I’ve been setting visual and written goals for a few years now. However last year was one of the more limited goal setting years I’ve had in some time. In truth, I achieved less than in previous years.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that some times the goals we set for a year, take a few years to yield, for our brain to work out the subconscious algorithm needed to make them happen. I’ve never had a year when I have achieved all the goals that I have set, but it is also true that I achieve more in the years when I have made more of an effort in creating, reviewing and refining my goals.
On occasions I have made a personal postcard and sent it to myself with my goals as the visuals. I’ve shared one of these below, and while some of it is personal, it’s more important to share the goodness than worry about what people might think. You will notice that some things on it are not specific, and can’t be ticked or crossed, while others are specific. I really believe that very specific goal setting can actually work. I don’t know why, it just does.
Some of the Ticks included:
- Traveling with my, now wife, to elope
- Starting a family (see baby pic – my daughter even looks like this picture I found on-line!)
- Going to New York & Rome
- Getting published articles in the AFR, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald
- Surfing Weekly
- Graduating from being a University Tutor, to becoming a University Lecturer
- Turning my Startup Blog into a Startup School
- Helping my father sell his farm
- Getting rentoid in the news multiple times (Just google rentoid)
- Travel overseas in Business Class
- Collaborate with rental Industry to become leading portal
Some of the Crosses included:
- Flying in a private jet somewhere
- Having 10 million+ in net assets
- Upgrading my home (Including pool & eco friendly house features, and grand design renovation)
- Running a marathon
- Opening a new office for rentoid
- Getting on the cover of a business related magazine
- Becoming known as a respected business thought leader.
Some of these goals that I am yet to achieve, but am still seeking, in fact some I am very close to…. if they eventuate I will let you know. For 2012 I want my goals to be more specific and I intend on sharing them here to be honest in public and make myself more accountable.
The one thing I know for sure, is that we don’t achieve any of the goals we don’t set.
Blogger, thinker and all round nice guy Ben Rowe recently wrote a blog entry just for me. There was nothing in it for him, he just thought it would be nice to share his intellectual prowess for my benefit.
How it came about was pretty simple really. Ben wrote a great blog post on the importance of gaming and how it is starting to transcend currency. Within my comments on his post I spoke of how great it would be to think of a good gaming mechanic for rentoid. A few days later Ben wrote this blog post with some ideas on how to do exactly that. It’s the kind of commercial world I want to live in. An ethic where people do cool stuff for others without asking, and not expecting anything in return. The corollary is that a a return does invariably happen.
Firstly, an emotional return from doing good. Secondly, a collective return from building community. And sometimes a financial one from those who return the favour.
The question for startup entrepreneurs is this:
What are you doing to build your industry community help and promote others?
If you’re not doing much tomorrow night, and happen to be in Melbourne, I’m giving a little talk at the Hive.
I’ll be focusing on the non-web side of web businesses. It’s free to come and should be fun.
I was fortunate enough to feature in a story on the ABC 7.30 report this week. The topic was on virtual offices and digital offshoring. My business rentoid got a nice little plug which is a bonus on a non-commercial channel. The opportunity arose from this newspaper article I was in on the topic in the Sydney Morning Herald. Which goes to show media exposure also has a compounding effect for your startup as well.
Although the story and offshoring in general has it’s detractors (unions love the status quo, unless it involves profit increases they want a share in). I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve worked with talented people in developing markets.
- My team get paid more than they’d get locally.
- I’ve helped team members get more work, and mentored them in building their own businesses.
- I like investing in developing markets because improves living standards.
It’s our job as entrepreneurs to create positive situations with tech innovations, and there’s no doubt in my mind having an overseas team does this, while building a business with beneficiaries locally (employees, revenue, community) as well.
I used to think my skills base limited the areas of business I could play in. I remember thinking back to the dot com boom in the mid and late 1990’s wishing and dreaming that I could some how be involved in the excitement, the fervor, and yes, maybe even the money. But I wasn’t a programmer, a digital designer or media player or a venture capitalist. I was merely a marketing manager trapped in the industrial complex of consumer goods. The bust came and I was quietly happy that peoples paper fortunes and egos got busted too. Which in hindsight was not a nice way to think. It was built on jealously, lack of knowledge and immaturity on my behalf.
