How Scarcity Impacts your Work

By on Aug 26, 2015 in Blog, business | 0 comments

In Scarcity, the authors make an interesting distinction between urgent work and important work. Urgent work is work that needs to be done because you’ve hit a deadline, while important is work that is high priority but may not have a deadline. Unfortunately, the authors note, that urgent work typically supercedes important work, because of the sense of scarcity that develops when the urgent work is being done in a time crunch. In Dealing with People you can’t stand, illustrate this concept in their own way when they show how the intent a person applies to their work and other situations affects the work they do. When a person has lots of time to do work, they may be focused more on getting work done right versus a deadline of the next day, where the focus is just on getting the work done. Sense reading both of those books I’ve been observing my work patterns and other people’s work patterns and I think what they shared is accurate. I notice that urgent work is typically work put off until the last minute and it creates a tunneling effect where only that work is important, even if there are other things that need to be done. The downside of this, aside from the stress, is that it creates a cycle of such behavior. Unfortunately, in many case, the reason this cycles occur is because people in charge set deadlines and then change them or add more work on. My own approach to work has always been to do work gradually, breaking it down into steps and focusing on each step. This makes the work less overwhelming, and easier to reach deadlines. It’s even helpful when you have numerous deadlines for different projects, because you can set up steps for each project and create deadlines for those steps that keeps you on top of all your work, instead of just the urgent work. What you are really doing is proactively designing how you will work and deal with deadlines, instead of reactively waiting for work to become urgent due to a deadline. The benefit of that is you are also avoiding the tunneling that occurs when you feel scarcity about your...

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Opportunity and Perception

By on Aug 12, 2015 in behavior, Blog | 0 comments

One of the skills that a business owner needs to cultivate involves honing their perceptions to become aware of opportunities. Opportunities aren’t just new clients or money coming in the door. Opportunities can come in many forms and its up to us to be aware of an opportunity and not dismiss it because it doesn’t show up in a way we may want. Many of the opportunities I’ve had the fortune of uncovering haven’t necessarily lead to more business, but have nonetheless helped me discover resources I needed to run my business better. So how do you cultivate your perception? First, keep an open mind about every encounter you have. Listen carefully to what people are saying because you may uncover needs they have or discover that they have information you need or know someone you’d like to meet. If you hear something that catches even the least bit of your interest, follow up on it so you can learn more. Another way that I cultivate an open mind is to consistently expose myself to new situations and to various disciplines outside of my own. For example, I might go to an industry networking meeting for the opportunity to learn more about the industry. Or I might read a book on psychology to better understand the motivations and actions of people. By doing that I open myself to opportunities, because I am looking at a situations from more than just my own perception. I am using the perception of other people to teach me how to discover possibilities I might otherwise miss out on. I also think about what I really want to accomplish and I examine my use of time to help me see if I’m really honoring the opportunities available to me with that time. If I have a day where I’m not networking or visiting clients, I can put that time toward writing or other projects that need to be worked on. Consequently I end up using my time optimally because I’m always working on some project that is important to me. Making progress on projects is the realization of opportunity…it’s you making a choice to do something with the time you have available to you....

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The Negatives of Abundance

By on Jul 29, 2015 in behavior, Blog | 0 comments

In Scarcity, the authors also explore abundance and the negatives of abundance as it applies to choices people make. They find that when people have an abundance of time, space, etc, or anything else that creates a surplus of choice, its actually harder to make a choice, because the people in such a circumstance will try to have their cake and eat it to. When a person has an abundance of something, how they make decisions changes because of that abundance. So how can this be applied to business? In your business, there can be times where you have an abundance of resources, or time, or something else crucial to your business and if that’s the case, it’s worth examining how you’ve handled that abundance. Did you put it to the best use possible or did you find that because you had so much you didn’t necessarily put what you had to the best use? While abundance can be a wonderful experience, it is worth considering the negatives, namely that if you have too much of something you may not effectively use it well. For example, lets say you have lots of free time. you might think you’d put all that free time toward projects, but chances are having so much time will actually cause you to spend that time in ways that might be considered wasteful under circumstances where you had less time. If you’ve ever had that experience where you have lots of time, but then at some point you find yourself wondering where all of it went, and needing suddenly to focus more than you had, then what you’ve experienced is the abundance of time and also the scarcity of time. The abundance occurs in having lots of free time, but the scarcity happens when you don’t have as much and need to focus. You can see a similar occurrence with money. If you own a business and you suddenly make a lot of money, one of the perils that can occur is having so much you don’t know what to do with it. Consequently you can end up spending that money in ways you wouldn’t normally spend money, because of the luxury of abundance. The...

