Motion theory

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I have been silent for the past couple of weeks because I have been testing a certain theory called motion. The motion is a state of action that fuels itself further into more action.  It helps one focus on many things that require repeated performance. Take for example, a business launch. In the event that you want to start a new business you need to gain a significant amount of momentum early enough. So you know what you need to accomplish first.

The idea of motion theory is to set up your activities so that whatever you do will have results that will trigger further action in one way or the other. For instance, if you are torn between a choice of business cards, you can decide to make a few samples and let the final decision of which business card to go with be made by a random friend. Tell the random friend in advance. The choice to include someone else’s decision making skills in the process enables you to avoid time wasting situation which can cause analysis paralysis. You simply want to do and not think. So before you do, you decide on how to avoid thinking situations by providing predetermined formulas for decision making.

But then all the right steps may not  be available at once. You might not have all the moves planned till your twentieth sale. As you move on with your plans you need to look around for innovative clues that will help you solve future problems. While you are at the wholesale shop you might want to ask the wholesalers how the established a good distribution network for their product and so forth.

Motion theory should also make use of experimentation. When the choices you make do not bring results, you need to try out other new moves for which the results can be positive. For example a sales offer that allows the first 10 customers to pick a product for free might reveal real demand for your product. The main idea is to have as many results as possible with which to base your future decision making.

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It’s Game time! Stop Overplanning

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Analysis is Paralysis

Analysis is Paralysis (Photo credit: Poldavo (Alex))

I have heard that there are three people in the world.

Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that don’t know whats happening. I have also heard that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that believe that there are two kinds of people in the world that those who don’t.

I might not agree with the latter but there is definitely some evidence for the former. Sometimes we are a bit of all three. We are at some point shaping the universe, consuming it or simply assuming it.

I honestly believe the most dangerous position is to strictly be one kind of person. You don’t need to be a watcher all the time and neither do you need to be a game changer constantly.

I personally have a greater leaning towards being the guy who makes things happen. But at the same time I have always felt that if I don’t watch things happen then I might impair my ability to make things happen. You need to observe in order to act, to learn in order to work. There are crucial lessons to be gathered once we open our eyes once in  a while to what is happening around us each day.

At the same time there is a need to ignore what you see once in a while. Too much information flow can blind you. Switching off is the term that is sometimes used.It pays to not know what else is happening especially when you are needed to make things happen. That’s usually what is referred to as analysis paralysis. We see it happen all the time. Big corporates have this tendency to search for more and more information in order to act. Sometimes the wait is in vain and the value added for the data presented in the end turns out to be insignificant. In fact at times it only produces a loss.

 

Waiting for game time is a balancing act that the mind needs to master. To be a real game changer, you need to:

Think at the right time

Act at the right time

Switch off at the right time

… else you will end up in a deep dark maze.

Communication and management

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You need two skills in business.

Communication skills and management skills.

Communication is what sells your product

You have to be on everyone’s ears, eyes and noses. Keeping in touch with your clients helps you form more than just a clientbase but a relationship too. Communication helps you define that relationship. You want to be their friends but you want them to be your loyal customers. Its crucial to make that boundary.

Communication also calls for innovation. Its an art. One does not simply say 499/= for a set of headphones. One can also give a free cd from some artiste you are in pertnership with. You can pack it up in some really trendy package while you are at it. Be creative with it. Its an image thing not a ‘sell and move on’ thing. You are looking to make your business viral by selling an image and not just a product.

Imagine you have product A. It a drycleaning business. All you need is to break even with all the expenses you took up when starting it. Getting clients from the neighbourhood alone will not help that. You have a dozen other hoods around and they don’t really have access to a good drycleaning store.Sounds like an extra market to me.

What a typical drycleaner would do is to put up a sign that reads Mr CleanPress Drycleaners above his shop. That will get you all the clients from the neighbourhood. It will take you 1 year to break even with such a market. A more than typical drycleaner would put up the sign and put other small signages around the other hoods. This will get you your own neighbourhood’s market and a few clients from the other neighbourhoods. This will help you break even in 8 months. An even better drycleaner would add some buzz and put some jisty graphics onto the signages so that he can pull everyone’s attention. On top of that he can give a 3 month offer where everyone gets a funny t-shirt for free for signing up into monthly premium membership. You break even in 4 months. After that you will be literally rolling in dough.

Communication is also about listening. Put two or three attendants at the door of the shop once a week to take queries and suggestions from each customer. Even a note can suffice. But do not write suggestions or comments at the top of the note. Ask two vital questions that will actually help the business. Did the cashier attend to you well? What products do you want to see introduced?

