Only What You Need

Have you started a business? Congratulations! You are about to have more friends than you ever knew existed. They’re not really there to buy your products, they are there to sell you something. And to top it off, they have seminars, webinars, teleconferences and email funnels that will explain to you exactly why you cannot live without what it is they want to sell you.

It’s your job to look in the mirror, and ask yourself, “Do I really need this? Can I really afford this? Will it really do what they say it will do?”

Do not let yourself or anyone else push you into a decision for something your business is not quite ready to use or even afford. Let your business pull you in. Purchase what the company needs when you have to have the item for better Return on Investment (ROI).

If you have ever read about Value Stream Mapping, you know that there are push systems and pull systems. You see this when you go to different fast food establishments. In some fast food restaurants, they push French fries by making them often, whether somebody is there to purchase or not.  They end up with old fries that have to be tossed, and the establishment loses money because of it. On the other hand, other restaurants use a pull system where they cook the French fries when someone is there to buy them.  They save money and have customers who come back for the fresh fries.

If you run a push system for people or things that are not present, you find yourself always spending money. It’s very possible to go broke fast using that system, having to pay for software, offices, employees, and other items sitting on the shelves and going stale before you have the demand you need to utilize them. The trick is to run the business as it stands now. Be ready to move forward when the time comes.

Let the business pay for what it needs.  If something is necessary to keep making money, let the business pay for it. 

 

 

 

Work With What You Have

If you have a business idea, you do not have to go out and spend a bundle of money you don’t have to get it off the ground. Start small and work with what you have. The worst thing you can do is figure that you’re going to have infrastructure immediately for 1,000 customers or 10,000 followers or be building four classes and writing five books a year.

You will probably get there. Yet, if you study the people who actually build their business, you will find that the first 2 to 3 years start off with minimal numbers, and it takes a while (years) to actually grow to the numbers you want. In the meantime, you don’t want to be paying out-of-pocket for resources that you don’t need and won’t use until year three or four of your business.

Use what you have.  Most computers and laptops these days are strong enough to support a startup business. If you use Microsoft, you have built-in AI such as Dictation and Read Aloud. I use this for everything from dictating my blogs to listening to business e-books. Many free or inexpensive programs make running a business more manageable for you.

Training does not have to be thousands of dollars for e-courses to start.  Find some good mentors or possibly a reasonably priced coach, depending on what you can afford.  Make your budget affordable and stay within that budget. The two best business builders you can accomplish are actually very inexpensive. Be yourself, be genuine and make friends. The rest will happen naturally.

I know this sounds simple. Please, look at me as a voice who is learned through the college of hard knocks. When you’re building a new business simplicity is precisely what you want.

Hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Break Your Wall

Have you ever felt alone in the middle of a crowded room? You have something useful to share and no one to share it with. And, you feel stuck. You are stuck in a rut. That’s okay, I’ve been there, and I do know a way out.

Look around you. You have an opportunity for chance encounters everywhere. And yet, it’s hard. We do not know who’s who. We probably don’t know who could use what we have to share with them. We probably think that others are in their own world and we are right.

For protection, we build an invisible wall around ourselves, something to keep people out of our personal zone. We do this because we fear what they may think and we worry about what they may find if they come within it. I’m not saying you have to invite people into your deepest darkest secrets. Yet, people need to know those they are going to work with at a business casual level.

How do you do that? I would suggest a little remodeling. In other words, lessen the walls between you and the other person. Before you get the hard hat in the sledgehammer out, let’s set up a plan.

People like to be complimented. People also want to hear positive words. If you start off negative, this is what others could remember about you. You can start off by saying something nice about their tie, or you like their glasses, or someone is wearing a beautiful pendant. Or you can say something nice about the location or that so many people came to the event. Introduce yourself and shake their hand. Asked them a question about themselves. What do they do? Have they been to something like this before? Or some other topic. Keep everything positive. Stay casual, and don’t appear too pushy.

Not everyone will want to share, yet more people than you think will be happy to talk and are grateful to speak to someone for a few minutes. Why? You have just helped them to ease the restrictions on their invisible wall. If you have not done this before, just be casual, do not try to sell them anything. If asked, tell them about the things you’re working on, keeping it brief and positive.

If they seem interested, invite them out for a cup of coffee at a convenient coffee shop sometime in the next week. You want to buy the person a cup of something to drink and talk with them. One thought to remember, is that if you have something good, you want to share with your friends. What you doing here is making friends. Also, you are showing generosity which is an essential trait in friendship.

I have seen this done on an airplane jetway, in a room with 250 business people, and a small gathering of eight or 10 people, at a coworking center and many other places. Slightly modified you can do the same thing on a blog. You can do it on a social media site. The whole idea is, there are 7 billion of us. People are everywhere. All we have to do is remove the invisible walls.

Be Kind and Be There

I often wonder what the best thing is that I can do. As I look at my options, I realize that there is only one thing which stands out. The best thing I can do is be there. Just being there with others shows you care.

To stand shoulder to shoulder with others is extremely important. It shows that you care. You care enough to be there. Be humble and give honest advice when asked. But most of all be genuine.

