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Importance of a Montessori education for lifelong success

One of the main differences between a Montessori education and a traditional one is that the Montessori method focuses on individual learning at a child’s individual pace. Although it may seem as if that would slow the child down, it actually does the opposite. Because students are permitted to explore areas that they are most interested in, they are naturally encouraged to explore more challenging areas and dig deeper into a topic. The measures of achievement look at individual progress and development rather than traditional methods like grades and tests. A study conducted by the University of Virginia found that Montessori students had significantly better scores when tested against non Montessori students in mental performance, academic abilities and social and behavioral skills. The study further showed that the Montessori students were better equipped to adapt to changing and complex problems. This ability is often treated as a predictor of future success, another indicator that a Montessori education better prepares students for future success.

Another key value of a Montessori education is its emphasis on fostering independence among the students. In her book The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori writes, “The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development’, labeling independence as one of the key aspects of development. It is vital to begin fostering independence at a young age and Montessori allows that to occur.

The Montessori Method, especially when paired with Reggio Emilia enrichment, also serves to grow a child’s creativity. With Montessori, children are encouraged to follow their interests, leading to an inherent growth in creativity as they are doing tasks that they want to rather than to prepare for an exam or because they are told to do so. This allows children to enjoy the process of learning rather than just the end result allowing for a creative process to occur and for a child’s love of learning to grow. In an environment where students are forced to learn “for the test” or because the “curriculum says so” a student’s natural love of learning is often extinguished and along with it the ability for creative expression. A Montessori education avoids those issues by working for the opposite goals: fueling a child’s love of learning and allowing a child to explore his or her passions. When a Montessori education is also paired with the Reggio Emilia designated creative art space, creativity increases even more.

A Montessori education has many unique benefits that are vital to lifelong success and are not accessible with a traditional education.




May 2nd, 2018

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Current Demand for a Montessori Education

The demand for Montessori education in the United States is rising at a faster rate than ever before. According to the American Montessori Society, there are currently an estimated 22,000 Montessori programs in 110 countries, and nearly 4,000 of them are in the US. That means that over 18% of all Montessori programs globally, are in the US. Although most of those programs are private, public Montessori programs have doubled over the last 15 years to account for roughly 450 programs. In both the public and private sector, demand from parents for a Montessori education for their children is rising at such a rapid pace that existent programs simply cannot keep up. Waitlists all over the country are growing. According to Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore City’s only public Montessori school currently has 1,200 students on its waitlist. In Washington D.C. the Latin American Montessori Bilingual public charter school has over 530 students on their waitlist. Another Montessori school in Washington D.C. has over 700 students on their waitlist. The Montessori program at Broadwater Elementary School in Montana, received over 100 applications for only 36 available seats. Public schools in Dallas, St. Paul, Juneau, as well as dozens of other cities all cannot meet the current demand for a Montessori education. All around the country, more and more Montessori programs are forced to turn away students or place them on the waitlist because the demand is simply too much for existing programs to be able to handle. It is time to meet the demand and to provide access to the thousands of children eagerly waiting to begin their Montessori education.


April 4th, 2018

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The Challenge of being a Young Entrepreneur

These days many young individuals prefer starting their own business rather than waiting for their dream job. Apart from being full of spirit and energy, younger adults are not tied up with family responsibilities, which allows them to focus on their newly launched business.


However, like anyone else, millennial entrepreneurs are also prone to mistakes. And while blunders are considered a part of the learning process, minor slip ups can cause the complete project to fail. Unfortunately, more than 50% of businesses fail in the first four years and while incompetence is rated as the major cause of failure, lack of experience ranks as the second main cause.

So does age and experience matter when starting a new venture?

A quick look at statistics shows that 51% of small business owners are 50 – 88 years old while 33% are between the age of 35 and 49. Surprisingly, only 16% of individuals under the age of 35 have launched their own startup.

On the other hand, if I were to ask you to pick out a few successful entrepreneurs, you would likely answer Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Well, did you know that the owner of Facebook became a millionaire at the age of 22 while Bill Gates and Steve Jobs founded their respective companies at the age of 20? Additionally, Larry Page developed Google at 25 while Jack Dorsey came up with the idea of ‘tweets’ when he turned the big 30. Age didn’t matter to them!

