Posts in Uncategorized

5 Things to Never Forget When Pitching to Investors

March 11th, 2019 Posted by Blog Post, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “5 Things to Never Forget When Pitching to Investors”

This month’s post was contributed by Digital Exits, a broker selling online businesses. If you would like to be a guest contributor to this blog, please send your idea for submission to info@plancanvas.net or use our contact form.

We’ve all heard stories about entrepreneurs who started with nothing and worked and worked until they built a large, successful business. In general, these stories are great. They remind us of the value of working hard and never giving up on our dreams.

But these stories also muddle the picture, for at some point in an entrepreneur’s journey, they will need to enlist the help of an investor. It’s that old saying, it takes money to make money.

However, pitching to investors can be both exciting and terrifying.

On the one hand, a successful presentation could be just what you need to turn your dreams into reality. But on the other hand, failing to impress investors could deliver a major blow to your confidence.

This high-risk, high-reward environment makes for great drama, which is why the show Shark Tank is one of the most popular television programs currently airing. But when pitching to investors, you’re not entirely at their mercy.

Remember: they are looking to take risks and make money. Getting someone to buy into your business is less about luck and more about telling them the right information in the right way. In general, this can be easier said than done, but if you make sure to include the following five things in your pitch, then you’re going to put yourself in a much better position for success

#1 Unique Value Proposition

Every business in the world exists to solve a problem. Never forget this.

Ideally, each business would solve a different problem, but there is bound to be some overlap. However, if your business addresses something already being done by someone else, then what do you do that’s different?

Do you offer a cheaper solution? Is it somehow better? More fun? More environmentally friendly?

Whatever it is, you need to make the reason your business exists abundantly clear. If there is any doubt that what you’re doing is unique, then you will most certainly lose the attention of those to whom you are pitching.

This can be done in a variety of different ways. You can tell a story, offer testimonials, ask questions, etc. It doesn’t really matter, as long as investors known within the first few seconds of your presentation why your business exists and what makes it different from anyone else trying to address the same problem.

#2 Proof Your Idea Works

When asking for someone’s money, you better have some proof to back up what you’re claiming. There’s an expression in business that good ideas are worthless.

Of course, this isn’t entirely true—an idea is the foundation of a company—but it gets at the idea that you need to go beyond just thinking about your business.

Spend some time talking about what you’ve already done. This will help show to investors that your UVP is real.

It’s one thing for people to think your idea is good, but it’s quite another for them to open up their wallets and give you money for it.

As a result, you need to have some tangible evidence that people are doing this. Set up a pop-up store, sell at some local markets, open a food truck. What you do doesn’t matter, as long as investors can see there is not only a theoretical market for your idea but also a practical one.

#3 Systems and Processes

Small businesses are notorious for being inefficient. Lack of experience often makes it difficult for new business owners to navigate the market, and this can lead to a lot of waste.

When it’s your own money, this isn’t such a big deal, although you should certainly try to avoid it. However, when you’re taking someone else’s money, this type of approach simply won’t work.

You need to have a plan for how you’re going to spend the money investors give you. But perhaps more importantly, you need to have systems and processes set up to prove you’re not going to waste it.

Part of the reason this is so important is because it makes your business more predictable.

If you ask for $200,000, but you don’t have systems set up for managing payroll, creating content, filling orders, etc., then investors will worry that this money will get lost in the shuffle of running the day-to-day business instead of its growth.

As a result, when pitching, it’s important to give investors a good snapshot of how your business runs. What occurs on a daily basis? And what are you going to do to make sure the money they give you contributes directly to the growth of your business?

Answering these question is critical to the success of your pitch.

#4 Scalability

Never forget that investors are looking to make money. They aren’t offering to help you solely because they want you to achieve your dreams. Instead, they are giving you cash so that you can turn it into more cash.

Because of this, it’s important you highlight in your pitch exactly how you plan to scale your business.

One way to do this is to show what you’ve done to grow in the past, as this will help demonstrate how additional funds could help you grow even further.

Another thing you can do is point to areas of the market you are not exploiting but that you could be if you had some additional money to play with.

