Archive for category Personal Development

You need these five things for business success

Business people need these five points to ensure they can be on top of their game, especially in highly competitive markets. Do you have or can you develop these five things?

1. I know it’s good, but will others like it?5 business

What you offer to the world that they will pay you for, is probably the ‘best thing since sliced bread’… You might know or believe that, but how will you find out if others believe it too?

Find ways to connect to your prospects

People are the target market, robots don’t buy, yet… and specific people from within the billions of people on the planet, are who you are after. If what you have to offer is only available to people in a small area, then you need to get in front of more of those people to ask them if they like it.

This could be in social media groups, where you are a member and can post a poll, it could be in a shopping centre where you survey people, it could be via a phone call to specific businesses where  you survey them, perhaps you take what you have to them to discuss it.

Doing this kind of research is vital to ensure you are able to get valid feedback from the target audience, otherwise you could spend a lot of time and money creating something no one wants.

2. My development is vital

And so is yours… Your personal and professional development may mean reading a few books on business, attending seminars, short courses, doing whatever it takes to learn more and sharpen your mind.

One idea can really set your business apart

But where can you get the idea? Learning more about things can give you vital mental connections to a whole range of options and possibilities, you might explore five ideas and then settle on one that provides you with the solution to your challenge. Make time to learn more, so you can do more, be more and have more.

3. There’s only one me…

You can’t do everything, as much as you might like to. You can however work smarter and not harder. Outsource some of the work you currently do that you don’t want or need to do, to ensure you have the time and energy to do what you need to do properly.

Teams can do more than an individual

The internet has given us Virtual Assistants, and a range of ways to utilise the services of others by contracting various services out and of course you could always hire a staff member to do the things your business needs to do.

4. What do I do with all the ideas I have?

You have got your brain into action and the ideas are flowing thick and fast. Know that you will only be able to make a few of the ideas become reality

Start a journal

I have a Journal to keep track of a range of insights and key information I have learnt along the way, the same can be done for ideas. It could be a simple word file on the computer that you add to and review from time to time, or it could be a wish list on a whiteboard in your office. Whatever it is, start recording the ideas, prioritise them and then work to take action on the key ones.

5. Me time, business time and them time, how will I juggle all this?

There is only one you right, this can create a range of pressures on your time, business, family and yourself. Finding time for each is very useful to keep a balance and keep you happy. So schedule time for everyone, including yourself in your diary.

Time is in short supply use it wisely

While this is easy enough to say, it’s not necessarily easy to do. Outsource tasks to free yourself up, delegate tasks to your staff, even if you feel you might have to check it later on and tweak some details. Of all the things business people say is important, it’s having a balance in their lives, now you need to make sure it happens.

Regards

Steve Gray

Let’s build a crumbling mess

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You actually wanted to create a solid business but what happened next didn’t turn out that way. In the beginning you will take care to make it look good and it will hold together for a few years, but most assuredly it will crumble. The ‘business’ fulfills a need, a void, and as such it has merit in the marketplace so let’s build it, time is of the essence!

It will provide shelter, seem warm and inviting, but then some cracks will appear, soon we will then fill these gaping holes with false hope, ask for some asisstance from the cavalry… But alas none will come. Soothsayers, mystics and others with potions and wisdom seemingly produced by ‘slight of hand’, will offer ways forward, but no such road will be travelled.

There, as the last vestige of hope is held aloft I will concede, that the real hope, the real failure, the real demise was visible, right there in the beginning, the mystics and others were right.

If only we knew then what we know now… We would not have dragged so many others into this screaming heap of maudlin mayhem, mind you we did a great job of ‘dressing it  up’. At its peak it looked like a princesses castle, bright and shining in any light. The challenge was what to do when the lights went out…

Alas no, there was no escaping the ego driven, maniacal ‘team’ building a tempestuous empire, despite protests from more knowing folks. No, it was all our doing, we created it, we ordered it to be fashioned into the shape it was… Underneath we fuly knew it’s demise was certain.

Sure we could have stopped, but the time seemed right. Sure we could have done things differently, but it weemed as if we had little in the way of suitable resources. Sure we blamed others, but ultimately it was us who selected them on their merits, qualifications and that all so imporant rapport we had with them, they were so like us it wasn’t funny.

Now as we look back and consider what could have been, indeed what should have been, some of us are filled with a sense of dread, a sense of “what if we had just done things differently…” No, there was no way to change the past, it is what it is, a crumbling mess, a shadow of its percieved former glory.

