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17

Nov
2009
Comments Off on Uuuggghhh! Hit the Wall!!: Know Your Limits

Uuuggghhh! Hit the Wall!!: Know Your Limits

What do you do when you get overwhelmed?  Do you think it won’t happen to you?  Has it happened already with nearly devastating results?  Do you start running on auto-pilot, and begin making bad decisions for your business?

My wife, a former track runner, told me about this phenomenon called “hitting the wall.”  She is a daddy’s little girl, but her daddy often couldn’t make her track meets because he had to work to keep food on the table.  One day, her dad showed up right before the race.  Excited to see him, and determined to do her best, she took off from the starting line giving everything she had.  As a matter of fact, by the time she hit her fourth lap around the track she was beginning to catch up to some of the runners who were on their third lap.Know how to pass the baton

Unfortunately, this caused her to lose track of the number of laps she’d run, and she began running a fifth.  Her older sister raced across the track to let her know that she’d finished the race and won by a mile.  My wife stopped, finally, elated.  Then, BAM, she fell to the ground.  She had hit the wall.   She told me that it felt like she ran right into a brick wall. She ignored her bodies limits and went beyond what her body was able to handle.

What about you?  As a business leader, you cannot afford to hit the wall.  You are growing an extraordinary business.  You’ve got to know your limits.  You’ve got to know when to stop so that you don’t hit that wall.  That means, of course, that you’ve got to have your backup plan in place so that your company can continue to function in your absence.  That means surrounding yourself with great people and great products who understand your company and can carry the torch while you rest.

Don’t worry – if you are pushing the envelope, at some point, you will need to rest.  It happens to all of us with extraordinary visions.  Pursue yours, vigorously, but take your break before you hit the wall.

Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Business Decisions,Business Growth Business Strategy,management and Leadership,Extraordinary,Vision
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16

Nov
2009
Comments Off on Think About it.Write it Down

Think About it.Write it Down

One of my mentors – Dr. Ike Rieghard, said to me that unrealized visions are.hallucinations.  Meaning that a vision is some place or some situation in which you can picture yourself of your business.  For example, my vision is to be an educator of strategic planning, strategic foresight and servant leadership.  If I never do anything with that vision, it is no more than a dream.

The other thing Dr. Ike said was that when I have a vision, write it down.  He went on to explain that visions aren’t always right around the corner, or something that is going to happen right away.  Often, visions are based on some future state.  Therefore, if you write it down, and make it your focus – look at it often – you are more likely to craft your activities toward achieving that vision.  Your thoughts and ideas will constantly serve to reach that vision for yourself or your company.clip_image002

As business leaders, ideas about how to grow your business, or new businesses, are constantly popping into your head.  The challenge I have seen is that without putting energy into one or two goals that are moving toward a specific vision, you will be all over the place.  You will be starting a lot of different things, but not actually accomplishing much of anything.  What I’ve recommended to people is to create an Idea Platform, which is a way of documenting, evaluating and incorporating an idea into the business.

The other end of the spectrum is to promote and sell a number of ideas half-baked.  For some people, that works.  One of the problems with this type of effort is that the products or services delivered aren’t always as powerful as they could be, and they don’t have the impact that they could.  Additionally, you have to determine if running your business this way is sustainable.  Yes, there will be opportunities that present themselves that you must “jump” on right away, or the opportunity wily.  However, like the Idea Platform, it would be valuable to have a process for managing these types of scenarios.

For example, if you were to look at a typical gas company – they aren’t necessarily the companies that produce the gas at all.  They are more likely gas marketers, or companies that sell gas and related products.  There goal, of course, is to sell gas.  Now they probably have a number of different venders that a) sell them gas, b) sell them gas-related products and c) offer different tools that assist with monitoring gas consumption and billing.  These companies cannot afford to jump at every single idea half-baked.  They should (but may not) have a system for evaluating the products and services, to determine if they will be viable and profitable for the company, without taking them outside of their core business.  The more efficient their process is, the faster they can take ideas to market.

If that holds true for publicly traded companies, it certainly holds true for your company, since your time and resources are probably more limited then those of the gas companies.  So create your idea platform.  Have your ideas and your visions and write them down.  Evaluate them.  If your ideas will lead your business toward the vision and they make sense for your business, incorporate them and move forward.  Remember, moving forward on inertia – without much effort – will NOT make your business extraordinary, but rather, as mediocre as many other businesses in the marketplace.

Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Business Decisions,Business Development Strategies,Business growth Strategies,Business Strategy,Extraordinary,Small Business Consulting,Idea Platform
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13

Nov
2009
Comments Off on Looking Back to Move Forward

Looking Back to Move Forward

“To see how well you are doing, you’ve got to know where you’ve been,”  should be plastered everywhere we go.

One of my mentors once told me that he spends his one hour drive home reflecting on the day, how it went, what went well and what he would do differently.  He told me that he’s done it for the past forty years, and found it to be a very effective way to learn from mistakes and identify new opportunities.  When I look back at that, I recall how productive and how focused he was, and how many different problems he was able to overcome.

As a business leader, you might recognize that much of your day is based on making certain decisions for your business.  As we know, one of the most important tools to have in order to make a good decision is good information.  Creating a journal of some sort to help you track past successes and failures, and the reasons they were successful or failures could be one of the most important decision-making tools you possess.image

I use Brain (www.thebrain.com) to create and flesh out ideas, both personally and professionally.   It is a great brainstorming program that allows you to focus your energies more on the idea creation and how ideas fit together.  There are several levels of the program – the free personal version, the core version and the professional version.  My preference is for the professional version, since it integrates with MS Outlook for calendaring, and allows for icons and unlimited attachments to ideas, so website ideas can easily be incorporated.image

Another tool that is more suited to traditional journaling is Microsoft OneNote.  It’s a great software for organizing thoughts and ideas.  It, too, allows you to create an unlimited number of topics which you can categorize and tag however you need to for your business.

Of course, there are a number of other options out there.  The most important thing to do is to use it in a way that makes sense for you and for your business.  If doing it once a day doesn’t work for you, do it once a week.  Schedule it.  While you might think that you don’t have time for it, consider the amount of time you will save avoiding duplication of errors, or not taking advantage of great things that have worked in the past and the efficiency with which you can move forward.

Look back and move forward.  Be extraordinary.

Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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12

Nov
2009
Comments Off on Goal for 2010: Become a CEO

Goal for 2010: Become a CEO

In a couple of weeks, we will be looking at entering the holiday season.while some businesses are ramping up for phenomenal sales, and others are preparing for their slowdown, the question for both is – are you ready?  One of my partner’s, Kris Cavanaugh at Shift, Inc., tells her clients to “Live Life on Purpose” and to “Be the CEO of Your Life,” and takes her clients through a number of steps  to shift their mentality to become CEO of their lives.clip_image002

On a  parallel track, I have to wonder: how many business leaders are truly running their businesses as though they are the CEO.  How many business leaders can talk about driving their company to achieve certain goals, continually pushing for growth in their companies and taking the reigns.  We know lots of business leaders who are in the business, have a job, and can never fully embrace the idea of running their companies.  Instead, they are just dragged along, moving and swaying with the ebbs and flows of the marketplace, making little dings and dents here and there, but never, truly, making the impact that they could.

Just imagine if they – or you, for that matter, took a few days to plan for next year – do a SWOT analysis, think about your mission, vision and values, and create some Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals for your company, meaning that they should push the boundaries of your comfort zone.  The goals should also be SMART:

  • Specific – make a lot of money is not specific.  Make $100,000 is
  • Measurable – You should be able to differentiate between what the situation looks like when you start and what it will look like when the goal is achieved
  • Achievable – While the goal should be a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals) they should also be reasonably achievable
  • Relatable – Having goals that others can provide you with a support system if things get tough, or feedback when things don’t go exactly the way you’ve planned
  • Transferrable – You should be able to “hand off” parts of your goals so that other people in your organization can take them on and own them

When you put dates to these goals and plot them out over the course of a year or so, you’ve got the foundation for a strategic plan.  When you take into consideration things like risk, alternate scenarios and resources, your plan can begin to have life.d  When you are driving your company instead of being driven by it, you are in a better position to quit your job and become CEO of your company.

Aepiphanni Business Solutions is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping people get into business, and stay there.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including restaurants, catering and event planning.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].

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Technorati Tags: Business Decisions,Business Groiwth Strategies,Business Strategy,Extraordinary,Management and Leadership,Recession Buster
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