For example, maybe there’s an international market that would be great for your product, or maybe there’s a demographic group that you’re not reaching.

No matter what it is, if you can show to investors that you’ve got room to grow and that their money will help you expand to the point where everyone will make money.

# 5 Future Plans

Most investors aren’t interested in giving money to people looking for a quick buck. Instead, they want to invest in companies that are going to grow up into something relatively permanent.

In fact, most investors will want a stake in the company, or at least a percentage of its shares, before giving you money, as this is a great way for them to garner a great ROI.

As a result, it’s important to show investors where you plan to take the company. Of course, everyone knows you want to grow it. But what do you want it to look like? What’s you mission?

This will help show to investors that you’re serious, and this inspires confidence and encourages action.

However, this part should really come towards the end. Make sure investors are clear about what they stand to get before thinking too far in the future.

Conclusion

It’s true that pitching can be a terrifying thing. The fear of rejection is strong in all of us. But if you believe in your idea and in yourself, and if you go in there with a plan, then your chances are good for securing the funding you need to grow your business and turn your dreams into reality.

Addendum – Looking for a Way to Document These Things?

Look no further. You can easily include all 5 of these suggestions and more in the plans you create with Plan Canvas.

You can subscribe directly to the software and use it on your own for $15/month, or contact us at Plan Canvas for assistance. We have hourly rates, monthly retainer rates, and can even help you develop your first cut plans in just a few days for a one-time cost of $1000 (includes 3-month software subscription).

Just What Is Plan Canvas, Strategy Execution Management, And What Does Napoleon Hill Have To Do With It?

February 6th, 2019 Posted by Blog Post, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Just What Is Plan Canvas, Strategy Execution Management, And What Does Napoleon Hill Have To Do With It?”

We are often asked to explain what Plan Canvas is. Quite simply, it is software and consulting as a service to help you develop and execute plans for your business or non-profit.

Develop a plan, execute to the plan. Why should you care? Because doing so doubles your chance of succeeding beyond startup. Because doing so makes it more likely that you will outpace peers and competitors by at least 30%. Because success matters.

So What Is It?

The software stands alone as something to which you can subscribe and use. If consulting services are desired, they come with the software. As such, it is a great tool for the individual user but in the hands of a consultant it can be really powerful.

We recently developed a powerpoint presentation to pitch Plan Canvas to consulting and coaching firms to consider adding it to their toolkit. It does a very good job of explaining Plan Canvas in simple terms. Portions are provided here for your convenience.

What Is The 3rd Mind?

The Plan Canvas Vision And Mission

Tell Me About Plan Canvas

What Is Strategy-to-Execution Management?

What Is Plan Canvas’ Approach To SEM?

What Types Of Plans Can You Build And Track In Plan Canvas?

What Are Some Major Features/Functions Of Plan Canvas?

How Can I Manage Project Portfolios In Plan Canvas?

How Do I Hold Myself And Others Accountable Through Plan Canvas?

How Does Plan Canvas Relate to Think and Grow Rich?

What Are Plan Canvas’ Services?

Who Is Plan Canvas For?

We Hope This Helps

We hope this helps. If you’d like to schedule a demo of Plan Canvas, please contact us through our contacts page by clicking here.

We look forward to serving you.

How “My Fitness Pal” Applies to Business

October 31st, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Business Plan, Strategic Planning, Strategy Execution, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “How “My Fitness Pal” Applies to Business”

The popular app “My Fitness Pal” has about 20 million subscribers.

You start using it by describing a little about yourself. Nothing too detailed. Just some basics like height, age, weight, etc. Next, you define some goals that aren’t limited to reaching and maintaining an ideal weight.

That’s part of it. But to lay out a fitness plan, you have to set some specific short-term objectives in a number of categories that include activity, nutritional balance, hydration and calories.

There is a psychology involved

When you use the app regularly, you pay closer attention to your behavior. When you pay attention to your behavior, you begin to adjust accordingly.

