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Five Spiritual Practices Every Entrepreneur Can Use, With Gabrielle Bernstein

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Running a business doesn’t need to be a headache and entrepreneurs need not board the strugglebus every week. There is another way. Rather than take difficult conversations at face value, kick off at abrupt emails or have hostile relationships with colleagues and suppliers, inviting spiritual practices into a business owner’s life could help it thrive whilst creating a happier team and reducing stress for all.

Gabrielle Bernstein is a New York Times bestselling author who has penned nine books, including The Universe Has Your Back, Super Attractor, and her latest, Happy Days, The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace, published today. For over sixteen years Bernstein has been transforming lives, including her own. Bernstein featured on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday as a “next-generation thought leader” and her new book promises to “answer your questions about why you feel blocked, scared, anxious, depressed, or alone,” as well as “liberate you from the belief system that has kept you small for so long.” The book is for entrepreneurs seeking answers and frameworks to unlock their potential.

Freedom from belief systems that don’t serve you is a powerful move, but the solutions lie in a place you may have thus far been oblivious to or disregarded. I interviewed Bernstein to find out the five spiritual practices that every entrepreneur can use to become the new and best version of themselves.

Practising gratitude

“Every Monday my leadership team and I do a call where we go around and say our gratitudes for between forty minutes to an hour.” This is how Bernstein likes to start the week, “and we never skip it.” Each week concludes with a high-level report from each member about what they are working on, and their week’s successes, but it begins with gratitude. Bernstein said this practice is “a healthy way of staying on track and not feeling all over the place.” Not only that, but it strengthens the team’s bond and means everyone feels listened to and recognised for their contribution.

Many teams give praise to each other but those at the level above give thanks for each other. Within a weekly gratitude call each team member might specify some invaluable support they received from a colleague, great feedback from a client, something new they learned or a particular enjoyable moment in their role. Focusing on gratitude helps leaders and team members stay present and slow down whilst subconsciously training their brain to notice more good things. More being grateful equals more to be grateful for entering your life and business, as well as for your team.

Surrendering the need for control

Many business owners want to control everything. It can feel like part of the role. Over time, they internalise philosophies of “I’m the only one who can get anything done around here,” “I need to keep pushing for success,” or worse, “I can’t trust anyone else to do it right.” These are some of the beliefs Bernstein thinks might be keeping you small. Owning a 30-person business herself, she’s had these thoughts too. “I used to need control. If everything wasn’t working out the way I expected, like if the internet went down during a webinar, or if my team wasn’t doing things the way I wanted them to, my old self would have gotten really angry.” Bernstein explained she would find herself overcompensating for feeling out of her depth by “being very controlling, managing every aspect of a process and just getting it all done [her]self.” This is a common thread in entrepreneurs who respond by “not getting enough help, not having the right support team in place and trying to do everything solo.”

Whilst it’s clear that struggling solo is not the solution, awareness is required to recognise these unhelpful beliefs. Bernstein advises you first “notice your trigger.” When you feel anger or anxiety mounting from a perceived lack of control, notice “how you feel and the way that you react.” She said the more you notice your patterns, the more you can “self-regulate in the moment. Then in that moment you can take a beat. You can take a breath. Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your stomach and just breathe deeply for a minute.” Bernstein said this will “interrupt that trigger with a mindful pattern, so that you don’t get into a react loop that repeats indefinitely.”

Reciting affirmations

The human mind is powerful and it believes whatever is said or thought. In that case, filling it with empowering, helpful messages can change the way you think and operate. When Bernstein was getting hung up on feeling like she had to do everything herself, she made a plan to turn her life and business around. “I would create affirmations such as ‘Everything is happening around me and I am truly taken care of’ and I would repeat it regularly until I believed it.” She went further to incorporating these messages by putting them on her office wall. “Affirming how you want to feel rather than focusing on what’s not working is how you change your unhelpful beliefs to useful ones.” Bernstein suggests that “if you’re in a lack mentality (the opposite of an abundance mentality), affirm that you are open. Say ‘I’m open to creative possibilities for money’, or ‘I’m open to creative possibilities for success.’ Reframe things.”

