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What does it take to crush it as a CEO?

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Jason Miller of the Strategic Advisor Board says it starts with S.P.I.R.I.T.  and becoming the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. of your own business

As anyone who has met me or been a participant in one of my success coaching sessions will tell you, I have the greatest job in the world. To me, as an Air Force veteran and self-taught entrepreneur, getting the opportunity to connect with and advise high performing business owners on a daily basis is a thrill that never goes away. 

In the two years since I launched Imperium Authority, my PR agency, I have had the pleasure of helping accelerate the careers of a wide spectrum of people, from newly minted young entrepreneurs to seasoned leaders of industry. Interacting with smart, highly focused pros is beyond exciting – it’s a rush of adrenaline mixed with admiration. 

Imagine earning a living being around men and women, young and old, from an endless variety of backgrounds, all driven to improve the lives of their customers and change the world! It’s nothing short of a privilege, and one I don’t take lightly. 

If you think I’m exaggerating about the goals and the impact these exceptional people envision making while they’re being successful, you need to talk to a few of them!

Among my favorite CEOs to exchange ideas with is Jason Miller. A business strategist extraordinaire, Jason is one of those rare breeds of people so inspirational that other enormously successful people become even more inspired after just a few minutes with him. When I first encountered Jason, that’s exactly the influence he had on me.

In every way imaginable, Jason and his Power of 10 team at the Strategic Advisor Board (SAB) have made my business stronger, my work life more manageable, and inspired me to be a better person. He’s a very special individual and literally the most generous man I know when it comes to helping others turn their dreams into reality. 

When I tell friends, family and my clients about what I call the ‘Jason Effect’, they ask me how he does it and what the magic formula is. Here’s how he describes his approach which has proven to work wonders with the hundreds of clients he and his SAB team have taken to the next level.

Jason Miller’s Next Level Formula

People ask me all the time why success comes to some so easily while most struggle to simply survive and earn a living. Obviously, talent and drive factor into the equation, but I’ve often seen people with average skills become world-shakers despite their ordinary abilities. How do they do it and what allows them to pull away from the pack? 

The keys to success are similar to looking for buried treasure. You know there’s a gold mine out there somewhere – the challenge is finding it. Having a map would be a big help, right?

Starting a business and turning it into a market leader and winning more customers than your competitors also requires knowing where you’re going and drawing a path to getting there.

In the same way, developing a strategy and then implementing it effectively is essential to building a thriving business. 

To make it easy for my clients to remember and follow these imperatives for having focus and determination, I created two acronyms. This goes back to the early part of 2001, and as a guiding light for success I have never seen it fail. I personally have used them in every company I have owned and insist upon it in the entrepreneurs I work with at the Strategic Advisor Board.

To begin, it takes SPIRIT

Achieving greatness at multiple levels of your endeavors requires having the spirit of an entrepreneur. This is what will get you through the hard times when running your own business. There are no shortcuts, only entrepreneurs who sell themselves short.

Follow these simple tips as you get started and use them as a guide to your success. Write this acronym down and look at it in the morning when you face the day and at night when you think back on the victories and hurdles you experienced. 

S.P.I.R.I.T.

Self-sufficient and disciplined

Passionate 

Integrity 

Respected by others 

Imagination 

Tools for success

Use these principles as your guiding light and you will always be heading in the right direction in your business:

Be self-sufficient and disciplined in everything you do. Whether it’s setting your hours of operations as a business owner or deciding how much family time you want to spend daily, be self-sufficient and disciplined with your choices. You are now accountable to yourself!

Do something you are passionate about. Find your passion in life and work your business and your lifestyle around it. If you are passionate about what you do, then it won’t feel like work. It will be fun, and you will enjoy doing it every day. You can also share your passion with your family and make it a family business like my family and I have done.

Always maintain integrity. It’s something you can’t get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Be honest with your customers and don’t be afraid to admit that you did something wrong. Mistakes happen in business, own them and move on.

Be respected by others. That means everyone you come into contact with – in your community, with your customers, employees, family and other leaders in your field. Respect goes a long way with the people that surround you. They are the ones that will help you take your business to the next level.