The short-term objectives become almost like competitive challenges. Meeting or exceeding them becomes motivation to keep at it. Next thing you know, you can see and feel results.

If you stop using it, however, chances are good you will slip right back into the behaviors that led you to sign up for the app in the first place. Stick with it and you find yourself meeting or exceeding longer term objectives and goals.

That all makes sense, right? Right.

Apply the same principles to business

My Fitness Pal is effectively a Strategy Execution Management (SEM) tool that is focused on fitness. Plan Canvas is an SEM tool that is focused on business. But they are otherwise, conceptually, the same.

For example, when developing business strategy and plans, you start by describing your business, much like you described yourself when you begin using My Fitness Pal. You don’t have to get too detailed. Just talk about things like how the business is structured, where it operates, what its target markets are, and what products/services it provides.

Next, you begin envisioning the future and setting some goals and objectives. Just as My Fitness Pal is not all about weight, plans you develop in Plan Canvas are not all about financials. There are other things to consider, such as social responsibility, employees, and customers.

This is all good stuff when it comes to planning. But just like with My Fitness Pal, goals and objectives don’t complete themselves. You have to complete them. And just like logging your regular accomplishments in My Fitness Pal, you track and log your actual business results in Plan Canvas – all for the same reasons. Observation, adjustment, and motivation. When you do this on a regular basis, poor habits begin to fade away as more productive habits take hold.

Get started!

Subscribe to the Plan Canvas Software for just $15/month

So why don’t we do it?

Why doesn’t everyone use My Fitness Pal and why doesn’t everyone who downloads it stick with it? Frankly, pizza tastes good and the couch is pretty comfortable. It’s just too easy not to. Some may not even know how to.

The same is true of business strategy planning and execution.

But the sobering reality is that a lack of formal planning – simplified and actionable plans – is a leading cause of business failures.

Not enough reality? How’s this. Half of all startups cease to exist within 5 years. Formal planning and execution practices (as we’ve defined it) doubles the odds of success. Still not enough? How’s this. Those who have made it beyond startup phase fair, on average, 33% better than their peers and competitors when formal planning and execution practices are in place.

Finally, even though you use My Fitness Pal, sometimes you still need a fitness trainer to help keep you focused. Similarly, in business, sometimes you need a consultant to help keep you focused.

Think of Plan Canvas as your “My Fitness Pal” tool for your business. It’s just a tool. You have to use it to get results. If you’re disciplined enough to use it on your own, great! If not, we have you covered.

Contact us for a demo or to discuss consulting options.

The Difference Between Goals, Strategic Objectives, and Tactical Objectives

August 28th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Goal, Uncategorized 1 thought on “The Difference Between Goals, Strategic Objectives, and Tactical Objectives”

There’s rarely ONE correct answer. Ask 10 different experts and you will get 10 different answers. That seems to be true of many things – and so it goes with terms like goals, objectives, strategic objectives, and tactical objectives.

Here is our take on these particular terms.

Goals are big, lofty things

Goals are big, lofty things that look out into the future, in support of the overall vision. If they lean 1 way or the other, it would be slightly more toward the idealistic rather than the realistic (although there should be a healthy dose of each in every defined goal).

Goals are more of a destination and are, therefore, largely immeasurable in-and-of themselves beyond answering the question, “Are we there yet?”

There are 4 major categories of goals. Pretty much anything you can imagine as a goal for your business will fit neatly into at least one of them. They are:

  1. Goals relative to social responsibility
  2. Goals relative to employee engagement
  3. Goals relative to customer/client engagement
  4. Goals relative to profitability

Goals are a foundational component of a long-term strategic plan. They are defined right after you define your vision, mission, and purpose.

Objectives help you measure progress

If goals are largely immeasurable beyond the destination, how do you know what progress you are making toward them? Objectives. They represent specific outcomes you need to achieve in order to move closer to your goals. One objective can support multiple goals.

Objectives have 5 primary characteristics that are easily remembered using the SMART acronym. A well-defined objective is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Start defining and tracking YOUR goals, strategic objectives, and tactical objectives today with Plan Canvas.

