How can we ensure that we will enjoy our next job or even more importantly enjoy working in the business we are considering buying into?
It's common knowledge that a huge percentage of people are unhappy in their current work. I keep on hearing different figures bandied around, but I think we all know someone who is constantly complaining about their work.
For starters it helps hugely if we have an interest in the work we do. For those who plan their careers around their interests, the chances of job satisfaction are automatically increased ten fold.
So, how do we identify what our interests are and where should we start?
This is one of the first steps we all take when starting a business and something which I believe can have a long term impact on the success of any business.
There is no commonly promoted formula when it comes to choosing the name of your business. Some people, especially consultants or freelancers choose to use their own name with varying degrees of success. Others come up with some pretty clever names, names that are memorable, zany or just plain obvious.
I would like to share with you what I know about some of the strategies that are commonly used.
Many years ago I read the book, Feel The Fear And Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It was a great read, but once I finished the book I put it back into the bookshelf.
I love reading self development books and generally have two or three on the go at any one time.
My problem though is that I read a book, feel inspired by it, but then often I don't put into action what I have just learnt.
A couple of months back I attended a two day seminar called Courage To Be You. It was run by the Coaching Institute and was extremely motivational. I came away deciding that I needed to "find my voice" as I often tend to be the listener in many situations.
I'm not sure where this stems from, although I am aware that as a young child I had a stutter and attended speech therapy for a period of time which helped considerably.
My mum then encouraged me to enter speech competitions of which I had mixed results and gave this pursuit up after a particularly harrowing experience at a competition where I was not at all prepared for what came up.
Throughout my career and life I have been called upon to speak to groups large and small but have never really felt comfortable enough to attempt giving a speech without notes.
After attending Courage to Be You, I joined a local Toastmasters group which meets every two weeks. I have been to four meetings now and really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. I have been wanting to put my name down to speak but when I eventually found the schedule, discovered it was full for the next couple of months.
But then it was announced that the group is holding it's annual Humourous Speech Competition on the 19th September. I have never considered myself a funny guy, however, I first heard that they only had one entry, so I rang the organiser and put my name forward.
It looks like half a dozen others have entered as well now. Am I looking forward to it? Yes I am suprisingly, however, I know on the night I will be a bag of nerves. I have decided to give it my best shot though. I don't expect to place but realise that I have to start somewhere. I feel like I will be jumping in at the deep end as I plan to leave my notes behind, but in order to feel the fear we need to take risks.
I realise I could have waited till a speaking spot come up at one of our bi-weekly meetings, but what have I got to lose? Nothing really, except maybe a red face if no one finds my talk funny or even deep embarrassment if I experience a mental block part way through.
Well if thats the worse than can happen, I would assess the risk as being worth it.
I have spoken about my fear of speaking without notes, however, we all experience fear that holds us back on a daily basis. There are people I know who fear flying, travelling to foreign countries, driving in busy cities, meeting new people, changing jobs and even gassing up at different gas station.
Fear can prevent us from being our true selves, from fulfilling our greatest potential. I can personally bear witness to this. Why do we hold onto fears. Jeffers talked in her book about how we grow up learning that we need to attain perfection in whatever we do, resulting in us giving up trying new things in order to prevent us failing.
Sometimes we may hold onto a negative belief. One that I held onto for many years was that I had reached my highest level of education when I left high school as a 16 year old. I created this belief after just scrapping through with my school certificate results. It made sense to me at the time.
However as time went by I kept on scrapping through higher level tests and exams such as those I needed to pass after joing the police force. It wasn't until I was in my late thirties when I realised this negative belief that I held onto was not true. I completed a Diploma in Career Counselling plus a few University papers of which I passed with above average results.
If this negative belief was not true, then maybe there are other beliefs that can also be turned around? Take a minute to think about beliefs that you have turned around in your own life, then start tackling the negative ones you still hold onto. At least give it some thought, you never know what you may achieve until you try.
thanks for listening.
How hard is to to commit to something? Why do we have problems sticking to our commitments? What can we do to ensure we stick to our commitments?
This photo reminds me of a time when I purchased an old car with the intent to restore it, but after speaking with panelbeaters and car enthusiasts I came to the conclusion that the project was going to be bigger than I anticipated, so I ended up stripping the car and keeping the parts as spares.
When I think of the many commitments I have made throughout my lifetime, there have been some which have been total failures, others which I am kind of happy with and then a few which I am quite proud of. Why couldn't I commit fully to all of them?
It was recently announced that Amazon is coming to Australia. They have actually been operating within Australia since 2013 when they set up their Australian KIndle store. Was that a good or bad thing for Australians? I guess it depends on which perspective you come from.