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How to create an effective financial budget for your business

By on Jul 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

In the Attacker’s Advantage, one of the points the author raises is that the way businesses handle budgets is not effective, because the budget is set once a year. I agree with his perspective and also his solution which is that businesses should review their budgets quarterly in order to adjust to changes in their industry as well as changes in the projects they are working on. Regardless of what size your business is, you can’t afford not to be on top of the financials if you want to know where your business is going. In the case of small businesses, mastering your financials is essential to help you grow your business. Ideally you have a budget mapped out for your expenses and investments, but you also have some idea of what you will actually do with the money that will be productive for the business. You also need to know qualifies as a deductible expense and what might be considered questionable. Working with an accountant and bookkeeper can help you address some of these concerns and make sure you’re compliant with taxes. Additionally they can help you do financial planning so that you are putting money aside for taxes. Part of the financial planning that needs to go into business involves determining how much you want your business to grow. Your budget is a reflection of that focus, in terms of what the money is put toward, yet whatever is invested should have defined parameters that show what the expected result will be as well as how that result will be achieved. Simply putting money toward marketing isn’t effective, unless you also define what marketing activities will occur as well as what they will ideally accomplish. At the same time, being able to adjust your budget as things change is essential so that you aren’t locked into doing something that doesn’t work or something that needs more support in order to bring greater success. A review of your budget should have you asking what’s worked, what hasn’t worked and how can the money be used most effectively? The money a business has is what sustains it, but also allows the owner the opportunity to invest and test in...

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5 Tips for better Time Management

By on Jul 15, 2015 in Blog, boundaries, business | 0 comments

One of the questions I’m asked on occasion is how I’m able to work on three different businesses that I own and still have time for an active social and family life. The answer to that question is having time management skills that allow me to balance and prioritize what’s important and productive over what’s busy and time wasting, but not necessarily productive. Fortunately these are skills that can be learned and applied in your own business and life. The following tips can help you improve your time management skills. 1. Define what is productive work and what is busy work. You need to define what busy and productive work are so that you can recognize if you are doing one or the other. Productive work involves getting something done that produces a return on investment in some form or manner. Busy wok involves doing something which isn’t high priority and actually wastes your time. What is productive or busy work will vary from person to person, depending on what the work actually accomplishes. For one person, answering email may be busy work, while for another it might be productive. What defines a task as productive or busy is what it helps you accomplish. If answering emails helps you land some clients, or take care of current ones, then its likely productive, but if it doesn’t serve a purpose that has a defined outcome it’ll be productive. 2. Keep track of your high priority items. I have a white board I use to keep track of my various projects. This makes it easier for me to stay on top of the high priority items and make progress on them. If I’m not sure what to do I can look at the whiteboard and pick a task and that way I’m always working on productive work. 3. Schedule your social time around gatherings. I schedule most of my social time around specific events such as game night, where I play games with friends. By setting up social time around activities I enjoy doing and inviting multiple friends over it allows me to have time with friends and do something relaxing without having to overbook myself too much. 4. Break your...

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Size and Systems

By on Jul 8, 2015 in Blog, business | 0 comments

One of the fallacies that I see occur in business and other organizations is a misguided belief that the size of an organization matters as to why that organization does or doesn’t have good systems in place. For example, there’s a tendency to argue that the bigger an organization the more dysfunctional it is. This simply isn’t true. While many large organizations can be dysfunctional, I’ve encountered enough dysfunctional small businesses to see that what makes a given organization dysfunctional is either the lack of systems in place to address situations, or outdated systems that need to be updated to fit the actual experiences people have. The other problem that occurs is a one size fits all mentality which argues that if a system works for one size of business it ought to work for businesses of another size. This is a problem because what system works for one size may not work for another. For example, recently I worked with a client who noted that the financial systems they had learned about actually fit businesses larger than them, whereas the financial system we worked on together fit their business because it was scaled to the actual realities of the business. Effective systems fit the organizations they are developed for and help those organizations evolve to the point that new systems can be developed as needed. It should also be clear that bureaucracy isn’t a system so much as it is the ineffective implementation of systems. The ineffectiveness of bureaucracy is best summed up by the phrase, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.” Bureaucracy, in an organization, creates a lack of communication and follow through that consequently mires the organization in inadequate systems. This occurs to any size organization, up to and including solo owned businesses. Good systems are created for the business and factor in what the business needs are, in order to make running the business easier for all involved. If you find that running a business is hard, look at your systems or lack thereof. If they aren’t set up to address the challenges you are running into, then you need to set up a system that allows you to work...

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