Select “Plan Canvas for SMB”

Strategic versus tactical objectives

Generally speaking, if it is in direct support of how you are measuring business outcomes within a single fiscal year, it is a tactical objective that should be included in your business plan. If it is in direct support of a strategic goal or has a due-date that is beyond the 12-month financial cycle, it is a strategic objective and should be included in your strategic plan.

Some objectives are clearly strategic, some are clearly tactical, but often, it is a judgment call when deciding to label an objective as a long-term strategic objective, or a shorter-term tactical (business plan) objective.

Objectives, whether strategic or tactical, fall into one of 6 categories:

  1. Social responsibility
  2. Employee
  3. Customer/client
  4. Operations
  5. Sales/Marketing
  6. Financial

If you do nothing else, do this

There is so much more to strategic business planning and management, but, if you do nothing else, define your vision, mission, purpose, goals, strategic objectives and tactical objectives – whether just starting a business or running one that has been around for a long time. You will be miles ahead of the competition if you do.

The good news is you can do this and more with Plan Canvas – simply and effectively. Contact us for a demo or assistance.

The Entrepreneurial Bug is Often a Childhood “Disease”

July 25th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “The Entrepreneurial Bug is Often a Childhood “Disease””

On the July 24 episode of the Business is ART podcast, the guest was Travis Pine, President/CEO of Lone Pine Holdings LLC and President/CEO of his new startup, Solstice Innovations, Inc. an insurance technology company that Travis is just now beginning to stand-up.

Early in the podcast, Travis noted that he caught the entrepreneurial bug at an early age, perhaps influenced by his father, who owned several restaurants at the time.

Our unscientific observation is that Travis represents the majority of entrepreneurs. They started a business  as a child or worked in a family business growing up. Many guests on the podcast have said that their parents even encouraged them to start businesses as children – like other parents might encourage their kids to play soccer or take art lessons.

(Listen to the podcast The Life of a Startup and What You Need to Know)

“Entrepreneur” isn’t limited to startup founders/owners

The word “entrepreneur” as used here is not meant to be exclusive to someone who starts her/his own business. Many operate in their professional lives with an entrepreneurial spirit without having any legal or financial ownership in the company or organization.

Some, podcast guests only half-jokingly referred to entrepreneurship as an incurable disease contracted. If most contract it at an early age, shouldn’t it be a priority for educational institutions, government, and employers to teach entrepreneurship at an early age.

In fact, many colleges and universities have already or are moving in that direction.

We need institutional change

See our white paper making a case for for a dramatic shift in institutional thinking – from how we plan to how we manage business plans and strategies.

The best entrepreneur programs according the U.S. News & World Report

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top ten undergraduate entrepreneur programs are at:

  1. Babson College, MA
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Indiana University
  4. University of California
  5. University of Pennsylvania
  6. University of Southern California
  7. University of Texas
  8. University of North Carolina
  9. Saint Louis University
  10. University of Arizona

Many more schools, such as Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and Ohio State University are either launching brand new programs or have just received large donations to enhance their programs.

Meanwhile, high schools are catching the entrepreneurial bug as well by offering programs specifically tailored to the aspiring entrepreneur, and some colleges are recommending specific classes that high schoolers take to better prepare them for collegiate entrepreneur programs.

Numerous private and non-profit programs have also joined the trend. Inc. has posted an article entitled These Nine Organizations are Turning Kids into Entrepreneurs using “startup thinking” as a way to “change how kids learn.”

The movement is real

The movement is real and the Plan Canvas team is proud to be a part of it. Please contact us to learn how we can help support your entrepreneur program.

Airing Our Dirty Laundry – The Absence of a Good Go-to-Market Strategy

June 4th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Airing Our Dirty Laundry – The Absence of a Good Go-to-Market Strategy”

We began the month of May asking a question – what’s holding you back?

If you follow us closely, you may have noticed a few things:

  1. We did not post blogs on a regular basis.
  2. We did not produce new Business is ART podcasts on a regular basis.
  3. We temporarily shut down the Plan Canvas website.

Why? What was holding us back? The answer may surprise you.

