Posts tagged "goals"

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.

Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It

January 22nd, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business is ART, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “Quit Calling Objectives “Goals” – Just Quit It”

This might be a little nit-picky, but, there is a difference between goals and objectives. Goals, by nature, are not particularly SMART…you know:

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

These are actually the characteristics of well-defined objectives. You measure your progress toward achievement of goals through objectives. Objectives support goals.

We said that goals are not particularly SMART. That is more than just a cute play on words and acronyms. Goals are more of a destination – more like an “Are we there yet?”

SMART objectives invite you to be realistic and in a hurry. Goals invite you to dream big and be more concerned with the getting there than the speed with which you do.

That’s why we take a little bit of umbrage with this article at Entrepreneur entitled Set Goals for Your Employees. Don’t get us wrong, we completely agree with setting goals for employees.

And at the risk of sounding a little Sheldon Cooper-ish, we actually do agree with the content of the article – as long as you substitute the word “objective” in 95% of the instances the article actually uses the word “goal.”

With that in mind, here are a few comments on the main points/recommendations of the article:

  1. “Set goals with employees” – Yes! We love it. This is part of including your employees in developing the strategy. It adds buy-in and promotes an environment in which employees are engaged.
  2. “Reevaluate goals frequently” – No! Not unless you frequently change your mind about where you want to go (a goal is a destination). But do frequently evaluate objectives.
  3. “Make goals specific and measurable” – No! Goals are decidedly grandiose and not measurable in themselves. Make supporting objectives SMART which includes their being specific and measurable.
  4. “Goals don’t have to be tied to sales” – Correct! Nor profits. We like value-based goals as opposed to profit and sales driven goals. Focus on the types of goals that will really get employees engaged in the business on an emotional level.
  5. “Make sure employees goals are attainable” – No! Goals are big and lofty. Never measure an employee’s performance based on big, lofty goals. Rather, do it on objectives, which, yes, should be attainable.
  6. “Be consistent” – Absolutely. And you can start by consistently not misusing the word “goal” in place of the word “objective.”
  7. “Watch your timing” – Wrong! Not for goals. They are long term. Objectives are time-bound.
  8. “Avoid rivalry” – Ehhhh….this one feels a little like “everyone gets a participation trophy.” A little FRIENDLY rivalry in-house can be healthy. Just don’t allow it to create clicks and jerks.
  9. “Set goals that tie employees into the success of your company” – Correct! Set objectives that tie employees into the success of your company.

This might all sound a little nit-picky, but it is important to remember the distinction between goals and objectives. Know the difference and plan accordingly.

PUT IT TO USE!

Reach Your Goals with Measurable Objectives

Now that you know the difference between “Goals” and “Objectives”, let’s put that knowledge to use! Plan Canvas helps you identify, communicate and track goals, objectives, initiatives, action items and more in one convenient, easy to access, easy to use tool.

Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution”

Let’s make 2018 the year of the resolution revolution. No more empty promises that fizzle out within the first 2 to 6 weeks. Let’s get serious this time.

An article at The Balance entitled Top New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success has some easy, actionable ideas that we really like a lot, particularly:

  • Make business planning a weekly event
  • Set realistic goals
  • Join a new business organization or networking group
  • Give something back to your community

Of course we like them because they are essentially some of the basic premises on which Plan Canvas is built. Let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

Resolution 1 – Business planning as a weekly event

Honestly, as much as we love business planning, doing it weekly may be a bit of an over-reach. But there are some things relative to the business plan that really should be done weekly. Namely:

  • Review progress against both the strategic and the business plan on a weekly basis. Note, some objectives may only require monthly or quarterly progress checks.
  • Review progress against assigned action items, internal initiatives, and client projects.

Whatever you do, do not write a business plan that is never referred to, tracked against, or updated. Otherwise, you are missing out on the primary benefits of strategically managing a plan – greater results.

Resolution 2 – Set realistic goals

Again, if we are being completely honest, we are OK with setting goals that might seem a little “out there.” Goals should be big, lofty things. Add a dose of reality but think and dream big when setting goals.