We now understand what numerous wise people had said about having a good foundation to build on. We also understand that in one persons life things will change, and if luck is on the side of the person with a solid vision then an amazing legacy can be left. A legacy that provides the guidelines on which people can chisel away at the notion and vision of utopia, a legacy where people of strong means can guide those not so fortunate. A legacy where financial profits are not the only hallmark of a growing organisation.

Perhaps we am now reflecting on those around us who built stone houses while others made theirs from straw, or are we simply sensing that what we did build, although we used stone, had mud instead of mortar to join it and therin lies the problem.

One thing is for sure there are many things that made the crumbling mess, it started with a smallgroup of us and then became an extension of us, the team were a bunch of people who knew when to say yes and although they could have said no for all the right reasons, they failed to do so.

More things come to mind about how this disintegrating behemoth so stunningly limped, then stumbled into ruinous oblivion. Seeminingly the more that was added on, the more the rot set in, in the foundations and framework. like termites so busily doing what they do so well, so efficiently, but over time the hollow remains can no longer support the once ‘glorious facade’.

It’s simple to say it should have been an easy ride, serve the customers, make a profit to sustain us in quiet times and build from. Work with more of the ‘right people’, plan well and above all listen to your heart and temper it with reasoned debate… but no, that didn’t happen.

What did happen causes heartache and pain. So many gave so much for so little, clearly the crumbling mess was more than just physical materials, it in fact ended up creating huge emotional burdens far more invasive than we can imagine. This can not be apologised for, we can not know how deep the viens of pain run, nor how much can be attributed to the physical ‘crumbling mess’, or the lack of human compassion the driven team possessed.

It’s all over now, the sordid details and their oh so high level of importance at the time, the losses, the pain and anguish. Finished, complete, time to move on. Time to learn and start a fresh, time to let others explore, build and ‘run riot’ in the marketplace. It’s also time to believe that others will learn from the details of this crumbling mess. A time to hope that they have the desire to create a positive legacy rather than the afore mentioned disasterous, deluded crumbling mess.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

 

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When business gets fuzzy

Perhaps you know what I mean just from reading the title, ‘When Business Gets Fuzzy’. Those moments when it’s all a blur, you can’t seem to get much done, but you are busy enough.

Image courtesy of stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net

Your to do list looks like a scrawl of badly drawn doodles, your planning efforts with others become more like a blah, blah, blah session and nothing much seems to happen. You do alright chatting with your team, they like the time out and get some of their own doodling done.

Your business seems to continue on okay with work coming in and going out, but the details seem to be fuzzy at times. You get the sense you are turning up but not much is motivating you to be there, It’s like the light is on but no one in home. Perahps it’s not a big deal for now, but if this continues you could be setting your business up for a difficult time.

Let’s explore some ways to get the clarity and motivation back so the ‘fuzzies’ don’t wipe you out and flatten the business..

Make a list – The list shoud be about what you love about the business, why you got started, what you hoped to achieve. Go searching for what motivated you in teh first place, you might just find a solid answer amongst the list.

Get inspired – Other people in your busness or your industry will have good reasons for doing what they do, if they are inspired start asking them questions to search for answers that might just suit  you too.

Check the foundations – Just as a building needs solid foundations so to does your business. Have a look at the mission and vision, if you have one, and the values that underpin these. Are any of the values inspiring? If not why not… Ask your team about them and how they work with these or not. Now do what you can to shore up teh foundations and get things right again, the key to your ‘fuzzies’ could well be here.

To do list – Make it big bold and ‘bodacious’ make it so you want to work on it. In the age of techno gadgetry your to do list is probably buried alive in a bunch of ‘apps’ and while it can link to calendars, cook your eggs just right and hail a taxi for you (well almost)… Becuase it’s hidden, it becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’. Generally others can’t see it and that might be useful for some things on the list for others that’s a nuisance. Try a written list on brightly coloured paper for a change.

Set gnarly goals – You know goals can work in some situations, as  a milestone, as a point to aim for as a device to rally the troups with. Select goals your teams can achieve and ones that they can have ownership of, but what about you… what goals are you setting for yourself? Whatever the goals are, gather people around you that can assist you to make them happen. These people can become unreasonable friends or associates who can hold you to a higher performance level than you might be used to, it’s a sure fire way to beat the ‘fuzzies’!

Passion systems are go! – If you were once passionate about your business you might now have some pointers to get you back on track, kow that passion only really works if you have a system to make it work. All of the above points could do that.

Now you have read the six points, what comes to mind for you… A counselling session, a few new ideas, some ‘ah ha!’ moments or soemthing else? Let’s hope that whatever it is it makes sense to you and can provide a solid way forward so you can take the fuzzies on and make some clear decisions about what you want to have happen next.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Your business – more profit – less stress – low cost

Stop dreaming and start taking action. In an ever changing world there needs to be an understanding of what makes things work more effectively, business is the same. Learn better ways to do things then take action to make them work. 

