Friday, September 29, 2023

Did the door just shut on you?

When you have enough doors shut on you, you begin to develop a kind of wisdom and momentum that builds business. The bruises to the pride and anxiety of the unknown income is a potent combination that make you actively look for cervices, cracks, windows and gates to open. It’s true that one door closes and another open. But most times, they only open when you actively go knocking. Somethings prying is involved.

Do you welcome closed doors?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Is there only one way?

There is always a path that you can carve somewhere between the choices. It doesn’t always mean you have to win or the other party has to lose. Finding that path is the hard work. It’s what we should all strive hard to achieve. Just because it’s not often done by the others doesn’t mean you can't achieve it often. Do it often enough, it becomes a skill you will develop.

Can you see a way?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

How painful was it?

Over the years, you probably won some, lost some, learned some and progressed some. You did your best and the decision you should be most proud of is the one you made, even though it would cost you dearly. People may not tell you but they are watching and now they know you conduct yourself honourably.

When will it pay?

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Monday, September 25, 2023

Can you see clearly?

Frameworks and structures
are there to help you. They allow you to look at a situation in a systematic manner. Without frameworks and structures, you will have a hard time diagnosing your situation. It will be chaotic resulting in wrong solutions. That said, you should not be slaves to certain structures. Use a few structures to get a feel of which one fits best in your situation. Sometimes, you may even be able to amalgamate these to get a clearer picture of your situation. Use frameworks to gain clarity. They are like lenses in your telescope, binoculars and microscope. Which one you use, when and for which situation is important. It’s a skill you can develop over time.

Are you using the right tool?

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Friday, September 22, 2023

What would be a good measure?

Goodhart's Law is a principle in economics and social science that states: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure." It highlights the idea that once a particular metric is used as a basis for decision-making or as a target for optimization, people and organizations will often find ways to manipulate or game the system to achieve the desired outcome. Even if it means compromising the integrity of the original measure.

British economist Charles Goodhart; hence Goodhart’s Law, was first articulated in the context of monetary policy. He observed that when policymakers target specific economic indicators to achieve their goals, these indicators lose their reliability as accurate measures of economic stability or performance because people adjust their behavior to influence these indicators artificially.

Goodhart's Law has broad implications beyond economics and can be applied to various fields, including business management, education, and even social behavior. So, in a business context, if a company sets a specific sales target as a key performance indicator (KPI), employees may focus on meeting the target at the expense of other important factors. This can lead to unethical practices or short-term gains that harm the company's long-term prospects.

Knowing this, use caution when employing metrics or measurements as the primary basis for decision-making. People's behavior can and will likely change in response to those metrics, often in ways that undermine the original intent or accuracy of the measurement.

Do you really want to measure it now?

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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Do you think you are that different?

Despite the diverse businesses that exist, there are more similarities than differences in the problems businesses face. At the core, businesses share common challenges like how to grow the business, how to increase profits, should you enter a new market, should you react to a competitive threat, or should you introduce a new product. You can add to the list.

Your industry maybe different. But you share more similarities than you recognise. The faster you realise this, the faster you will be able to tap into the solutions others have used and save yourself some mefenamic acid.

Will your solution differ that much?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Why aren’t there solutions?

The treasure trove of insights and growth opportunities can only be unlocked when you actively listen and refrain from creating excuses for each piece of advice given. Open-mindedness is the gateway to learning and personal development. Park your ego aside and lock your pride away. Consider alternative viewpoints, challenge your preconceptions, and make informed decisions. When you deflect advice with excuses, you lock yourself in the chamber of ignorance. Free yourself from the shackles of cynicism and skepticism to the collective wisdom of others, leading to better outcomes in both personal and professional spheres. The path to progress is only open to those who are receptive.

Do you really want advice?

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

When should you think?

Take time to think. The relentless pace of business drowns you if you do not give yourself time to float above all the daily mud around you. These moments of reflection offer invaluable clarity and strategic vision. Bill Gates, during his tenure at Microsoft, would famously take "Think Weeks," isolating himself to ponder future industry shifts and innovation. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg's annual "personal challenge" serves as a reflective exercise that led to the development of significant Facebook features. These CEOs understand that stepping back from daily operations allows for fresh perspectives, fostering innovation, and ensuring a company's long-term success.

"Working on the business, not in the business" is a common adage. But to work on the business, first you need to float. To float, you need to give yourself some space and some time.