Communication and management

Then comes the management needs

I always say, you need to ship in order to stay in business. Management is about keeping your head above things – knowing exactly whats going on.

It’s the science in the business. This involves promptly delivering, improving your product, keeping operational policies in check, checking your finances and careful expansion. You do not need to be creative with this. You simply need to observe, note and conclude. You are basically the scientist analyzing a system that is in progress. A notebook is very useful when managing your business. It keeps track of everything that has been assessed so far. You can use ledger and minutes but if they are only going to complicate your life then toss them in the bin.

People often disregard the importance of controlling a business’s quality. Banks have suffered business because of this. The biggest complaint that any bank client normally has is the long queues they experience. Because of this a lot of banks have turned to internet banking. But imagine the frustration of taking an internet banking plan only to find out that it has some technical issues and you cannot finish your transactions in one day. That’s where management comes in. If you cant ship an extra item don’t even launch it. It beats sense to have more complaints about the firm’s products simply because a new product has been unleashed. Make it available and make it functional.

You also need to manage your staff. If you hire someone you will want to make them want to work and not need to work. This way they can even add hours without being told to which always translates to additional costs. People management calls for understanding and appreciation.

When these two tools are used hand in hand. You are bound to make a lot of organic growth in your start up in no time.

 

 

 

 

Spreading an Idea Through a Business

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The most successful businesses on the planet thrive on spreading ideas. They make a concept and morph it into reality by creating products that represent it. They say actions speak louder than words but products are a big package of action that can speak even louder when spread to wide markets. Think about every slogan you have ever heard of after a business title. For example CNN have this phrase they use – beyond borders. It exemplifies their dedication to getting hold of the news from every nook and cranny on the earth’s surface. It represents the idea that the world can be constantly updated with important happenings regardless of where they take place. American Apparel always rode on the idea that dressing should be a way to bring out the sexy in everyone. Safaricom have always had a vision to better lives even when they came up with the mobile money transfer system M-Pesa. Thus their slogan “The better option” says it all.

Companies turn ideas into businesses

The problem with a lot of people who start businesses and fail is that they start from the notion that the business is there to make them money. They start with the question which thing should they sell instead of which idea. That is the kind of thinking that triggers a series of self sabotaging thought processes. Think about it for a minute. Literally anything can make you money and lots of it at that. We are not really motivated to run good businesses because of  the money. Its very easy to make a shit product and sell it to a market segment that doesn’t know any better. This kind of attitude can easily make you a few buck but it will eventually send your customers away and in the end you will have little money coming into the business. And then the closure.

Alternatively, you could decide to make a better product but to do this you must gain interest in the product itself, how it works and how it meets people’s values. Inevitably, you find yourself drawn to having a better relationship with your product – one that is grounded on more than just pure commerciality. I always say that once a person takes interest in bettering something they become inevitable fond of that thing because it reflects who they are. The more focused you become at creating a better business and more value for people, the more passionate you are bound to become about the process.

As soon as your passion unfolds for your product, you will clearly possess a vivid picture of what message your business is sending to the world. A doll making company can send a message of love. So can a wedding cake maker. The business becomes an entity with organs, duties and character. It ceases to be a labour of focus but one of purpose. Once you know what purpose and passion you derive from the business, running it becomes a natural endeavor. The idea you are sending through your business comes first. The money comes later. Although the two are inter-related. More money can encourage building the idea further and building the idea further can spike profits up.

Ideas are seeds for business growth

One of the most popular ways that corporations all over the world fuel their profit growth strategies is by sensitizing everyone on the team about the idea being spread. Film production companies do this all the time. Ideas makes them profits. A bad movie idea is only a brewing recipe for massive losses. A Hollywood screenwriter once told me that once you write up a movie script and hand it over to some big time movie producer, you have essentially created a new company for the period in which the movie is going to be made and sold. The same thing applies to musicians.

Google have perfected this art and embodied it in the organizational culture of the firm.Working at Google feels a lot like working at home. Employees get to eat and play around at the office. This way the system becomes democratic. The organization thus works to serve the best interests of those who keep it alive everyday. The philosophy then spreads to the end product which is made with the consumer in mind. Google’s home page is the easiest search engine page to use in the world. It is also fast and relevant. It has everything a user would primarily ask for. Google offices similarly have everything an employee would ask for and with such an intimate relationship between creator and creation the firm has always been set for success each and every year.

So with business there are no two ways about it. You are either in or out. Don’t worry much about the money because that’s can only come from the consumer who wants a good idea in return for it – he wants a good story. What’s your story?

