Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zig-Zag-Zoom - Part II(b); WHAT... Before How

Are you ready to pull up anchor? Are you prepared to begin your voyage, along the Seas of Highest Potential? As you push a way from the dock, you will
undoubtedly hear a small voice in your head and feel just a little queasy.  You may even be tempted to drop the anchor and abandon ship. Not to worry!  For many, this is a normal reaction - You are experiencing what  others before you have experienced.  The phenomenon is known as Fear of the Unknown. Our fear of the unknown, leads to undue stress and potential procrastination. Procrastination then, increases stress, amplifing your fear level, which just brings on More Stress... and the cycle can go on and on and on.  So let's break the cycle - let's eliminate some unknowns.  To accomplish this we will set-up a Captains log. The Captains Log will give you direction and purpose and establish measurable guide-points of progress. Your maiden voyage will guide you through 3 Ports of Repeat-ability.   

A Journey through 3 Ports of Repeat-ability  
  Port #1.  The beauty of aiming for a Port is that it allows you to have a clear direction and destination. Your first business-for-self Port is "Profitability."  Initially, you should define profitability as the ability to pay all your bills and have enough cash to move forward.  While money does not insure happiness, being broke can surely be traced back as the root cause of stress, which typically assure's unhappiness.  
  As you aim for Port #1, you have two principles which guide you;
  1. You are not aiming for perfection, you are aiming for profitability.  Your focus here is getting your vessel out of the harbor and out to open water. You spend your time and money in accordance with the 80/20 rule. This means that you focus your time and money on the 20% activities, that will yield 80% of the results that you are looking for.
  2. You are working against time. This means you need to know when to Stop.  Give yourself a profitability deadline and stick to it.  If you are unwilling to stop, you will fail at a point in time which may have long term devastating consequences, emotionally and financially.

  Port #2, Having achieved a first level of Profitability we are now ready to take on Passengers and add Cargo. Your passengers are your employees and your cargo becomes things like capital equipment, and proprietary processes.
At this point  you have grown accustomed to micromanaging the details.  A self delusional thought that you carry is, 'only I can get this right.'   After all, this is your baby, this is your pride and hard work. Most importantly, this is your income stream! For many it is hard to let go!  Port #2 assures that you abandon this thought!  To insure that you maintain balance and control you do things like:
a) Reassess what you have in your pocket.  Make a list of the things that you
are good at, and compare it to the list of WHAT is needed in order to get to Port #2.
b) Hire the right people. Reference your WHO values list, and select this 
critical hire, based on the list of things that you are not good at. You can't
sail to your Highest Potential alone! It takes teamwork... Somebody has to; 
chart the course, man the rudder, trim the sail, yes, even swab the decks.   
c) Document the process that led to your profitability and train someone else
in that process. In today's business world, you cannot achieve your highest
potential by doing it alone. So take a deep breath, and recognize this to be
a simple task. There is only one wrong way here... that would be; not 
breaking down the process into chew-able pieces. You can always adjust
the size of the pieces to meet the knowledge and passion level of your

  Port #3. With profitability intact, filled with passengers and sufficient cargo- let's point ourselves toward Port #3; Scaling.  

WHAT does Scaling refer to?  Scaling refers to the development of your business model. In it's most simplified form, Scaling refers to two components;
1) a business model that you can replicate quickly and,
2) a business model which allows you to quickly get your product or service to market.

Scaling is a deliberate planning event.  It is an acedemic, cereberal  process. To over come the pit-falls of Scaling you need to adjust your mind-set. To this point your voyage looks like this...
- At Port #1, it's all about You - You are working hard and doing everything.
- At Port #2, You are defining the process and cheerleading others to do the work
- At Port #3,  You are looking for systematic growth. You are working with others to create the system which replicates the process and moves product.

It will take practice to Captain a vessel. And although each vessel has it's own unique characteristics, you CAN safely and prudently guide yourself, passengers and cargo toward your Highest Potential. The Port's outlined above give you a repeat-able and trainable courses to navigate. Find the other Captains, seek advise if you need it. Most importantly, don't forget to celebrate!

In Part III, we will review the sailing maps, looking for the diversions and distractions. As you sail toward your Highest Potential we will want to keep you out of the weeds.

Continued Success!!

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