Tag Archives: goal-planning

Don’t Lose Sight of The Customer — Or Yourself

At the first, second, and third look, a business is in it to make money.
If it’s not making money,  then it’s an exercise in frustration and a money-sucking black hole at worst, and an expensive ‘hobby’ at best. A business provides services or products to consumers in return for money. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is the business of selling goods and providing services using an online platform, i.e the internet. That’s why you’re here.

So yes, you got into this wanting to make money . And somehow you are making money.  After keeping good records and getting updated licenses and permits and whatnot, how do you do? Do you lie awake at night worrying about how to make your mailing list grow? Do you wake up worried about making your bottom-line? Is your free time occupied with scribbling out plans with words like leverage, maximize, sales funnel, and  optimize?

When this kind of financial pressure makes you micro-focus on the numbers, you lose sight of several important things in the whole equation.
Yes, you do need to keep good records and updated permits and licenses and whatnot.
Yes, you do need to work on growing your mailing list. That’s all just good accounting and legal practice, and business sense.
But focusing on the bottom-line frames your business solely in terms of numbers. In doing so, that sort of gently moves out of focus the prime movers in the business.  And who are those? You, for one, and your customers, for another. Lose sight of either, you  can go off track.

Focusing solely on the point to get the money is missing the other points. Continue reading Don’t Lose Sight of The Customer — Or Yourself

Rethinking “Ready, Fire, Aim.”

Here are a few questions for you:

  • Did you make decisions about what exactly are your hard targets to accomplish this year in advance, or do you often resort to planning on the fly?
  • Do you go through how a plan — in its entirety, stage by stage– will align with your goals before you push through with it?
  • Do you track the results of your plans, whether they’re marketing campaigns or productivity schedules?
  • Do you track any changes you make to your plans when you encounter issues that make these changes necessary?
  • Over the course of the past year, did you feel that you were getting better at looking ahead (forecasting) and  mentally preparing (visualizing) for the things  coming your way?
  • How good would you say you are at visualizing and preparing for execution and assessment?

The popular advice when it comes to executing plans is, “Ready, fire, aim.”

The belief  behind this advice says that speed is essential, time is precious, and each miss gets you closer to the goal.  The caveat asks you to dig deeper at the supporting structure behind this set-up and see how it applies to you in the field, not in theory.

There are tons of advice out there for entrepreneurs. But you need to be sharp about which advice is reliably useful to you and the issues you encounter.  Personalization, in this case, also applies to you, and not just your customers: Take what you can use and leave the rest.

“Ready, fire, aim,” may not  fit the way you choose to work. It can conflict with your personality, or your chosen methods, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What works for you, works. As long as you focus on staying on-target, you’ll be good.

Other considerations.
What is your budget, say, for ‘misses’? Not just in financial terms, but in labor and time, too?  How close do you need to be to the goal to count the attempt as a hit or a miss?

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
Bruce Lee

Continue reading Rethinking “Ready, Fire, Aim.”

The First 3 Steps To Starting An Online Business

One of the biggest obstacles to starting your own internet venture is the inability to get started. You very likely have a clear financial target in mind: You want to make money with this business, and to a secondary extent, you don’t want to lose all the money you currently have trying to get it up and running.

What can really gum up the works are all the possible solutions you can come up with as to how, what, where and why the business will succeed. The choices are endless, and their possible combinations, near-infinite. You can’t quite settle on just one or two choices to consider, you keep rating and ranking and comparing choices —right into paralysis. Why?

Because it’s easy to dream big. Dreaming is free. Joint ventures. Teleseminars. Blogging, maybe, hopefully, towards an eventual book deal. Money, fame, authority.

The images are so seductive, so shiny, that we can spend hours immersed in what-will-happen-when-I-get-rich. In the blink of an eye, we’re at the grand finish. We have a thriving, successful e-business.

And without any solid, real plans to explain how we got it.

Dreaming is free, and the problem is when you come up against the reality of the things you need to do to actually start. Faced with too many choices, we can fall into the trap of endless comparisons, cost-to-benefits ratios, etc. and never really start.

So here’s a simple plan to start an on-line business: Continue reading The First 3 Steps To Starting An Online Business

Thinking Ahead: Navigating By The Signs Of the Times

29 November 2013, by A. Cedilla

You probably know what certain law enforcement acronyms mean from being exposed to popular TV procedural shows like CSI and NCIS, and maybe Bones. Words like BOLO ( Be on the look-out for) and APB (all points bulletin). These words get tossed out when the protagonists are alerted and on the hunt for someone.

