piece of mind as well as that of others.

It’s hard to switch off.

When you’re in charge of a company, especially one its infancy, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to think of anything else. Even if you’re on holiday or trying to relax at home, your thoughts are likely to turn to your business.

Worrying about issues to do with the day-to-day running of your organisation, sleepless nights and fretting over whether you’re on the right track and trying to keep up to date with all the latest industry trends and developments is natural – especially in the early stages. But it’s important that you find ways to rest and recharge so that you’re able to make the best decisions for your business and, of course, for your personal life.

The good news is this tends to get easier over time. As you get used to running a business, you should develop a more balanced perspective and find you’re able to relax more easily outside of work – at least some of the time. You’ll never completely switch off when it comes to your own company, but you should be able to achieve a healthy work-life balance and, crucially, enjoy the rewards of your hard work and success.

 

Chris Niarchos has decades of experience as an entrepreneur, having established his first company at the age of just 22. Chris Niarchos’ passion for marketing saw him set up the Appco Group, an industry leader in face-to-face customer and donor acquisition.

How to earn respect as a business leader

Respect isn’t something that business leaders can simply expect; it is something they must earn. My career has taught me that if someone wants to be well regarded by their team members and the business community more widely, they have to show leadership, courage and a range of other compelling characteristics. Following are some of the qualities and actions that I believe to be crucial if you want to be respected by the people around you.

Lead by example.

To inspire your team to be diligent and committed, you must lead by example and be an inspirational and positive role model.

Those in the Appco Group network will most certainly have heard this business described as one where we “show don’t tell”. And I believe this is extremely important because people are much more likely to respect and emulate you if they know that you practice what you preach.

On the other hand, if they see that there are differences between your personal approach to work and the approach you expect others to adopt, they will be less likely to trust you as a leader.

Set high standards.

I am also a great believer in setting high standards for yourself and for the people around you.

If others see that you’re willing to cut corners or you’re prepared to settle for mediocrity, their estimations of you are likely to fall and their own standards may drop.

My experience tells me that people are most likely to respond to a leader who strives to achieve the very best in all they do, and who challenges them to do the same. The harder you work for something, the more you value it.

Have the courage to make bold decisions.

Having the foresight and nerve to make bold business decisions will earn you self respect as well as the respect of others. For example, challenging the status quo and step out of your comfort zone in order to improve your company may be a difficult move in the short term, but this is the only way to develop as a business leader.

And, even if a decision doesn’t work out the way you planned, you will gain respect for taking the leap and, just as importantly, learning from the experience regardless of the outcome.

The leaders who people really look up to have the courage of their convictions and are prepared to take action even when the odds seem stacked against them.

Show respect for and appreciation of those around you.

Showing respect for others is essential because, as I highlighted in a previous blog, every great entrepreneur needs a great team around them.

Acknowledging the successes of your team members, rewarding their hard work and treating them with courtesy and respect, will build people’s trust in you as a leader and encourages the same qualities in them. On the other hand, failing to recognise the achievements of others can dent morale and the ultimate success of your organisation seroquel 100mg.

Be confident in your abilities.

This plays a big part in gaining the respect of others. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, you will have a hard time convincing others to back you.

There may be times when you doubt yourself and wonder if you are up to the job of running your company, but it is crucial that you stay positive and have faith in your skills as a leader, and in those around you.

 

Chris Niarchos knows exactly what it takes to earn respect as a leader. As founder and chairman of the Cobra Group of Companies, he oversees an impressive portfolio of businesses. For more facts about Chris Niarchos, check out this Bloomberg Business profile.

4 ways to future-proof your business

Starting a company can be difficult enough, but the real challenge is ensuring that your business stands the test of time. According to research conducted by Professor Richard Foster at Yale University, the average lifespan of a business listed in Standard & Poor’s 500 index of leading US companies fell from 67 years in the 1920s to 15 years in 2012. However, from my own experience as a business leader, I know there are ways to future-proof your business. Following are four tactics that could help you to increase the longevity of your enterprise.

1. Keep tabs on emerging technology trends

Technology is progressing at a phenomenal rate and so to ensure you don’t get left behind, it’s crucial that you keep tabs on emerging trends within your sector. By making sure you have access to the most up-to-date and efficient equipment and systems available, you can reduce the risk that your rivals will gain a competitive advantage over you. Making sure you have the best possible resources does require investment, but this will be money well spent if it prevents your company from losing relevance and being side-lined by more forward looking competitors.

