Tag Archives: planning

Business By The Numbers: Smartphones

When mobile phones made it to mainstream use by the late eighties to early nineties, they helped untether people from landlines. You could be reached anywhere, any time, as long as you had good reception and enough battery-power.  In the late 2000’s, smartphones basically gave people pocket-friendly computers with voice and messaging capabilities.

The shift was sudden and market penetration took some time, but it did happen. And ever since smartphones came to be an EDC (Every Day Carry) component for most people, businesses have been scrambling to keep up with and adjust to the new demands and changing consumer behaviors stemming from evolving mobile technology.

How are you taking advantage of this particular communication platform to help build a better relationship with your market? If you’re having trouble forming a plan, here are some numbers to help you out:
Continue reading Business By The Numbers: Smartphones

Back To The Drawing Board

Okay. You reviewed your performance for last year. You went over what planned changes went right,  which ones fell through, what surprises happened, how you handled them, and worked through the new things and experiences you were presented.  You want to do a better job this year. Going from the top-most level and branching down (and outward):

What are your core goals?
Where do you intend to focus on personally and professionally? Think of the “Four Burners theory.” There are things you can only do yourself if they are to be done, and if you want them done, then they have to be high priority, e.g, you must willingly give these items the attention, actions, and time they demand.

Then there are things a little lower on the list and stuff you can push around, delegate, or outsource. These are the items you fit around your Very Important Priorities.

Think about how you handled things last year. Where did you experience the most discomfort? How were you surprised? What are you going to do with the new layers of experience you gained getting through these rough spots? How are you moving forward?

How do you want these core goals done?
What are your standards for “done?” Your answers determine when and how will you know to stop working, which are very important factors in making consistent, sustainable progress. Being stubborn about ‘how’ can act as a straight-jacket for when life throws you into a corner. When you build some margin into your plans, and have back-up options in place,  the peace of mind this  gives helps you recover faster when you encounter delays and sudden changes of circumstance on the way.
Continue reading Back To The Drawing Board

Is It A Business or A Legacy? Planning For The Future

Anybody who runs a business knows about the importance of goal-setting and planning for the future. Whether you make business goals or personal goals, it’s important to  know just exactly where you want to go, and know whether what the actions you take and the choices you make will get you to your goals.

Just as important is understanding and planning for things that can affect your progress towards your goals. Practicing flexibility and foresight in making plans for your business (and yourself) for the future is a vital skill for any entrepreneur. Here’s some advice to help you with that:

Have a clear picture of where you want to be. Envision.
Any business, no matter what its size, is challenging work. Aside from the daily ops, there are  countless other issues that can take up your time: crunching the numbers, juggling finances and balancing accounts,  going after delayed collections, dealing with  disappointed customers, facing the imbalance of family-time versus time spent on the business…when you’re busy dealing with all of these things, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re working for.

Why do you have your business? What made you choose it and keep with it? What did you want to be from it. What did you see it make possible for you? You want to live your dream? What is your dream? Be specific.

Knowing why you’re doing this can give you the  strength to deal with all the things that can irritate you, aggravate you or just plain  infuriate you about your business.

And having a clear picture in mind encourages you to be aware of where you want to be — in the next quarter, or the next 6 months,  the next year, the next 5 years, and so on. Knowing what you want to happen and where you want to be by a certain time, you constantly have goals to works towards and pull you onward. You won’t coast, you won’t assume everything is going well. You’re maintaining awareness of the intimate health details of your business.

No matter where they come from, truly successful people keep working towards their particular goals.
Take time to write down your goals . This solidifies these goals in your mind and in your heart, giving you the drive and the energy to shoulder the workload, stomach the disappointments and downturns, and  help keep you steady. Goals can change with each stage our our lifetime and our business, but successful people are motivated by their desire to accomplish these goals. They focus. They shoulder aside distractions. The know that the things they choose to do have an end in mind, and they want to reach that goal.

When we’re tempted to throw up our hands in frustration, or throw in the towel in despair,  clear goals can help  us weather those dark times. Knowing the important reason why you’re working so hard lets you figure out how you can adjust so you can keep going. Continue reading Is It A Business or A Legacy? Planning For The Future

How To Keep A Business Healthy For The Long Run

Framed in the simplest terms, a business is an enterprise that provides a service or a product to customers in exchange for money. Without customers, businesses would fail. And as an entrepreneur and owner of an on-line business, aside from a viable pool of customers, you also need to have a considerable repertoire of hard and soft skills to see your business through good times and bad.

What else do you need?

You need to know the core mission of your business. You can earn money doing a lot of things: sell digital art, buy and fix thrift-store furniture and resell it, run a food-truck, etc. but you need to know: what is your business here for?

Times change, and the factors that sparked the seed of life for your business can change with them. Think of Kodak — once the world leader in photographic film, it went bankrupt when it wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to take full advantage of the rise of digital imaging technology. The company re-imagined itself and now it offers “packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world,” upon coming up from the ashes of its former success.

You need a long-term vision: where do you want to go with the business, and where do you want it to take you?