Even the most successful entrepreneurs faced challenges. Since they were quite young, not many investors took them seriously and they were often mocked as being “Toddler CEOs.” Additionally, family members are not as supportive of a young person starting his or her own business when there are plenty of other opportunities available. And although good ideas do sell themselves, companies without any brand recognition or experience in the industry often find it difficult to attract customers.

Of course, these minor encounters are part of every entrepreneur’s journey and they shouldn’t deter you from achieving your dreams. Any obstacle that comes your way should be dealt with confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism.

So to answer the question above – Does age matter for success in entrepreneurship? – no, age definitely does not matter and as time passes, business owners gain plenty of experience that helps them overcome the obstacles of youth.

November 28th, 2017

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Challenges Of A Female Entrepreneur

Once upon a time, entrepreneurship was considered a man’s domain. However, times have changed and according to a 2016 report, 11.3 million businesses in the US are owned by women. Data collected in 2015 by the National Association of Women Business Owners states that women-led businesses generate more than $1.5 trillion in sales. The good news is that these numbers are growing day by day and many women of today are successfully entering the business industry and closing the gender gap.

Female Entrepreneur
Unfortunately, the road to success is not an easy one for any entrepreneur, be it male or female. However, women claim to face more difficulties in starting a business than their male counterparts. What are these obstacles? Let’s find out!

Lack of funds

Many investors hesitate to fund businesses run by women. Although it may be unintentional, men do side with those of the same gender. Full Circle Insights, a marketing and sales analytics company, reports that venture capitalists have a habit of investing in startups that are headed by people of their own “tribe.” The 2014 Babson College Report also indicates that less than 3 percent of venture capital-funded companies had females in the CEO position.

Some men also have a preconceived notion that women are not as competent as them. Sometimes the importance of women-related products is difficult to convey to male investors, which also makes them reluctant to hand out funds. Although the difficulties women face in acquiring funds can’t be solved overnight, a good business plan is the first step to getting the necessary funding.

Lack of role models

If I asked you to name five of the top entrepreneurs you are likely to answer: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Kevin Systrom, and Brian Chesky. But what about Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Marian Ilitch (founder of Little Caesar’s Pizza), and Doris Fisher (co-founder of Gap)? Surely they are equally successful in their respective fields and are doing very well in their chosen career path. Why do we tend to forget the names of women entrepreneurs? This is because in our society, men acquire more visibility in industries that are more prominent while women usually start business in areas where they have prior experience, skill, and interest.

Take the tech industry for example. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census data reports that less than 30 percent of workers in computer and math-related fields are women while the global technology meetups account for only 29 percent of the female population.

So how can the number of female startups in male-dominated industries increase? Ruta Aidis, roject Director at the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, recommends hiring more women in technical positions. “When women start working in these industries, they will naturally develop interests which will encourage them to build their own startups in the relevant field.”

Balancing personal and professional lives

Giving equal time to both work and personal life is a goal of many entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender. Initiating a startup takes considerable time and even the males in the field struggle to juggle their family and business life with stability.  However, the struggle becomes more intense for mothers, as “mompreneurs” have double responsivity. They not only have to commit to their work full time but handle kids as well. Of course, in the business world, no one will come and hand you a resource book. You have to become disciplined when it comes to managing time, and finding the way to keep up with boththe kids and work is the ultimate key to success.

Fear of failure

A 2012 survey conducted by Babson College rated fear of failure as the top concern of women preparing to launch startups. Failure is the biggest possibility of any business venture and sadly, nine out of ten startups do fail in its first year.

This is the hard truth and entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender, should always consider the possibility of a failure when starting a business. Failure is considered the inevitable journey to success and sometimes facing a series of challenges can empower women.. Take J.K. Rowling for example. Her idea for a story was brilliant. But she struggled to find a publisher. Of course, she did not give up and one day managed to find a company that agreed to publish her book. Today, her books have sold more than 400 million copies and she herself has a net worth of more than $1 billion.

Are women succeeding at entrepreneurship?

Despite the hurdles, women have proven that they are good for business.  Studies show that women-led startups tend to make better profits than their male counterparts because women assess risk better than man and are less prone to overconfidence.