In navigating your business through industry changes, consumer demand and market forces, what are the things that you look out for to stay relevant, and how do you recognize them? What are the things you look out for?

The answer depends on your business and on you, you personally. For all the talk of hitting the numbers, getting the ‘likes’, using the latest software, cultivating good press, a business still need the human element to work. Computers can’t make intuitive leaps. Laptops and smartphones don’t buy things on their own, or schedule something in (or out) of calendars, or go value-pricing all by their lonesome. People do that. And the answer is different for each person, so these questions will get wildly divergent results, because we’re not cookie-cutter clones.

When you take a moment to assess the situation, what are the steps you take? What factors do you take into consideration? You look at the groups you belong to. Work, play, business, family….there’s a happy, messy Venn diagram waiting to happen there.

What about assessing the probable situation two weeks ahead? A month? How about in quarters, and in a year? How far ahead do you look? What’s your time-line?

Serious planning is a whole-brain activity that asks uncomfortable questions. It’s much easier to give a quick look around and say, “Well, I’m still here, no need to rock the boat right now.” Or resign yourself to grinding through the days and collapsing on the weekends — when you’ve got the time. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re doing okay but there’s this nagging feeling that won’t let you rest, or let you be.

Life isn’t static…it’s how we grow. We can’t do that if things remains exactly the same. That’s how people build their lives, they move from one stage to another.

Are you satisfied with what you’ve got? When you look back on a typical day for you and extend it into the future, how will you answer the question, “Is this what I want for myself?” If you’re not growing, you’re stagnating, even if it feels pretty safe for the foreseeable future.

People tend to forget just how much of a difference they can create in their own lives because they get used to seeing things a certain way, and themselves a certain way.

What do you want your life to say?
Artists have their art, writers have their writing, and so on. As a business owner, don’t go on thinking it’s all about dollars and cents. Continue reading Thinking Ahead: Navigating By The Signs Of the Times

Eisenhower On Planning

18 February 2013, by A. Cedilla

“In preparing for battle, I have found that planning is essential, but plans are useless.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5-star general, 34th president of the United States

Planning ahead is extremely powerful, but you’ll often find that the better you get at realizing your plans, the more you realize that much of the plans you make get discarded. So what’s the point?

The planning prepares you for whatever may come. The process of preparation lets you be prepared — putting you in a state of readiness. Process is doing, state is being. You plan, you execute, and in the execution you adjust on the fly, moving with what happens in real-time –which is where most paper theories fly out the window.

Planning isn’t doing. Doing is doing.

As an offhand example, let’s say you do regular cardio (running) to get and stay healthier. Short-term and mid-term benefits: as long as you keep at it, you’re acting to preserve your health, strengthen your heart, bones and joints, and feel in charge of this part your life.

The possibility that you may have to run to save someone from getting hit by a card, or run to save your own life, is a remote one –it’s rare to find anyone who seriously trains for that— but the slim chance is still there, and if it does happen… well, won’t you be glad you were ready and fit enough to do so? Continue reading Eisenhower On Planning

Shaping Up For Your New Business

29 September 2012, by A. Cedilla

When you’ve made your decision on the business you’re getting into, you have to commit to what you’re planning to do, because if it’s something you only tolerate, you’ll be crippled right out of the gate.

See, doing stuff only for the money is a very nice thing, financially speaking — nothing wrong with being able to cover the necessities, and a little sumptin’ sumptin’ to make you happy — but realistically speaking, how long will ‘nice’ hold up for you in the context of your life?

In the long run, if money’s the only thing you get, this leaves you with nothing but trouble in the places money can’t cover; sooner or later the imbalance will ripple out into the other areas of your life. What you do has to be a fit between your personality, your interests and your goals.

What business to get into depends on what your interests and strengths are. You also have to have some concrete plans that support your answers to the following questions: Continue reading Shaping Up For Your New Business

What’s Your Incentive?

13 December 2011, by A. Cedilla

Made any plans lately?

Why are you doing the important things you do? Why are you drawing up the plans you’re making?

There’s got to be something that keeps you doing them, and when you get to know what that something is, you can surprise yourself with how many ways you can get more of that something into your life.

