defining success http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7711/all en-US Did You Win or Lose Today? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/did-you-win-or-lose-today <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/did-you-win-or-lose-today-ken-kaufman" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/did-you-win-or-lose-today...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/did-you-win-or-lose-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012107876XSmall.jpg" alt="Businesspeople celebrating" title="Businesspeople celebrating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is a significant disconnect between what determines successful business performance and how business owners and entrepreneurs measure their performance. The more entrepreneurs measure the right things, the more it will drive their success. So why is it that so many aren&rsquo;t keeping score of the things that matter most?</p> <p>Before I answer that question, let&rsquo;s understand exactly what&rsquo;s happening to cause such a separation between the key drivers of success and what&rsquo;s actually getting measured. I have asked many entrepreneurs and business owners this question over the years: &ldquo;Did your business win or lose today?&rdquo; I seem to always get a different reason for a win. Here are just a few:</p> <ul> <li>Daily sales were above a certain number</li> <li>No customer complaints all day</li> <li>No employees called in sick</li> <li>Collected an old receivable</li> <li>Renegotiated a supplier contract to save money on materials</li> <li>Everybody came to the holiday party</li> </ul> <p>What&rsquo;s interesting about these common answers is that none of them really drill into the heart of the business model, the core competencies that are the only way the company can make money and sustain itself. In his book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Good-Great-Companies-Leap-Others/dp/0066620996/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1291657347&amp;sr=8-1"><em>Good to Great</em></a>, <a href="http://www.jimcollins.com/">Jim Collins</a> explains the concept of an economic denominator, or the selection of one ratio that would have the greatest and most sustainable impact on your business model.</p> <p>Every business model I have ever seen can be broken down into three or fewer daily measurable metrics. But most entrepreneurs fail to do this for several reasons, including:</p> <ul> <li>It&rsquo;s much more challenging than it may appear to break a business down into the one to three metrics that encompass its entire business model.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most entrepreneurs believe it&rsquo;s impossible to put into place the daily reporting mechanisms required to get the information every day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Business owners often resist relying on numbers too much because they are used to running their companies on qualitative and anecdotal information.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Investing time and money into reporting is viewed as a necessary evil, not a source for gaining the clarity required to achieve strategic competitive advantages and improve performance.</li> </ul> <p>Why bother to report on these things daily? Why do we need to know if we win or lose each day? Can&rsquo;t I just wait to look at these numbers every week or month? Good questions, but they are focused on reporting as a passé, reactive process rather than a dynamic, critical element of the strategic direction of a company.</p> <p>The right numbers in the right hands at the right time bring clarity. And clarity fosters strategic insight, which drives an entrepreneur toward obtaining competitive advantages. Yes, you can certainly gain a competitive advantage by knowing your numbers better than your competitors know theirs. In fact, Jim Collins&rsquo; book makes the argument that all of the great companies had refined their reporting to this daily level of detail, while all but one of the good companies had this part of their business figured out.</p> <p>In six simple steps, any business can put a value-added process in place that will significantly impact your business:</p> <ol> <li>Find the one to three core pieces of your business model. This may take several brainstorming sessions, and I recommend you talk to others in your industry as well as seek information and standard ratios for your industry from your banker, CPA, or CFO.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate the numbers by hand with the information you currently have available. This will allow you to see where the information is coming from, how frequently it&rsquo;s available, and how accurate it is.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Determine what staff, software, and processes need to be upgraded, tweaked, or utilized better to facilitate the daily collection and presentation of this information.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Implement the most cost-effective strategy to pull this information together in a daily report that is insightful, meaningful, and physically and intellectually accessible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>After the first week, evaluate the usefulness of the information as well as the efficiency of your system for generating it. You may realize you need different metrics or you can get the info more cost-effectively. Make the changes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Continue to re-evaluate this reporting process and the information you get regularly to ensure it is creating as much clarity and insight as possible while efficiently and effectively being produced.</li> </ol> <p>Did you win or lose today? Now you know how to get right answer, and it will make a significant difference in your business.