Archive for Blog’ Category

30

Nov
2007
Comments Off on You Can't MAKE Time, You've Got to TAKE IT!!

You Can't MAKE Time, You've Got to TAKE IT!!

You Can’t MAKE Time, You’ve Got to TAKE IT!!

By Rick Meekins
Principal Advisor
Aepiphanni Business Solutions

A minister once said to me, “You can’t MAKE time to do something. There is no “extra” time you can run down to the corner and pick up. You have to TAKE time.” Interesting, one of the heroes of the Bible, King David, prayed for the ability to “guard his time so that he might grow in wisdom,” or use his time wisely…so the concept of “too much to do, too little time” is nothing new…something people have struggled with even before our technology-driven culture.

Many, if not all of my clients tell me that they experience the same “phenomenon” – the idea that they cannot get everything done. Well, it seems that there is no upside to this idea. Think it through:

  • I have a bunch of tasks that I need to do – stress
  • I need to get them done at this particular time – stress
  • Because I deal with people – customers and employees, there are things that are going to happen throughout my day that I cannot plan for – stress
  • Because of the things I cannot plan for, I cannot complete the tasks I have scheduled – stress.

And on and on. The negative effects that stress has on our minds and bodies also impacts everyone around us – including customers, vendors, employees, our families and friends. Can we afford not to do something about this? If there was a very simple solution that required a relatively short time investment that led to a long-term solution, would you consider it for the sake of your family, friends, business ande YOURSELF?

While working on an MA in Organizational Development, we began to touch on the idea of chaos, and working in an environment that was completely unpredictable. What comes to mind of something that works in the world of chaos is – a bowling alley. Think about the idea that the machine:

  • Never knows when the ball is coming,
  • Never knows which pins will get hit,
  • Never knows where the pins are going,
  • Returns the ball to the thrower in less than a minute, while straightening the pins and recording the score.

Think about it…how does this happen? Processes and systems are set in place to handle all of this chaos, efficiently. Processes are created so that when certain things happen, other things will happen automatically. Systems are a bunch of processes working together. Think of it like your computer system. There are disk drives, memory, the monitor, etc that make up the computer system. A process, in this example, would be the act of putting a CD or DVD in the disk drive. Something will happen as a result – the disk will begin to spin, an LED will come on at the front of the drive, and a program will tell the computer that it has to do something, like ask you what to do, play a DVD or a CD.

What would happen if you designed processes and systems for your business – a certain set of steps that you do each day, week or month of things that you can do, and a specific set of steps that have to be taken when different things happen within your business. For example, when a potential client approaches you, the process you probably already have in place kicks into gear. Creating a process can be as simple as documenting the things that you already do. Writing it down will give you a chance to think it through, and maybe update or make adjustments to the process, constantly improving or updating it. But you can’t make time to create these, can you? That’s right…you have to take time to work these out, but the investment is well worth it.

This is what we do at Aepiphanni Business Solutions, all day, every day. We help business owners get to where they want to be with their businesses. We specialize in creating processes, systems and strategies, empowering you to get the things done that you’ve wanted to do. We would love to help you, and would be happy to help you find a way to get beyond your obstacles. If you have any questions, call me, Rick Meekins, at 678-265-3908, for a free half-hour consultation. Have a look at the website – http://www.aepiphanni.com/, and see for yourself where you could be.

At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you 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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18

Oct
2007
Comments Off on No Beliefs in Business, and Other False Truths

No Beliefs in Business, and Other False Truths

Have you ever heard someone say that personal beliefs and belief systems have no place in the professional workplace? The suggestion is that someone’s beliefs can get in the way of business and productivity. However, modern conversations have been about wholeness, work-life balance and self expression. It seems like there are two competing trains of thought that should be further investigated.

Consider the changing workforce, with the reigns of corporations and small businesses being handed over to the Generation X’ers, a generation that is known for being, shall we say, a bit less conservative then that of their predecessors. We (yes, we) are known for taking jobs based on our interests, and staying with the job to gain specific experiences or knowledge, then taking that to the next position in the new company – creating what one might term, a very transient workforce.

Looking back to previous generations, we can see that people were defined by their job, or their profession. If one was asked what they do, it would be based on their job description. Now, based on that, what happens to a person if they lose that job? Do they define themselves as “unemployed?” It seems as though they are defining themselves as without (un) use (employ) or useless. Therefore, their job or position was what defines them, or what they believe in. It was their a belief system, of sorts, though not extremely promising nor rewarding, to most.

Could this lack of stability and personal definition be part of the reason that the Great Depression perpetuated for so long? Could this suppression of personal beliefs and belief systems be part of reason for the 60’s insistence and outcry for personal freedom and expression? Could this be part of the reason that depression and suicide in the United States is so high, and increasing, yearly?

