Monday, April 9, 2007

Who Do You Think You ARE Anyway?

Creating a Clear Vision For Your Business

In order to write a vision for your business, the first step is identifying who you really are and what is important to you.

Not what you DO or have been doing, but who you ARE.

You may be doing things that are really not in alignment with what is important to you in your business. It's critical to identify any of those discrepancies to redirect your efforts toward a successful venture.

List all the things that you don't want to see in your business. A great way to do this is to create two columns and make the list of your "don't wants" on the left and in the right column list what it is that you do want. This is sometimes referred to as the "T exercise" because of the T created by the columns.

It's easier to identify what is important to you if you think of what it is that you don't want first. We just seem to come to better choices that way. The important thing is to identify quickly what you do want without putting too much emphasis on the negative.

Areas to consider in this business analysis sound very much like ones you would include in a newspaper article: Who, What, What, Where, Why and How!

What products or services are planned? What image is important to you? What is your role as the owner? With all of these questions, first write what you don't want to have and then write the reverse to clearly identify your desires.

Next, you need to consider the location, the Where. What is the location of the business? Where do the customers come from? Where will various parts of your business be located?

The next W is the Who. You need to determine whom you don't want as customers and then clearly define who your ideal customers would be. Other considerations in this category are possible strategic alliance partners, and advisors who could be a support to your business growth.

Timing of your startup including completion of necessary facilities and systems is the "When" of the equation. A difficult area for many businesses is determining when it is the right time for expansion and delegation of responsibilities to allow for growth. The challenge is to do this without overextending their financial resources.

Probably the very most important category for consideration is the Why. Why are you creating the business? Just as important is the question of why your customers will buy what you are selling.

The How plays a key role in the climate of the business. How do you envision your interactions with employees, suppliers, and customers?

Taking all these categories through the process of writing what you don't want to see in your business and turning them around to the clear choice of what you do want will bring you to a list of desired characteristics. From this you can pull together a summary and then condense it into just a statement.

An example of a vision statement might be, "Within the next five years grow Widgets International into a $5 million international widget company providing custom-made widgets of excellent quality to makers of patio furniture." You can choose this simple format or one that is worded more in your writing style.

With the vision statement, you have a clear description of what you see your business doing in five years. You could also write this for a shorter or longer time frame.

All of the steps you worked through in this process will help you as you develop the rest of your business plan.

Your next step is to create a mission statement. The mission statement gets into more of the implementation of the vision you see. It is broad and then is broken down into the necessary goals, strategies, and plans to carry out the mission statement.

Step by step you are refining what you really envision in your business. You can start to answer that question, "Who Do You Think You ARE Anyway?"

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Comments from Craig

"Suzanne has been a tremendous support to me. She has helped me navigate the rough terrains, held me up when I am down and cheer me on when I am on a roll. Suzanne has kept me accountable to myself, taught me new skills, and reminded me to value myself. Working with Suzanne has been very rewarding."

Craig Frooninckx
Technology and Real Estate

Monday, April 2, 2007

Mind Over Multitasking

Mindfulness or being mindful is being aware of your present moment. You are not judging, reflecting or thinking. You are simply observing the moment in which you find yourself.
How much time do you spend not being mindful?

See if you recognize any of these statements from a questionnaire developed at the University of Rochester:

1. I find it difficult to stay focused on what's happening in the present.
2. I snack without paying much attention to what I'm doing.
3. It seems I'm "running on automatic" without much awareness of what I'm doing.
4. I tend to walk quickly to get where I'm going without paying attention to what I experience along the way.
5. I find myself listening to someone with one ear and doing something else at the same time.
6. I tend not to notice physical tension or discomfort until they really grab my attention.
7. I rush through activities without being really attentive to them.

If some of these sound familiar, there's plenty of room for increasing mindfulness in your daily life. Learning to focus the mind can be a healthful antidote to the stresses and strains of our on-the-go lives. Being mindful means focusing attention on what you're experiencing from moment to moment.

It's quite a challenge to be mindful in our hectic world.

Mindfulness-based approaches have been integrated into the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other behavioral and emotional disorders including binge eating, obsessive- compulsive disorder, and depression relapse.

Studies at University of Wisconsin showed that after mindfulness training, brain wave recordings showed a pattern of activity greater in the left prefrontal cortex that is associated with happiness and optimism. Mindfulness also influenced the immune system of those in the study. The mindfulness students produced more antibodies than the controls.
Source: Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society

What can you do to increase your mindfulness?

* The Mind/Body Medical Institute suggest that you slow down as you go about everyday activities, doing one thing at a time and bringing your full awareness to both the activity and your experience of it.
* Notice the times when your thoughts are creating stress or distracting you from the present moment.
* If you are in a stressful moment (perhaps you're about to speak in public or undergo a medical test), observe your thoughts and emotions and how they affect your body.
* Make something that occurs several times during your day, such as answering the phone or buckling your seat belt, a reminder to return to the present and think about what you're doing and observe yourself doing it.
* Being mindful doesn't mean you'll never "multitask", but you can make multitasking a conscious choice.
* It doesn't mean that you'll never be in a hurry, but at least you will be aware that you are rushing.
* Although upsetting thoughts or emotions won't disappear, you will have more insight into them and become aware of your choices in responding to them. Resource: Harvard Medical School Health Watch, Mind/Body Medical Institute.

Hopefully, hearing some of this research and learning some ways to increase your mindfulness will move you in the direction of being more mindful as you go through each day. It's worth giving it a try.