Posts made in March, 2017


Have You Considered a Career in Project Management?

Perhaps you’ve never thought of becoming a project manager. But guess what? If you are proficient with setting and achieving goals, you have a basis for a new career. After all, when you manage a project, you’ll need to create a list of tasks and put deadlines around them.

That is similar to what you do when you set goals and create objectives for those goals. When you work in a team, you may find yourself taking the lead on keeping track of the goals and tasks of your team. This responsibility could fall with your manager, but if you simply take it upon yourself, your manager probably won’t object.

keep track of your goals

He or she is busy after all. It will also show leadership skills in you. If you do take on this role, you will be acting as a project manager at that point, or at least the project leader. You will need to become familiar with the teams’ activities or tasks, and you’ll need to hold the team accountable.

You may initially take some heat from the team as you are not officially the lead. You took it upon yourself. But, if your manager accepts your role, the team will likely follow suit shortly after that. This transition will become easier over time, and the team will allow you to keep on top of their tasks.

There are some activities of a project leader that are outside the space of goal setting. You may need to ensure that the critical paths are listed and ensure that they are achieved before moving on to the next tasks. A critical path is when one task must be completed before a dependent task can even be started.

linking tasks

Another task that is outside the role of goal setting is communicating with the stakeholders of a project. These are the people responsible for making sure company initiatives are met (often the fund providers). When you are dealing with business goal setting, the stakeholder is usually your manager.

A project leader will need to involve stakeholders during the life-cycle of the project (another term not typically associated with goal setting). In the early stages of your project manager role, your manager may still take the lead in dealing with the stakeholders.

There are other tasks that goal management would not cover that would be covered by a project manager. Some companies require formal training to become a project manager. But, becoming proficient in goal setting is certainly a great first step in the process.

How Are Your Business Goals Progressing?

measure your progress

Without any ability to measure business goals, they become meaningless. You can set goals until the cows come home, but you can’t accomplish them. Using benchmarks and milestones can be of great help when measuring goals.

If you can find a benchmark on a particular goal or set of tasks, this can be used as a rough estimate of how long something should take and what
kinds of procedures were used. This is by far, the best scenario because you have a guideline to refer.

If you don’t find a benchmark, then you will have to make a ballpark guess. You also won’t know how successful the tasks were. Milestones are a great tool to keep everyone in the game. You can either set up the milestones for each task or you can have one milestone for the goal.

The person responsible for this particular goal will choose how to complete the underlying tasks, as long as they get them all done by the milestone date. Some managers will choose a combination of milestones for the goal as well as the tasks. In fact, a project management tool would summarize the milestones for the tasks and roll them up as a single date for the goal.

set milestones

On occasion, situations will come up that make it impossible to get the tasks completed in time. They may need sign off from upper management, and this was not known when the tasks were set. The materials to accomplish the goals may not be available by a supplier and finding alternatives push the dates out into the future.

The person responsible for completing the tasks may rely on input from another department in the company, and that other department is not cooperating. These are all valid delays that a manager will need to account for If there are valid delays, try to reallocate the person who was working on those tasks onto something else.

Perhaps he can help other members get their tasks completed faster. Or, the person experiencing the delays can perform auxiliary tasks for other team members such as getting signatures or information from groups willing to cooperate.

Check back soon for Issue 3 of Setting & Achieving Business Goals as we continue to look at the importance of goal setting for business success.

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Don’t Over-complicate Your Business Goal Efforts

Many business owners are under the false assumption that goals have to be a formal document, several hundred pages long. There are businesses who have been successful with goals written on a single page.

While not every business will have the luxury of keeping their goals to one page, the consensus is to keep your goal-setting efforts as simple as possible. Goals need to be usable. If you create a multi-page document that is both unreadable and unmanageable you have wasted your efforts and your time. If the goals affect others, you will be wasting their time as well.

When you set out to create clear and concise goals, people will find them easier to work with. Start by listing out the major objectives of your business. Keep this stage high-level. It can be as simple as stating you want to increase your customer base by 12% within the next year. Another possibility is setting sales targets.

goal setting

There are no right or wrong answers during this first  pass, and you can make changes as necessary. After you are happy with your high-level goals, it’s time to dig in and create tasks that will accomplish the high-level goals. When you determine what these are, assign dates to complete them by. Determine any prerequisites for completing them.

These could include funding, training, etc. The more specific you are with the tasks, the easier they will be to accomplish. If you have multiple people who are going to help you with your business goals, the next step is to match up who is qualified to perform which tasks.

team selection

You also need to make sure they can accomplish them in the period given. It’s a good idea to ask them if they feel comfortable with the amount of time allocated. Some managers may even choose to add extra time as a fudge factor, to ensure successful completion. Other managers will try to undercut the time as a way to push their employees.