November 10th, 2017

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Your customers are talking….Are you listening?

“Whenever I am upset about something, the first person I call is my mom. She listens patiently while I vent out my frustrations and at the end, the only sentence she speaks out is – Everything will be ok! And with these words, the world immediately starts looking like a better place to be.”

Listening EarThis may seem like a simple life situation that many of us go through, but it is enough to show the importance of listening.We humans like to be heard and whether it’s our frustrations, ideas, or whatever emotion we are going through, it feels good to just let it out of our system. Our customers are the same way. Time and time again, research has shown that customer satisfaction is the key to success for any business. Consumers want to be heard and whether it’s their suggestions, criticism, or appreciation, as a business owner it’s your responsibility to listen to them. And maybe, if you really listen to them, you can gather more insight on how to improve and enhance your business.

How to make them feel heard?

So how do you make sure that the customer knows you are listening to them? The consumer gives you their business and loyalty, and you must return that by appreciating whatever it is that they have to say about your business/company, good and bad.

Ask for their ideas

Taking customer’s feedback is a popular practice that is followed by many successful companies. The renowned candy company Tootsie Roll often hosts a giveaway where their fans and followers are given a chance to taste the new flavors of their company. This not only allows the company to gain insight on their new offering but also helps in promoting the new flavor and creating more brand awareness. Starbucks has added a special Twitter handle to their social media account where customers can share their ideas/suggestions to make Starbucks better. The company not only responds to each customer but also has a separate blog where each idea that has been implemented is listed.

In simple words, all feedback is good feedback. Social media platforms should be your number one source while a feedback/survey form also works great.

Offer a prompt reply

According to a survey conducted by Search Engine Watch, 7 out of 10 Twitter users expect a response from the brands they get in touch with. In fact, 53% of the Twitter users want their favorite brands to respond within an hour and if they have shared a complaint or criticism, the number increases to 72%.

Review Tracker also conducted a survey in the same regard and concluded that 52% of customers want feedback on their query within 7 days while one in four expects a response within 3 days, specifically if it’s a negative review that they have posted.

Avoid leaving your customer’s feedback unattended. Reply to their queries promptly. If they are looking for a solution to any issue they are facing with your product/service, offer a solution. And don’t forget to thank them for being loyal to your brand.

Be honest

Your word is your bond. If you have promised the customer some changes in your business operation, follow through. Making false claims or promises that are unfulfilled can ruin your reputation instantly.

Customers hold the key to your business’s success!

A SalesForce survey shows that 55% of customers are willing to pay even more for a product if they are provided with exceptional customer service. Remember, “The customer is always right” and believe it or not, they can foresee many problems in your business – well before you can. Even though their feedback might not be positive at all times, with a little effort, you can easily convert their complaints into compliments.

October 24th, 2017

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5 Top Reasons to Advertise

Businesses use methods of advertising and marketing to fulfill various goals. The main goal is usually to gain more consumers and hence make profits. For a newly established business, the fight for more sales is with large, well established businesses that have a loyal consumer base and a large marketing budget to grab even more prospective customers. With so many businesses fighting for customer attention, an entrepreneur of a newly opened business may find spending on advertising quite challenging.

5 Top Reasons to AdvertiseHowever, advertising is important for any business regardless of its size, customer base, and budget. In fact, a survey of more than 3,000 companies found that business owners who maintained their marketing strategy over a five-year period saw an average 100% increase in their sales. On the other hand, companies that cut back on advertising grew at less than half the rate of those who advertised steadily.

In short, advertising should be made a high priority by all entrepreneurs. Here are some more reasons why an entrepreneur should give due importance to advertising:

1. Product introduction

If you are launching a new product in the market, it will need an impressive introduction to be accepted by potential customers. Ads for new products focus on explaining the specifications, showing how the product can act as a solution to problems or how it is better than other products in the market. Moreover, in the case of a new company launching a new product; advertising aims to introduce both the brand as well as the company behind it.

2. Increase sales

Many brilliant products have failed due to poor marketing strategies while mediocre products have attained high peaks due to brilliantly executed advertising. A business cannot make significant sales without marketing its product through the right channels. For instance, you will barely make an impact by advertising men’s razors on a morning show that is seen mostly by female audiences. Hence, to increase sales, you need to advertise as much as you can through the right channels. If you have a low advertising budget, be smart enough to choose the means which will have the most focused consumer reach.