Use your imagination. In childhood our minds are open to everything we take in. That mindset breeds creativity. Many of the legendary business leaders and greatest creative thinkers openly admit they embrace wonderment and allow themselves to view the world through the prism of how they were as a child. Steve Jobs comes to mind as do Walt Disney, Elon Musk, Frank Gehry, and Steven Spielberg. Some of your best ideas will come with creative thinking and being a dreamer. No idea is too big or too small to try. Be inventive, innovative and adaptive by letting your imagination take you to new levels. The only unsuccessful idea is the one you never tried!

Get the best tools. Having the right resources and systems at your fingertips is invaluable. When you save time by operating more efficiently, you’re creating the foundation for maximum success. Having the right tools, systems and processes in your business endeavors will allow you to make breakthroughs that you never thought possible.

Having the right SPIRIT to succeed is critical to your success. What else does it take?

To go all the way, you must be a PATRIOT

Equally important to character and how your shape your thinking processes is the ability to operate as a business. You must be the PATRIOT (The Protector) of your own business and business ventures. Know how your business operates from start to finish. Know your products and customers on an intimate level and you will achieve greatness. 

P.A.T.R.I.O.T.

Planning with consistency

Actions that create revenue

Train, mentor, and coach

Reinvent yourself often

Integrate your systems

Operate with consistency

Turn your ideas into profit

Remembering these operational principles will point you in the right direction for managing your business effectively on a day-to-day basis and into a bright future.

Plan with consistency. If you are consistent with your budget, your products, inventory, and customers, you will see success in your operation. Always be planning the next big thing and thinking about how you can tweak your business to net more profit.

Actions that create revenue are crucial to the health of your business. Often business owners get tied up with doing little tasks that can easily be outsourced or completely done away with all together. Focus on revenue generating processes in your business that affect your bottom line in a positive way. Do this every single day! You must learn how to delegate tactical tasks to those employees in the right seats. A great place to start is working with a staffing agency like Reliable Staff Solutions. They can identify the right employee that sits on the right seat on the bus for your company. 

Train, mentor and coach. This is what true leaders do. Do it thoughtfully and across all those you work with, from your employees to the customers you serve. Step up and be the inspirational leader that you are. The world will not automatically brand you as a leader or an expert. You must own it and become it yourself.

Reinvent yourself often. Don’t get tied to a specific idea on an emotional level. If it doesn’t work, then scrap it and move on. Reinvent yourself again and continue to make forward progress. Being stubborn and married to a failed idea will lead to poor decision-making and will only cause heartache and driving your business into bankruptcy.

Integrate your systems. Developing and using processes are what make your organization efficient and on track. Technology which standardizes and automates manual or repetitive tasks is a wonderful thing. Do your homework and ensure that the systems you use will work for your business.

Operate with consistency. Owning a successful business is all about finding what works and then building upon it on a consistent basis. Think of it as shampoo instructions: wash, rinse, and repeat. Find what works and then maintain the consistency required to simply build upon and accelerate the success you have found.

Turn every idea you have into profit. Be a thinker and be inventive with the things that you do. Aspire to remain on the cutting edge in your field and develop new ideas that produce profit. Remember, the greatest ideas in the world have changed all of our lives. On the same note, an idea is useless without execution!

I invite you (no, I implore you) to use these two acronyms above as a road map in your business. These simple tips and strategic ways of thinking will assist you in your path to breaking through and taking the needed steps to your own success. If you need support in your business with either creating strategies that help you grow or staffing to help transition to the next level, we are here to help. 

Jason Miller, Founder and CEO of Strategic Advisor Board

That’s it. Pretty powerful stuff!

As I said, my life changed significantly and for the better the minute I met Jason. Use his principles in how you operate your business and live your life and I know you’ll see an amazing difference and enjoy the success you’ve always desired. 