Which way is better, will depend on the team. Creating goals for your business is an ongoing process. It changes as the needs of your business changes. There can also be situations when members of the team leave before all the goals are complete.

By keeping your goals and tasks as simple as possible, you will set up an environment where these situations will not have a big impact on completing the overall goals.

Failure in Business May Be Due to a Lack of Goals

missing goals

Businesses fail because they run out of cash. This is like saying people die because their hearts stop. Both are certainly true statements but what are the underlying reasons for failure and death? When you can figure those out, you may be able to extend the life of both.

One of the biggest reasons for business failure is a lack of goals. Many business owners tend to take a fly by the seat of their pants approach and to leave their businesses to chance. Would you let a house builder build your house without a blueprint? Most people would not, and yet, many business owners are doing the equivalent when they don’t set up goals.

Goals do not have to be elaborate or even formal. They just need to be realistic, and they need to have set time frames.  Otherwise, there won’t be any way to track the success. Not everyone knows how to properly set up goals for their businesses.

setting smart goals

Try to seek out advice from mentors or coaches who have experience in this regard. They can give you an outsider’s view about your business, and they can help you keep on track to ensure you are meeting your goals. If you decide to seek help professionally, don’t skimp on the costs.

You get what you pay for, all things being equal. However, there is nothing wrong with being demanding with the results that you get. If coaches are as good as they specify, they should be held to a high standard. Insist on some guarantee, just in case. Do a lot of research before making the decision.

If someone doesn’t feel right, there is usually a good reason why. Trust those instincts. They will serve you well. When you set up goals for your business, you may discover opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. Your goals will require tasks and those tasks will often require research.

research

This research would never have been done if you didn’t set goals. It can open up your eyes to endless possibilities. You may even find potential customers as a result of this research. Running a business often entails evaluating probabilities. What is the probability that this product will sell? What is the percentage of online sales compared to traditional sales? And so on.

If it’s widely regarded that businesses who set goals tend to do better than those who don’t why would you go against this probability? It’s clear that setting goals is the right thing to do.

Check back soon for Issue 2 of Setting & Achieving Business Goals as we continue to look at the importance of goal setting for business success.

 

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Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have all the success while others struggle for years and never seem to get anywhere?  Are you one of those who always seem to struggle?

Below are some hints on how you can become one of those who achieve success.

  • Try stepping outside your comfort zone once in a while. Great things come to pass when you make friends with your discomfort zone.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There is an old saying that people who haven’t made mistakes haven’t made anything. Make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Be aware of any negative thoughts you hold about yourself – challenge them, are they really true, if so what is the evidence? Are you giving yourself a hard time?
  • Make an effort to try and look on the bright side of things. Purposely find something positive about the issue and focus on that. You can almost always see another side of things. It just depends where your bias is.

positive thinking

  • Read some good uplifting books,
  • Train yourself to finish what you start. Follow through – you owe it to yourself and others.
  • Focus on the present moment. When you live in the past too much you stop living now.
  • Learn what is important to you in life – is it love? Is it money? Is it your family? What do you love doing? Who/what makes you happy?
  • Realize that setbacks and knocks are just a normal part of life. If life were brilliant all the time we would take it for granted and not appreciate it.
  • Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

What successful people do

  1. Are willing to try out new things, knowing that if it doesn’t work out as intended, failure is often cleverly disguised as a learning opportunity.
  1. Believe and trust themselves first and foremost. They don’t have to check with others to make decisions, they instinctively know what is right for them and they go for it!
  1. Have a well-developed life strategy that includes a written life vision/mission, purpose, and goals statement.
  1. Get things done, through whatever organizational/time management system that works for them. They make the most of each day and take action on important life tasks each and everyday.

get things done

  1. Are able to discern (see clearly) other’s reasons and motives, so they selectively choose who and what to align themselves with. They surround themselves with only the highest quality people, programs, and places.
  1. Tap into the collective brainpower of others by reading books, magazines, and articles—anything that is helpful for their own development.
  1. Value the process of learning for learning’s sake. They do not just learn for a specific end—to get a certificate, degree, title, etc. They learn because it is fundamentally rewarding for them.
  1. Are the teachers of the world, who share their knowledge with other people. They put themselves out there so the rest of us can benefit, and in exchange, their own learning grows and develops.
  1. Do not like to stay the same, they love to grow and develop. To stay ahead of the game, they often reinvent themselves time and time again.
  1. Not only know about specific subjects and topics, but also about what it means to be a human being at this time in our evolution. They are insatiably curious and want to know more about becoming bigger and brighter, as a result they naturally evolve.

How people get inspired

get inspired

“Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”

No matter how this topic is tackled, the question remains a mystery.

“Do you need to be inspired to aspire or do you need an aspiration to get inspired?”

The same holds true for the second question. Others may argue that in order to have a strong desire to achieve something, you must be inspired. On the other hand, some argue that for you to be inspired, you may need to aspire first.