The Two Step Process of Art

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When Christopher Nolan came up with the idea of a remake for Batman, every0one was anticipating a flop. He proved them all by making an elegant blockbuster. What he made was a work of art. In art, what matter si your perspective of the universe. Everything else is sheer politics. The sexier your view, the more attractive your art becomes. It really doesn’t matter if the idea has been there before – there’s always room for version 2.0.

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is the new title for Batman movies

There are two parts to making a work of art. There is the draft and there is the final edit. Each is just as important as the other.

The draft is where your artistic genius shines through. A draft is an open space to let your mind gravitate and become unhinged from whatever this world expects of you. At this level, you have an ahaa! moment that transforms into a remarkable idea. That idea could be a painting, a sketch, a novel, a movie, a sculpture, a music album or generally just some brand. Your duty at the draft stage is to freely doodle your idea to map out your perspective of things. Your emotions could guide them. Or it could even be an observation of something interesting that turns into an artistic interpretation. If you open your mind to the possibilities, your artistic self can produce amazing things in the name of art. So it is very important that you do not inhibit it. The draft stage is the only chance to let inspiration run free and take control. The task of saying what works and what doesn’t comes in the second stage – The edit.

At the editing stage, you finally succumb to a sober mind. It is with this sober mind that you look back at what madness you have spilled forth and ask yourself “Do I like it?” If you do then it is quite possible that a thousand other people will too. If you don’t then there is no need to worry. At this editing stage you can also find bouts of inspiration to further improve the draft. A statement here and there can be substituted by a metaphor in your new film script. You can easily add colours to a painting and more tracks to a song. Editing provides a chance to feed off the inspiration blooming from your own work. And you don’t have to just edit once. The more times you go over your piece the more gaps for improvement you will see.

About your about page

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Whats an about page for if it won’t tell the world anything about what your about?

The first time I tried creating a self hosted blog I checked our Darren Rowse‘s 31 days to a better blog e-book. Amongst the first thing he covers is the about page (and that’s as far as I went with the guide). He says that the about page should at best capture what you are about with a really short sentence. That in itself is the mark of clarity – a sign that you know exactly why you started your blog. Its like they say – brevity is the soul of wit.

You can know what you are blogging about but fail to know why you are blogging about it. It the same thing everywhere if you look at all the blogs that fail to live up to their expectations. You are better off not knowing what to blog on a given day than not knowing why you want to blog.

So sometimes you come across very gross About pages. Some of them will cover a lot of verbosity and say nothing about what the log is about. For example..

 …..dedicated to the generation, presentation and promotion of innovative contemporary visual arts practice in Kenya. Its artists’ studios, library, programme of exhibitions, artists’ talks, training & mentoring, education and international exchange, aims to provide opportunities for artists to develop new and experimental contemporary artwork within a context of current practice.

Trust me, your readers do not want to read your about page seven times to piece it all together. Tough vocabulary is very uncool on the About page. Its too grey.

And some will be short but pointless such as this one.

My suggestion…

If you want to have a captivating About page, keep it simple.

You need to know exactly how you want to put out your message. Your about page is like that little section at the back part of a book’s cover. It sums it up for everyone. It’s your business card. Its your mission statement. How crucial is that? Yet so many take it for granted and whine about why people don’t read their blog. The reason my first blog failed was because I did not critically look into this fine detail. Ergo I did not streamline my blog to communicate something specific. It taught me a lot and I have used what I learnt to my advantage with new blogs.

There are a number of ways to handle an about page

If you are lazy, you can simply write two paragraphs. One can be about you. The other can be about your message.

For instance if your all about freelance photography this could be your about page

I’m Jack. I have loved photography ever since I first put my hands on a camera. I love it more when I put my hands on a high quality camera.Its become my life now in more ways than I had expected it would. It gets me to travel to different countries every year, meet new people everyday, try new experiences and of course make some awesome cash. Now I live everyday looking at the world and hoping to capture it in my perspective.
I didn’t get taught how to shoot photos by anyone in particular. I just fished for online resources and spent a little money on a good camera. You’re probably like me now either starting out or already on the journey of trying to teach yourself photography. You want to take the self taught photographer’s path and you don’t know how exactly. I’m here to take your hand and show you how to make million dollar pics (or maybe hundred at first). It what’s I love so join me as we explore freelance photography. You can start here

It is

A – Simple

B- Personal

C- Exact

D- Leading you to the next page you should go to.

Or maybe you can be lazier but a little more creative and do a video for it.

This can be a simple in-your-bedroom shoot with your face in the middle of the whole video. Or it can be edited to include some bit of film art with different locations and effects. This will obviously take a lot more work but can do wonders for your traffic especially of it goes up on youtube.

Generally, there’s a more personal touch with videos. And readers love it when you get personal.

Instead of video’s you can try pictures with captions. Pictures are worth a thousand words expect they can be consumed in milliseconds. This will be a chance to bring out your creative flair too.