I was watching my grand-daughter this morning as she played with her mother's mobile phone. She had unplugged it whilst it was charging, but then attempted to line it up to plug it back into the socket. Whilst she held it in her small hand, she attempted to scroll the screen with her thumb. I was blown away. We had only celebrated her first birthday 2 weeks earlier.
I realized kids picked things up pretty quick, she is the youngest of six grand-kids, but wow, I just didn't realize how quick they are to take in and learn from what they see happening around them.
It was a lesson for me and left me pondering how much these kids could learn if we focused more on providing planned learning experiences for them.
On a career guidance note, this is also a great time for parents to pick up on their child's interests and abilities. Are they showing a fondness towards playing with musical instruments / toys, or are they more into arty stuff, or maybe even showing a knack working out how things work or go together.
My grandson Noah smashes out puzzles really quickly as a four year old. He will spend hours on end putting together puzzles. He loves his own space. I see him working as an adult in an environment where he is left to do his own thing, solving engineering or mathematical problems.
It's interesting looking back at my own kids now that they are all adults. A couple of them were very creative when they were young children. They showed a lot of talent with their art even before they studied art in any formal manner.
Then there are my kids who showed a natural ability at sport and they have done really well using these talents as adults.
We all have talents, sometimes it takes a while for us to recognise them, or as we grow into adults we forget what we are really good at doing and get drawn into using skills which we are good at but not talented at.
To identify your own talents, think back to your childhood, it's often a great place to start.
Last night I attended a meeting in Christchurch New Zealand. I had been invited by an old friend. I enjoyed it and met some interesting people, however, I also met a woman who was part way through completing a bachelor degree in computer programming. We got talking about making money online and she told me that people don't make money online and those that say they do will exaggerate their earnings to impress others.
Before we start making new year resolutions, should we take time to evaluate the current year. I remember whenever I was involved in a police operation, we would get together at the conclusion of the operation and talk about what went right, what went wrong and how could we improve on our processes and procedures going forward. This is also a practice carried out by businesses whether they are finishing a new marketing campaign or making changes to their brand, product/services range or promotional event.
Any business owner should be able to look back at their figures and determine exactly where the business stands with regards to profitability at any stage throughout the financial year. Sometimes it can be too late if we leave this till when the accountant sorts out our taxes at the end of each financial year. A lot can happen over a twelve month period.
The same applies to our private lives. We make new year resolutions with the greatest of intentions, some of us may even write out our goals or heaven forbid, share them with others. So why do only a very small percentage of us get to celebrate achieving those goals that we made at the start of the year? Life gets in the way, well that's how I see it. Life gets in the way or we waiver from our path and give up. We find it too hard to change those old habits. We get distracted and lose our focus. Like a Weka attracted to a shiney object, we go from one idea to another always believing that we have found something better to work on, but at the close of another year we find that we have made no real progress in any direction.
How can we make 2017 different?
First of all I would suggest that we need to take the time to evaluate the past year. What worked, what didn't work? What goals did we make that we didn't achieve and why? Hopefully by looking at our past we can learn from our mistakes.
Secondly, when we sit down and write out our goals, it's important to know and note why we wish to attain these goals. If we don't have a good enough reason or a motivator, then when the going gets tough it will be too easy to giveup and dismiss the goal as just another new years resolution made in jest or without too much thought.
For instance your goal may be to save $10,000, which is a great goal, however knowing why you wish to save the $10,000 provides you with a solid reason for sticking to the goal. Your "why" may be because you wish to visit your sister and her family living in another part of the world, or it may be because you wish to pay off your mortgage or start a business or start a fund towards your childs schooling. If you know your "why" you have straight away increased the likelihood of achieving your goal.
I know a lot of people make new year resolutions around weight loss. Here is a prime example of why knowing your "why" is important. Ask yourself why you want to lose the weight. Is it solely because you can't fit those pair of trousers you bought last year or is there a deeper reason such as wanting to be able to play backyard soccer with your kids or grandkids, or maybe even wanting to complete a marathon. Maybe you realise that your health is affected by your excess weight. Could wanting to be around in 10 or 20 years time for your family be a reason when you know that diseases such as diabetes or cancers tend to shorten our live spans dramatically.
Once we have written our goals down we need to plan how we will go about achieving them. Be realistic and remember that it takes time to create new habits so as a part of your planning exercise, think of strategies you can use if you find yourself deviating from the path.
