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10 tips for starting-up

I am in the throes of starting my own non-profit, a youth program for Surrey modelled after the White Rock Youth Ambassador Program that gave me so much back in the day.

Since announcing my intentions, two major things have happened. The first, is the overwhelming support I’ve gotten from friends and family, members of the local community and the province’s ambassador community. The second, is the blunt realization that I have no idea how to start a non-profit, let alone run one successfully.

It’s been a process full of surprises. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Via LinkedIn, I read an article from Forbes headlined: “10 Ways to Build a Business Culture Like Apple.”

It’s a list of 10 “culture building principles” derived from a 10 year study of the world’s 50 best businesses. While I’m currently reading a book that refutes the possibility of there being a set of “ways” to success (“regression to the mean” argues that being a stand-out success one year is largely based on luck), I’ve decided to take the essence of the 10 principles and shape them so they are applicable to starting up a non-profit.

1. Find your purpose. Figure out what you are really trying to achieve; the core ideals behind your work. This makes decision-making much easier when everything you say and do is geared towards achieving a specific higher purpose.

2. When you decide what you stand for, communicate those values, principles and priorities clearly, and stick to them. People follow what you do, and don’t often do what you say.

3. Figure out a plan, and follow it. Your plan should be designed so that it encompasses the organization’s goals, but also maps out how to go about achieving them.

4. “Get your team right and do it quickly:” This one is straight from the article, and is probably one of the most important principles. You need people on your team who support your vision, but who can also bring unique personal experiences and different perspectives to the table.

5. And while you don’t want a team made up of half a dozen leaders, you do want people who can make suggestions, and offer constructive criticism. You need to find the balance between encouraging creativity and maintaining a sense of control.

6. Demand excellence, and set high standards for yourself, your team and your work. W. Clement Stone said: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

7. Learn what works best and stick with it. Change what isn’t working and grow.

8. Motivate yourself, and always aim for your goals.

9. Be brave. Sometimes it’s better to make a decision and just move forward, rather than to be stuck in one place, grappling with making the “right” decision. Mistakes are inevitable, and risks can pay off.

10. “Live your desired legacy.” This one is a basic distillation of all 10 principles: Decide what you want to create, go forth and create it.

The original article can be found here. Happy “starting.”

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