3. Product promotions

Advertising is necessary to promote sales and special offers on your product. Limited time offers are introduced for a reason and will not reach your consumers without advertising. Promotions are an excellent way to continually get a company and product name out to the consumer, long after the product is initially introduced. Customers respond to sales and promotions more; in fact, 83% of consumers claim that they crave promotional products and are always on the lookout for sales and deals.

4. Product differentiation

New products are being introduced left and right in the market. They are usually very similar to old ones already present in the market. Advertising your product enables you to market the differences and benefits of your product over what is already available in the market. Focus on what sets your product apart and the problem your product solves.

5. Increase trust

Sometimes the primary motive of marketing is presenting a positive and trustworthy image of your business to your consumers. When your company is marketed well, consumers automatically feel a positive vibe about your product and become more inclined to make a purchase. Hence, the good image eventually gets transferred into higher sales.Be careful, because the opposite is also true. In a recent survey, 84% of consumers agreed that a poorly executed or intrusive ad gives them a negative opinion of the brand. Advertising is crucial to a business’s success and you must carefully evaluate your marketing strategy before launching your own business. Even the smallest right move can bring your product into a positive light for your customers. This will eventually reap you higher sales and profits for your business.

September 19th, 2017

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The one skill that can make you a better boss

What is it that every good boss has and the ineffective one lacks? Here’s a hint: it’s not a degree or something you can buy.

The answer is EMPATHY.

This, along with the ability to do the job well, is crucial to working effectively with employees in the best interest of the company.

What is empathy?

Empathy is often confused with the term “sympathy” and while they are related, they are actually quite different words. Budding entrepreneur Joey Pomerenke describes empathy as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences, emotions, and feelings.” On the other hand, sympathy is feeling pity or sorrow for someone. It is more distant while empathy goes deep down to share the other person’s feelings and experiences.

Not many of us think of it as an essential business skill, but according to Harvard Business Review, empathy is rapidly making it to the top of the list of “soft skills” that business owners need.

The importance in the workplace

Empathy is the one skill that can make you a better bossThere are a number of reasons employees leave the workplace. They move out of the country, decide to stay at home with their children, or even go back to school. However, a “bad boss” is the number one reason for quitting a job.

There is no need to be buddies with your employees. However, a boss and an employee work closely during office hours and if they are not cordial with each other, the workplace can become intolerable.Employees want to be heard and appreciated. Having an empathic boss will not only make them more productive at the workplace but will eliminate the requirement factor from their work as well.

According to Pomerenke, “Many businesses use punishment and negative consequences so employees behave in a particular way, but showing appreciation through benefits, coaching and development, incentives and genuine rewards sends the message that the business simply cares about the people connected to it.”

So how can you develop empathy if you are not naturally empathetic to begin with?

  1. Put yourself in their shoes
    For just one day or even a few hours, take time to understand the employee’s day. Do the tasks they are responsible for, whether it’s taking orders or assembling reports – whatever you can do to gain firsthand experience.This will not only allow you to understand their perspectives but also send a positive message to the staff that the boss is not above doing anyone’s job and that each job is valuable
  2. Talk to them
    Arrange regular meetings with your employees, either privately or within group discussions. Allow them to give their ideas or suggestions. But don’t use this time to rebuke anyone. Instead, act on the ideas you like or explain why you are not implementing others.You can also use this time to open up about your own managerial struggles. Let your team know you are on their side. In short, make it a positive experience for everyone.
  3. Take interest in their personal lives
    Ask about their weekend or their families. Are they taking too much work home? Being genuinely interested in them will make them feel appreciated, and employees who feel appreciated develop the internal motivation to work hard and give their best.
  4. Break the ice
    Ask anyone how they are doing and they are likely to say they are fine. However, that is not always the end of a conversation. Do they look fine? Are they fidgeting while they are replying? Is their head drooping? Sometimes employees are facing trouble and they are hesitant to share them with you. Break the ice and show genuine concern about their well-being. Business owners know that if an employee is dealing with problems at home, it is bound to affect their performance at work. Show that you care and ask if you can help.
  5. Above all, be honest and sincere with your employees. Stay updated about their personal lives, and their struggles and help alleviate issues that might affect the workplace. You may not be able to solve their problems, but being understanding will show your employees that you care.