  • Your crazy hours are running you down, leaving you open to every sniffle and cough that presents itself. When your friends and family are still sleeping, you’re up, and vice-versa. You hardly get the time to have a meaningful conversation with any of them. You want to feel healthier and more connected to the people important to you. You want to keep to a regular schedule, and you struggle to do so.
  • You’re tired of scrimping and saving and feeling poor, dammit, but when you look around everyone’s in the same boat, and you’re not the only one hurting, so you put on the boots and keep going. Things won’t stay like this forever, and you end your 30-minute pity party to seize the day and kick its ass.
  • It sticks in your throat like you’ve swallowed a whole pineapple — or a grenade — but you don’t run, and you start that very important conversation that you’ve been meaning to have with your wife/boss/co-workers/employees/friends, etc. for weeks.

Thinking about how you think about things is called metacognition — And when you examine your way of thinking, you can uncover long-held biases you, haha, never though about. You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney’s website, lists down many of the ways we fool ourselves into thinking that we make unbiased decisions and hold balanced views.

When you actively become involved in “thinking about thinking,” you become more adept at seeing things clearly, as they are, not as you think on the surface they are. You develop clarity. When you see things clearly, with little illusion or self-delusions, you can act unencumbered by false information, inflated expectations and sketchy data.

You see what you truly need to live the life you’re happy with. You know what matters, and these things that matter to you are both goals and spurs. Continue reading What’s Your Incentive?

At Year’s End: Recapping the Past, Looking To The Future

06 December 2011, by A. Cedilla

Welcome to December. Congratulations, you made another year!

It’s around this time that networks start promoting their December “Coming Soon!” program schedules, traditionally going all out at year’s-end by running special broadcasts with titles like “The Year In Review” , followed by “The Best and Worst of 20__” and “The Top Ten Lists of The Year.”

It’s not just the media doing this, though. It’s a thing we all like to do around the tail-end of the year. We take this time to re-cap, looking back on everything that happened and everything we’ve done, and then making the time to visualize what we would do differently next year, planning for these things and hoping we would get to accomplish them within the next 365 days.

And it’s almost next year, you know. Blink, and you’ll be surprised how quickly it gets here. So before this year ends, how did it go for you? What stood out? Anything new you learned about yourself this year? What are your heartfelt goals for next year? Better have some pen and paper handy, then. You have some work to do.

And here are a few bits of advice to help you along with the planning process:

Achieving Goals = Chasing A Moving Target

27 November 2011, by A. Cedilla

How do you chase a moving target?
You don’t lose sight of it. Period. You do whatever it takes, scramble, hustle, hot-foot it, but you keep your eye on the prize. If you lose visual, don’t panic. Be still. Keep your eyes peeled for movement. Anticipate the easiest, fastest, sneakiest ways the target will try to use to escape. Be ready to move.

How do you chase a moving goal?
Keep it in front of you as much as you can. Make a regular reminder for yourself with it if you want to make it a habit that will last — by regular I mean daily and by reminder I mean actionable items. If it’s a big goal, break it down into bite-sized pieces and remind yourself to deal with those pieces everyday.

  • Big goal broken down into small chunks over time = success
  • Small goal broken up into smaller chunks over time = big success

The goal is something you want to happen. Maybe it has to happen for something you want more to become a reality. Or maybe you want it out off the way so you can move on to better things. Whatever your reasons, hitting the goal lets you do what you want to do after it.

The goal is a target. A target is something to aim for. Or to follow, like a game animal, but in a weird theoretical way where instead of following the tracks, you connect the dots that lead to completing the goal. Continue reading Achieving Goals = Chasing A Moving Target

Sometimes The Simplest Goals Can Demand The Most Commitment

21 October 2011, by A. Cedilla

Let’s start with something simple: There is something you want. You really really really want this something. This something may be an object, an event or a condition. For example: it may be a better job, a promotion, or better health.

Now: what are you doing to get it, or make it happen?

The gap between “wanting” and “having” is filled with taking action. You know about pipe dreams and castles in the air, but if you don’t act, you resign yourself to wanting from afar. If pining away is your thing, no one’s stopping you. But if pining is not your thing, then you’re the biggest factor in the way of getting what you want.

You want this, what do you do get it? A lot of that. The trick — which isn’t a short-cut or a trick at all — is to break down the lot of THAT into smaller to-do’s, then little just-did’s. That’s how success sneaks in — it disguises itself as hard work.

Another component to success is clarity: you have to be clear about what you really want, because if you’re vague about your desires, 1) how will you know if you’ve already got what you want? and 2) how sure are you that it’s what you really want? (Maybe it’s a substitute for something else?)

I want to get healthy. I want to make more money. I want a better life for my family and for myself, and I want to have more time to spend with them. I want I want I want want want.


You want. So? Continue reading Sometimes The Simplest Goals Can Demand The Most Commitment