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Moving Forward | Extraordinary Business

When I was running one of my first businesses, as a young man, I remember sitting with a mentor who told me, “always go plusher.”  What he was referring to, at the time, was my car.  Now, I would not be one who would be considered a materialistic person, but the thought resonated with me, and carried on to everything that I do.
Think about this: humankind has always strived to improve its condition.  A horse-drawn carriage was not good enough.  A steam engine locomotive wasn’t good enough.  Flying across the country wasn’t good enough.  We have always sought to better ourselves.  Countless men and women wake up every day, seeking to do better for themselves, their communities and their counties.  This is more than a lifestyle; it is a way of life.Move forward
As business leaders, growing a business, thinking about how to tap into the idea of improving someone’s condition needs to be the way of life.  To continue to improve our own condition, we need to focus on the needs of those that we serve.  Napolean Hill, personal success author, once said, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
Think about that for a moment: what if you took the focus of your business away from how YOU could succeed to how OTHERS could succeed.  This doesn’t mean that you cease charging people for what you do, or you undermine your own success, but rather, find new, better, innovative ways for your target customers and clients to achieve some need that they have in a way that is meaningful to them at a level of access that is appropriate for them.
Access means that you can serve your clients and customers in a way that is appealing to them – not cutting corners.  It means that the pricing you are offering that target market is appropriate for the market.  It means, above all, that your tactics are not predatory.  It means that customer expectations are being met and exceeded – every time.  It means that you are psychic in meeting their needs and helping them achieve the goals that you have sole capability of fulfilling.  It means in the middle of the night, they are email or calling you to help them get through a situation.  It means that this is no longer just business.  You are advancing lives.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  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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Moving Forward | Extraordinary Business

When I was running one of my first businesses, as a young man, I remember sitting with a mentor who told me, “always go plusher.”  What he was referring to, at the time, was my car.  Now, I would not be one who would be considered a materialistic person, but the thought resonated with me, and carried on to everything that I do.

Think about this: humankind has always strived to improve its condition.  A horse-drawn carriage was not good enough.  A steam engine locomotive wasn’t good enough.  Flying across the country wasn’t good enough.  We have always sought to better ourselves.  Countless men and women wake up every day, seeking to do better for themselves, their communities and their counties.  This is more than a lifestyle; it is a way of life.Move forward

As business leaders, growing a business, thinking about how to tap into the idea of improving someone’s condition needs to be the way of life.  To continue to improve our own condition, we need to focus on the needs of those that we serve.  Napolean Hill, personal success author, once said, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”

Think about that for a moment: what if you took the focus of your business away from how YOU could succeed to how OTHERS could succeed.  This doesn’t mean that you cease charging people for what you do, or you undermine your own success, but rather, find new, better, innovative ways for your target customers and clients to achieve some need that they have in a way that is meaningful to them at a level of access that is appropriate for them.

Access means that you can serve your clients and customers in a way that is appealing to them – not cutting corners.  It means that the pricing you are offering that target market is appropriate for the market.  It means, above all, that your tactics are not predatory.  It means that customer expectations are being met and exceeded – every time.  It means that you are psychic in meeting their needs and helping them achieve the goals that you have sole capability of fulfilling.  It means in the middle of the night, they are email or calling you to help them get through a situation.  It means that this is no longer just business.  You are advancing lives.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  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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Be Extraordinary…Mind Your Seeds

Starting and growing a business is a lot like growing crops on a farm.  You will get what you plant, assuming you take care of it and have the resources in place for when it is “harvest time,” or when the fruits of your labor present themselves.

The challenge that many business owners have is going through the process.  Impatience and lack of focus has caused many a business whither and die.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Examine, understand and prepare your field.  Your field represents the environment – your industry and your marketplace.  Having a good understanding of where and how you need to start your business is key to growth.  While there are opportunities in every field, every market will not be fertile for your particular opportunity.
  2. When starting your business, keep in mind that it is like planting a garden.  While you can just “scatter seeds,” having a plan for starting your business will ensure that your resources (seeds) are most effectively “planted.”  Seeds represent your products and services.
  3. If you plant more than one type of seed or offer more than one type of service, make sure that you have the ability to nurture the seed while it grows.  Every product or service you offer requires some type of investment, be it time or money.  Value each one.  Otherwise, you could end up loosing more than you have invest.
  4. Be patient.  Nurture and grow your seeds.  Have an understanding of how long it will take to grow any segment of your business.  If your business cannot sustain you from the onset, which is normally the case, ensure that you have enough resources to sustain yourself in the mean time.  That might mean working for or with someone else (not the main thing) so that you have reliable income from the main thing.
  5. Don’t mix seeds.  If your nine-to-five is to sell widgets, sell widgets during that time.  If your night job is to make zups, make zups.  If you make zups while selling widgets, then sell widgets while make zups, you’ll probably end up doing both jobs poorly and making a big mess of things.  Keep your seeds pure.