Now objectives are another story. Objectives let you know how you are progressing toward goals. One objective may support many goals and one goal is likely to be supported by many objectives. By nature, objectives should be realistic.

In fact that is one of 5 characteristics of a well defined SMART objective:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-bound

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Resolution 3 – Join a new business organization or networking group

There are two primary types of groups we highly encourage you to join. One is a business networking group. The other is a peer mastermind group.

Networking groups are focused on growing your business through referrals. In these types of groups you get to know others on a more personal level, building relationships to the point that you mutually, genuinely refer each others’ business, products or services to others – key because it is also your reputation on the line when you refer others to people in your own network.

Peer mastermind groups, are not networking groups at all. They are work groups designed to help members resolve business and personal issues that affect the business. A well run mastermind group “rolls up the sleeves and gets to work.” It is not about socializing over cocktails and business referrals.

Resolution 4 – Give something back to your community

We saved the best for last. Giving back through your business is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR. Formally defining a CSR program for your business, no matter what size, actually increases your odds of success.

We call it setting value-based goals as opposed to profit-driven goals. When you focus CSR goals, then employee goals, then customer goals, your profit goals will naturally follow and you will feel much more fulfilled.

Resolution 5 – Be intentional in 2018

The year 2018. Here it comes. What will you do? Will you wait and see what happens, or will you intentionally lay out a plan and go after it?

Congratulations Raffa P.C.

September 18th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “Congratulations Raffa P.C.”

We decided the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was a good one on which to blog this week. Last week, we shared on Twitter and LinkedIn an article by Roger Wolens of The Green Organisation entitled How Millennials Are Reshaping What’s Important In Corporate Culture, so the topic was fresh on our mind.

The article emphasizes the importance of CSR, stating, “70 percent of millennials are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about.”

Looking for additional information to reference in this week’s post, we did one quick online search, which took us straight to CSRWire’s September 13, 2017 post entitled Raffa, PC, Honored As the Most Improved Impact Business, Leading the Race to the Top of Companies Creating Positive Change.

We needed search no further

That find concluded our search because Plan Canvas has an indirect tie to Raffa Social Corporate Advisors by way of Raffa team member Rich Tafel.

Rich was a major influencer on Plan Canvas founder, Jon Umstead, having served as Jon’s business coach and advisor for a number of years. Rich actually introduced the term “CSR” to Jon years ago before it was part of the common business vernacular. But the ties don’t end there.

In Business is ART, the book that inspired the development of Plan Canvas, Jon refers to his coach and the benefits of having one – that was Rich, who would go on to provide an inside cover review for the book when it was ready for publication.

Value-Based vs. Profit-Driven Goals

More importantly, Rich inspired 2 components of Plan Canvas of which we are very proud.

One is an emphasis on social responsibility within the tool’s planning and management functions. As an example, one of 4 long-term strategic goal categories is “Social Responsibility”. It is also 1 of 6 categories of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) used for defining long or short-term objectives.

With social responsibility as a major category of goals and KPIs, we emphasize that businesses, no matter how large or small, should start by setting value-based as opposed to profit-driven goals and objectives.

Personal Planning is as Important as Business Planning

But it doesn’t end there. Rich also introduced a personal planning process to Jon that, with Rich’s permission, was slightly modified and included in both the book and the software. The personal plan allows the leader or entrepreneur to step away from the business for a moment to focus on him or herself, the individual – which is critical to success and fulfillment.

Congratulations to the Raffa Team

The CSRWire post begins by saying, “Today, Raffa, P.C. was recognized as a top performer in the B Corp community earning a place on the 2017 Best for the World lists. Named 2017 Best for Governance by scoring in the top 10 percent of all B Corps and also 2017 Best for the World: Changemaker for making the most positive improvement on their overall impact based on the B Impact Assessment an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab, Raffa continues to lead in the movement of people using business as a force for good.”

Rich’s influence can be seen throughout Business is ART and Plan Canvas. We are absolutely thrilled for him, Raffa, P.C. CEO Tom Raffa, and the entire Raffa team for this recognition.

Congratulations!