    September 6th, 2017

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6 tips for hiring for your new business

tips for hiring for your new business

As much as you want to, it is impossible for a founder to run an entire business single-handedly. With the growing demands of business, therefore, it is important to recruit trusted, reliable employees. Apart from aiding in different aspects of work, your employees will add their own skill sets to the business, which can be beneficial to the company in its road to success.

Recruiting new employees is time consuming and oftentimes frustrating, especially when weeding through hundreds or even thousands of unqualified applicants. To add to the stress, making a poor hiring decision or allowing the perfect CV to get buried in mounds of others can have dire consequences.

To help you make the right choice, here are some tips that you can use when you have a vacancy:

1. Be honest

Be honest when writing the job listing and be specific about your requirements, the skills you are looking for and what your company is like. Giving sufficient details about your demands will save you a lot of time sorting through resumes that are not the right fit.

2. Don’t rush

The last thing you want to do is re-hire for the same position after six months because you made the mistake of accepting an “okay” candidate. To get it right the first time, make sure you ask good interview questions that get beyond the surface to reveal the applicant’s true nature. Personality tests are also an excellent tool for ascertaining whether an applicant is the right fit for your business.

3. Don’t forget references

Although you may want to get through the hiring process as quickly as you can, take the time to investigate further than the face-to-face interview. Ask for references from former supervisors and follow up with a personal phone call to all references. Definitely check out applicants’ social media accounts, as these reveal how people present themselves to others, how they spend their time outside of the office, and what is important to them, all key aspects you might not be able to get from an interview.

4. Look beyond traditional job sites

Even though job sites are the first place one looks when job hunting, there are several places you can post your job advert in search of the right candidate. Post vacancy announcements on your social media sites, forums, or any other place where your business is popular. And don’t overlook your network – ask fellow colleagues, family members, and friends if they know anyone who is the right fit for the post.

5. Consider recruitment agencies

If budget allows, you can transfer the recruitment process to the respective agency who deals in finding the right prospects for specific companies. They do the dirty work of shortlisting candidates and provide you with a few interview-ready applicants. This not only saves time but also the hassle of narrowing down from the piles of CVs. Of course, recruitment agencies charge on a commission basis which is typically 10 – 20% of the annual salary. While they can be expensive, if you don’t have the temperament to go through all the trouble and if your budget permits, it will be well worth it.

6. Look for someone who is committed

Is the candidate serious about the job? Is he willing to learn and grow with your business? Or is he just passing through until something better comes along? Look for commitment from your candidates.Analyze their previous jobs and time spent at each to get a better idea of the employee’s work ethic and longevity, especially in similar positions.

Initially, it may seem difficult to find the right employee and you may fear hiring the wrong one. But with patience, commitment, thorough investigation, and little bit of luck, you increase your chances of hiring exactly the right person.

August 22nd, 2017

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From Welfare to Billionaire – The Story of WhatsApp

from welfare to billionaire

Life has indeed come full circle for Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Being rejected by Facebook, the entrepreneur duo acquired $19 billion from the same company for the mobile messaging platform that has greatly impacted the telecom industry.

Yes, we’re talking about WhatsApp, the messaging app that has made communication affordable for users all over the world. One of the most popular mobile apps, WhatsApp currently has 800 million active users monthly.

The co-founders had to survive a lot of ups and downs in their lives, but the journey was worth it.

Who are Jan Koum and Brian Acton?

Jan Koum was 16 years old when he migrated to the U.S. from Ukraine with his mother in hopes of finding a better future. Unfortunately, the initial days in America were challenging for the family and they had to live off food stamps while taking on cleaning and babysitting jobs to pay the bills. According to Forbes, the family lived without electricity while trying to build a life for themselves.

But life’s hardships only made Koum stronger. Using manuals bought from local used book stores, he taught himself programming and computer networking. While studying, he worked for Yahoo, where he
met Brian Acton. The two quit their jobs in 2007 and travelled for a while but it was not until 2009 that inspiration for a new concept came to Koum’s mind.

