Category Archives: Organization

Finding My Way Through All the Hype

Wow! It’s super-easy to get caught up in somebody’s marketing hype. After all, that’s what the marketers aim for. Their mission in life is to entice a larger and larger portion of their traffic to actually click the “I’ll Buy It!” button.

I find myself sucked in by the claims of easy this or massive that. I click all the fancy widgets and end up on their mailing lists and getting their oh-so-interesting emails.

I chase after each of the “undiscovered” ways to increase traffic, to increase click-through-rates, to automate my cash-flow, adding each one to my growing folder of “I Bought This” files.

What I end up with is a mish-mash of techniques and processes with no coherent pattern to them. I follow at random.

I end up with random results.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

My tendency is to act randomly. I’ve been that way most of my adult life. Not sure why, but that’s just me.

These impulsive actions tend to get me all tangled up, and make me lose track of where I’m trying to go with my business. The cohesiveness of my thinking and of my planning dissolves into somewhat managed Chaos.

I suffer from lack of structure.

A Business Plan is Not the Answer

No, a Business Plan might seem like the answer, but it is not. A Business Plan’s main focus is the big picture. It can’t manage the day-to-day activities that go into making a business go.

And a daily plan won’t do, either. Daily is too much of a micro-view of business. That’s how I get lost the easiest – nose down to the trail like a Beagle, and off I go with a new scent on the trail.

No, what I need is that intermediate planning device that allows me to see details in the big picture when I need to see them. Sort of like a magnifying glass.

I need a plan for planning.

One example of how I get tangled up is with making and distributing videos. Videos as a marketing device are well-proven to make a difference. Making videos is a whole ‘nother topic. But, the distribution of videos takes time and thought for maximum exposure and effectiveness.

I found a web service that allows me to upload once and distribute to many video sites. www.oneload.com allows me to upload once and distribute to many video services. With a Free account, I am limited to 100 video-somethings and a file-size of 500 MB. (No, I do not have an affiliate account with them.)

Ooh, ooh, ooh… Great! Now, I can shoot my videos and get them posted in a hurry. Let me get started!

But how do I go about managing the flow? I have to set up accounts with each “partner”, decide on categories, devise campaigns… There’s a ton more to do than shoot videos.

Write It Down

Perhaps one of the most useful advice I ever got from a marketer was to “write it down”. I knew that. I’ve always advised my clients to get away from “scratch-paper management” and create formal processes and procedures. If it sin’t written down, I’ll forget it in a heartbeat! More exciting things come along and push that idea or resolve out the window.

So here, I have to write down my Plan on how I’ll use OneLoad to market using videos. I’ll mark down who hte destination sites are, how I create and access accounts there, what sorts of videos I will use, how will I measure, and on, and on…

without this sort of roadmap for each of my main areas of concern, I’ll get lost in the jungle of Hype.

Writing Down the Bones

In order for me to stay focused, I need to keep in front of me the map I made for getting to my destination. If I don’t write it down, I can’t keep it in front of me. If I don’t write it down, I will forget it in an instant. If I don’t write it down, I will lose my way.

How do you stay on track?

Working on My Motorola Xoom

Last Friday, on release day, I picked up my new Motorola Xoom from my local Best Buy.

So far, I am not disappointed in its performance, nor its future. I like my Xoom…!

It is lightweight. I purchased the optional case/stand for it. The added protection keeps my screen intact.

Apps are scarce for this tablet, but I find that the many Android apps seem to work fine.

Battery life? Easily 10 hours of active use.

How about typing? Well that is a problem I’ll overcome with time. The virtual keyboard is about 9 inches wide, and the keys are large enough for my chunky thumbs to be able to hit them with few misses. I guess if I was a teen texter, I would be a better typer.

I’m still exploring capability and apps. I find it like a big PDA.

Let me know what you think of Your Motorola Xoom…

JohnL

Posted from WordPress for Android on Xoom

Infrastructure is your Key to Success

Having a great Product, identifying that hungry market, and building and marketing to a dynamic set of customers are all keys to on or offline business success.

But, without a stable Infrastructure, success will be fleeting or difficult to maintain.

What do I mean by “Infrastructure”?

