Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Where do I begin? How to set goals that matter

Over the years I have heard a lot of debate about the best starting point to use when setting  goals. Begin with the ultimate vision? Begin with an analysis of current conditions to identify opportunities? Like a ship’s sail in fickle winds, the prevailing view has shifted one direction, then turned back again.

"Bindu Wave" by artist Paul Heussenstamm, puzzle by Connections

"Bindu Wave" by artist Paul Heussenstamm, puzzle by Connections Puzzles, photo by Margaret Lukens

I thought of this recently as I worked a jigsaw puzzle.

When working the puzzle, I could pick up each piece and compare it to every other piece until I hit a match. But what a laborious, boring, and inefficient process! We work puzzles by looking at the big picture on the box, the ultimate goal, then organizing our small actions to promote that larger goal.

The same is true of our businesses. We perform a “gap analysis”. We address the questions:

  • where do I want to be?
  • where am I now?
  • what do I have to do to cross the gap?

Last week I led a group in learning to use the tools of Get Clients Now, the book by master coach C. J. Hayden. An essential step in the program is to determine how much business you have now, consider how much you really want, and then map out the steps needed to cross that gap.

  • Know where you are.
  • Be clear about where you’d like to be.
  • Identify steps you believe will advance you over the gap.
  • Measure your progress.
  • Adjust your plan based on your findings.

As they say on the shampoo bottle, lather, rinse, repeat.

What’s the picture you’re  aiming for? What pieces do you have to work with? What steps have you taken? What steps would you like to take next? Comment here.

(Note: the puzzle pictured is available at Jigsaw Java, a very nifty puzzle and coffee bar. Owner Mary Albitz welcomes fellow puzzle fanatics as well as the occasional puzzle enthusiast – like me- at her shop in downtown Redwood City, CA. And puzzles are available by mail. This particular puzzle, by Connections Puzzles, is part of a chakra series by artist Paul Heusssenstamm.)

Six things fathers have taught me about the good life

In recognition of Fathers Day, I would like to share a few of the lessons that fathers have taught me about the good life.

image courtesy of artfiles.art.com

image courtesy of artfiles.art.com

Quality: Forget perfection, strive for excellence.

Craftsmanship: Never blame your tools.

Mastery: Begin with baby steps, but don’t stop there.

Diplomacy: The first lesson in the art of war is to avoid it if at all possible.

Patience: When using a saw, it is patience, not brute strength, that makes the best cut.

Time management: You can always think of more things to do in a day than you can get done. Choose the ones that matter most.

My own father has given me many things, material gifts and the immaterial ones, gifts of bicycles and lessons in riding them. Along with lessons in how to make a living, he supplied lessons in how to make a life.

To my father, my father-in-law, and to all our father figures, I wish a very happy Fathers Day.

What lessons in living a good life did you learn from a father? Leave a comment here.

How to Get Clients Now

Getting more clients is crucial for nearly every small business owner. Are you frustrated because the clients just aren’t coming?

Help is here, now.
Get-Clients-Now-2ed
This summer, doing a small part to move our economy forward, I am giving away just 20 places in the “How to Get Clients Now” teleclass.

In my two-part teleclass, I will train you to use the Get Clients Now system at no charge.

Get Clients Now is based on the book by master coach C. J. Hayden. (Maybe you’ve already got the book on your shelf, but you haven’t yet put it to work.) I am a licensed Get Clients Now facilitator, and I regularly lead Get Clients Now programs for small business owners.

In this teleclass, I will train you to use the tools in the Get Clients Now program. These are tools that are custom-made for your business, tools you can use again and again.

The two-part class meets at 3 pm Pacific time, 6 pm Eastern this Friday, June 19, and next Friday, June 26.

To join me for this special opportunity, please contact me with your name and email address. (I require these in order to send you the materials you need to participate in this valuable class. Of course I respect your privacy and will never trade, use, or sell your personal information.)

Please come fresh and ready to work. This two-part class is a $100 value, but it can be yours without charge if you act now.

I look forward to helping you Get Clients Now.

Questions? Contact me or leave a comment here.

We all do better with help: 8 professionals that can really make a difference

Your time is precious.

There are some things that only you can do. These should get your best attention during your most productive hours.

Others you can do, but don’t enjoy. These may include going to networking events and having face-to-face contact with your prospects, or making a corporate presentation where they’re expecting you, and no one else: no one can do it for you.

Still other tasks rank low on ability, low on pleasure, low on cost-effectiveness, or all of these. These are the things you really want to avoid. You may call them your most odious tasks. Call them your “c” priorities. Call those tasks, “I’d rather be declared bankrupt, required to speak in public, and write my own obituary at the same time.”  These tasks are great prospects for delegating.

A key to succeeding in small business is to focus on the things that only you can do, and outsource the rest. It’s a good strategy for employees in larger businesses, too.

Is there something that you dread? Recently a colleague confessed that he had taken over his QuickBooks data entry to save money during the current economic downturn, but he began dreading the Saturday’s work on the previous Tuesday. As a business coach, I say this is a prime candidate for outsourcing, regardless of economic troubles. If you are good at your business (and this person is), then focus on your core business and get others to help you with the tasks at which you don’t excel.

As a Certified Professional Organizer and business coach, I know how to organize my own home and office. But still, I often hire another professional organizer  to help me. Why? Because we all do better with help.

Consider how you can invite help into your life. The Fidelity newsletter lists eight pros who can really make a difference to your productivity by giving you back stress-free hours.

Fidelity’s picks are:

Financial planner
Tax preparer
Travel agent
Medical-bills manager
Elder caregiver
Independent insurance agent
College-admissions consultant
Professional organizer

Are you needing help, but delaying asking for it because you feel that you should be able to do the job yourself? Stop waiting. Hire someone to lend their expertise in areas crucial to your success.

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