Affirmations are powerful. They channel your thoughts, words and actions in a productive direction and can transform how you feel about your business and therefore the success you make of it. After noticing when you feel stressed, anxious or angry in a work context, see if you can find an affirmation that reframes the notion. “You can’t say something you don’t believe right now, but you can say you are open to believing something in the future.” This is where “I have nothing to worry about,” which you might not believe, becomes “I am open to the possibility of solutions,” which you can.

Acting from intention

Bernstein said that one of the keys to success as an entrepreneur working with a team is to “make sure that you do everything from a place of intention.” She practices this with her team. “Whenever we write an email, create a sales page or launch a book we always get very clear on the intention.” Rather than think in terms of pure metrics or numbers on a spreadsheet, Bernstein invites her team to ask, “What is the service-related intention? How many people do we want to serve or how do we want to serve people? After that, what is the business intention? How many books do we want to sell?” She said that having clear service-related intentions coupled with clear financial intentions can help her team “stay on track and stay steady with what they are trying to do.”

As a leader, Bernstein said that being intentional about your boundaries is paramount, admitting she “used to get too involved.” She said that creating healthy, intentional boundaries is about “being a safe place for your team members to go if they’re struggling, supporting them with time off or maybe giving them some guidance and support systems.” She said you shouldn’t, however, “be their support system, because if you start to create that co-dependent relationship with your employees, it doesn’t work.” Intentional plans, intentional boundaries. Taking inspired action in everything you do.

Compassionate questioning

How spiritually aligned can an ambitious entrepreneur be when things aren’t going right? What about when they suspect a team member isn’t playing their part? Bernstein has an answer for approaching the stickiest of situations, with clients and team members alike. She advised to “always come to them with curiosity and compassion.” She added that when “you come from that energy of curiosity, passion and calmness, you can kind of say anything. They’re picking up on the energy more than the words.” So rather than accusatory quizzing and passive aggressive comments, Bernstein recommended, “calmly approach and ask, ‘Hey, I’m just wondering how you’re doing,’ adding elements of compassion, ‘I know it’s really busy right now,’ before stating how you’re feeling and why and inviting comment.” Use phrases such as “I’m noticing that…” and “This is how I feel” so as not to trigger defensiveness with blame or shame.

Delivering information and inviting responses in a compassionate and curious way means, according to Bernstein, “they’re going to be able to hear it, they’re going to be able to receive it.” Bernstein believes saying nicer words with bad energy is far worse and less conducive to success than her method. In Bernstein’s new book, Happy Days, she covers the five responses to feeling shame, which are to, “attack the other, attack yourself, deny, fawn and cling or withdraw.” None of these are reactions you want to trigger in team members and compassionate questioning could be the answer.

Surrendering control helps build a team that supports your vision and helps you avoid having too much on your plate. Practising gratitude means you can flourish together. Reciting affirmations reprograms your mind for success and acting with intention means your energy is channelled into productivity of the best kind. Finally, compassionately and curiously approaching challenges means an aligned and connected team that need never feel shame. Happy business moments lead to happy teams and happy days with success in abundance.

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Amazon may lay off 20,000 employees, including managers: Report

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Amazonmay lay off about 20,000 employees across divisions as the company reevaluates its pandemic-induced hiring spree, according to a media report.

A Computerworld report stated that the tech giant could lay off employees across the company, including distribution centre workers, technology staff, and corporate executives. Staff at all levels will likely be affected, it found.

Last month, the New York Times reported that Amazon plans to lay off approximately 10,000 people, and “the cuts will focus on Amazon’s devices organisation, including the voice-assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources”.

However, according to Computerworld, the layoffs could impact nearly double the number of employees– roughly 6% of the company’s corporate employees and about 1.3% of its global workforce of more than 1.5 million composed primarily of hourly workers.

YourStory could not independently verify the report.

Corporate staff have been told that employees will receive a 24-hour notice and severance pay, in accordance with their company contracts, the Computerworld report noted. “There is a sense of fear among employees in the company as the news has come out,” the report added, quoting a source who was informed directly about the layoff effort.

The layoffs would be the largest staff reduction in Amazon’s history.

“There is no specific department or location mentioned for the cuts; it is across the business. We were told this is as a result of over-hiring during the pandemic and the need for cost-cutting as the company’s financials have been on a declining trend,” the source told Computerworld.

