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Diary of a Social Venture Start-up: The Importance of Being SMART

When you're just starting your business, there are a lot of benefits to being small. You're nimble, fluid, you can adapt quickly...


When you're just
starting your business, there are a lot of benefits to being small. You're nimble, fluid, you can adapt quickly to new situations. But for every advantage, there's a challenge. It's hard to stand out, hard to land important meetings, hard to get people to deliver things when you need them. It's even hard to negotiate pricing with vendors because you can't offer them any true sort of scale: If you own a small cafe, you're probably not paying the same price for your vegetables as is TGIFriday's (assuming, of course, that TGIFriday's actually serves vegetables).One of the tricks I've used to help overcome the burdens of being the little guy, is being SMART. Yes, business-strategy acronyms can be corny, but this is a truly useful one you can use for project management, in meetings, when sending out proposals, with goal-setting-pretty much whenever. It conditions you to be deliberate, to maximize your opportunities, and to get things done. It's also one of the only dorky business school acronyms I've ever found useful.S - SpecificThis is the easiest of the bunch. Chances are, if you're motivated enough to start a company, you're pretty good at asking for what you want. That said, the importance of being specific can't be overstated. What is it you want, by when, for what purpose, and from whom?M - MeasurableEver asked someone to "look into" something for you? Yeah. That can be pretty vague, and could mean anything from a thorough investigation to two minutes of googling. Regardless of what side of the request you're on, make sure it gets fulfilled with something concrete. Promise to deliver an email of relevant links. Ask for a one-page summary of everything you need to know. Setting up deliverables enables both parties to establish trust and goes a long way towards establishing who works with whom later on, because people do business with people they like to do business with.A - AssignableIt's as simple as it sounds: Who's needs to do what? Any call or meeting should end with every person involved knowing exactly what they're responsible for. Send a meeting recap, go around the room if you have to. Just make sure you've got a method in place to ensure everyone understands their role. R – Reasonable/RealisticA small business that can't deliver on expectations is a small business on its way out. Can you get them that presentation by the end of the day? If not, don't agree to it. You'll end up sending something sub-par. This is also important when setting goals. Can you really improve your website's traffic by a factor of 10 this year? Maybe, but you should know the likelihood of it going in. Now, realistic doesn't mean simple. You obviously need to push yourself, but making sure you're operating within the realm of feasibility will allow you to plan more accurately.T - Time-boundThis is, far and away, the most important piece of the puzzle. Unsurprisingly, it's the one that most of us are bad at. Usually, we try to be polite: "Could you get that back to me when you get a chance?" There's a theorem that posits the amount of time a task will take to complete is equal to the amount of time allotted for that task. Knowing this, it's not a huge shock that "when you get a chance" often ends up meaning "never."If you're asking for something or promising to deliver something, always attach a time to it. "I'll get that to you by the end of the day." "Could you have that to me by Thursday at noon?" It's not about being demanding; it's about being precise. It's about holding yourself and others accountable. And it's the key to getting things done.The Takeaway: The SMART system is an easy way to facilitate productivity that can be applied to almost any situation. See, look: Thanks for reading this post. There's a bunch more on the way, which I'd like it if you read as well [specific request]. If you find them helpful, don't hesitate to GOODMark them or leave a comment [measurable]. I'm going to write them and send them to my editor, who's going to make them sound like English. Then, they'll be here for you to read [assignable]. The next one will be up in two weeks [time-bound]. That all sounds reasonable, right?
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Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

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Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

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