When is the right time?

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Monday, September 18, 2023

Do you have their trust?

The substance must back the designation that you carry. You will have to pay your dues one way or another. The title is not important. Give it enough years in the work world and you will realise that the title only matters to people who don’t know better. Work for the trust not the title, and trust is built upon a solid foundation of hard work and time.

Would you like a sexy title?

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Friday, September 15, 2023

Are you getting nearer?

What has to happen now dictates what can happen later. If you are too focused on the future and your goals, it may actually detract you. Better to ask yourself, "What must I do NOW to get me closer to my goal?" than to keep thinking about your goal. Every small step taken is a step no matter how small. Every thought not acted upon is a waste of time no matter how lofty those plans are.

Are you drifting further?

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Was it the right thing?

You make decisions based on whatever information you have at hand and in the time that is needed for the decision to be made. We don’t have complete information when we make those decisions. There will always be risk. Just because you have made a bad decision, it shouldn’t weigh you down and scar you into making faster and better decisions for the future. Even bad decisions open new doors and opportunities. Keep looking forward and keep making decisions so you get better at it and make better calls.

So what if it was wrong?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Where are you wrong?

Instead of always being cynical, skeptical and thinking others are wrong, try asking, "Where are they right?" It helps you see the other side; it helps you be fairer and smarter too as you learn to see with a wider lens.

Where are they right?

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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Would you dare to write it down?

Want to know if your strategy and plan would work? Then start writing it down. Your thinking plays tricks on you because they float around your head. You think you have thought it through but it’s merely one or two things that has been going in circles in your mind. But because you think you have thought about it all day, all week or even all months, really; it’s just two miserable thoughts.

Once you start writing, you will know how much you have got the details down. You will know where the vacuum exists and what you need to fill.

How do you get the details down?

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Are you rigorous?

I was telling some business associates last week that many eons ago. I told a brand manager that in order to achieve her sales target we would have to get every 3-year-old to drink 3 cans of 400gm milk power per week. An almost impossible marketing goal.

Be rigorous with your numbers. Here are some places where you need to be:

  • Marketing objectives
  • Sales numbers
  • Revenue and profit
  • Penetration rate
  • Usage frequency
  • Purchase frequency
  • Media numbers like share of voice

Learn to love the numbers that matter.

Do you have the numbers?

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Friday, September 8, 2023

How do you make money?

If you are struggling with your business, perhaps you are charging too cheap. The common adage that when you sell cheap you will get volume and that’s how you make money is just ONE of the many ways. It’s not the only way. The other way is really to raise prices so you have enough margin to do marketing and adverting. If no one knows you, no one knows your story, no one knows your value, why would anyone pay more for your product?

Why aren’t you making a profit?

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Thursday, September 7, 2023

When will they stop?

If you do what you like and you get criticized, mocked and laughed at, just keep on doing it. Even better if you are making money doing it. No one needs to know your intentions and objectives. They can keep laughing and eventually they will run out of stamina. When they run out of stamina and you are still running your show? That’s when you have an option to snigger at them.

When will it pay?

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Is it time to go?

When you think you have something workable, go. Don’t think too much. You may have heard of a minimum viable product. It means at an initial stage all you need to do is to get the product into the customers’ hands and let them try it. You get feedback and you keep improving. Don’t wait till it is perfect. You will be surprised you need a lot less than you need. No amount of research will be better than the real consumers in the market giving you feedback.

Why are you anxious?

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Who says it can’t be done?

It can’t be done until someone eventually succeeds in doing it. If you think about it, every innovation starts with not accepting a norm. When you go out of the norm to do things, you innovate. So don’t listen to the nay-sayers who on the one hand says they love innovation but on the other tells you it can’t be done.

What have they actually done?

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Monday, September 4, 2023

Will you win in the long-term?

Increase your chances of winning in the long term by positioning yourself for it. It means putting more effort in doing better at what you do, taking a long-term view of things when making decisions, taking on challenges with an open mind and accepting that they are part of the process rather than fight it.

What are you willing to do in the short-term?

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Friday, September 1, 2023

Do you think they will let you in?

Don’t look to hopping on someone’s train on your road to success. They won’t allow you. They built the train themselves the hard way and why would they let you on? Build your own train. It’s tough but you will get immense pleasure having the option to decide who gets to hop on your train.

Do you think you will let them in?

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