Koum came up with the idea of WhatsApp after purchasing an iPhone and figuring that mobile applications would be the next big thing. At first he started the venture alone but soon persuaded Acton to join him. During this time, the duo applied for jobs at Facebook and Twitter but were rejected.

So they got a few friends to sponsor the app and between 2009 and 2015, WhatsApp saw significant growth. Ultimately, Facebook, the company that initially rejected Koum and Acton, purchased their app for a whopping $19 billion in 2014. At that time, the acquisition was the largest purchase made by Facebook in the company’s history.

Even though the idea of WhatsApp wasn’t new and users could get similar services through instant messengers like Facebook, WeChat, and Skype, it was free and user friendly. Users preferred WhatsApp to traditional SMS texting because it had no limits and no charges, offered encrypted messaging, and made sending photos and videos quick and easy.

What can we learn from the story of Jan Koum and Brian Acton?

  • Age doesn’t matter. Acton and Koum were 42 and 39 respectively when they entered the field. This age is considered ‘old’ for Silicon Valley but the businessmen remained persistent. In fact, Acton even claims that their ages were an advantage as they remained practical throughout the whole ordeal.
  • Persistence is the key to success. Acton and Koum both faced hardships. They lost money and were rejected at job interviews; however, they continually moved forward and came out on top through their hard work and dedication.
  • Passion matters. Although both partners had an idea in their mind, no one knew it would take off. As with any idea or product, there is always a chance of failure, but Koum was focused and determined to make his app a success.

According to Forbes, Acton now holds over 20% stake in Facebook while Koum owns 39.7 million Facebook shares. Koum also remains WhatsApp’s CEO and continues to be a part of Facebook’s group of

July 27th, 2017

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Starbucks – from a small coffee shop to a successful brand

Whether it is the first thing in the morning or a quick visit between office hours, Starbucks is a sanctuary for many. The hugely successful brand has more than 21,500 stores operating in 64 countries worldwide and most of us are bound to find at least one in our vicinity.

Of course, once upon a time, the huge chain of cafes was a single shop that sold only coffee beans. How did the small shop transform into a huge chain? Let’s find out!

The story of Howard Schultz:

Building a successful brandBorn in Brooklyn, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, never imagined that he would be running a global coffee chain. However, from the time he was young, Schultz’s career path was very different from his parents.

His mom was a full-time housewife while his father performed a series of jobs as a truck driver, cab driver, and factory worker. Unfortunately, his father was involved in an accident when Howard Schultz was only seven. The Schultz family at that time had no other source of income, no health insurance nor were they eligible for workers compensation.

Despite the hardship, young Schultz focused on his education and graduated from Northern Michigan University. After graduation, he joined Xerox where he received initial sales training. Later, he took a job at Hammarplast selling European coffeemakers.

It was at Hammarplast where he had his first encounter with Starbucks when the company’s then owners ordered an unusually large number of drip coffeemakers. The compelling entrepreneur inside him flew to Seattle, where Starbucks was running four stores, to look into the matter.

Inspired by the owners’, Gerald Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, passion and their way of working, Schultz decided to join Starbucks. Of course, this decision was not easy as he would have to move across the country and face a pay cut, but he was optimistic that Starbucks would be good for him and vice versa.

The “epiphany”!

According to Howard Schultz, he had an “epiphany” while he was touring Italy as Director and Sales and noticed the coffee bar culture there. At that time, he was convinced that Starbucks should adopt the same way of serving cappuccino to their customers.

However, Baldwin and Bowker were not satisfied with Howard’s philosophy, so in 1985, Schultz left Starbucks to form his own company – II Giornale. II Giornale was so successful in its mission that it merged with Starbucks in just two years, making Howard Schultz the new CEO of Starbucks Corporation.

Apart from maintaining the quality of his venture, Howard Schultz has always made his employees’ well-being his first priority. Largely because of what he experienced during his father’s illness, he offers all his employees full health coverage.

The 63-year old CEO has a net worth of approximately $3 billion and is a true visionary when it comes to business acumen. As he says, being an entrepreneur is “what it means when your work truly captures your heart and your imagination.”

July 14th, 2017

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