Whatever you do don’t ruin your blog with a lame About page.

9 Vital questions to ask yourself

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Here are some questions I tend to ask myself once in a while. They have helped me chart a path to peace and contentment in myself.

Why am I doing this?

I like this question because at times it helps me stop doing ridiculous things while at other times it helps me stop doing urgent things which are not really important to me? Sometimes you will be surprised by the fact that you could be doing stuff to please others more than to please yourself. This is ok as long as you’re not hurting yourself while you’re at it. Its dangerous when you ignore this question because you can easily put yourself in compromising situations doing things you don’t need to do.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Yes, because its never that serious. Hesitation is human nature. We know we need to do something and it makes sense to dive in but were are normally too scared or too wise. The truth is that only action begets reaction and choosing inaction is in most times the cause of our lack of progress. The problem is that we normally expect the worst without knowing exactly what it is. Asking yourself this question helps you define your fears and dispel them in seconds. With the answer to this question in your mind, you immediately become prepared for whatever bad outcome that could be.

How do I attack this?

This is the alternative question to “Can I hack(manage) this?” Instead of questioning your capability to try something you should question your tactics for trying it. Being able to accomplish something is simply a question of which technique you adopt. If you use the wrong formula to solve a math equation you will definitely get a wrong answer. If you feed on the wrong diet you will definitely fail to lose the write amount of weight. If you say the wrong thing when making a sale, you may easily lose the client. In this regard you need to recognize that it is not who you are but what you do that counts. This question brings that fact into perspective.

How do I refine this?

So you have done it but have you done it to the best of your ability? You need to revise your results and ascertain that they are satisfactory. As a writer this question is a mandatory step in my everyday work and even in my blog. I have to edit myself before I let my editor do his part. Each article I write has to represent something that I will be accountable for later on if questions are raised. Then again in terms of product development, whatever you create needs to please YOU first before YOU let it please others. That is the greatest editing or product development advice you can get out there. That is how you refine you work or product.

Do I need this?

Do you need what you have? Do you need what you are about to do? Sometimes we hold on to things that weigh us down. Wouldn’t it be much easier to just let go? To let them fall down on the ground and break into a million pieces? The feeling of letting go of something that was simply piercing you inside is the best feeling ever. It is freedom from your selfAnd the problem is that we don’t realize that their is more value in handling less than handling more. It can be anything, from disturbing conversations you have to endure with your boss to a house you hate but cant find the courage to sell.

How fast can I do this?

This question is one that we all love to avoid. We are all lazy to do that which we are not passionate about. Rationally we should do what we loathe much more quickly than what we love. If what makes us do what we love is the passion for the process, then doesn’t that mean we should do what we have less passion for a lot more quickly to see the end of it. Logically it makes sense but then we as humans are not really completely just rational beings. We are not robots. But then it is our intelligence that has hastened our progress as a race. We should therefore take advantage of it and decision such as efficiency should not just be left out of the equation. If we really desire quick results we need to ask ourselves, “How quickly can we do this?”

How much is this worth?

The question of value is one that most people often don’t comprehend very well. It is like people don’t seriously ask themselves how valuable they are before they commit themselves to anything. Time is valuable, so is money, love, family, attention, knowledge, trust and even skills. And all of them are thing we own. They are our property. Yet we very easily give them away in the hope of getting much less in return. People often use a rough approximation of their desperation to judge their true worth. But as soon as we stop to say, “I am worth much more than this.” the tables do indeed turn. Then and only then do people give you more for what you offer. Yet for this to happen you also have to provide real value. You need to see how valuable your offer is before you place a diamond tag on it. If it truly isn’t worth that much the task is upon you shift gears and make it more valuable or lower the prices.

Who can I talk to?

At times we may not have all the answers. Other people do though. It is important to try and make connections with such people and find out how they can help. You would be surprised how eager people are to help if you appear as someone of value as well. Its simply a faster way to get around and many a time it is also a way to find out whether you are actually on the right path.

Why?

This is the question that every curious mind must ask. Question don’t always surround us. We as humans have a tendency to simply accept things as they are if they don’t really bother us. The greatest inventions were made this way – by asking the question ‘Why?’ Everything as you might well know, happens for a reason. Questioning the good things we see around us can provide answers to how they became good. We often ask a lot of questions about the negative. “Why is my business not picking up?”, “Why is there poverty in third world countries” or “Why do we have corruption in our state systems?”. The answers could possibly be found in asking the questions “Why are my competitors business’s picking up?” or “Why is there prosperity in first world countries?” or “Why is there no corruption in certain nations”

Oh God Why

But why?