After the New York Times report, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy shared some information about role eliminations in a note. Jassy confirmed that layoffs were occurring, though he did not specify the planned number of employees to be laid off.

“Our annual planning process extends into the new year, which means there will be more role reductions as leaders continue to make adjustments. Those decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organisations early in 2023,” Jassy wrote in the message, noting that Amazon had already communicated that layoffs would occur in the Devices and Books businesses, and would be extending a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in the People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organisation. 

“We haven’t concluded yet exactly how many other roles will be impacted (we know that there will be reductions in our Stores and PXT organisations), but each leader will communicate to their respective teams when we have the details nailed down,” Jassy noted.

Meanwhile, the Computerworld report noted that employees on Amazon’s robotics team have been laid off.

Amazon’s muted third-quarter earnings as well as disappointing fourth-quarter projections led the company’s stock to plummet. Its third-quarter earnings were severely impacted by unpredictable consumer shopping habits and inflation. 

Amazon is likely to lay off several employees in India across divisions, according to media reports. Last month, Amazon confirmed that it will shut down its wholesale unit Amazon Distribution. This is the third business unit to be closed after the e-commerce giant announced the wrapping up of Amazon Academy and the food delivery business in India.

Globally, tech companies have announced layoffs as part of their cost-cutting efforts. In November, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company had decided to reduce the size of its team by about 13%, cutting over 11,000 jobs. In the same month, Elon Musk reduced half of Twitter’s workforce or about 3,700 jobs at the social media firm.

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Unlock The Entrepreneurial Potential Of Your Team With Employee-Ownership

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A strong team of many outperforms even the most hardworking of entrepreneurs on their own. But when hiring employees, freelancers and contractors, how do you ensure they have the same entrepreneurial skills and drive that you do as your company’s owner? Is it unrealistic to expect employees to be motivated and committed to an organisation they didn’t found?

Nicki Sprinz thinks she has cracked the code of unlocking the entrepreneurial potential of your team, and the answer lies in employee ownership. Sprinz is managing director of B-Corp certified ustwo London, a company of over 200 employees, and cofounder of Ada’s List, an 8000-strong community designed to support women working in the tech industry. ustwo has recently become employee-owned and has already seen the benefits of breaking down the distinction between owners and employees.

According to the Employee Ownership Association, this way of working can improve productivity, support more resilient regional economies and empower team members, resulting in them being far more engaged. Sprinz explained the main benefit for entrepreneurs of this model along with practical tips for managing directors and company founders to make the transition to becoming employee-owned.

Employee ownership protects the company

“Being employee-owned means existing team members, who are now partners, feel empowered as owners,” said Sprinz. She believes that this encourages everyone to put in the work to uphold a strong company culture and course-correct if they see anything awry.

Whilst this might not happen automatically, a founder can make it more likely that their team upholds the vision. Sprinz has put frameworks in place to ensure everyone has a voice. “We hold open firesides, have elected partner representatives on the board, and ensure there are regular channels of communication for all team members to be part of growing the culture and living the values,” she said.

Keeping the team on board means protecting the company. “There are no surprises about the direction we are taking with the business,” explained Sprinz. “We involve everyone in the decisions we make on our projects and ensure we are accountable, both commercially and ethically.”

Attract and retain top talent

In a competitive market, how does your company attract and retain the best talent in the world for the benefit of your clients? Employee-ownership could be the solution. Not only does it make job listings stand out, but it attracts individuals who are like-minded and think long term. They are committed to a future with whichever company they choose to join and are prepared to push themselves to make it happen.

“High quality potential recruits and employees are interested in values and purpose,” said Sprinz. “Being able to talk about employee ownership helps you stand out in a tough hiring market. We have several interview stages so a candidate can get to know us as well as we’d like to know them.”

Sprinz’ interview stages aim to weed out “cultural and value mismatches that ultimately lead to an unfulfilled team.” They ask candidates multiple questions about their values and examples of them in practice, and they encourage candidates to probe with questions about ustwo. They also “publicise the salary for all open roles and candidates have the opportunity to meet other members of the team,” she added.