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ken-kaufman">Ken Kaufman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/did-you-win-or-lose-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center defining success small business successful businesses Wed, 22 Dec 2010 17:40:53 +0000 Ken Kaufman 377180 at http://www.wisebread.com The Secret of My Success http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-of-my-success <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-secret-of-my-success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/success-xsmall.jpg" alt="Success" title="Success" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="176" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why is it that a few people &ldquo;get all the breaks&rdquo; while most seem to be starring in their own version of <em>&ldquo;Groundhog Day&rdquo;</em> for the better part of their lives: renting themselves out by the hour, everyday, for enough to pay the bills, buy a few distractions from the dull throb of frustration and spend their time away from work trying to forget what they did all day?</p> <p>Karma? Luck? A silver spoon? The hand they&rsquo;re dealt?</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve written about the vanity underlying the messages in <em>&quot;<a target="_blank" href="/secret-attraction">The Secret</a>&quot;</em> as well as the <a target="_blank" href="/do-you-have-what-you-want-and-do-you-want-what-you-have">vacuum of materialism</a> . Here, though, I want to present some basic steps that anyone can follow to realize their own definition of success.</p> <p>When I was little, my dad was always saying things like, &ldquo;A winner never quits and a quitter never wins,&rdquo; and he would often quote Robert Schuller:</p> <blockquote><p><em>When faced with a mountain, I will not quit</em><br /> <em>I'll keep on striving until I climb over,</em><br /> <em>Find a path through, tunnel underneath,</em><br /> <em>Or simply stay and turn my mountain into a gold mine.</em><br /> <em>I will not quit.</em></p> <p> </p></blockquote> <p>As a child I didn&rsquo;t grasp the enormity of these simple passages; but as an adult having to constantly adjust to change, I now realize that there are some not-so-secret ideas that are the keys to true success:</p> <h3>Know Exactly What You Want</h3> <p>Ask most people, &ldquo;What do you really want in life?&rdquo; (and I do this often), the answers are generally vague and what I&rsquo;d call &ldquo;safe&rdquo;: &ldquo;I want to be happy&rdquo;, &ldquo;I want a lot of money&rdquo; or &ldquo;I just get through the day.&rdquo;</p> <p>But what is happiness? How much is a lot of money? After you &ldquo;get through the day&rdquo; for enough years ... then what? Few are very specific to confidently assert <em>exactly</em> what is their driving passion. When I finally sat down to do this, it was a bit more difficult than I had anticipated and, to be honest, I&rsquo;m always refining.</p> <p>So, for example, you want a beautiful house. What kind of house is it? What color is it? How many levels does it have? Corner house or middle of the block? Carpeting or hardwood?</p> <p><strong>Bottom Line:</strong> Knowing exactly what you want is the only way to actually get it. Be specific.</p> <h3>Make the Plan and Write It Down</h3> <p>How will you get what you want in life? Whether it&rsquo;s material comfort, a mate or true enlightenment you&rsquo;ll need a map for getting from where you are now to where you want to be. It may seem obvious after you read it, but many people never take control of their own fate: they wait for someone to reward them with approval and recognition or, sometimes, with money.</p> <p>Part of the map to reaching your goals is to do what you do best. Think back over time, make a list and don&rsquo;t skip over the things that you think might be insignificant; what&rsquo;s unique about you might be the key to your personal treasure.</p> <p><strong>Bottom Line:</strong> Journal what you want, including how and when you will achieve it. Write in the first-person present tense and use positive language.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Form the Group</h3> <p>Do you sometimes feel like the same person keeps appearing in various incarnations throughout your life, moving on from one relationship (friend, family, coworker, etc.) only to find that the next one seems like d&eacute;j&agrave; vu all over again?</p> <p>The people you associate with &ndash; particularly those closest to you &ndash; are, essentially, reflections of how you see yourself (and vice versa). When you are determined to achieve a goal you&rsquo;ve set for yourself, you naturally tend to associate with people who will help you achieve this goal.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the people you attract depends on your goal, and if your goal is one that is negative (i.e. harmful to yourself or others), so will be your associations.</p> <p><strong>Bottom Line:</strong> The people you choose &ndash; and who choose you &ndash; will be your <em>Mastermind Group</em>. You will collaborate on achieving common goals, sharing mutual desire and support.</p> <h3>Keep the Faith</h3> <p>I read about a guy who left his home in the Midwest to seek fame in Hollywood. He got work as a limo driver, a mover and the guy in a chicken suit who handed out flyers on the street for a restaurant. Undeterred by these jobs that were unrelated to his goal, he remained persistent in his desire to become an actor. He could have given up because the competition was too great or that he didn&rsquo;t find fame and fortune right away.</p> <p>So I wonder what Brad Pitt thinks about now when he remembers his beginnings.</p> <p>Whatever you tell yourself <em>about</em> yourself is true; you are what you think you are, and life has given you what you&rsquo;ve asked for. If you&rsquo;re not satisfied with it, follow these steps to reach a new goal. And believe you will achieve it.</p> <p><strong>Bottom Line:</strong> The faith you have in yourself, and a strong degree of persistence, can determine when (or if) you reach your goal (see above quote from Dr. Schuller).</p> <p>Some things to keep in mind as you are now on the road to success:</p> <ul> <li>Don&rsquo;t wait for the &ldquo;right time&rdquo; to start; the right time is now;</li> <li>There will always be competition;</li> <li>There will be failure, but they are merely temporary setbacks. You are still moving forward because you are persistent;</li> <li>Some people might tell you, &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll never make it.&rdquo; When you look back, you&rsquo;ll see that those people are still exactly where you last saw them.</li> </ul> <p>Reach for the stars; you just might get the moon.