Also Read: Ivory Becker: Disrupting the Credit Repair Industry by Prioritizing Education, Accessibility, and Empathy

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Combat Veterans

Life and Leadership Lessons Learned in the Military

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Among my favorite people I love to interact with are fellow veterans. When I was 22 I embarked on the greatest journey (so far) of my life. I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was immediately assigned to be a Radar Technician. After tech school, I was sent to my first duty station Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. I was assigned to an Air Control Squadron (ACS) specializing in being self-sufficient and capable of going to the middle of nowhere and building everything needed to provide a sky picture of 240 nautical miles to identify friend or foe aircraft. This squadron deploys every year, and that is why I was sent to Syria as my first deployment where I completed my on-the-job training while being responsible for Preventive Maintenance Inspections (PMIs) and keeping the radar running as much as possible. 

Experiences like that puts things in perspective. I learned how to be ready for anything that came my way, how to work as a team with a lot on the line, how to be a leader, and how to “embrace the suck”. 

Why do I hold those who served our nation in such high esteem? 

The answer is simple: Military service builds character and character is the primary requisite for leadership. On a personal level, I know that my determination to grow my public relations firm into a national, highly respected seven-figure business stems directly from the resilience I developed while joining the Air Force active duty without being completely bilingual (my english was not the best), two deployments where I got delayed on both of them for a total of 15 months overseas, and while dealing being a leader of projects on multiple occasions.

A fundamental lesson of serving in any of the military’s six branches (I’m including the latest addition, the U.S. Space Force), is learning to rely upon others and being accountable to everyone in your squadron. That means those above you issuing orders, and those in the trenches (or cockpit) beside you. The maxim that “we’re all in this together” has never rung more true to you than when you’re enlisted. 

Another axiom which is equally valid is “business is war”. It may seem harsh or a bit theatrical, but it is fundamentally true. Those working alongside you and on the same team are engaged in combat with your competitors, and the objective is not a desolate hill or far-off village – it’s winning the patronage of a prospect and their loyalty as a customer. 

A long time ago someone once said that soldiers fight for their country but die for their fellow soldiers. In other words, while a cause will lead a soldier to the battlefield, it takes camaraderie and a great leader to inspire that warrior to throw him or herself into harm’s way and take the hill.

The difference between wanting to win and winning is Leadership. This is the lesson everyone who serves should learn. Most do and those who don’t have missed out on the greatest educational and personal improvement course of a lifetime. My great friend and business associate Michael Jackson (which goes by Mike Jackson) took his service in the Green Berets as exactly this type of priceless learning experience. In this account, he describes his own journey from boot camp greenhorn to seasoned operations professional, first in the Army and now into a successful business career as a Veteran. Today, Mike Jackson is the author of several popular business books and a consultant with the Department of Defense where he is an advisor for Special Operations training in the medical field. Incidentally, he’s also the Director and VP of Sales of the Strategic Advisor Board, the groundbreaking business incubator for the nation’s most driven and innovative entrepreneurs.

Mike Jackson on How the Military Helped Him Become a Leader and a CEO

Michael Jackson, CEO of SF Business Consulting
Director & VP of Sales of the Strategic Advisor Board

Lots of people talk about leadership. Business coaches, ‘success consultants’, politicians, talk show hosts – just about everyone with a book to sell, course to promote, or an opinion are happy to talk your ear off on the topic. That’s all fine and well, but as one of the people I admire most, Jason Miller, CEO the Strategic Advisor Board, will tell you “talk is cheap, results matter”.

When I’m invited to address a business group, make a keynote speech, or lead a seminar, I cut right to the chase when it comes to my views on leadership. Unlike many innate talents or abilities honed by experience, leadership is a learnable skill but it’s worthless unless you give it the benefit of character. 

Let me explain.

When I enlisted in the Army I was young and probably a little arrogant. Youth often imbues us with a strident confidence which can be useful as you embark on life’s many adventures. Unfortunately, this obstacle is usually tinged with misplaced self-importance. Upon arriving at Boot Camp, I quickly discovered your Commanding Officer and fellow enlistees will happily disabuse you of such misplaced beliefs forcefully and ruthlessly.  

As I learned the ropes during my military career, I saw over and over the importance of leadership. In all sorts of situations, both in boot camp and during operations, the power of sure-handed, quietly confident leadership made its presence known.