10 Tips for Your Business or Startup

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy 0 thoughts on “10 Tips for Your Business or Startup”

It’s not enough to formally plan your business. Strategically managing it can make the difference between wild success and running your business into the ground. But it all may seem overwhelming at first brush. Here are a few tips for tackling it in chunks.

How do you stay motivated when you just don’t wanna?

April 18th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “How do you stay motivated when you just don’t wanna?”
motivated

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

How do you stay motivated? Do you have a few tricks?

There is an old adage that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m generally an optimist, but with a heavy dose of realism and a hint of skepticism, so I tend to believe that even the most motivated of the motivated who love what they do so much they just burst from so much sun shining up their butts have days in which they’d just rather not.

Staying motivated when you’re emotionally drained from something outside of work

Work can actually be a distraction from the noise and drama surrounding your personal life. Treat it that way. Try very hard not to bring that drama in to the workplace and try very hard not to be a part of workplace drama.

If you think of work as an escape from that very personal emotional stuff, it can become a bit of a safe-haven that you want to protect. Just don’t make it such an escape that you spend all of your time there, and none of it dealing with the outside drama and emotions.

Staying motivated when you literally just don’t feel well

If you can, and you have the option, work from home. If you can’t work from home, take a day off. Your not feeling well could be emotional, but it could also be that you are carrying around some kind of bug that your co-workers and customers don’t want, so be mindful of that as well.

If you’re suffering from the brown-bottle flu, suck it up, Buttercup, and get to work.

Staying motivated when you are burned out

You might love your company/employer. You might even love your job – usually. But sometimes, you just get burned out on it and need a break.

If that happens, volunteer for special projects or to cross-train in another area. Something, anything that productively breaks the monotony of doing the same things every day.

If that is really not an option, flip your focus. Start thinking of the things you could do outside of work that excite you and then begin thinking of work as not just a way to pay the bills and eat, but a way to fund those interesting activities.

You might even have to keep telling yourself, “I’m doing THIS because I love doing THAT.” Maybe it will help take the sting out.

And remember, we all need a break now and then. It doesn’t have to be the expensive vacation you see your friends posting about on Facebook. But take a break from work. Use the vacation time you’ve earned, even if all you plan to do with it is sit in the backyard sipping on an ice cold beverage of your choice.

Set goals and write them down

All of the feel-good gurus out there will tell you to set goals for yourself – and with good reason. Science backs up the claim that if you set goals and write them down, you are much more likely to stay motivated enough to achieve them.

And that’s really what Business is ART is all about (ART = Articulate, Revise, Track). Articulate what you want (goals, objectives and actions). Revise your plans as you move along. Track your progress so that you can make better, more informed decisions – and reward yourself and your stakeholders for achieving those goals and objectives.

How do you stay motivated?

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How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them

March 22nd, 2017 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them”

GoalWhen done right, setting goals is a great way to motivate you towards success and track progress. Done poorly, however, and goals become a burden. A list of dreams you’ll never achieve.

That’s why it’s not enough to blindly set goals. You must be strategic about it. You need to be intentional if you want to create goals you can actually achieve.

For starters, you should…

Write Them Down. Make Them Visual.

You probably have some vague idea of your goals in your head. But that’s not enough. You need to write down your goals. Even if you’re a solo operation. Writing them down will not only work as a reminder, but it will help you to analyze them differently.

Something that sounded great in your head might not make sense once you see it written out. Or it may inspire another idea. If it helps, you can try creating a visual to track your goals – perhaps display an image to serve as a reminder of a goal you’ve set.

Whatever it takes to keep your goals in mind.

Break Goals Up. Start Small.

When setting goals, you should write them down in their most basic forms. A sentence, no more. Goals are rarely accomplished in one fell-swoop. Instead, it takes many smaller actions and achievements that lead up to the big end-goals – these are measurable objectives.

Start with the small, simple action steps. If you can’t achieve those first, you’ll never achieve your larger goals.

Focus on What You Can Do and Control

Entrepreneurs sometimes get hung up on what they can’t control. If you sell a product, you can’t force someone to buy it. But you can make sure that product is perfected. You can create excellent marketing material for it. You can reach out to marketplaces and publications to see if they will feature it.