Given that the present generations seem to be a bit more transient in their careers, what belief systems do or should they embrace? I suggest that they are forced to seek other belief systems in order to find a sense of wholeness or completeness. I also suggest that people without any stable belief system cannot be a whole, stable, authentic person. It has been said, “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.”

Take this to the workplace. Where do belief systems fit in? When we look at a workplace, we look at the belief system that the business is built upon, in concert with it’s purpose and it’s competencies in order to help it become as productive and profitable as it can be. Anything that does not work within the defined parameters is discarded, those that do fit are enhanced.

If we look at the human side of the equation, and encourage the identification of a person’s belief systems, along with identifying their purpose and competencies, we are able to identify how that person will be most productive, and thus, contribute, both directly and personally to the company’s initiatives and vision. With the individual’s personal belief system, and the belief system of your business are aligned, the individual will most likely have a passion, not just for his job, but also, for the company.

How valuable is your human capital to you? Have you had key employees that burned out and left? Have you improperly hired or changed jobs of your employees that caused more harm then good? Have you missed opportunities to develop your team because you neglected to explore that side of the equation?

Consider defining the belief system for your business, along with a establishing a sense of purpose and competencies. This is one of the tools that we at Aepiphanni Business Solutions help businesses become more productive and profitable in our AGS Program.

At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you 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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18

Oct
2007
Comments Off on Is Your Website Earning its Paycheck?

Is Your Website Earning its Paycheck?

Millions of companies across the world have created beautiful websites with great tools and information that they want to be their “number one sales person,” and are waiting for customers to beat a path to their door. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Field of Dreams. Your website is like any other resource you employ; it takes time, money and development in order to stay productive and income generating for your business.

Several areas we look at, first, when evaluating a website include appearance, functionality, alignment with business and its customers, intuitive function and content. when someone goes to your site, you have less than 10 seconds to keep them there.

Next, we go deeper, and look at things like page titles, keywords, metatags, content and finally, search engine submittal. These items speak to how internet browsers will find you. If all of these are properly aligned, search engine spiders will begin “crawling” your site to see if your site will be of value to its browsers.

The combination of these elements, in addition to ongoing monitoring of where people go on your site and what they do, then making the appropriate changes on the site to increase the number of users who turn into customers is called “website conversion.” This is where you start to see a return on your website investment (ROWI).

While you might feel that it is not important, or the “top priority” for your company, consider this: would you allow an employee that you hired to sit idly at their desk each day? Would you purchase a car or a boat that you could not drive? In many situations: maybe. But what if you could invest in that person or that car or that boat, and increase your capabilities or pleasure exponentially?

As we move into the 21st century, we will be looking at new ways to do business. Many barriers to entry emerging businesses have had are being crushed. New technologies and internet capabilities are allowing smaller companies compete, successfully, with the major ones! By taking their businesses online, small business owners are no longer necessarily ‘squeezed out’ by the big retailer down the street.

At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you 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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1

Oct
2007
Comments Off on What are the Biggest and Toughest Challenges One Faces when Starting a Small Business

What are the Biggest and Toughest Challenges One Faces when Starting a Small Business

I might suggest that the biggest and toughest challenges when creating a startup depends on your current personality type and resources, which seams to sum up to me as being the ability to organize and stay organized. I am, of course, speaking from my own experiences when opening my own companies, and helping clients with opening theirs.

Organization falls into all areas of opening a business. It is like creating a recipe or building a car. The business can be looked at as a system, not unlike the human body. There are your critical areas and your not-so-critical. If all of the components are carefully planned out, and put together into the system, the chances of success of the business are increased exponentially. Here are some examples:

  • Your cash flow must be organized – you don’t want to overspend in any area, and if you are seeking financing in whatever form, you will need to be able to explain your cash flow needs in a format that is transferrable.
  • Drive – when busienss gets slow or too busy or things happen that you don’t anticipate, or you need to do something grossly different, being organized can truly help to keep things moving forward. Speaking from the area of drive, even when it is low, I know that I will do certain things each day to help grow the business.
  • The Learning Curve…again…if it is organized, you will have goals and experiences. If you are able to write them down, you will become more committed both to what you have learned and what you want to learn. Being organized with it lets you keep things in perspective and prioritize the things you need to learn.
  • People – you have your mission, vision and values for your company…you will want to align your people with them, be it internally (employees, partners, etc. ) or externally (vendors, partners and clients).
  • With respect to your personality, you will need to look at your strengths in relation to your business, and identify the areas wherein you are the weakest. These will require the greatest amount of organization, as you may need to look outside of your own abilities or organization to manage them.
  • The last thing I will say with respect to organizing is putting yourself in a position to know how to address catastophies that can occur in the organization. Realizing that many things happen in cycles, you can almost predict the types of things that could happen that might interrupt the business, and have a plan on how to address them – be it look at additional financing to continue the business or to close the business without losing your shirt.

    At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you 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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