Reality Awaits


In our post, From Dream to…, we continued the journey we have embarked on to explore different dimensions of the realm of dream delivery.

It’s always good to have dreams, and it’s even better to let them see the light of reality.

We humans have been endowed with very special gifts. Two of those gifts are of inherent importance: Intention and attention.

The conscious human intention is attributed to awareness, something other species don’t have. In the animal kingdom, for example, efforts are solely driven by instinct. We, on the other hand, have the capacity to choose, and then act on our choices, sometimes clear of the influence of instinct.

For an intention to unfold, attention has to be on its side. We need to ‘see’ the way before us, and continuously align our advancement to our intentions. Otherwise, instinct takes charge, leading a way that is not necessarily the same one we set off to traverse. That’s what renders most intentions unrealized. A sure prescription for disappointment.

Our focused attention on the intention should be dynamic. As we keep the original vision clear, crisp and infused in the work we do, we consistently observe the activities, making sure they align and have a good potential of leading to our intention. Why a ‘good potential?’ Because the future is, by its very nature, uncertain. We need to keep our options open at all times in the face of the unpredictable.

No matter how big and far an intention seems, reaching the top of that mountain is simply a walk; one step at a time. As important as knowing our intention is figuring out what those ‘steps’ are.

Usually, at the beginning it might be difficult to know the steps and how they align to lead to the desired result. We need a good estimate of the main building blocks of the ‘project’ at hand. As we start taking action, more details unfold, helping us adjust our course.

Depending on the complexity of the undertaking, this might grow into a quite large web of interrelated activities. That’s where project management methods and tools would come in handy.

Pick the system that makes sense to you. As this may become a daily companion, try selecting something that is fun and exciting to use.

I use a tool called Quire. Simple and effective. You can start with a single idea, then grow it into a plan by breaking it down into smaller ideas gradually, nestling levels of complexity within each other, in a parent-child configuration. This helps you focus on one thing at a time without losing sight of the bigger context immediately above it, or all the way back to the original single idea.

At any given point in time, you can see what is due today, tomorrow, and later, as well as what is overdue from previous stages.

How can that lead to realizing a dream? What if we get swamped by the details and lose sight of what we really want to achieve?

It’s possible to get derailed, ending up in a perpetual cycle of to-do lists that do not seem to finish. A common reality of so many people all over the planet.

To effectively avoid that, we must have our attention on the intention at all times. For example, we can commit to weekly, monthly, and annual alignment reviews, making sure what we do on a daily basis does not sway our ship adrift from the destination.

In the next post we will conclude this series with an example that links the dots together, in a way that help streamline the implementation of the concept.

Stay tuned.

The Wealth Maker

Image Credit: Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

 

The Leader-Manager Entrepreneur


One of my favorite books on leadership is the late Stephen Covey’s: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Covey’s articulation is top-class. He convinces you that there are two almost independent spheres: One for the leader and another for the manager. Could one person juggle between the two? Covey didn’t particularly recommend that, stressing that a leader should not be consumed by the day-to-day details of the business. Rather, he or she should be totally focused on vision, mission and long-term objectives.

While this can be true in corporations, when it comes to small businesses and entrepreneurship, the lines between the two worlds become rather blurry.

One day, your main focus would be on the five-year strategy of your marketing plan, the next you find yourself under a desk plugging Ethernet cables, or sorting out receipts of recent purchases. And that is the beauty of the whole thing, of the one-man-show adventure. That’s how it starts, and sometimes, that’s how it continues to run. Having said that, I do strongly recommend starting with a credible partner, who would stick with you the whole journey. Loneliness could be tough when the winds are not behind your sails.

In the previous article, Risk and Reward: The Two Vital R’s of Business, we talked about how an entrepreneur must evaluate their RT before delving into the ocean of business on their own. Here we explore how that is tested on the ground, in the midst of it. Now you know how much risk you can bear in order to reap a reward you had seen before you started!

On the lighter side of things, one would need suits and overhauls in their closets. Black, shiny shoes and thick, sturdy work boots. Fine perfumes and grease-cleansing hand soap.

This is not living two personalities. On the contrary, this is extracting the best of your God-given talents and putting them on the line.

Switching between the two roles becomes natural over time. A new, well-rounded personality, rooted in a character of offering true value and sincerity, evolves out of the continuous interaction with challenges and finding intelligent solutions.