Since then I’ve learned this: The type of skills we have matters far less than the fact we have a skill set which is valuable.
Translation: We don’t need to be a technology gurus to be operating or starting up in the technology space.
Maybe we are good at sales, marketing, raising capital, managing and motivating a team, project management, accounting. All of these skills will be needed in whatever business we start or are involved in. What matters is that we can add value in the chain somewhere which takes us from idea to revenue. Where we sit in that chain isn’t as important as we think. What really matters is being able to create the value chain.
It’s a rare combination indeed for a person to have tech genius and business brilliance. Fact is we need each other. We couldn’t have succeeded at rentoid without the business heads or techies collaborating. I wish I’d known this 10 years ago.
Sure it can be an advantage to startup in an area where we have expertise. It can be an incredible way to keep our costs low. But it’s not necessarily a barrier to entry. If we want to success, we’ll have to build a team in any case. And building a revenue infrastructure is what we ought be focusing on as entrepreneurs.
Today I was out making sales calls in my local industrial area where there are a lot of different rental companies. Idea being to get these rental / hire companies using rentoid.com to generate extra business. The timing is good, because we have a zero cost entry platform and times are tough in the B to B arena.
But the thing that really matters is how I’ve been making the sales calls. Firstly, these guys are B to B, trades focused guys. renting mainly industrial equipment. The last thing they want to some tech / web geek give them bullshit about how the internet is going to save them…. So here’s what I’ve done instead:
- I haven’t shaved for 3 days – got a good beard growing. I’m wearing jeans and boots with a fairly standard zip up jumper. When I walk in I look like a customer, in fact I look like they do. I’m less threatening and this is obvious with the positive greetings I’m receiving.
- When I drop in (remember it’s a cold call) I say, ‘You know I live around the corner, I drive past here everyday and I’ve been meaning to drop in for ages. You know I’ve got web business which is all about rental companies…..” And I do live close enough to use this line. It is genuine.
- The F Bomb – Yep, I’m dropping this one big time – for one simple reason – they are. I’ll use whatever language they use. If they like swearing, so do I. I’m matching their culture in dress and language.
- I know their business. I don’t walk in and say ‘So tell me about your business’ – I do my homework before I turn up. Granted I know enough about the rental industry now to adapt to different segments pretty quick. I know what matters to them and get the conversation into that area quickly.
- I don’t try and sell anything on the first call. We do have a free entry to rentoid – but we also sell integrated web technologies. But I don’t try to sell anything. Just get them to like me in fact, I’m selling me. People buy things from people they like. Then they find a logical or business reason to justify their decision after they’ve already made it.
- I follow up with whatever I promise. Information, phone calls, data whatever they need. I try to show I’ll be a valuable resource.
- I get rejected too. It’s a numbers game, and each rejection is a lesson for honing my skills for the next call.
I’m learning heaps and I’m loving it.
Start up blog says – get out there and start selling.
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Have you ever had a new girlfriend? You can’t stop thinking about her. You want to make it work. So you start putting in an extra effort to give this relationship the best chance of success. You start buying new clothes, ensuring you look your best, maybe even start going to the gym everyday. In this situation everything matters. You want to spend every waking moment with her, because it is so enjoyable, so much fun, the future looks so bright, the whole thing is so new. At this time we can’t imagine the joy of being involved in this thing ever diminishing.
Eventually, the emotions driven by newness wear off. It doesn’t necessarily mean we love our new girlfriend less, we might even love her more. It’s just a different set of emotions. And this new set of emotions often mean we, are less enthusiastic to prove ourselves, and or make it work – she moves from a chase, to a catch.
A new startup isn’t much different. Just re-read the above two paragraphs and think back to when you got going on your latest startup. It was a lot like the new girl friend. It was love. The emotions and behaviour have a strong analogy. What matters as entrepreneurs, is having the ability to keep up the momentum when the newness wears off. And there is nothing more certain than this. It will become less fun, less exciting and more arduous. It’s especially evident when we need to undertake administrative tasks with our start up – or keep door knocking after many rejections. It’s our ability to stay focused on ‘old projects’ that will determine our ultimate success.