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7 Habits – Part II

Habit 2: Begin with the End in mind

“And enterprises of great pitch and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action” (Shakespeare). Often overlooked and underestimated, planning short and long term goals are a must. Finish the project. Start the advertising campaign. Begin using accounting software instead of writing notes on torn pieces of spam envelopes. Making plans and sticking to them is not only useful in the long run, it also teaches the discipline much necessary in running a business. The consequences may chase up pretty fast. This year I spent much more time than necessary while preparing tax statements, because didn’t bother using any special tools for company books. However, didn’t have any downtime when my workhorse laptop was undergoing repairs because I planned for it and prepared a replacement. Short term goals are easier to plan and stick to, because the outcome is much more predictable and faster to see, unlike more long-term goals. That’s another long-term, hard-to-stick-to plan: keep long term goals in shape.

7 Habits – Part I

This could be a little off the topic of this blog, but I just feel like sharing this. There are 7 parts of various length of this text, so sometimes it may look like “too many words”, sometimes it will not. In any case, here we go.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Being proactive is like being constantly hungry. While chasing the next opportunity, next customer or approaching next deadline, being proactive may mean various things: from staying up late in order to finish the presentation, to removing all but necessary resources from a project so that nothing is intervening on that last mile. However, all these variations have some base to them. It’s the constant search for an opportunity to do better. In my business most customers think that every little change requires little time even though in 90% of cases it is not so. Being proactive for me means offering something, whether it’s a service or a product, or both, that will be more than customer wanted, but, thanks to me being proactive, he doesn’t have to ask for. On the other side, being too proactive is purely bad because offering too much leaves a customer dissatisfied. Why dissatisfied? Because after a customer rejects the proposal for whatever reason, it leaves him with the impression that you’ve offered more, but yet he got less. That’s why many books insist on following the simple rule: promise less, deliver more. Experience shows that this works like a charm. Another disadvantage of being too proactive is that customers start feeling this constant sales push and start avoiding you. It usually happens at times when you need this least. Finding balance, as always, is the hardest thing to do. It is number 1 on my TO-DO list.