Keeping these steps in mind should get you off to a good start.  Areas where I see business owners missing the most is in keeping the main thing the main thing, and patiently nurturing it until it is ready to harvest.  This has resulted, more often than not, in lackluster businesses, burnt out business owners and more saturation of sub-par product in the marketplace.

Be extraordinary.  Mind your seeds.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  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 startup,business growth,business leadership,extraordinary business,industry,marketplace
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Focus & Framework: Getting Things Done

According to some reports, the economy is finally beginning to stabilize.  Job losses are slowing, and some companies are beginning to hire, again.  Most businesses have been hurt, some are closed.  Still others are starting.  Why?  People are seeing opportunity.  They identified a need and are willing to fill it.

The Problem:

  • Starting a new business is relatively easy.  Have a product or service and get people to buy it. 
  • Staying in business for the long haul, however, takes focus
  • Growing a business significantly takes even more focus.

The common denominator, of course, is FOCUS – the ability to concentrate on one thing, despite what is going on around you.

Learning to focus on what is important is key to getting anything substantial done in your business in a reasonable amount of time.  Multi-tasking is not focusing.  Getting to it when you can – is not focusing.  Focusing requires laser-like attention on the goal, whatever that might be.

The way I teach people to focus is by helping them understand seven components of focusing, which will help both in business and in personal lives.  They are:

  1. Who are you?  As in What makes you special or UNIQUE? clip_image002
  2. What do you do?  What are your COMPETENCIES?
  3. Why do you exist?  You could call it PURPOSE or MISSION
  4. What do you hope to accomplish?  What is your VISION
  5. What do you stand for?  or What are your VALUES?
  6. Who do you serve or Who is your MARKET?
  7. What roadblocks or OBSTACLES do you face?

Answering these seven questions will provide you with a framework you will want to have in place before taking the next steps.

Yes, they do take time, and no, they don’t make you any money right now.  However, it will pay off, substantially, as you move forward.  They are the first step in the process.  Keep in mind that many people who start this exercise aren’t completely sure of what the answers are the first or second or third time around.  Many people start off with general statements.  However, as time goes by, the answers are further refined. 

For example, when Aepiphanni started, we served small businesses.  All small businesses.  And we did everything possible under the sun.  We learned, over time, that although we were able to do a lot of things and serve a lot of people, there were certain professions with which we resonated very well.  Additionally, we found there were certain types of contributions (organizational planning & structure) that we do really well.  Therefore, the markets we served changed, and were refined.

Keep in mind that while this exercise does take time, this will be the foundation and framework for whatever it is you are doing.  When building anything that will last, you must have a solid foundation.  A good foundation and complementary framework  is what makes anything survive.

What is a framework, you ask?  A framework is like your body’s skeleton, or the framing on a house or a building.  They provide the structure for everything else you will do.  Think about it: if it doesn’t fit within the framework, it doesn’t belong there.  Alternatively, if what you want to add will damage the framework, you need to find another solution.  When we talk about framework, we begin talking about what will keep you in place or on task once you have gotten the foundation down.  Consider this – once the framework is in place, you can begin adding all kinds of accoutrements – walls, floors and ceilings, in the case of a building.  It also provides support for any wires and pipes, windows and doorways.  Keep in mind – it will not be strong without the foundation!

When we discuss the framework for your goal or business, we are talking about identifying anything that could potentially strengthen or weaken the business or goal.  In business, we use a SWOT analysis to identify them.  These refer to internal Strengths, Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats. 

For example: Say we were building a high-speed rail system that runs from Boca Raton to the Grand Bahamas Island.  We have an understanding of our seven focus questions.  Now we are going to look at the SWOT:

Strengths:

  • We like the ideaclip_image002[5]
  • We believe in the idea

Weaknesses:

  • We need money – but we can raise it – lemonade stand?
  • We have no idea how to do it – but we can find people that do!

Opportunities

  • Other people will think it’s cool, too
  • Who  wouldn’t want to go the the Bahamas for the weekend?

Threats

  • Hurricanes and other natural occurrences could slow the building process
  • If we don’t build the tunnel right, it could flood

While this is an over-simplified version of the SWOT, we can see areas that we need to put our efforts into, and areas we need to work around.  Without having an understanding of what we can go really wrong, or what we can take advantage of, we could miss the boat, altogether.  We refer to this step as ensuring we are aware of our safety needs and can make good decisions with respect to how to address them.