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-of-my-success">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">9 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/checking-in-with-old-goals-for-the-new-year">Checking in With Old Goals for the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/defining-success-if-you-dont-know-what-you-want-you-wont-know-when-youve-gotten-it">Defining Success: If You Don&#039;t Know What You Want, You Won&#039;t Know When You&#039;ve Gotten It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle Personal Development defining success Fri, 21 Dec 2007 01:58:30 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 1527 at http://www.wisebread.com Defining Success: If You Don't Know What You Want, You Won't Know When You've Gotten It http://www.wisebread.com/defining-success-if-you-dont-know-what-you-want-you-wont-know-when-youve-gotten-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/defining-success-if-you-dont-know-what-you-want-you-wont-know-when-youve-gotten-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009971462XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to your life, what do you want? How does your money fit into that?</p> <p>If you can't answer these two questions, you won't ever know when you've been successful In fact, it might be worse than that: you might achieve what you thought you wanted, or what all of your friends want, and suddenly realize that it doesn't satisfy you. In order to make sure you're going the right direction for you, it's important to figure out what you want from your life (to find your definition of &quot;success&quot;).</p> <h3>Why It Works</h3> <p>We're all going after something. That's part of being alive. As long as we're living and acting, we are headed towards something. Even if we don't want to live, we're going towards our goal (yes, death is a goal!). Our lives are going somewhere. We're caught up in the stream of living and we'll end up somewhere.</p> <p>Luckily for us, we have some say about where we can end up. Sure, we all die in the end, but we have the abilitiy to decide what is important and make choices towards that end. If you're saying, &quot;Sure, Sarah, we all know that. Make this entry worth reading, already!&quot; then tell me what you're living for. Go ahead, tell me what your life's goal is. Tell me why you're on this earth and how all the different parts of your life fit into that.</p> <p>If you can do that, you're ahead of most of us. Deciding what we want, what we're about, takes a lifetime of deliberate, focused introspection. But we can figure out different parts of this whole at different times in our lives, and we can live deliberately towards them.</p> <h3>How it Works</h3> <p>If you're not sure how to get started in this process, here is a process that helps.</p> <p>1. Take out a blank sheet of paper. In 10 minutes, list as many things as possible that you have not done, that you would regret not doing if you died tonight. To the best of your ability, don't stop writing and don't censor or even think too hard about anything. Just write. You might find some crazy things coming out the end of your pen, and that's OK. Let them be.</p> <p>2. Read your list. Notice any internal reactions you have to different items on the list. Note these in the margins next to your list so you can remember them later.</p> <p>3. Step away from the project for 3-7 days, except to read your list once a day. This lets the list percolate in your mind. Often, writing down our desires brings to the forefront things that we haven't thought about in a while, or voices things we avoid voicing any other time. It can take us a few days to become accustomed to these thngs being a reality in our lives. We learn to accept, &quot;Yes, I am the person whose life won't feel complete if I never help the refugees in Darfur,&quot; or, &quot;Yup, I'm the busy entrepreneur who really wants a desk job so I can spend more time with my kids before they leave home.&quot;</p> <p>4. Come back to the project and read the list again. Note any internal reactions that have changed as you let the ideas percolate.</p> <p>5. Start pulling the different items on your list together and write a statement that encompasses what you're about. In the beginning, this can be a list of more general cateogories that cover all of the items on your list. For instance, my list would containg such items as &quot;helping people grow&quot; and &quot;working with groups to help them better understand and support each other.&quot; My larger category might be, &quot;working with people, as individuals and in groups, to help them better understand and support the growing process in themselves and others. Eventually, this statement will be less like a list and more like a sentence or two, but the list is fine to start.</p> <p>6. Write down and commit to one step you can take this week! today! right now! to help move your life more in line with your statement. Make sure that this is small enough to be achievable and is something you can maintain.</p> <p>7. Repeat stps 3-6 until you have a statement that feels right. Most people know when they've hit on the one that's right for them. It moves many to tears, but some also feel joy or peace when they find it. Continue with the small goals until your life looks like what you want it to be.</p> <p>8. Live the life you've designed. Achieve your definition of success.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/defining-success-if-you-dont-know-what-you-want-you-wont-know-when-youve-gotten-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-simple-networking-tricks">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-suck-up-at-work-that-wont-make-you-feel-slimy">15 Ways to Suck Up at Work That Won&#039;t Make You Feel Slimy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-of-my-success">The Secret of My Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bosses-say-these-are-their-6-favorite-qualities-in-employees-do-you-have-them">Bosses Say These Are Their 6 Favorite Qualities in Employees — Do You Have Them?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Personal Development defining success Wed, 29 Aug 2007 17:29:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1059 at http://www.wisebread.com