Image courtesy of Majestic Imagery freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Majestic Imagery freedigitalphotos.net

If your stress levels are up, you could learn ways to minimise that if your profit is down, you could do the same.

Many people in business seem to forget to learn how to improve things and for the life of me I don’t know why. Perhaps they think they know it all (have met a few of those ‘types’) perhaps they think the problem will just go away… (highly unlikely) or perhaps the answer will cost too much. (with the amount of free information on the web it might take some time to find the right answer and then implement it but mostly it’s there.

The more you learn the more you will know (hopefully), Perhaps the problem is knowing what to learn. Try this list as a a starting point.

  • People – Leadership, communication skills, customer service, sales skills. Business requires people, the better you can get at connecting with people the better chance you have of getting positive results from interacting with them.
  • Marketing – How to target your efforts more effectively, how to use social media, how to practically anything to do with marketing can be useful, even if you use an agency of some kind to look after it for you, it’s better to understand what you are spending money on.
  • Management – Finances, compliance, quality, health and safety, facilities, equipment, culture, environment, time management, operational issues. The list goes on and all will have an impact on your profit (if you let it).

That’s just a small list of options to explore, if your think you know it all, think again. Remember “If you’re green you grow, if you’re ripe you rot” – Jim Rohn

Now explore ways to fit your learning into your schedule so you can make the most of it, then figure out ways to implement it. If you find you are now saying “I don’t have time” then you will understand why I suggest you aim to be a business owner rather than a business operator, it gives you more time to do the things to build the business. Oh and give yourself a pat on the back for reading about learning, you are at a promier site to do just that!

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Creating more business possibilities

Businesses often fail to see the creative input that happens in their company. Sometimes their teams use creative approaches and don’t even know it. It can be small scale things, small scale thinking that causes them to come up with a solution or a possibility. Perhaps they do some brainstorming and explore some options with other team members, then they create options towards a solution.

Most people seem to think that a creative approach to anything in their business will be a big fanfare, a bringing together of minds to push some boundaries find options and get out of a rut. If you’re like me you have attended a few sessions with a ‘guru’ to help develop a mission and vision statement and all the CEO can see is the amount of people in one room they are paying to sit around and throw soft toys at each other, then have a yummy lunch together, meanwhile there are day to day tasks being left behind… Oh the travesty! Sometimes the staff see this as a waste too… HEY who organised this?

In reality both approaches can have value, the challenge can be to make the creative appreciated, valued, and find ways to foster it to cause useful results to come from it.  Results, that’s where the challenge lies, however history has shown many organisations have thrived due to creative approaches to problem solving, therefore get creative and get results!

Remember, most work done by our brains is logical, so getting creative can have the benefit of allowing us to ‘flex’ our brains and probably provide your team with a renewed interest in work.

Here’s some approaches to consider.

Feed your brains with fresh material – You and your team can be stimulated in ways which can lead to fresh approaches and modes of discovery. Find ways to get fresh information into your heads without getting bogged down in just obviously logical work connected options, open things out to include other material.

  • Travel – Clearly travel gives you fresh stimulus, even on a small scale, going to work a different way, finding a new suburb to ‘check out’ even a walk in a new park can be of value.
  • Creative exploits – Check out Art galleries, new music, or performances. Seeing how others experience and portray the world around them can lead to new internal connections in your brain and stimulus.
  • An inspiring speaker – Ever listened to an inspiring person tell their story? Usually people say the time flew, and that they were totally engaged in the process from start to finish. Consider ways to make that happen.
  • Exploring thinking – Philosophical ‘conversations’, even scientific ones can give fresh approaches to how we experience and view the world.
  • New Business approaches – Meetings getting bogged down? Teams unstimulated? Then figure out ways to alter the work situation so the meetings take on a fresh flavour, the teams are stimulated and you can get things buzzing. Take a look at ways to do this on the internet, there is sure to be a lots of ways to cause things to stimulate in your work environment. For starters consider a ‘show and tell’ session for fresh idea development. (keep it short and sharp.)

Create new maps – Imagine exploring a new area of wilderness, no map just your senses to make ‘sense’ of what you see, you might start out with some logical ideas (here’s where we started in the ‘known universe’) but what you find in the new territory is anyone’s guess. In your mind your new creative discoveries can be just like this a new map being formed in your head.

Get in the zone – It could be a notice board, a place to share on the ‘intranet’ a meeting room with a difference, an open space where creativity is highly valued. Then invite your people to use it as a creative development zone.