It’s not something you can see exactly or even put your finger on as you watch those around you do their duty, selflessly and with quiet determination. Leadership does not strut about proclaiming itself. When you’re in the presence of it, Leadership is invisible. It envelops you like a mist on a morning meadow or a gentle breeze on a battlefield at dusk. It’s something you just become aware of like knowing there’s air in your lungs when you breathe. As I grew into the mindset of being a soldier, not simply a recruit wearing the uniform, my senses became heightened in my interactions with my fellow enlistees, my brothers in arms. Detecting leadership was one of the learned abilities which came with the territory.

As the days passed I realized when I was in the presence of true leadership; it made its presence known in subtle, almost indefinable ways. I could feel it emanating from the people around me. It may be pitch dark and not a word is spoken, but those with you are unified by a common mission, a shared purpose. To act as a team, work in unison, often without anything more than an exchange of glances, the silent motion of a gloved hand, you are connected at a base level no one else in the world could possibly understand. Leaders and those under command become one, united by Trust and Belief. Trust in each other and belief in their leader.

I started out in the Infantry and ended up in Special Operations. Back in the day it was called the Light Infantry. Historically, Light Infantry is a designation applied around the world to foot soldiers. This typically refers to troops with lighter armaments, making them able to move quickly and gain a strategic advantage from their mobility. 

In war movies and actual battles, the infantry includes scouts and actual infantrymen. These are the soldiers who forge ahead of the masses of men behind them to gather intelligence about the location of the enemy and even cause disruption to supply lines and challenge the scouts sent out by the opposition. In the U.S. the first light infantry was decreed by General George Washington in 1780 when he sent out orders to deploy a corps of light infantry under the command of General Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War.

In my experience in the light infantry in the modern U.S. Army, we moved without the benefit of vehicles and set out on foot, carrying our weaponry, ammunition, water, batteries, other gear and supplies, accounting for roughly 70 pounds of personal cargo. When combined with the average weight of personal protective equipment of 27 pounds, ground combat troops are burdened by 90 to 140 pounds or more as they walk mile upon mile. 

Taking these experiences in consideration, I think you will understand when I say that all of what I learned in my adult life was at least based on my time in the military. Most, if not all, of those lessons were learned due to my favorite technique: blunt force learning, also known as the school of hard knocks. Some of those were figurative, and some were literally hard knocks. Those hard lessons kept me alive in Somalia, 1992 – 1993, all the way to my last combat deployment in Iraq in 2010. 

After I was injured for the second time overseas, I realized that I would no longer be able to continue fighting for our country. I had to transition to teaching Special Operations medicine to the next generation of warriors. Due to the recuperation time necessitated by my injuries, I was forced to consider my future. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life after the military. I figured out early on in my career that I was really good at being a soldier and not much else. 

A few years later, I was talking to a very good friend of mine, Jason Miller, about that problem. About 14 years prior to that conversation, Jason and I were assigned to the 1st Squad, Reconnaissance (Scout) Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Both of us were sniper-qualified and had a lot in common, so we got along well. He worked for me for several years, doing everything from training missions in the deserts of California and the swamps of Louisiana to fighting wildfires in Montana. While fighting wildfires, Jason and I actually lived in a two-man tent for three months. 

Fast forward to the conversation in question. Both of us were coming to the end of our careers, and I had a future which stretched out without direction. Jason was always smarter than me  and he had planned better for his upcoming exodus from service. He was already a successful businessman and owned several businesses. He explained to me the correlation between being a successful leader in the military to being a successful leader in business. Initially, I was not sold on the idea. While he was convincing me, he said, “The only difference is that no one is shooting at you. If you can lead men in combat, you can lead men in business.” I realized that I might actually be capable of becoming a successful businessman myself. Years after that conversation, I am the CEO of my own business and now I work for Jason. 

Some of the leadership lessons I learned while in the military seem very simple but will serve you well in your own chosen career path:

If your people are carrying something, you should be as well. Do not have your people doing something that they have not seen you do or do with them. This will build trust and a cohesive team.

Sometimes seconds equal minutes, and minutes equal tears. Time truly is money. In the military, sometimes money equals blood, sweat, or tears. Sometimes speed is security.

Likewise, ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal tears. Weight in the Infantry is absolute. If you distribute the weight across your entire team, then everyone is carrying something, and the load seems a little lighter, whether it is or not. If everyone is suffering together, you are strengthening your team.

