I Dreamed a Dream Board

When was the last time you took the time to keep track of your dreams? If it has been a while you need a dream board. Haven’t heard of a dream board? It is a place where you can bring together every dream you’ve ever had. It is something you can look at daily to remind you of your life’s dreams. Dream boards have been around for many years. Traditional dream boards are pieces of paper or poster board covered in magazine clippings. A great start but not very portable. Today there are digital ways to build a dream board. Pinterest is a great tool where you can update your dream board easily and continuously. And it can be accessed from a number of different technologies (computer, tablet and smart phone). What goes onto a dream board? Well, it is important to remember that a dream is different than a goal. A goal is something on a timeline, with a specific end in mind. A dream is bigger than a timeline, it is something that will inspire you again and again. A dream has no size limit. Think big and then, think bigger. Dreams do not have to be realistic. A dream should be wild, crazy and unedited. Don’t remove something from your dream board just because it seems unlikely to happen. Anything that you want can go on your dream board.  When building your dream board choose images, videos, words or phrases that inspire you. And finally a dream board has no end, keep adding dreams as you go! Your challenge: Compile a list of dreams you have, and then begin to build your dream board. Try and look at it as often as you can.    

Progress Report

We set goals and plans at the beginning of the year, but don’t forget to take an objective look each quarter on your progress.  This is the perfect time to review the progress you have made toward your year-end goals First, review what actions you were committed to take by this point in the year. Ask yourself for these actions and each action on your to-do list: “Did I get this accomplished?” That means completely accomplished, not partially. If you completed the action, then ask: “Did it produce the intended results and move me closer to the goal?” If the action did not have the intended results, evaluate what happened and what would have worked better. Add new items to your to-do list for completion by the end of the quarter. If you did not complete the action, ask: “What got in my way?” Evaluate how you can prevent that from happening again. After going through all the action items, the next step is to look at your goals. This allows you to measure progress and see if you need to make any course corrections. For each goal, ask: “Am I on track to accomplish it?” If you are not on track to accomplish a particular goal, ask: “Why am I off track?” There are usually clear reasons for being off track. The next question to ask is: “What actions can I take to get back on track?” When you know why you went off track, you can usually find what you can do to get back on track. Add any new action items to your calendar. A regular progress report can be invaluable, the longer you wait, the harder the corrections will become. It is better to identify any gaps and make corrections with enough time to meet the end of year goals you set. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Do your midyear review and make your course corrections to stay on track. If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for an upcoming workshop and let’s work together to help your business grow.    

Hunting or Farming

As salespeople, as business owners we decide how we will source our prospective customers.  We look to others in our industry for clues on what works, we try a variety of approaches, sometimes we just do as much activity as possible and cross our fingers.  Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, in good times our strategy and marketing plan matters less, in tough times it matters even more. Regardless of where you are in your business consider what you are doing from two perspectives…. hunting and farming. As caveman can attest to, hunting is hard work – it is a daily activity where you are personally engaged in finding your next potential customer, and walking with them through the sales process.  You are actively hunting each and every day making one on one contact.  Things like cold calling, bold calling, most networking and direct mail are examples of hunting.  The upside to hunting is that there is very little mystery between the person you meet and the sale. The flip side to hunting is farming.  Farming is more about leverage, about planting the seeds in the most productive of places and then nurturing them along the way.  Farming often has a longer lead-time and can be more difficult but not impossible to link the activity to the specific sale. Things like speaking engagements, advertising, strategic alliances, or newsletters are a few examples. There is no magic formula. It’s about employing multiple marketing strategies that work for your business, some long term, some short term, some highly leveraged and others less so. Your challenge:  Look at the lead generation activities in your business, are your lead generation activities hunting or farming, is the mix working for you or is it time to adjust the mix.

From 0 to 60!

Time and time again we give our sixty second commercials.  It is easy to fall into a routine, and lose our edge. Here are a few ideas to pump up and reenergize your 60 seconds. Be specific about what you do – don’t oversimplify, don’t generalize – describe your work in detail. Organize your commercial – give a clear intro, then tell a story or describe a situation, be clear on your ask, then wrap up with your tag line. Use your commercial to inform, stay away from being salesy, give insight and value first. Be yourself. There is no substitute for authenticity. Talk about the benefits, appeal to both the head or logic with hard benefits and the heart with a soft benefit like peace of mind. Be specific about what you want.  Ask for a specific person, a specific company, describe your request in detail so others can help you. And lastly, be a great listener of others commercials. Careful listening builds goodwill, trust, and confidence. When you make a commitment to networking, then make the effort to communicate for results. Your Challenge: Think about your 60 seconds, and how can you be even more effective.

Time Flies

How many times do we hear from those around us that “they don’t have enough time”? There are 52 weeks in a year, 7 days in a week, 24 hours in day, 60 minutes in an hour. Everyone gets the same amount of time. It’s less about managing time – and more about managing ourselves better. There is a misconception that activity equals productivity.  There are many very busy unproductive business owners.  It is not uncommon to hear from business owners that they are too busy to plan, to put systems in place, to organize, or to train – as they are too busy running an inefficient business. Here are some simple ways to take a look at how you manage yourself and make sure that you are doing the right activity in the right way and check that what you are doing is leading you to your goals 1. Create Worthwhile Goals The first step to managing yourself better is to have clearly written goals that are true priorities in your life.  If they are not priorities you will find yourself attracted the newest “shiny thing” that appears in your life. 2. Conduct a Time Study There’s a saying that says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. Most of us have no clue on how we really spend our time.  For one week record everything you do in 15 minute segments.  At the end of the week categorize each task to see where you are spending most of your time.  Look carefully at where you are spending your time and the value of your time.  First determine, what activities you can eliminate, what activities you can delegate, then determine what activities you can begin that will move you closer to your goals. 3. Schedule the Big Rocks In order to be really productive we have to focus on the “big rocks” in our lives and do them first and all the little stuff will fall into place.  By determining our worthwhile goals we are picking our big rocks.  Be sure to schedule these into your calendar first – creating blocks of time to do the things that will move you forward.  By scheduling the big rocks your calendar is less likely to fill up with the next “shiny thing” that comes your way. When you learn how to invest your time and not spend it, you will be more productive. Remember, time is your most valuable asset.  Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone forever. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Pick one thing to do, set goals, conduct a time study or schedule the big rocks.  This will be one step forward in managing yourself better and making the most of your time.