Another aspect of this dual responsibility/multiple hats dynamic is being able to focus entirely on the one task at hand, no matter how different the previous or the next task would be. For example, you could be in a meeting with business stakeholders to discuss your product strategy. While in that crucial meeting, you remember that afterwards you must take care of an urgent maintenance issue in the office. The stakeholders meeting calls for your leadership presence, while the maintenance problem requires handyman skills. Being able to focus and then shift is key here. You could think of other interesting and fun examples that fall into the same realm.

Is there a special training for such interactive talent? I don’t think so. The best training is on the job, by actually trying, making mistakes, and learning, till the pool of skills is honed to almost perfection.

Enjoy!

The Wealth Maker

StoreFour: Continuous Enhancement


Launching an online store requires a great deal of planning and attention to detail. From selecting the theme, to designing the logo. What will be the static content? How about navigation, payment processing, shipping rules, taxes, and a lot more.

Then once that’s been taken care of, comes one of the most important decisions to make at this point of store building: What exactly are we selling here? Is this going to be a general merchandise or a niche-oriented online experience? Who are the customers, and why would they buy from us?

Down the line from that is product strategy: What products should this store showcase and for how much?

As you move from one stage to the next you realize new understandings and, of course, learn new things.

The final ‘product’ just before the launch will never be perfect, and you know it. But does that mean you keep improving while delaying the launch? No! Continuous enhancement must hold a permanent place-holder on your project plan, just as sales and marketing. Failing to do so means choosing to fail in this fiercely competitive landscape.

Since the launch back in May, StoreFour has gone through several reviews, the last being just very recently. The depth and breadth of each review vary, but they all keep asking some essential questions:

  • In exchange for revenue, what value does this store offer?
  • Do current products serve that value?
  • Is there a clear line of sight between the products and the vision/mission of the business?
  • Are customers satisfied? How can we measure that, then improve it?
  • What products to keep, modify and/or delete?
  • What products to add?
  • Are marketing and sales efforts fruitful so far, and if not, why? How can they be enhanced?
  • What are the short and long-term objectives of this store?
  • Are the store’s design, look and feel expressive of its message and brand?
  • Is it easy to navigate and find information?

As you you can see, the questions do not follow a specific order. In these reviews, you capture questions as they arise, randomly. I like to use a large poster and a bunch of colored markers to write down whatever comes to mind. Then gradually move to a mind-map, before finally creating an action plan on a digital tool.

Casually writing down thoughts, questions and ideas allows something interesting to emerge: Clarity!

While just before you’d started your mind was processing everything simultaneously, and rapidly, now it can observe patterns and priorities, reasons and results. It’s much easier now to find answers and chart a new course, or adjust an existing one.

During the last review, which concluded around mid October, I realized that we need to have more focus on our brand, which means redefining or resharpening the concept behind that brand.

While the message has been to ‘Be, Love, Create and Live’, the products didn’t clearly trace back to it. The four dimensions sit on the titles of four product collections. However, when reviewing individual products, it wasn’t very obvious how each one would serve that message.

We finally came to an interesting conclusion: Let’s not try to find ‘Love’, or ‘Create’ products per say, but rather look a bit deeper and ask: Can a ring, for example, help the customer promote love in her or his life? How about a wallet or a bag? does any have a link to ‘Live’ or ‘Create’? And isn’t ‘Be’ a common thread underlying all others?

Of course, another concern is: What is the market pulse for any product we offer? On the one hand, we definitely want to provide true, authentic value. Yet on the other, the business must meet its financial objectives in order to continue serving that value and progressing to even higher levels of success.

From that understanding, and to bring more focus to the product offering, we decided to keep the main theme, but rename the collections: Rings, Bags, Wallets and Digital.

With few specs about what products to choose for every collection, including high-quality, trendiness, and usefulness, we did an extensive research and decided to have only nine products under each collection. This is a major shift from 30 or so products, some didn’t clearly reflect the theme. Now when a customer clicks ‘Rings’, she or he will only see rings under that collection. The same applies to Wallets, Bags, and Digital.

It’s logical and natural after feeling that comfortable with the content of your store to turn to marketing with a renewed will and a fresh determination.

On that, StoreFour now has its Twitter and Pinterest storefronts up and running, with new content and interaction on a daily basis. Facebook already showcases StoreFour, and all are ready from another round of ad campaigns.

We are very pleased to share these exciting developments with our readers, and as always, happy to hear your questions and comments.

Till the next post, be open to new, enriching ideas!

The Wealth Maker

© Image Credit: StoreFour, https://storefour.ca All Rights Reserved