People use the word “no” because they either do not know the answer or that they are unwilling to do something. There are a very few questions where no is the appropriate answer. Most of the time, it just takes someone to do some critical thinking to solve the problem. Trust your team, and they will solve those problems.

The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters, so don’t use them.

If you mess something up, own it. Mess-ups do not get better with time. 

These lessons may not seem like they have a direct connection with business, but they definitely do. I would like to think that I was a good leader and taught Jason a lot back in those days. However, he has taught me so much more while I have been working for him. 

Michael Jackson, Director & VP of Sales of the Strategic Advisor Board

I trust you have found Michael’s experiences and his recounting of how he grew from a naive recruit to a capable soldier and then to an entrepreneur as inspirational as I do. As I’ve gotten to know Michael and his tireless work on behalf of clients of the Strategic Advisor Board, I’ve seen him in action leading others and advising organizations large and small on revenue cycle management, systems analysis and design, staff training and development, and, of course, leadership. It really is true that great leadership inspires others to do extraordinary things. Michael provides evidence of that with every client engagement. 

Also Read: What does it take to crush it as a CEO?

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Tolga Akcay-The Redefining Entrepreneur of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a profound shift in the way we live, work, and interact with one another. It is a new chapter in human history, made possible by extraordinary technological advances comparable to those of the first, second, and third industrial revolutions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to physical, digital, and biological barriers. It was attempted by artificial intelligence, 3D printing, quantum computing, and other technologies. It is the driving force behind a slew of goods and services that are rapidly becoming indispensable in today’s world.

Entrepreneurship plays a critical and vital role in the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) economic dispensation, which is marked by increased digitisation and interconnection of products, value chains, and business models. One such entrepreneur is Tolga Akcay is an entrepreneur with a wealth of experience. Not only is he an excellent business consultant, an expert in digitization, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence (AI), but he is also a published author, with another series of books set to be released soon after the four he has already published.

He has put his knowledge to paper with the successful books THE BLOCKCHAIN COMPASS – WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF BLOCKCHAIN and THE AI COMPASS – WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. THE FATE OF GLOBALIZATION – IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER (about the consequences of the Ukraine War, Industry 4.0) by the author is already generating a lot of interest.

Mr. Akcay specializes in developing custom solutions that help businesses succeed; he believes that sharing your knowledge with others enriches us all, so that is exactly what he does. Akcay has established an international network of over 200 companies and freelance experts involved in analysis, programming, enforcement, and marketing. From this network, tailor-made teams are formed to get everyone to their targets and goals more efficiently. This network is still expanding and will do so in the coming years.

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Shotarry | EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW on How It All Began

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Shotarry (Shota) was born on July 15,1988 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is currently a photographer and videographer based in Los Angeles. Shota is trained in fine arts with a focus in drawing and painting. After he graduated with honors from the Rustaveli University of Theater and Film, he kick started his career in fashion photography. Hewon The Photo Awards of the tourism department contest. Shota initially worked for Georgian fashion magazines and created video publications for local designer collections. After a successful career launch, he moved to Los Angeles to enhance his skillset and branch out. Shota has had the opportunity to work with influential famous models, actors, brands and stylists i.e Pharrell Williams,Sharon Stone, Busy Philipps, Hilary Duff, Kim Petras, among others

Redx: If you only had one lens, what would it be and why?
Shota: It would be a toss-up between a 24-70 1.8 or a 50mm 1.4 lens. I use these two lenses for 95% of my work.
I think I would lean towards the 50mm because of the diversity. You could create portraits with the lens and more environmental landscapes.

RedX: What drew you to your style of photography?
Shota: Truman Capote has been a huge inspiration and influence on my work.
His composition and timeless lighting are close to perfection. The simplicity of the work is also a huge draw for me.

RedX: What’s the best piece of photography advice you’ve been given?
Shota: Make pictures, the rest will work itself out.

RedX: What’s one thing an aspiring photographer should focus on if they want to make photography a career?
Shota: Put commerce on the same plane as art. In other words, make the business aspect of photography equally as important as the art aspect.

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