This is very much like the chicken and the egg question, right? There is no definite answer. Concerning inspiration vs. aspiration, the best course of action is to discover how to get people inspired, rather than focus on which is the right answer. For some people, inspiration helps them stay motivated and become an achiever.

So, how do people get inspired?

how to get inspired

The feeling of frustration forces some to seek inspiration. Some need to experience unpleasant circumstances to trigger an inspiration. This path may not be at all pleasant. But who says that the road to greater achievement is always smooth sailing?

Take for instance the case of an average earner. He just earns enough to make a family survive. On his way to work, he could see other people barely having three square meals a day, hardly having anything to keep them warm on a cold night, practically living on a roofless shanty with paper boards as walls. He wanted to help but can’t.

He feels helpless for he can’t do anything to alleviate their condition. This feeling of helplessness urged him to promise himself that his family will never experience extreme poverty. This feeling of frustration inspired him to aspire for a better life for himself and for his family. His fear that his family might end up like one of the economically challenged people makes him determined to do something about improving his financial stability.

Someone who is successful can be an effective source of inspiration. People tend to look up to somebody who has reached the top. They wonder how it is to be like their idol, so they set themselves on a course headed in their idol’s direction. They study their idol’s past and how he was able to overcome all adversities.

People who wish to be inspired associate with successful people. Successful people have big ambitions. Being ambitious and dreaming big dreams can keep the inspiration alive. Being ambitious is actually good as long as you do not step on other people’s toes and provide inspiration to fellow men.

be ambitious

A strong desire can trigger people to get inspired and aspire for it. Again, stay within the confines of good fellowship, not hurting anybody along the way. Some people desire popularity. They aspire to be well known in society. They set their sights higher and aim to be recognized and respected.

Love is a strong motivator. There was once a man who pursued his love interest. He was able to get married to the girl of his dreams. His love for his wife motivated him to do his best in his job to provide for his growing family. Love provided the spark and nurtured his dreams to aspire for the best that life has to offer for him and his family.

Many sources of inspiration can help you in achieving success in life. Arguing about whichever comes first – whether inspiration or aspiration – is not one of them. The important thing is to find your true source of inspiration and to remain focused in the achievement of your goals.

If you would like to discover 7 Steps To A Better You than read this article.

 

a better you

 

 

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While reading some very informative material recently, I found myself inspired by a concept that enables a person to soar to higher heights.  The concept of adding value to everything you do, when applied to specific areas of a person’s life and profession, can bring that person to be highly sought after by those receiving the added value.

add value

A successful business concept

The material I was reading focused on business and what this concept will do for the success of a business.  Another way of looking at this concept is in the idea of doing more than is expected, or doing more than that which you are compensated to do.

When doing this a person will be “weighed” against others who do not.  In comparison, the person who adds value to all he/she does will be sought after to the degree that there will be keen competition for his/her service.

As a person becomes more and more recognized for doing more than he/she is compensated to do, he/she will begin receiving more and more compensation for their services.

There is an additional benefit that comes to the person who exercises this concept in his/her business; the development of that person’s strength.  In nature, do you suppose the strongest trees are those that are protected from the storms and hidden from the sun?  This isn’t the case.

Going beyond expectations

beyond expectations

The one that stands out in the open and bears all of the winds and rain and is shone upon by the blistering sun is the tree that develops the strength to withstand  the most violent weather. This also is the case for the person who goes beyond expectation to deliver added value in everything he/she does.

This is the person that becomes strong enough to succeed despite the adversities that one is sure to come up against in his/her business.

The fact that most people are delivering as little as they can get by with, serves as a great advantage to you when you deliver added value.  One who delivers as little as he/she can, may rest assured he/she will receive the same.

Make this part of your brand and your success will grow day by day as you become know for going above and beyond.

4 Key points to branding

brand youself

Here are four things you should keep in mind as you build your company’s brand:

1) Own the “Significant Thing”:  Don’t try to be all things to all people spend your time focusing on a single clear message.  Mercedes-Benz owns “ Engineering “ in the car industry because it’s focused on that singular message for decades.

2) Consistency is key:  Consistent presentation will ensure that your customers recognize you. Be consistent in the use of logos, taglines, visual elements, tone, and ad copy.  Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized brands in the world because they haven’t changed in decades.  Make sure your brochures, website, Direct mail, and all the other advertising have the same feel and message.

3)  Make your message relevant:  Know your audience, know what they care about and how to speak to them.  Make sure what you sell is what they need.  Remember the conversation should always be about your audience, not you.

4)  Use a strong offer to motivate:  You want your audience to remember you and you want its members to buy from you.  You need to move them to action.  A strong offer should give them a reason to buy.  Make the offer clear and appropriate for your brand.

special offer

Every time a customer comes in contact with your brand, they will have either a positive or a negative experience.  Those experiences will add to their perception of your brand.  Those experiences are recalled later when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.