Control quality

When scaling a business, ambitious entrepreneurs cannot afford to let quality slip. Growth at all costs is a false economy that ends with the business back at square one and having to work harder to undo reputational damage. “A more entrepreneurial team ensures quality stays high,” explained Sprinz. Not only do your team members care deeply about the work they do, they also know they benefit from company growth, so they are incentivised to keep raising the bar.

“If your team is invested in the long term financial success of the company, they also feel pride that their work contributes to overall success,” said Sprinz. “They respond by raising the bar on their work.” Sprinz also believes that, “Regular transparent sharing of financial results and metrics maintains dialogue on personal and company impact.”

Direct the future

An employee-owned company has options for the future. The owner might one day want to step aside or sell, and the company’s succession plan will already be in place. In the meantime, the company has hit new heights and progressed with new ideas because its foundations are solid.

Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you cannot reach self-actualisation without warmth and shelter, and a company cannot break through ceilings with constant recruitment issues. When team members are bought into the company, they are bought into its future too, making more certain outcomes for everyone involved.

“The partner representatives on the board surface the priorities of the rest of the team and ensure the conversations of the board are directed accordingly,” explained Sprinz. “The representatives are actively part of the bigger picture and playing a huge part in shaping the company’s future.”

Unlock the entrepreneurial potential of your team by exploring employee ownership, advised Sprinz. The best people will be proud to tell their friends that they are part-owners of the place they work. They will feel valued and listened to and respond with their effort and devotion. Could employee ownership be the right step forward for you?

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With $3M new funding, Egyptian startup OneOrder sets out on growth drive • TechCrunch

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OneOrder, Egypt’s supply chain solutions provider for restaurants, has raised $3 million seed funding led by Nclude with participation from A15, and Delivery Hero Ventures. The latest funding brings the total funding raised by the startup to $10.5
million, including $6.5 million working capital financing from financial institutions.

Launched in March this year, OneOrder makes it possible for restaurants to order food supplies through its online platform, solving the fragmented supply chain challenges that lead to erratic prices, waste, quality issues, and storage cost.

By using its platform, restaurants no longer have to deal with tens of suppliers, and can order only what they need, for next day delivery, stemming wastage and doing away with the need for warehouses. The platform also ensures operational efficiency and helps restaurants save money by leveraging OneOrder’s economies of scale.

The startup plans to use the funding to scale its operations in Egypt including increasing its warehouse footprint, and to explore growth opportunities within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, and Africa.

“We are exploring Saudi Arabia and expanding south into our continent. I think Africa has a lot of markets that feel the same pain points that Egypt does,” said OneOrder co-founder and CEO, Tamer Amer, who co-founded OneOrder with Karim Maurice (CTO), also founder Cube, an online restaurant-reservation service.

“The solution that we’re providing has shown that this industry is ready for tech solutions…[and] we are working on a more substantial operating system for the restaurants not just the supply chain and inventory management system, rather the full cycle that would turn their operations automatic by using AI and machine learning capabilities to drive the supply chain,” said Amer, a restaurateur for over two decades, initially in the U.S before settling in Egypt from 2008.

Amer, told TechCrunch that the sourcing challenges he experienced operating two restaurants in Egypt — Fuego, a sushi bar, and Longhord Texas Barbeque — inspired the launch of OneOrder, to serve the country’s total addressable market of 400,000 restaurants.

“I had always taken the supply chain in the U.S for-granted; we would order and get the supplies all the time. We didn’t have to worry about shortages or price changes. I realized that Egypt is so underserved and the industry is really doing a lot of things that we shouldn’t be doing,” he said.

“… restaurants should not have a full-time job monitoring the supply chain and procuring products because it takes away focus on the core business, which is serving customers. So that’s where the idea really started,” he said.

OneOrder plans to, through its partners and backed by its extensive data, begin extending working capital financing options to restaurants as a way of helping them scale their operations.

Basil Moftah, the managing partner at Nclude, said: “The product-market fit of the OneOrder solution is very impressive, along with the positive impact it is delivering to all stakeholders in the value chain. Through the use of technology and alternative data, OneOrder’s embedded financing will help underserved clients who are unable to secure traditional financing. This aligns perfectly with our investing philosophy and we are glad to be embarking on this journey with the team.”

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