Category Archives: Motivation

Tips for Finding a Mentor

Good business mentors have a big impact on businesses. Their connections can open doors that would have been closed and their experience can save business people from suffering from the same mistakes that they went through. Finding a mentor is not easy as you have to know the things that make a good mentor, how to approach one and also maximize the relationship.

The best mentors are those that ask a lot of hard questions and challenge one to surpass set goals. They need to share their own experiences and help you to uncover new opportunities. A mentor should not tell you what to do as their role is to advice you. It is your business to operate and not theirs.

The most common mistake that a lot of people do is by opting for the busiest and most well known mentor. While this might work, it is more productive to analyze your own network and search locally for mentors. Approach founders and key people of companies which in your area that you look up to. Those are people who are going to invest time in your business. In order to make the first connection, send an email stating what your business does and why you are reaching out to them. Take time to read their personal blog or other online account to learn more about their background.

Once you will have established a connection, you need to build a relationship with time. One way you can do this is by check in on a regular basis. Mentors love to see progress and take pride in knowing that their help has been fruitful.

With the tips provided above, you are sure to get the best mentor. Take your time and choose wisely. Do not just rush for the first person that you come across.

Learning From Your Mistakes

MistakesIt was Albert Einstein who said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Mistakes are inevitable and as we are all humans we are bound to make a mistake at one time or another. There are two different types of mistakes- simple mistakes and complex mistakes. A simple mistake may cost you a broken nail while a complex mistake can ruin your entire life. Having said that, to learn from your mistakes, you first have to identify what you did wrong, accept the wrong and then make changes.

Identifying Your Mistakes

Unless you are living in a bubble, it is quite easy to recognize when you have made a mistake. Some of the primary indications that you have erred include: broken relationships, a parking fine, a speeding ticket, and loss of business revenue, loss of profit and even loss of clients.

Accept Your Mistakes

When you have identified your mistake, there is no point berating yourself about it. The thing is, though it is unfortunate that you’ve made a mistake, you have to recognise that it is an opportunity for you to learn- an opportunity not to repeat the action. Many people make the mistake of accepting their mistakes but they get stuck in a rut because they keep dwelling on them. There is nothing that will hold you back more than dwelling on your losses and your errors in judgment. Doing this only obscures your vision of the future. Making a mistake doesn’t mean you are a failure. The only failure is when you are unable to rise from that mistake.

Make Changes

Once you have identified and accepted that you made a mistake, it’s time to move into the mode of making changes to avoid history repeating itself. When you make a mistake, you have to perceive it as an opportunity to learn something new. In the case of a mistake in your business affairs, you will have to brainstorm and analyze what you think will work the next time around. This may mean changing notions, strategies and even formulas. If your business is under-performing, you may have to consider offering more value for money to customers, invest in employee training or improve customer service.

It is often said that what does not kill you makes you stronger. Whenever you make a mistake instead of berating yourself, seize the opportunity to try something new. You will ultimately develop strength of character in the process. And if you ever consider giving up after several failed attempts, always bear in mind that it took the makers of rust prevention formula,WD40, had to rework their formula 39 times before the finally reaping success. It depends on how you view it, because a mistake may be a pothole to discovery.

You gotta see where you stand to see where your’e going

Many people think that persistence is the path to achieving one’s goals, and on some level this is certainly true.

It’s unfortunate however the many confuse being persistent with being inflexible or stubborn. “Staying the course” won’t work if that course doesn’t have the ability to ever lead you to your destination. Being consistent has not value or benefit if you it means consistently being wrong.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Context vs Consistency
The world is fluid and constantly in motion, very few things are static and unchanging. It is important to realize that context is more important than consistency. What worked for you in the past may no longer work for you today. For example, if you try to use a 50 year old body the same way you utilized a 15 year old body, you will get completely different results. It’s important to understand that you have to act and react in ways that are appropriate to the present situation, rather than simply relying on what worked before.

A Brave New World
Business methods and practices that predate the internet and social media haven’t lost all their value, but they do lack scope and are not suited to a world of “real time”. Consumers now get information in real time and have access to much more of it. They also have a new unprecedented ability to share information including their opinions and experiences for brands, products and services. Word of mouth is no longer a small or localized process, it is not instant and global. It is important to understand this and leverage it to your advantage or it will be used to your detriment.