I was thinking about why 3rd world countries are so poor, or so unable to make economic progress. I reasoned that the roads, utilities, markets, banking, communications, and transportation Infrastructure is the key.

Bad roads make it difficult or impossible to bring goods to markets that can’t handle volume. Finances and Banking shortcomings make it difficult or impossible to secure loans to improve business.

In short, without a sturdy and improving Infrastructure, success will be difficult or impossible.

Your Business Infrastructure

In your business, Infrastructure is all the supporting and girding you create or secure that allows your business to thrive and succeed. Without it, each day brings unexpected interruptions to the free flow of business transactions.

For example, one strut is a good accounting system. With one, you can keep track of sales, expenses, who owes you, who you owe. Without it, you fall behind on bills, labor endlessly only to find you didn’t make any money, or miss out on sales or discounts because of this faulty system.

Here are my top 10 Infrastructure pieces.

  1. Accounting System
  2. Filing System
  3. Planning System
  4. Inventory Control System
  5. Collections System
  6. Sales Funnel System
  7. Delivery System
  8. Display System
  9. Followup System
  10. Marketing System

I realize that some of these can be combined, but how else would I get 10??? Open-mouthed smile

I’ll be expanding on these as we go along. You can be thinking about them on your own. Then, you can add your thoughts in the Comments.

Make it a Great Day! Unless you had other plans…
JohnL

Your 4 Essential Business Tools

Every Business has some sort of toolbox full of useful gadgets to help business go, or make it easier to run. What’s inside varies from business to business. But, there are 4 Essential Tools that every business needs in order to stay successful.

1. Business Plan

Every Business, large or small, old or new, should have an up-to-date Business Plan. And you should refer to it frequently.

You would normally think of the Business Plan as a tool for securing financing. That might be true, but its BEST use is as a Planning Tool. Duh!

If you have followed most Business Plan guidelines, you have done some major research and thinking about your market, your product, and how you intend to make money. That research is invaluable, and if you simply do it and then let it sit on the shelf, you have lost the value of your efforts.

Keep referring to the Plan as you do business. You’ll remember your market, your customers, your intent. You’ll keep focus and reach those financial projections you made. Without the foundation of a good business plan, you’ll drift into places where you can get lost and never recover.

Keep the Plan current and visible.

2. Accounting Records

Oh No! More Bookkeeping! Haven’t we had enough???

No. These are the most important records you have. A good set of books will help you pinpoint profits and losses, good customers and markets, suppliers, and profit leaks. Keeping Books is fundamental, and vital for not just taxes, but for your entire business operations.

I have counseled plenty of failing businesses who did not know they were failing, or did not know why. Good books could have prevented the tragedy and the pain of business failure.

Essential records are Cash Journal, Sales Journal, General Ledger, Inventory Records, Customer Records, and Accounts Payable and Receivable Journals. Most computerized bookkeeping programs have these and more.

Spend the money. Consult your accountant. Get a good program. Keep them current.

3. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Every business has things to do and ways to do them. An SOP manual helps you get and keep organized for those routine tasks, and those rare but essential ones. It will also make it easier to train when you add employees.

Get a loose-leaf binder and some dividers. You’ll want to document your days, weeks, and months as you go along. Use the documentation to examine and improve those processes so you will always be moving forward.

Be especially alert to documenting those rare events. How to do a Backup of your computer. (Shouldn’t be rare, but should be documented just the same.) How to file various tax returns and payroll reports. As you learn how to do something, make an SOP for it so you won’t have to learn it again.

4. Your Daily Action Plan

This should drive your every day. You should never go to work without knowing Exactly what your goals for today are, and what you are going to do to reach them. This is more than a simple To-Do List. It is a well-considered Plan of what you intend to do and when.

Don’t let random events de-rail you from achieving your goals. Don’t think that you can spontaneously do what is right. You won’t. You will end your day without accomplishing much of anything, and a week’s worth of that will stretch into eventual failure.

Conclusion

Every Tool Box has a unique mix of tools and supplies. It is vital that you stock yours well, and that you keep those tools sharp and all oiled up for best use. The Right Tool for the job makes the work so much more effective.

And it’s Effective that you want to be.

John Larson