2. Take steps to protect your brand

The internet – and particularly social media – means it’s now easier than ever to spread the word about your products or services and to build up your brand. However, the web also means that news of bad customer experiences can spread quickly. It’s important to take careful steps to protect your business’s reputation by doing everything you can to make sure that every customer has a positive experience when they deal with your business.

3. Nurture the talent within your team

Your people are your most valuable asset. Their hard work, expertise and insight could help to steer your business to continued success. However, to ensure you make the most of the talent within your team, you must take steps to nurture it. This involves providing people with necessary training, as well as mentoring opportunities, rewarding good work and making sure everyone has access to skills development and career opportunities. Doing these things should mean you are able to attract and retain the best people – and it will help those within your organisation to fulfil their potential.

4. Don’t let nostalgia get in the way of progress

There’s a certain reassurance that comes from maintaining continuity within a business seroquel pill. However, it’s vital that you don’t allow nostalgia to get in the way of progress. If your procedures aren’t agile and responsive to change, everything from your recruitment process and day-to-day operations to your marketing techniques and branding may benefit from an overhaul. Making changes to the way your company does things may pull you out of your comfort zone, but it could help you better reflect the current business environment and sustain longer-term success.

How to harness the potential of your team

My experience in business have taught me that having a skilled, dedicated team around you is essential if you are to achieve your goals. Without talented and effective people by your side, it can prove impossible to realise your (and their) ambitions. With this in mind, I’ve put together a brief guide to help you harness the potential of your team.

Invest in training or mentoring

All the best business leaders understand the crucial role that effective training and/or mentoring plays within companies. By providing people with all the support and coaching they need, you can help ensure they are able to perform effectively and confidently in their roles. These development opportunities shouldn’t be reserved for new starters. It’s important to offer employees and contractors the chance to enhance their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis so that they’re equipped to be the best possible ambassadors for your business.

Reward good work

People are much more likely to stretch themselves and go above and beyond the basics of their role requirements if they know they are appreciated and will be recognised for their efforts. As well as praising people on an informal basis, it’s useful to have official procedures in place to celebrate good work, such as awards and prizes.

Across the global Appco Group network, each country hosts an annual convention to celebrate and recognise the incredible efforts of the independent field representatives and marketing companies in our network. It’s a great way to publicly acknowledge people’s hard work and achievements.

Providing people with opportunities for progression that reflect their diligence and skill is vital too. If your team members feel their input is valued, they are more likely to remain focussed and loyal.

Put effective communication procedures in place

Another way to nurture talent within your company is to set up effective two-way communication and feedback procedures. These sessions can help people to identify their strengths and weaknesses and foster a culture of accountability and openness. People are also likely to feel happier in their roles and perform better if there is an established system in place for getting guidance and feedback.

Your people should also feel confident about approaching their line managers, or others in their team, if they spot any problems. If they know they can raise concerns, contractors and employees alike can help ensure that any issues are tackled before they escalate and potentially do damage to your business.

Provide a clear company message

It’s essential to provide everyone connected with your business with a clear company message that they can relate to and support. When people understand that they are working towards a common goal and feel as though they are part of a team, they are more enthused and energised about their work – and you are in a much stronger position to achieve your business objectives.

 

Chris Niarchos is the founder and chairman of the Cobra Group of Companies, which includes AGS Global Fundraising Services. You can find out more about Chris Niarchos’ charity fundraising by visiting the AGS Global Fundraising Services website.

4 essentials for a fulfilling career

We all want to enjoy our work and to find roles that use and develop our talents and enable us to be the best that we can be. But what exactly makes for a fulfilling career? Based on my own experiences in business, here are four things that I believe play an essential part in making work rewarding.

1) Do something you love

Admittedly, this is sometimes easier said than done, but too often, people wholesale nfl jerseys end up in jobs that they Lancement have no real interest in or, worse still, they actively dislike. The most successful and fulfilling careers come from being passionate about what you do. And it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no need to let a lack of experience or qualifications stop you from pursuing your dreams. Look for roles in your times area of interest that offer training and development opportunities.

Take Lawrence Lenzi, a successful business owner in the Appco UK network and the latest winner of the Marketing Company of the Year award: in his blog, he admits that when he started in the business he was “terrible” at sales! I’m enormously proud of the fact that the global Appco Group network is built on developing people’s professional and personal skills so they can pursue the career they want.