We actually weren’t holding back

In actuality, we were holding nothing back, despite outside appearances. So what has been going on?

We’ve been working hard to address a few particular areas of concern, which we will share with you here.

This may leave some of you wondering why we would air our “dirty laundry,” but it is really very simple. Our mission is to improve others’ business and personal outcomes. If others can learn from our mistakes and apply what we learn, we are happy to share.

What have we learned about our go-to-market strategy?

Basically, what we learned was how ill-prepared we were to go-to-market. The Plan Canvas software product was ready, but our go-to-market strategy was not.

As a boot-strapped startup, we put all of our efforts in developing and validating a quality product. These are necessary steps, especially validation. And it is not abnormal for a startup to have no or limited budget to do everything it needs to do – and the same was true for us.

It is not that we ignored sales and marketing. We did a few things, like committing to a social media content marketing campaign. But we consciously put aside a lot of the things we knew we would at some point need to do from a sales and marketing perspective – out of budgetary necessity.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. But what we miscalculated was how much work there would be to do in order to get to an intelligent go-to-market strategy.

What have we been doing?

Before telling you what we’ve been up to, we want to emphasize that it’s never done. Like everything else in business, your sales and marketing strategy is an ever-involving thing.

That said, here is what we have been doing:

  1. Conducted a product “positioning” exercise.
  2. Modified our messaging.
  3. Made a greater distinction between our 3 product lines – Plan Canvas for Individual, Plan Canvas for SMB, and Plan Canvas for Enterprise.
  4. Published a white paper on improving strategy execution.
  5. Documented several Plan Canvas case studies.
  6. Attended entrepreneurial boot camps and participated in pitch competitions.
  7. Modified the plancanvas.net website.
  8. Modified the business model.
  9. Overhauled the Plan Canvas software user interface.
  10. Planned “Launch 2.0” – effectively, a “do-over” from our initial launch in September of 2017.

So what’s next?

Again, this is a never-ending process, and there is a lot more to come. But for the immediate future, we will begin a weekly theme around each of the specific customer types we identified through the aforementioned positioning exercise.

They are as follows:

  • Individual Interested in Self-Improvement – No matter what your title or station in life, you can benefit from a personal self-improvement plan.
  • Freelancer/Independent – You want to earn money doing what you love, on your terms, with the flexibility to do what you want, when you want. There’s just one problem. Reality.
  • Startup Entrepreneur – You have dreams of starting your own business but need to validate if your product or business idea is viable.
  • Small to Midsize Business (SMB) – You enjoy being your own boss, but want to do better, creating a lasting business model with an engaging and enduring company culture.
  • Regional and Franchise Managers with Multiple Locations – You need to spend less time managing individual stores while spending more time managing the area.
  • Operations Manager – You need to better manage change, attract and retain talent, optimize costs, maximize output and grow.
  • Church and Non-Profits – You have all of the same challenges of a for-profit business with one main difference – in addition to fee-based products and services, your mission may be dependent on grants and donations.
  • Midsized-to-Large Enterprise – You need improved outcomes of strategy execution.

We are also working on a group subscription and white label offering. It’s an on-going journey and we hope you join us.

If not, we hope you at least learn from us.

Why Your Vision Statement Matters

March 21st, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy, Uncategorized, Vision 0 thoughts on “Why Your Vision Statement Matters”

A March 21, 2017 article at Entrepreneur entitled “How To Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement” by Andre Lavoie sites a study that found “60% of employees didn’t know their company’s vision.”

Yet, an understanding of and appreciation for the Vision and Strategies is an integral part to both improving employee engagement (approximately 30%) and the successful implementation of Strategic Initiatives (also about 30%).

So it stands to reason that we should be doing a better job of defining and communicating Vision.

An excerpt from an up-coming white paper

The following is an excerpt from a white paper that we are publishing in early April on how to improve strategy execution and why it’s critical to business survival.

Strategy Execution Improvement

Critical Success Factors to Surviving and Thriving

Order a pre-release copy of our upcoming white paper on how to improve strategy execution.