When planning your goals, don’t set action steps that you can’t actually do. Instead, focus on the areas over which you have control. Save those things outside of your control for developing a risk mitigation plan.

Establish Rewards

Everyone loves to be rewarded. It’s a simple fact. In sports, the players always have the trophy or medal to chase. While you’re obviously going after success, “success” is a very vague, shapeless word. You have to define what it means for you. Then to better motivate yourself to achieve success (as you define it), try implementing rewards into your goal setting.

They don’t have to be anything complex. You’ll be surprised by just how motivating a little reward can be, whether it’s for you or your employees.

Be Prepared for Change

Life changes. Market places change. Yet, some have this idea that goals should never change. Maybe the overarching plan stays the same, but the smaller goals need to change along the way sometimes.

Look at a company like Facebook. When they started, they allowed American college students to see each other’s pictures and leave funny comments. Now, they provide news, social-platforms, marketplaces, digital communities, and more to people of all ages around the world.

Their overarching goal of connecting people has remained the same, but you can bet the focus of their smaller goals has changed dramatically.

Don’t stick with the same, stagnant goals over and over again. Be flexible.

But Always Remember the Reason

Even as you change and strive towards success, don’t forget the reason you started on your path in the first place. That’s going to be different for everyone, but it’s equally important for all. One of the most fundamental basic business principles is to simply remember your purpose.

Your goals will help you fulfill that purpose. Set them accordingly.

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Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?

June 3rd, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur, Owner 1 thought on “Bootstrapping or Investors: Which is Best for Me?”
Boots

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

If we all had rich relatives who were quick to give their money away, starting a business up would be relatively easy. For most of us, that’s not the case.

But if it takes money to make money, as the old saying goes, where do the funds for your business come from?

The two most common ways to fund a startup business are to A: bootstrap it or B: get investors.

To know what’s best for you, you need to understand the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is really just a fancy word for self-funding. Arguably the biggest advantage is that you retain full control of your business. No shares are sold. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself.

If the business doesn’t work out, sure, you’ll have lost your money, but you won’t lose someone else’s money with it, which is generally a good thing.

Many people who bootstrap also find themselves to be more focused. You don’t have excess capital, so you need to stay as lean as possible. Additionally, you don’t spend any time tracking down and dealing with investors, so you can stay 100% focused on your business.

The Downside of Bootstrapping

While bootstrapping can be easier to get going and comes with less risks, it has its limitations. Specifically, in the realm of cash-flow. If you’re the one funding your business, you’re limited by however much (or little) money you have.

If you take on more work to bring in more money to put towards your new business, that’s time taken away from doing actual work on the new business. Many find the balance of working on the old to fund the new to be a bit tricky.

By bringing on investors, you might be able to gain the funds needed to pursue your business 100%…

Advantages of Investors

Bringing on investors can bring in a much needed surge of finances that can be used to grow your business exponentially faster. Not only does it get you money, but investors can often bring additional connections, personal knowledge and other resources to the table.

Of course, investment money comes with its own price.

Disadvantages of Taking Investment Money

Investment money might appear to be free money at first, but make no mistake, that money comes with strings attached. What those strings are depends on the agreement you make with the investors. It could be shares or voting rights or a certain rate of return.

Regardless, once you take on an investor or two, the business and its success no longer belong to you entirely. And sooner or later, that investment money will run out. You now have a deadline by which you have to achieve success as defined by the investors.

It can be a lot of pressure added to your business, to say the least.

What About Both?

It’s not uncommon for a business to start by bootstrapping and eventually move to bringing on investors. In fact, it’s typically easier to find good investors if you have some semblance of a business started.

It’s also good for you because that generally means you’re bringing in some level of revenue, and the investment money is specifically to grow your business bigger, faster, rather than making it work in the first place.

What’s Best for My Business?

The best option for you depends on a number of factors, ranging from “how much money do you have for bootstrapping” to “what investor opportunities are theoretically available to you”.

Whatever route you go, you’ll need a plan. To learn more about the ART of business, check out my book or contact me directly. I’ve worked hands on with businesses in all different stages.

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

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