UK field representative Sophie Kola is benefitting from the Appco model in a different way. She’s using the flexibility of being self-employed to complete her studies, which is fantastic. Whatever you do, pursuing a line of work that you are passionate about is the first step towards enjoying a fulfilling career.

2) Stretch yourself

Taking on new challenges at work can of be daunting and it’s much easier to remain within your comfort zone, focussing on tasks that you feel confident and comfortable doing. But, while it may seem safe and appealing in the short term, failing to stretch yourself can in fact lead to dissatisfaction. You may BALA end up feeling bored in your role and you might struggle to achieve the level of success you’re striving for. Rather than shying away from testing situations, it pays off to embrace them. This will help you to build on your skill set, increase your confidence and fulfil your potential.

3) Be the master of your own destiny

Whether you are employed, self-employed or running your own business, you are the one who controls your ultimate career path and success. If you do set up in business for yourself you may have more freedom to pursue your own ideas and reap the full rewards of your success, but no matter what type of role you are in, never lose site of your goals. And remember, establishing your own company can be hugely rewarding, but it does require considerable effort, dedication and Effects the ability to enable wholesale nba jerseys others to pursue the dreams!

4) Make a difference

A major contributor to a fulfilling career is the belief that the work you do makes a positive difference to the people around you. For example, being proud of the products or services that your wholesale nba jerseys company offers or that you represent makes it easier to show up every day and contribute to their production or promotion. And, speaking from experience, nurturing talent within your organisation and seeing others flourish is incredibly satisfying. On a more personal level, your job may help you to look after your loved ones, which I believe is just as – if not more so – rewarding wholesale jerseys as any professional or financial success.

 

With decades of experience as a business leader, Chris Niarchos knows exactly what it takes to build a successful career. As well as honing his skills as an entrepreneur, he has achieved considerable success on the race track. You can find out more about this, and get Chris Niarchos’ statistics, on the FIA GT Championship website.

 

How to stay motivated in challenging times

Being an entrepreneur’s easy when everything’s running smoothly and the future looks bright. From my own experiences, I know the real test for a businessperson comes when you face challenging wholesale jerseys times. From falls in demand and increased production costs to late payments and problems with personnel, a whole series of hurdles can strike company owners at any time, and staying motivated and positive can be a major challenge. During these times, I have found that it’s worth bearing the following in mind.

Share your experiences

At times, being in charge of a company can cheap jerseys be a lonely job, but don’t make the mistake of shutting yourself off when you’re facing challenging situations. It’s important to share your experiences with others and one way you can do this is by networking with fellow entrepreneurs. As any successful business leader will tell you, learning from psykisk others should be a continual o process and it’s something we actively encourage across the Appco Group network.

Always make time for family and friends

Striking a good work-life balance is notoriously Neues difficult for business owners. Particularly when your company is facing problems, you might find it hard to tear yourself away from your desk. But focussing too much on your work at the expense of your family and friends of can take its toll. Even when you’re busy, it’s important to schedule time out. This will not only give you the chance to rest, but also provide you with a clearer perspective and help you remember what all your hard work is actually for.

Look after your health

It’s easy to allow your own wellbeing to take a backseat to your business. But the irony is, if you’re not sleeping enough, you’re living on caffeine and junk food and you don’t have time to exercise, you could actually put your business at risk. The fact is, your physical fitness has a big impact on your ability to cope mentally, so neglecting your health simply isn’t an option. By getting enough rest, eating properly and fitting exercise into your routine, you wholesale MLB jerseys will find it easier to keep on top of running your own business.

Focus on your end goals

Try not to lose sight of the ultimate purpose of your efforts – whatever that may be. Making a success of your business could bring you wealth, prestige and satisfaction – and, most importantly, it could help you to provide the life you want for wholesale NBA jerseys you and your family. This idea can be summed up by Appco’s Be Something More principle. PageRank? Essentially, this means striving to achieve something for yourself or those around you and to do more than simply go through the motions in life. This idea is extremely important to me and it has helped to guide me throughout my career and keep me focussed when I’ve been presented with challenges.

It’s inevitable that you will face obstacles in running your business, and the mark of a truly great business leader is how they rise to those challenges and maintain their motivation and positive attitude. If you can do that, success – in whatever way you define it – is likely to follow.