A real world example of this is a UK bookkeeping business I cam across recently who in a few short years have transformed themselves from traditional bookkeepers visiting clients premises or receiving in boxes of documents to dealing with their outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services online. This has been made possible as acceptance of cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping has taken hold and as software companies such as Xero and Sage have made this option secure and affordable.

Many fear change and things they don’t quite understand. The best way of dealing with fear is often to confront it and neutralize its power of you and your circumstances. Gaining more knowledge and being open to changing strategies and directions is vital here. The barrier and resistance to change is usually a matter of comfort or being very invested in a current course of action.

Too Big To Move
In the case of companies many are too large or rigid to stay nimble and adapt to realities of a more rapidly changing market. While consumerism and its growth has allowed many business to thrive, it has the potential to hurt anyone who get’s “too big to move”. Markets now shift very rapidly as a result because consumers are more fickle and brand loyalty is much harder won and easily lost in the age of the internet and social media.There is also the issue of not watching for trends and shifts in consumer demand.

Kodak is a good example of this, based on the fact it practically developed (pun intended) the entire film industry. Because of there over commitment to film and their lack of belief in the growing popularity of digital cameras, they were late in developing and patenting competing technology for it and establishing a presence in that market. As a result of being able to shift in direction with their competitors they lost everything, while lesser smaller competitors such as Pentax and even Fuji are still thriving.

Changing Direction When Needed, Not For Change Sake
Change can be good, but it is not without it’s dangers. As stated earlier the context of the change and the motivation behind it is what really matters. Changing simply for the sake of being “fresh” is an unnecessary risk if there is no indication that the change will improve the situation considerably or that the situation even requires any change to be made at all. If something is working, and there is not way to qualify or quantify the value of a potential change, its probably not worthwhile.

Setting goals

Successful business set goals.

Without these goals, they will have no defined purpose and nothing to strive and achieve. Goals are the stepping stone to end results. They have to be present in all business plans and be a regular part of ongoing business operations.

These are resolutions to achieve a result whether it is long to short term as they offer an understanding of what the company does and is striving to achieve. With goals, you are going to give meaning to everyday tasks and to also clarify the reasoning behind the decisions of a company.

One way of setting a goal is to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time conscious. It is also essential for the goals to be in writing and a plan that outlines the methods to be used to attain them. You have to modify your goals along the way but do not do away with them unless it is really essential. Monitoring goals on a regular basis and coming up with status reports is the best way of establishing future goals.

Set goals for departments, individuals and the business as a whole. This is going to result in team work. It is also going to boost the morale and help in bringing the goals to fruition. Input from your employees when you will be setting up the goals is going to keep them attainable and realistic.

Setting goals is not a onetime thing but an ongoing process. Markets change and both the sales and economy fluctuate. A savvy business person is one who takes advantage of every situation. When your business is doing well, goals help in maintaining or even increasing the good times and this will act as a safeguard during inevitable slumps.

With this information, you are now ready to set your goals and achieve them.

Analysing your Business Competitors

Knowing you business competitors and what they have to offer is going to help make the products and what you have to offer to be outstanding. It is also going to help you set good prices for your things and undertake rival campaigns. You can use the information you get to create strategies that take advantage of the weaknesses of your rivals. Below are tips on analysing business competitors.

Know who you are competing with. All corporations face competition. People have turned to selling and getting their services online. This means that you are not just up against the local competitors. Another possibility is finding yourself competing with people that are in other countries.

These are some of the things you need to know about the competitors. Look at the products they offer, how they market themselves to customers and the sum they charge. You should make inquiries in regard to their brand and design values as well as how they employ and distribute customer loyalty and the backup they offer.

Another thing to consider are your competitors clients. Be acquainted with who they are what the customers see as the strengths and weaknesses of the challenger and if there are any long standing clients.

You should also inquire what they are planning to do. Know the customers they target, the new products they are developing and the financial resources that they have.

It is also advisable that you read about competitors. Look for advertisements or articles in mainstream publications or the trade press. Check their entries in directories and phone books as well. Read a copy of their annual report to know if theirs is a public company.

With all this in mind, you are going to succeed in your own company by working on the weaknesses of your competition.