Tag Archives: productivity

Six Key Questions To Ask When Writing Your Business Plan

 

#GrowYourLife #BuildYourBusiness

Life Area: Professional

Topic: Business Plan

 

Six Key Questions To Ask When Writing Your Business Plan

 

As many of you know, I started my first business when I was just 19 years old and have bought and sold 16 ventures since. I’ve written here before about the elements of a business plan, creating a pitch deck and have offered up FREE downloadable email templates to help you raise seed capital. Today, I want to talk to you about the many invaluable things you’ll learn writing your business plan and the merits, beyond raising capital, of going through the effort of taking your many thoughts out of your head and committing them in writing. By first writing a strategic plan, you can evaluate on paper without the risk of finding out the hard way by trial and error. At the very least, these are questions that any potential investor IS going to be asking of you and you better be prepared to answer:

 

1. Why you? Why your business or your product? What differentiates you from your competition?

 

I am, or any potential investor is, going to assume that your product fulfills a want, need or desire of the buying public. If it doesn’t, rethink your plans. Sometimes the market doesn’t know it needs your product – and that’s fine. Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked them what they wanted, they’d have told me faster horses.”

 

The first step is to identify the need your product will fulfill. Then determine whether or not this need is currently being met and if so, how and by whom? The first question I always ask my business coaching clients is, “Why should a prospective customer buy your product or service rather than a competitor’s?” If they can’t answer this question clearly, concisely and definitively, I tell them that that is the first thing that we will accomplish in their business coaching.

 


The first step is to identify the need your product or service will fulfill. 


 

 

2. Is there a large enough segment of that buying public that will value that difference?

 

Identify the segment of the market that values whatever it is that differentiates your product. Estimate the size of the market segment. Now, reduce the size of this segment by the percentage of people who won’t be willing to pay what you will have to charge to make your business profitable and answer if you can still reasonably project enough volume to make your business economically viable?

 

3. Now, question whether that difference, the very things that set it apart, are indefensible?

 

If your idea is a good one, you had better know how you will keep a large competitor with deep pockets from knocking it off and running you out of the market. There are many examples of well-healed copycats overtaking people with good ideas. You need a plan to protect yourself from this. Perhaps you can protect your intellectual property through a patent. Perhaps your idea, for one reason or another, is difficult to copy. What barriers to entry are there to keep the competition from moving in?

 

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10 Productivity Hacks We Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

 

#GrowYourLife #BuildYourBusiness

Life Area: Personal

Topic: Productivity

 

10 Productivity Hacks We Can Learn From Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule

 

For my Sunday reading, I selected one of my favorite books off my bookshelf, an autobiography: Benjamin Franklin, America’s Original Entrepreneur.

 

In Franklin’s 84 years of life he was not only a statesman and one of the United States’ founding fathers, he was also an inventor, author, publisher, musician, diplomat, and founded many civic organizations including the library system and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

As I thumbed through the book, I noticed a number of productivity hacks and daily disciplines that you may want to integrate into your daily schedule.

 

Known as the author of many historic and modern-day axioms, such as “The early bird, gets the worm” and “A penny saved, is a penny earned”. What Franklin may not be so well known for is his self-discipline, including his daily habits and how he conducted his day. Here’s a view of his calendar on a typical day and some noticeable principles for us to imitate:

 

1. Keep it simple

The first thing to note about Franklin’s daily schedule is its simplicity. There are only six time blocks scheduled for each day, and one of these blocks includes sleep — an obvious necessity. There’s no overwhelming to-do list of things to get done. It’s simple, focused on the essential, and highly effective. Read this past blog post of mine, Try Time Blocking Instead of a To-Do List, to learn more about the merits of time blocking.

 

2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day

One of Franklin’s most popular axioms was “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” and according to this schedule, he definitely lived up to it. Each day, Franklin woke up at 5am and went to bed at 10pm, for a total of seven hours of sleep each night. It’s important to note however, that what matters most isn’t the time you go to bed or wake up, it’s the consistency of your sleep schedule. As you’ve heard me say before, your body will tell you the optimum amount of sleep and the hours of the day that are best for you. For instance, my optimum number of hours is 8 hours of sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am. You know my standard answer by now when asked: “How do you have so much energy?,” it’s “Eat good nutrition and drink plenty of water, do some form of exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep!” By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, you’ll train your brain to fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. To track the hours and quality of your sleep, try the Sleep Cycle app I discuss in my blog post: 8 Ways to Gain Energy Naturally or The Productivity Sweet Spot blog post or in the Talk with Tom podcast episode of the same name.

 

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Talk with Tom Episode #34 ENCORE EPISODE: The Productivity Sweet Spot

 

productivity sweet spot

#GrowYourLife and #BuildYourBusiness

 

In this episode of Talk with Tom, we are reminded that we all have 168 hours in our week. From the most unproductive of people to the most productive of us…we all have 168 hours to be productive, accomplish our goals, and live a fulfilling life. We learn that Productivity is best realized when combining Effectiveness with Efficiency and that productivity resides at the intersection of Time, Energy, and Attention (Focus). Continue reading

Talk with Tom Episode #12: The Productivity Sweet Spot

 

productivity sweet spot

#GrowYourLife and #BuildYourBusiness

 

In this episode of Talk with Tom, we are reminded that we all have 168 hours in our week. From the most unproductive of people to the most productive of us…we all have 168 hours to be productive, accomplish our goals, and live a fulfilling life. We learn that Productivity is best realized when combining Effectiveness with Efficiency and that productivity resides at the intersection of Time, Energy, and Attention (Focus). Continue reading