Out of all of that you and your team can get your creative juices flowing and let any results speak for themselves (it may just be employee engagement, but it could be a heap of other options as well) The big thing is to give it a go to see what’s possible.

Fixing People Problems

Ever noticed that things seem to go from good to bad, and then wondered if there is anything you could have done about it? Probably not something you can stop every time but perhaps limit its impact.

Let’s look at this in terms of staffing issues and how you might minimise ‘bad things’ happening.

So what sorts of ‘things’ am I talking about here?

Negative changes to:

  • Attitudes
  • Interest in the work
  • Interest in work mates
  • Interest in solving challenges (policies, procedures, politics, creative thinking to solve challenges).
  • Interest in themselves (self-esteem)
  • Enthusiasm to work
  • Quality of work
  • Interest in the company
  • Interest in the industry
  • Interest in customer services
  • Interest in their work space, facilities, equipment etc.

With this many things on this list (and probably a HEAP more) you can appreciate there are many variables which people can be affected by, some of these can be long term things The big question some of you will now be asking is what causes some of these things to happen, followed by what do I do about it?

Some Possible Causes:

  • Communication issues – Interpersonal – Intra-personal – Clarity of and or interpretation of the information
  • Leadership – Too much, too little, wrong sort (power and control)
  • Management – Too much, too little, wrong sort (micro managing – power and control)
  • Management fads – Things changing again, policies, procedures, values, beliefs… oh look we reinvented the wheel, lets go back to how things ere it was better… frustrating!
  • Too many chiefs – Who would you follow?
  • Wants to fly like an Eagle, but is hanging out with Turkeys
  • Frustrated by lack of – Progress – Systems – Planning – Politics – Idiots – Resources – Facilities
  • Work changes – Things got more techo but little or poor training was put in place – more things added to the list of things you are meant to be doing
  • You (the supervisor/leader) became a freak, time freak, detail freak, communication freak etc… all this simply FREAKS people out, stop doing that
  • Self-image – team image – High – low
  • Changes to personal tastes (e.g. once liked the industry and now not so much – liked the work environment and is now tired of it.)
  • Bullying etc…
  • No releif from constant work pressures
  • Made suggestions but nothing happens… or little if any recognition for suggestions or just being good at what they do
  • Politics in the business, got bad and never really recovered!
  • Departmental rivalry (more politics)
  • Travel too far to get to work
  • Personal situation has altered (break ups, divorces, family hassles) yours or theirs, yours can impact on them, their own is probably more direct
  • Drug issues (not enough – too much) you, them, others
  • Health issues

Clearly there are personal issues you as a boss or supervisor may not have much influence over, but the work issues should be able to be dealt with. Make a list of the items and check out to see if any of them can be tweaked to make things better. Over time you might find the range of things which would normally go from good to bad will reduce, a little prevention is better than a lot of fix ups.

Meditation in Business

I recently saw some information on Mediation being used in schools. Where it’s been trialled they suggest the outcomes are very favourable, lower anxiety, less stress and calmer students. They go on to say the students have become more respectful, communicate better and have ‘less issues’ in the playground. I then took a look on heh web, it seems there are a bunch of businesses doing it “in the boardroom”.

Anyone who has done some meditation and have experienced the benefits will soon tell you this is nothing new. For me what could be new is using its benefits to enhance your business, less stress, less anxiety, less hassles, that can only mean less staff absenteeism, and therefore greater productivity. Couple that with “less issues in the play ground” and you could be on to a big winner!

The challenges would be to cause your business culture to alter enough to accept it, followed by which method to use, when it would be used and if the whole team started the day with a meditative session or not.

Once the initial questions have been pondered you might start out by offering an in house learning session with a mediation teacher who would give some simple short sharp options people could practice readily. Add a few links to articles on the web and perhaps a handout as a reminder they can pin up at their desk could be useful.

For those who think there could be issues with certain religious types not taking to a ‘new form of prayer’, set them straight by letting them know that very little meditation is related to religion and more to do with the science of holistic relaxation and better health.

Google have done meditation or at least offered it as a course to their emloyees to learn since 2007 take a look.

Do a quick search on the net and find some simple strategies on how to do this, then follow up with your team every few weeks and discuss the benefits, issues etc to see how it works for your business. You might just get a pleasant surprise!

I get a picture of whole office spaces filled with cubicles of staff starting the day with 10 mins of chill time, following some basic steps to ‘Breathe in, breathe out and repeat…” all to aid the health and well being of all concerned. Perhaps all of this might add to the teams sense of belonging, connectedness, sense of achievement, a feeling of having a unified purpose and a sense of organisational integrity, all due to one simple process repeated daily… nice.

 

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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