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Strategic Planning

stirthepot

Shake It Up

By | Leadership, Motivation, Operations, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

stirthepot“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”

 

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
3rd president of the United States

Lately, I have been reading (or rather listening to) the book “Work The System”. Something the author says repeatedly is to look at your internal systems from “a slightly elevated and slightly removed point of view.” By looking at your business from the outside looking in, you can better work on your businesses instead of in.

 

Many of my clients often find themselves jumping from one appointment to the next, taking care of whatever is next on the to-do list, or looking for an excuse to work on trivial, easy things.

 

It takes a kind of courage to step back and look at your business from the outside looking in. It requires you to not just admit your faults, but to look them in the face and commit to change. A better process. An improved system. A better business. Owning a business, not owning your job. A better lifestyle to do what you wish with more money and a lot more time.

 

It might be time to “shake it up,” look from the outside in, and improve your system. You will never truly own a business until you do.

I want my business to

system failure

By | Cost Controls, Leadership, Operations, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

gears“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. ”

 

—Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) from the movie The Departed

Many of you know about my two years in Southern Mexico as a missionary. In one area I served I cam across two families that stand out in my mind as stark contrasts.

 

The first I met in a cab ride from the bus station to the apartment in my first hour in this area. He drove the cab and I later found out that he was a science teacher for one of the local prep schools. His wife was due to have their second baby in a couple of months. He worked hard and was just starting out as a husband and father. He did not have to drive cab, but he did want to improve his situation. 

 

The other family I met was completely opposite. His wife worked hard selling in the market to earn enough to buy the necessities of life. I once approached their house to see him laying in a hammock with a “caguama” (a beer of about 32 oz). All he could say was, “No hay trabajo” – there is no work. 

 

One system created opportunity (the first eventually bought a home and became a community leader) the other created stagnation. We can shake our head at the second, but his “system” was to have his wife work while he drank in the shade bemoaning the economy. Guess who made a bigger impact in the world?

 

The economy, taxes, politicians, the system, big business, and the boogie man. The next time you want to blame some out-side source, figure out what is happening with your own systems that did not prepare for the influence of these outside influences.

 

Are you positioned to take advantage of circumstances whether they are good or bad? The difference is the systems you have in place and the quality of execution.

 

 

 

success concept

Success!

By | Accountability, Follow-through, life style, Motivation, Strategic Planning | No Comments

success concept“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

 

Abraham Lincoln

 

I had the special privilege of being in a Silverdale Rotary meeting where six high school kids were being honored for the many great things they are doing with their lives. All six came from different backgrounds, different family structures, and different cultural heritages.

Each of them was supposed to address the audience.They talked about the many activities, clubs, teams and other efforts they were making in their lives. The reason they gave for doing everything was simple: they had a large horizon that they planned to cross. There was little desire for the award they were receiving – the awards they craved were much larger than the little framed certificate and small gift they were receiving that day.They want to be greater than themselves.

So that got me thinking: “these teens are defining success in ways they understand it. Most of us had the same ambitions and dreams.”

 

Do we still define success the same way we did in high school?

What caused us to change how we measure success?

 

I can’t define success in life for you.

Business success is just as elusive. A “successful” business is often defined as growing, making a profit, long-term viability, attracting investors, . . . . The measures are endless.

Make up your mind. Set your horizon. Determine your measures. Make it happen.

motion

Ability to Move

By | life style, Strategic Planning | 2 Comments

motion“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow…Only while we are in action is the circulation perfect.”

 

Henry David Thoreau ( 1817 – 1862)

 

 

My nine-year-old son is in full-swing wrestling season. While this is his 5th, he is still learning some very basic wrestling concepts. Techniques and holds can be taught and learned. However, there are a few things a wrestler needs to learn that cannot be taught.

 

As I looked over some of my more recent emails, I noticed some similarities in these “learned but not taught” skills and running a business. Just like a wrestler, a business must master:

  • Balance
  • Leverage
  • Strength
  • Ability to Move

And most importantly:

  • Determination

I recently talked about Balance and Leverage. How is your ability to move?

 

Some wrestlers are not the most technical in their execution or graceful in their motion. They are just great “scrappers.” They intrinsically know how to move and they move quickly.

 

Strategy and planning are critical to your business success. But plans are useless without motion. Moving on an unexpected opportunity or being able to fend off and recover from surprise adversity can mean the difference between winning and losing.

 

Learn to move quickly by practicing these things:

  • Know your market and your competitors
  • Know what you do best and apply it
  • Know what you do worst and keep out of it
  • Understand your customers’ changing desires
  • Keep a cash reserve for quick investments or unanticipated liabilities
  • Develop a personal life-style of learning

My wrestling abilities changed dramatically in 1991 when I learned proper stance and motion. I had already been wrestling for six years, but learning how to move quickly made a bigger difference than any other skill I had learned to that point.

 

Be ready to move.

commodity

Are You a Commodity?

By | Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one. ”

 

Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company Founder (1863-1947)

 

The iPhone 5 released last week.

 

Over the weekend, I overheard someone bemoaning the iPhone she currently has. “It’s so bulky,” she complained.

 

The New York Times gave the following review:

“Faster chips, bigger screens and speedier wireless Internet connections are among the refinements smartphone users can count on year after year in new models, most of them in familiar rectangular packages. They are improvements, to be sure, but they lack the breathtaking impact the first iPhone had, with its pioneering fusion of software and touch-screen

How many people do you know with a smart phone? How many have more than one or have “upgraded” the same day they were able? Good product – saturation has not happened yet..

Many businesses complain because their product or service is a “commodity.” This is not true if you have found your differentiation and are providing a superior experience. However, the superior performance has to be visible and readily recognized to the client.

Often we feel we are doing more and providing better value than our competition. Here is a short test to determine if it has an impact:

1. Does your customer ask for the added value before you provide it?

2. Do you have to point out the value for your customer to recognize it?

3. Is your value based on credentials that hang on your wall?

 

If you answered yes to any of these, your customer may not be aware of the value you provide. Time to educate them.

 

Add Value:

5 Reasons Your Marketing Doesn’t Work
Reason 2: Tactics Instead of Strategy
(Poulsbo Chamber Office – September 26, 11:30p-1p)

 

Leadership Boot Camp
Next-Level Leadership
(Cafe Noir – October 5, 8a-12p)