Be a good listener. Do not interrupt. Listen to what the person says, rather than trying to formulate a response. The response will mean more if you have taken the time to hear the person’s full statement.

When you do make a comment on what the person has told you, be kind and honest. Talk to the person like you would like to be talked to. And remember the idea is to make them feel better and be better informed than when you started.

If you don’t have an answer to their situation, do not make one up. An honest answer of not being sure, given with empathy, always trumps a made-up answer that will not help the other person in the long run.

The best way to approach others is usually the way you would hope that they would talk to you. In a world full of so many slamming doors, so many people going unnoticed, and where so much heartbreak exists, kindness and empathy stand out like a beacon. If you are that beacon, you will indeed be remembered as such.

Have a great day. I will post again soon.

 

Oh No, Not Habits!

When I was young, I hated habits. My standard defense to them was we should not do things out of habit, we should do things that just need to be done. And, by the same token, we should not do things which are a waste of time. If I slept in the bed last night and I was going to sleep in it tonight, and nothing was going on in the bedroom, why should I make the bed in the morning if I was just going to mess it up again that evening?

After many years, and a lot of growing older, I  realized that I wasn’t getting rid of habits, I was only choosing the ones I wanted to follow. Watching TV every night is a habit. Whether you get up early, get up a little later or just turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, if you do it again and again, it is a habit. Stopping by the store in the morning to pick up a donut is a habit.

The truth is, we are all creatures of habit. We cannot help it. As I have grown older, I have come to understand that the trick is not to get rid of habits. Instead, we need to understand which habits get us to where we want to go and what we want to do, and which ones do not.

Do I really want to waste my evening, every evening just sitting in front of a television? Or sometimes what I like to read a book, go out to see a movie, or do something on the computer? Once we realize the choices are ours to make and we don’t have to just follow a pattern, life gets more interesting. We get to do more things. If our surroundings look better, we feel better.

I have learned that I can empty and fill the dishwasher is less than seven minutes. I can pick up a messy office in less than 10. And as for making the bed, every article I read about those who have made their billions in high-tech or other entrepreneurial endeavors, they all make their bed when they get up in the morning. It does set a good start to the day.

Thank you for being here. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

What Belongs and What Does Not

We are collectors. As we go through life, our hunter and gather her genes live strong within us. And as we settled down into a regular life with the domicile we stay in for more extended periods of time, we start to feel crowded out by all those things we’ve hunted and gathered.

When this crowding starts to happen, we must convert to givers and re-taskers. If we keep absolutely everything we’ve ever gained in life, the house starts belonging to the stuff, and we find ourselves crowded into a corner. And that is a shame because getting your house in your domestic life back is actually easy to do.

Don’t feel alone or ashamed about having to take back your house from everything you’ve collected. I had to do that myself about a year ago. Gather everything that belongs in a particular room into that room. Yes, this will cause a bit of a mess and stacking to start with.

Once you have everything that belongs in the room, in the room, pick up one thing. It can be anything it doesn’t matter just pick up something. Ask yourself a question or two. Do I need this? Do I want this? Why could I not live without this? If you convince yourself to keep it, you have to find a place for it. Nothing that belongs in the room can go to any other room just for the sake of cleaning the room. If you want the item need it, you have to find a proper place. The things you either do not want, do not need or do not have a place to keep, need to be given away or disposed of. The first few are the hardest. Once you get through the first few, you will find it is easier than you think.

Many people like to hold yard sales. I donate to places like Goodwill or DAV because it allows the item to be reused, recycled, and the money it earns helps those who could use a hand. The joke I have with my local Goodwill is that I drop the goods off at the back door and then drive around to the front and go inside to see what I want to buy back.

I like to keep things which other people have given me. When I look at them or use them, it reminds me of the person. I still can’t keep everything, yet the things I keep mean something.

Have a great day, and I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

State of Mind

Did you know that feeling richer or poorer is often a state of mind?  Did you know that sometimes the poorest of us are the happiest? Did you ever wonder why? This happens because sometimes the people we see as poor are richer than we could ever imagine.

Before you leave, thinking I am just one more crackpot, let’s just think about this for a second. We base our ideas of wealth on our ideals, and things we think are worth more. Everybody does. Even the people we think are poor do this. The only difference is the things we look at is riches, and the things they look at is most valuable are different.

A poor farmer or mountain family living in Appalachia may live in an old log cabin with no electricity or running water. Their bathroom is an outhouse, both summer, and winter. They may have to grow their own vegetables. Hunt for whatever meats the land can give them. And, make their own clothes. Because of these things we see them as poor. Because of the same things they see themselves as rich.

They are rich because they get to live with their extended family. They are free to do what they wish when they want to. They have plenty of exercise and live entertainment. And they live their life the way they want to live it, the same way their family has lived it for generations.

Others from around the world, who we look on as poor and destitute, hold the same ideas of being rich. They do so for many of the same reasons. They do not look at all those things they cannot afford, instead, looking at what each person has, and is happy with it.

There will always be people with more toys, and coins, and other stuff than we have. And, people who have less. My goal is to be happy where I am with what I have. Remember, it’s not the toys, it’s the state of mind.