How do you want your brand to be remembered when the time comes for a prospect to buy? You need to start building that positive perception today and do whatever is necessary to maintain it.

In Content Marketing For Beginners, you can read more about ensuring your content if valuable to your readers. Read it here.

your brand is important

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Do you remember your first day as a business owner?  You were probably just like the rest of us… pretty darned happy and a bit on the proud side.  Back then we thought we could conquer the world.  Now we’re too busy conquering our own little corner of the world to pay a lot of attention to the rest of the world… unless it’s to learn a few tips from successful marketers who have made it big.

Tips just like these… that will apply to every market – regardless of the product or service – are great motivators to try something new.  You never know when the next idea will be worth a million dollars!

business strategy

Create  a Special Offer

A special offer is exactly that… an offer that is special.  Normally, customers would not be able to purchase this product or combination of products, and once the products are gone… sorry!

You don’t have to go out and order a bunch of new products to put together a special offer.  It doesn’t take a whole lot… just use what you’ve got.  Grab a few items that are related, group them together, discount the price, and your customers will be excited to be getting a good deal.  Think about it from your standpoint… you’ve sold three or four items rather than one. Combination offers are winning deals for everyone!

Address the Small Customer Groups

Niche markets are everywhere, right under your nose!  Within the customer audience that you serve right now are groups of people who share common traits.  Think about it… maybe you have a group who speaks Spanish, a group of teens, and a group of middle class family men and women.

Evaluate these classes of people, and discover the unique needs and desires they share.  That will set you up to customize your advertising campaign directly to them.  It’s not hard to take your current ads, and make a few changes to adjust to the niches.  They’ll be impressed that you understand THEM, and the increase in your profits will be the best thanks you can get.

Set Up a Winning Referral Program

Successful marketers develop the ability to turn their customers into advocates.  Often, they don’t even have to directly ask customers to refer them to others.  Their willingness to go the extra mile wins customer loyalty and support.  Naturally, satisfied customers refer their friends and family to the place that will take good care of them.

Quality service is the first step toward referrals, but you can easily take it one step further.  Studies show that every satisfied customer tells three people about you.  What would happen with a little incentive added to the picture?  Yeah, a lot more.  Give customers who refer friends a thank you – whether it’s a discount, special gift item, or a simple thank you card – and watch the referrals spiral!

You can get two birds with one stone by implementing customer surveys.  A few quick questions about what the customer does and doesn’t like about your product, followed by a request for the names and addresses of friends and family who would benefit from the product, and you’re all set to go with the contact information of a prospective customer!

3 Winning sales strategies you can’t market without

Attention-Getting Ads Get Results

grab attention

Think about it…how many advertisements do you hear every day…how about every hour?  Let’s face it, we’re bombarded with magazine ads, newspaper ads, TV ads, radio ads, and the Internet is plastered with ads on every site.  Not many of the astronomical number of advertisements stick with us, and make an impact.  How can you make your ad STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

Make a dramatic statement:  “Even my dog knows  ….”

Surprise them with the unexpected:  “Use for 30 days totally free…”

Ask a thought provoking question:  “Is your current insurance costing you hundreds of extra dollars every year?”

Use high impact headlines – it’s important to snag their attention right away.

Get Personal

How many times have you been caught in the cycle of automated phone services? You push 15 numbers and end up back at the main menu and never did talk to a sales rep.  People are hungry for personal interaction in the marketplace.  Look for ways to make your business a personal experience that your customers will appreciate.  Get to know something about the people who walk through your doors.  Let the people who visit your website know something about you. It’s easier to trust an individual than a huge impersonal company…and trust is crucial to building a pool of loyal customers.

Paint a Picture

create an idea

Ah, the end of a hectic week has finally arrived!  As I lock the doors on a still cluttered office, my mind wanders to the many things that will demand my attention this weekend.  I long to just escape the demanding voices…escape to the waters of the lake across town.

It would be like heaven to plop myself across the back seat of a boat, and watch the sea gulls dip and dive as the waves rock me peaceful to sleep. I can almost hear the sound of them splashing when the clang of metal alerts me to the fact that I’ve dropped my keys.

Put your customers on the boat.  Painting word pictures that capture their emotions will be more effective than the raw facts of the benefit your product offers. Describe what the benefits will do for them, vividly and in great detail…get them panting for the end result.  Paint your way to a sale!

Think about it…the strategies and tactics we’ve talked about deal with human emotions or behaviors, rather than your product itself.  When we affect the inner part of the customer, our sales are likely to see great results… and hey, they’ll feel good while they’re  writing out the check!  What more could you ask for?

You can find out more about Customer Service Best Practices in this article.

be unique

 

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