If your goal is to save $10,000 over 12 months. Break that down into smaller goals such as saving $833 per month or $193 per week. This way you can keep track of your goal and will immediately know if you are deviating from your chosen path. The earlier you make corrections, the higher the chance of getting back on task. When you plan your goal it's important to put strategies into place for times when you may slip up. For instance you may have a holiday planned mid year, so adjust your savings plan early to cater for this added expense.
Another part of forward planning I find helpful when developing a new habit is what we can do a week or a day before that will make it easier for us to stick to our goal. For instance if your goal is to lose weight, then when you go shopping, only buy healthy food. Make sure that you have healthy snacks in the pantry or fridge rather than the type of food you know is not good for you. At the start of the week or weekend take an hour or two to prepare meals in advance for the week ahead. Take the time to make a salad or bake some chicken which you can utilize over the following days.
Personally I enjoy going for early morning walks so the night before I will prepare by having a water bottle ready plus the clothes I will wear on the walk. That way I really just need to get out of bed. The hard work of deciding what to wear or finding matching socks is already behind me.
I hope you have found this post helpful. As we approach the New Year I intend to follow up with further posts on this topic.
cheers for now.
Whether we are starting our first job, our first online business, writing or publishing our first book or embarking on a major career change, we need to understand that achieving competence in any of these tasks takes time.
Midway through this year I wrote and published my first e-book. It took me a few months and at the end of the day I was very pleased with the final result. I then published it through Kindle Direct Publishing and expected it to start selling straight away. I compared the book with others in its category which were selling well and came to the conclusion that mine was as good as, if not better than the top seller. Okay, I may be slightly biased, but after months of waiting, my book is still on the first page, but has come nowhere close to meeting my initial expectations.
We often hear of people in 9 - 5 jobs talking about how they would love to be in a position to give that life up to pursue entrepreneurship and start their own business. The most common reason appears to be this desire for freedom. Freedom from answering to someone else, namely a boss, freedom from the daily commutes, freedom from working 9-5 each day with only weekends off and 4 weeks annual leave each year.
I find this perspective quite interesting because from a business owners perspective this is not always the case, in fact it can be far from reality for many small business owners. But why is this the case?
I feel it's because many inexperienced entrepreneurs either start-up or purchase businesses without exploring the different models of businesses available in the market and the pros and cons of each.
When purchasing a business we really need to look at the growth potential of the business. Much like purchasing an investment property. If there is little chance of that investment property either growing in capital value or cash flow, then why purchase it? The same applies when purchasing a business. This is where potential purchasers of businesses and property make the mistake of getting emotionally involved in their purchase.
When purchasing or starting a business, it's important to look at your business model as this will ultimately determine where you can take the business and whether the business may one day offer you the freedom that you dreamt of.
In recent years business models have changed dramatically, due mainly to the internet and constant changes in technology. These changes are hugely impacting older business models that have been slow to adjust. Examples include brick and mortar retail businesses. Online sales are growing exponentially from one year to the next having a huge impact on their brick and mortar counterparts. Think of brands such as Whitcoulls, Borders and Paper Plus. Some of these brands have disappeared completely from the retail scene over the last 5-7 years. With the global expansion of mega online businesses like Amazon, we are going to witness many more retail brands disappear from the landscape unless they quickly adjust their business models.
Businesses need to constantly re-assess their model, their customer base and what competitors are doing. One example of a well known brand who does this well is fashion store Country Road who built it's brand on classic styles and quality goods aimed for a customer base of middle aged men and women, however, as their customer base aged, they didn't want to lose these customers so set up a separate brand called Trenery which is aimed at the 50-70 year old market. By doing this they retained many of their older customers and were able to focus on attracting a younger age group of customers to their Country Road brand.
Another example includes the hospitality sector which has been shaken up considerably since the inception of Airbnb as has the taxi industry since Uber and Lyft found a customer base who were quick to see the benefits of share riding.
I believe that smaller businesses hold one major advantage over their larger counterparts as they are generally not bound by having to consult boards of directors and key stakeholders such as shareholders and investors before making decisions which could change a businesses direction and ultimately avoid unsustainable losses. When I think of a large corporation such as Kodak which for many years held the major market share for film processing, but were too comfortable in their position as market leaders to even acknowledge the technological advances that were being made in the area of digital cameras and the impact this would have on their profitability as a company. Their demise is probably one of the most enlightening examples of a large company which was too slow to adjust to a changing market.
If there is one piece of advice I can share with business owners today, it would be that you avoid complacency at all costs and carry out an audit of your business plan on a six monthly basis. Check that your business model is still the best for your business. What are your customers doing? What are your competitors doing? What other key partnerships or alliances can you form to further strengthen your business and what changes have occurred in your cost structure since you last checked your plan?
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