What you also need for your business are good relationships. Good businesses work to maintain long-term relationships with old customers, while inviting new people to join the group, and taking care of the ones who keep coming back. Solid relationships with your peers, partners and associates in your business community are also vital.

No-one ever really gets anywhere worth going to all by themselves. Help people up, build friendships, and your reward would be a supportive community, a deep sense of belonging, and the privilege of being able to give back. Continue reading How To Keep A Business Healthy For The Long Run

Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

  • When you find yourself breaking even for the first time since you started your business venture, does that mean you’re doing well?
  • If you receive fewer customer complaints this month than last month, does that mean you can relax?
  • When your click-through rate rises after a new site design, does that mean you can go through with the new marketing scheme and thoroughly overhaul your processes?

When it comes to making anything a success — your business, your work, your projects, yourself, the question itself, “How do you measure success?” just opens the door to an overwhelming number of choices.

Success is a complex event, and is made up of many factors. Focusing on just symbols or thresholds for success, when you’re running a business  there are three kinds of markers right off the bat.

  • There are financial markers: I will be successful when I’m making enough money at my side-venture to leave my main job. I will be successful when I’m making $100,000 a year.
  • There are physical markers: I will be successful when I have expanded my operations to 5 new locations within the year.
  • There are emotional markers: I will be successful when I can stop worrying about making this business get off the ground.

In the question itself, “How do you measure success?” the parts “You” and “measure” should be pointed out as critically important.

For you to really feel the success, attaining it should be personal to you: there are too many accounts of people who, after looking back at their ‘successful’ lives and realizing they fulfilled the goals they were expected to have, were left feeling bereft and like personal failures when they realized those goals weren’t really their goals, they just sort of… slid into them.

In this vein, you need to dig deep and find out what matters to you enough that you would freely put in the labor for it, engaging and wrestling with all the details and activities involved in making the work a success. A success stands out because it demands more from you. Continue reading Finding the Right Metrics For Your Success

Things Don’t Happen In A Vacuum: The New Year And You

27 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Let’s start with a little visualization: Think of how movement in space influences other things sharing the same space.

A few of the most basic examples are: a circular ripple effect, from a pebble thrown into a pond, with rings moving out from the center. Ripples going downstream are affected by the condition of the stream bed and any rocks big enough to present interruptions to the flow. And for an absolute lovely visual representation of ripples in virtual space — complete with sound effects — go spend some time on Hatnote’s Listen To Wikipedia.

You act, work and live in a lattice-work of systems. Go back to those science classes and sociology lectures and remember all the various terms they used — kin groups, eco-systems, social networks, virtual communities. Think of your work environment and your work relationships. Think of where you live and your community relationship. Think, and connect-the-dots.

(Want to go wild with the visualization? Visit Hatnote’s other Wikipedia visualization projects.)

“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.” – Gandalf The Grey, The Hobbit

If you’ve planned with a bit of daring, you’re going to go beyond what you know now, and you have a very good idea of what you want to happen next. That means you’re prepared to go beyond what you’re familiar with, and you’re okay with feeling lost at times, or completely out of your depth. The way it works is, information and inspiration can be found in books and maps, but the glory in true experience lies in going out and doing new things — which can have side effects of perspiration, vexation and indignation.

If you’re the nature-loving type and have a garden, or live close to nature, you’ll be familiar with the seasons and the effect they have on you and the environment. Think of living with your own garden. How do you prepare for and live with the seasons via your garden? Avid green-thumbs know that good gardens don’t sprout overnight. They need planning, good preparation, and consistent care so they can reach their full potential, whether it’s sweetly scented blooms, a riot of color, or food for your table.

Imagine a garden mentally…what do you want in it? What do you want from it? Continue reading Things Don’t Happen In A Vacuum: The New Year And You

Getting Ready for Next Year: Mapping Your Course

20 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Have you written down your plans for next year?

Having a plan in mind is better than having no plan at all.

Even better is writing it down — doing that sets your mind free; you’re free to work things out and play with how the different factors and players could work together for the best outcome, and free to aim for the best results while planning back-ups (just in case things fall through at certain weak points). If you have a good idea of what you want and need to make happen in 2014, write it down. You need a map to navigate next year. And by ‘map’ I don’t mean a to-do list. Those are relatives, the close cousins of what I’m talking about.

By ‘map’ I really mean goals. With no goals and no direction, your chances of influencing events to your favor go down, and you’ll likely get what you’re getting now. Are you truly okay with what you have now?

Things won’t change on their own. Situations may develop differently, but if you don’t actively take charge to protect your own interests and make the change, if you don’t act to change the situation you’re in, it won’t happen.

In connection with last week’s article and your plans for a whole new year, drawing up a map means getting your bearing and your direction. ‘Bearing’ is where you are in relation to something else. In travel terms, this means knowing where you are, and marking that down as a starting point. As in a place to start from. Getting your bearing gives you Point A. Direction is where you want to be at the end of the process.

You decide the points B,C, D, etc. from there until you hit your intended goal, which is a better place for you– that may or may not include improved Points A, B,C, D, etc. — or a better situation for you still at Point A. It’s your map, it’s your choice. Continue reading Getting Ready for Next Year: Mapping Your Course