Vision is how you see things in the ideal future. The Mission is often mistaken for or sometimes blended into the Vision Statement, but they are two separate things. While the Vision is how you see things, the Mission is what you do.

Amazon’s is as an example of a well-written, combined, Vision and Mission Statement, as follows:

“Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

The Vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. The Mission is to build a place people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Note that in neither the Vision nor the Mission Statement does Amazon mention how they will get there, nor what that “place” looks like. Amazon can change its business model, how it serves customers, and enabling technology at will – without changing the Vision and Mission.

Think of it as remodeling the house without replacing the foundation.

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement, “To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of consumers and employees,” and their Mission Statement, “Saving people money so they can live better.”

These statements aren’t inherently wrong, but they do generate perceptions that are not necessarily positive, such as:

  • Now a classic retailer, always a classic retailer
  • It might be the best, but I still don’t like it
  • I can only live better by saving money – and purchasing lower quality items

“A Walmart on every corner” is increasingly a losing proposition that may not be dying, but is not well positioned to thrive against an Amazon.

Perhaps some of the reason for that is rooted in their Vision and Mission statements.

Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business

February 23rd, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Mastermind Group, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business”

What REALLY works in business? Everyone wants a magic pill. Unfortunately, there is none, but one thing that comes very close is a well run peer group / mastermind .

There are a multitude of peer group and mastermind options available to you. It is incumbent on you to find the one that works for you. But, by all means, find one, because they genuinely work

We kicked off an online mastermind group last night for small business owners and the initial results were pretty astounding.

An amazing launch

Members came ready to get to work. They immediately threw any inhibitions to the wind and presented some of their most pressing current issues and challenges. We did deep dives on what the issue really is and what the impact of not addressing it will be (or already has been). We identified numerous potential ways to address the issue. Ultimately, we identified and assigned action items for addressing the issue.

The issues we processed were specific to the individual presenting them, but common enough that nearly anyone can relate. They included:

  1. Cash flow management
  2. Prioritization of cash heavy initiatives
  3. Dealing with disruptive behavior of a particular employee

Group members left the meeting wit an average of 4 action items to address the issues presented. They were assigned 2 additional action items to address items outside of the issues presented.

We will now begin tracking progress against these action items and how well the specific issues are resolved. This stuff works because it provides input from peers on how to resolve your issue and promotes accountability to one another on doing something about it.

The value is immediate an on-going

The group is based on 2 main premises:

  1. It’s lonely at the top, and,
  2. None of us is as smart as all of us

One member summed it up best by saying, “It feels god just to be able to talk about it.”

Try it for free

Again, there are lots of options out there. If you want to check out ours, it is conducted online, so there are no geographical restrictions. Your first 3 months are at no fee so that you can experience for yourself how effective these groups are.

It’s not a magic pill, but it REALLY does work for you and your business.

Contact us for details.

36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired”

February 6th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Vision 2 thoughts on “36,900,000 Results When Searching for “How to Stay Inspired””

If you enter “how to stay inspired” into your search engine, it will net about 36,900,000 results.

You’d think with so many people, organizations and articles out there to help us get or stay inspired, we’d find it much easier to do so. But the hard truth about inspiration is that while finding it is comparatively easy, keeping it is relatively difficult.

We gleefully make resolutions and promises to ourselves, saying things like, “This year, I am REALLY going to get in shape!”

We go to seminars with leading gurus, buy their books and courses, then run out with our arms raised, declaring, “I’m gonna do it!”

We watch TED videos, Shark Tank, and SuperSoul Sunday and exclaim, “I’m going to make a difference!

Aaaaannnnnndddd thennnnnnnn….we don’t

Why is it so hard to remain inspired (and motivated)?

An article at Care2 entitled 5 Reasons Why Motivation is Difficult to Sustain provides an interesting list of reasons it is hard to stay motivated. Even though inspiration and motivation are two different things, they are related, so we will list the 5 here as follows:

  1. No plan
  2. Distractions
  3. Drawbacks
  4. Negative motivation
  5. Extrinsic motivation (depend on outside world to reap rewards on you)

But here is what we think is the real reason it is hard to remain inspired

As discussed in a previous post, motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.