Using the principals of focus and framework will help you not only set mission-oriented goals for your organization, but also, to push the boundaries of what you may have previously thought were reasonable.  Have a strong foundation and  framework does take some time and effort, but if done properly the rewards will far outweigh the costs.

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, tho
ughts, 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].

� 2009  Aepiphanni Business Solutions

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Focus & Framework: Getting Things Done

According to some reports, the economy is finally beginning to stabilize.  Job losses are slowing, and some companies are beginning to hire, again.  Most businesses have been hurt, some are closed.  Still others are starting.  Why?  People are seeing opportunity.  They identified a need and are willing to fill it.

The Problem:

  • Starting a new business is relatively easy.  Have a product or service and get people to buy it. 
  • Staying in business for the long haul, however, takes focus
  • Growing a business significantly takes even more focus.

The common denominator, of course, is FOCUS – the ability to concentrate on one thing, despite what is going on around you.

Learning to focus on what is important is key to getting anything substantial done in your business in a reasonable amount of time.  Multi-tasking is not focusing.  Getting to it when you can – is not focusing.  Focusing requires laser-like attention on the goal, whatever that might be.

The way I teach people to focus is by helping them understand seven components of focusing, which will help both in business and in personal lives.  They are:

  1. Who are you?  As in What makes you special or UNIQUE? clip_image002
  2. What do you do?  What are your COMPETENCIES?
  3. Why do you exist?  You could call it PURPOSE or MISSION
  4. What do you hope to accomplish?  What is your VISION
  5. What do you stand for?  or What are your VALUES?
  6. Who do you serve or Who is your MARKET?
  7. What roadblocks or OBSTACLES do you face?

Answering these seven questions will provide you with a framework you will want to have in place before taking the next steps.

Yes, they do take time, and no, they don’t make you any money right now.  However, it will pay off, substantially, as you move forward.  They are the first step in the process.  Keep in mind that many people who start this exercise aren’t completely sure of what the answers are the first or second or third time around.  Many people start off with general statements.  However, as time goes by, the answers are further refined. 

For example, when Aepiphanni started, we served small businesses.  All small businesses.  And we did everything possible under the sun.  We learned, over time, that although we were able to do a lot of things and serve a lot of people, there were certain professions with which we resonated very well.  Additionally, we found there were certain types of contributions (organizational planning & structure) that we do really well.  Therefore, the markets we served changed, and were refined.

Keep in mind that while this exercise does take time, this will be the foundation and framework for whatever it is you are doing.  When building anything that will last, you must have a solid foundation.  A good foundation and complementary framework  is what makes anything survive.

What is a framework, you ask?  A framework is like your body’s skeleton, or the framing on a house or a building.  They provide the structure for everything else you will do.  Think about it: if it doesn’t fit within the framework, it doesn’t belong there.  Alternatively, if what you want to add will damage the framework, you need to find another solution.  When we talk about framework, we begin talking about what will keep you in place or on task once you have gotten the foundation down.  Consider this – once the framework is in place, you can begin adding all kinds of accoutrements – walls, floors and ceilings, in the case of a building.  It also provides support for any wires and pipes, windows and doorways.  Keep in mind – it will not be strong without the foundation!

When we discuss the framework for your goal or business, we are talking about identifying anything that could potentially strengthen or weaken the business or goal.  In business, we use a SWOT analysis to identify them.  These refer to internal Strengths, Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats. 

For example: Say we were building a high-speed rail system that runs from Boca Raton to the Grand Bahamas Island.  We have an understanding of our seven focus questions.  Now we are going to look at the SWOT:

Strengths:

  • We like the ideaclip_image002[5]
  • We believe in the idea

Weaknesses:

  • We need money – but we can raise it – lemonade stand?
  • We have no idea how to do it – but we can find people that do!

Opportunities

  • Other people will think it’s cool, too
  • Who  wouldn’t want to go the the Bahamas for the weekend?

Threats

  • Hurricanes and other natural occurrences could slow the building process
  • If we don’t build the tunnel right, it could flood

While this is an over-simplified version of the SWOT, we can see areas that we need to put our efforts into, and areas we need to work around.  Without having an understanding of what we can go really wrong, or what we can take advantage of, we could miss the boat, altogether.  We refer to this step as ensuring we are aware of our safety needs and can make good decisions with respect to how to address them.

Using the principals of focus and framework will help you not only set mission-oriented goals for your organization, but also, to push the boundaries of what you may have previously thought were reasonable.  Have a strong foundation and  framework does take some time and effort, but if done properly the rewards will far outweigh the costs.

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, tho
ughts, 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].

� 2009  Aepiphanni Business Solutions

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