All posts by John Larson

Focus On the ONE Thing

As a management consultant, I spent much of my consulting time helping clients discover and focus on the most important aspects of their business. They were often overwhelmed with tasks and projects that had little to do with overall success.

That’s where I helped them define their ONE Thing.

A business needs to make a profit, and have positive cashflow. Without both, they will eventually die.

But, the ingredients for these two essentials range all over the map, and depending on the business, might not apply – right now. Customer acquisition, sales process, followup, expense control, inventory control, customer care, vendor relations, banking — just some of the areas of concern.

The management task is to identify the obstacles and bottlenecks to success, and work out plans and procedures to overcome.

Here is how I’ve helped clients. I’ve given them a checklist or roadmap for making progress.

  • Of all the things that need to be done, what is that ONE Thing you need to Focus on – right now – for success?
  • Can you Define it, Describe it, Picture it?
  • What are the obstacles you need to overcome?
  • What resources do you have, or need?
  • Make a plan. Create Processes and Procedures to support this ONE Thing.
  • Focus, Aim, Zero-in, Prioritize, Measure.
  • Remove distractions. Shed the minutiae. Focus of the ONE Thing.
  • Work, work, work on the ONE Thing until you’ve conquered it. Then move on to the Next ONE Thing.
  • Track progress. Reflect. Evaluate. Refine.

I don’t know what your ONE Thing is. I do know you have one, and that it’s probably languishing and begging for attention. If you’re like me, it’s easy to procrastinate on the important stuff – because it might seem too hard.

Buck up! It’s the most important thing you can be working on.

Get. It. Done!

John L

 

 

Making the Most of the Cold and Dark of Winter

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

Here in NW Oregon, it rarely gets below freezing, and even more rarely, it snows. Generally, we can expect snow every few years. That’s one reason we get “snow days” with the falling of a single snowflake.

So, we bundle up and light a fire, brew the hot chocolate, and burrow in for the cold fronts.

It’s time to reflect and narrow down our actions for the coming year.

Our Amazon FBA business ended 2016 about 20% ahead of 2015. Pretty darn good. We hope for the same for 2017.

Unfortunately, our best selling category is dwindling in inventory and availability. We found them in closeout and discontinued stock from various brokers. We’ve sold tens of thousands of them for an average NET Profit of $5.

But, we’ve probably found them all, and they’re nearly gone.

We’re contemplating Private Label manufacturing. Sandi found her China importer, and we’ll consult with her to evaluate feasibility.

And, we’ll branch out to find new categories of products we can source and re-sell for a profit. This is the continuing task for an Amazon Seller, or for anyone working in retail ecommerce .

It’s good to have our bundled warmth to give us comfort. The future is unknown. But we can predict with enough data.

Plan our Work. Work our Plan.

John L

Rhythms of the Farm

We bought a farm back in Oct 2015, and moved in during Feb 2016. We have had a beautiful time moving and getting accustomed to life in a rural setting.

It is Heaven on Earth.

What we’ve known for all our lives is that there is a season for everything.

The farm is a living example of these seasons.

For example, we plant in Spring. We cultivate in Summer. We harvest in Fall. We regenerate in Winter.

What we have to do is to work our daily activities into these seasons so we can take advantage of the time of year for maximum advantage. Trying to plant seeds in the Fall normally is asking for crop failure. Cultivating in Winter here in Oregon just gets the garden onto a sloppy bog.

Do the right things at the right times.

So, too with business.

Sell what’s already selling. Sell during the seasons that your products usually sell in.

Control expenses to have a profit at the end of business.

Don’t try to change human behavior. Work with it instead.

Make work schedules that fit into the flow of your business.

Do the work.

JL