(see Where Do You Find Inspiration?).

The real reason that inspiration can be fleeting is because it’s a feeling – and feelings are naturally fleeting. Generally speaking, feelings can hit us with great intensity. Later the intensity fades – perhaps entirely, perhaps not, but it usually fades.

Maybe it isn’t important to remain inspired

If feelings are naturally fleeting, perhaps trying hard to hold on to inspiration is futile.

Perhaps, rather than spending hundreds and thousands of dollars and hours on the inspirational products of the inspirational gurus, we spend our resources REMEMBERING what inspired us, as opposed to PRESERVING the feeling.

It isn’t as difficult as you might think

When you feel inspired, remember, it is a feeling and it will fade. Before it has faded too deeply, write it down. Capture things like:

  • What were you inspired to do?
  • How did that feel?
  • What were you doing when it hit you?
  • Who were you with?
  • What were you thinking or thinking of?
  • What were some other circumstances surrounding you at the time?

Now use that to write a purpose statement. This isn’t WHAT you are going to do. This is WHY you are going to do it.

In business, it is foundational to have a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement, and a Purpose Statement. Vision is how you see things in the future, preferably as a result of what you do. Mission is in fact what you do. But purpose is why you do it.

The same types of statements can be useful in your personal life.

Once you have a vision, mission and purpose statement, put them in reverse order (purpose, mission, and vision). This becomes your elevator pitch for whatever you are doing – and it always starts with your purpose, which is founded in your inspiration.

Say it often. Start your day with it. Start your presentations with it. Start your meetings with it.

Don’t cheapen it or make it a rote statement, but use it often enough to remind yourself and others of what you felt in that moment of inspiration, even though the intensity of the feeling itself may have faded.

This will in turn help keep you motivated, even if no longer inspired.

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

January 30th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration, Uncategorized 1 thought on “Where Do You Find Inspiration?”

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Before answering that question, it’s important to note that there is a difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.

As an example, three deaths by suicide served as the motivation behind writing the book, Business is ART and development of Plan Canvas, the strategy execution management (SEM) software that is based on the book.

Motivation isn’t inspiration

Those deaths were external events that triggered a desire to help others. It is a horrible means of motivation, but, sometimes, tragedy, or hitting rock bottom, is needed to motivate us to do something positive.

But the inspiration for creating these particular tools came from somewhere else. The book was literally conjured in a dream. The software was first envisioned as the table of contents for the book was being written, particularly when business as ART was laid out as a 12-step process (defined processes lend themselves well to being systematized).

So a more appropriate question might be….

HOW do you find inspiration?

An article at Inc. provides 25 simple ways to find inspiration. We really like this list. In fact, many of these same notions are included in Business is ART.

Find inspiration

Watch this demo to see how Plan Canvas can help you find inspiration.

Our favorite 5 from the article are listed here, along with a brief explanation of how you can actually follow them in Plan Canvas:

  1. Write it down – Plan Canvas encourages you to record everything that is important about your business in the tool.
  2. Evaluate your goals – You then produce a Progress Report to review with others to track how you are doing with all of those critically important items.
  3. Simplify – Plan Canvas is built on this key principle. Planning your business and executing to that plan should be simple, not over-bearing.
  4. Question all assumptions – Within Plan Canvas, you document all major assumptions, the risk associated with the assumption, the impact if the risk occurs, the likelihood it will occur, and, importantly, how you will mitigate against that risk.
  5. Focus on yourself – Plan Canvas includes a Personal Plan for anyone to focus on themselves, regardless of whether they are an entrepreneur, business owner, organizational leader or not.

Everyone is different

Some people find inspiration while in hurry up mode. Others need quiet, uninterrupted time. Whatever the case may be for you, the most important thing is to have an open mind. Inspiration often comes in the most unexpected ways – but we have to be open to being inspired for it to happen.

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

© SeaSeven LLC 2019.
Designed by FRW Studios, LLC.