Efficiency and effectiveness are often at odds with procrastination. As humans we tend to do the stuff we enjoy or prefer in favour of those rather mundane, awkward or disliked chores/functions/tasks.
The last few weeks have taught us a very valuable lesson. “Do it now, while there’s time”. No one expected or predicted the force of the vandalism, looting or pillaging that occurred in KwaZulu Natal and parts of Gauteng in South Africa. Putting ‘stuff’ off will have a ripple effect on those around you. If you don’t do what needs to be done, then others can’t do what they need to do. As an entrepreneur that can have a devastating effect on your business or your clients or even yourself. You’ve heard it before. “Time is of the essence”! It truly is. Don’t put off what you could do today as you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t ‘faff around’ and miss the ‘zero hour’ for any reason at all. Make you “To Do List’ and stick to it. Where possible delegate to allow you to ensure that you look after yourself and your business. There is a difference between urgent and essential.
Find you trigger points, those things that distract you. How can you manage them better? Routine usually works well to help with distractions. Manage your time. Take note of what distracts you and what eats into your time. I’m willing to bet it’s emails and WhatsApp chat. Switch them off. Close them down. Focus on the task at hand. You will get it done far quicker, and better if you choose to focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking and being efficient do not fit into the same sentence or way of life.
So often we walk/run without noticing the small things around us. We always looking for the obvious, and yet the small little things in life are often as interesting if not more so. All my life I have walked in the Umgeni Valley but only last year and again this year did I notice the fungi growing out of an ant hill. Not knowing what it was, the fungi became affectionately known as Thingie Fungi. On a hike during the course of last year, in discussion with a fellow hiker, I discovered that ants farm fungi. It helps with their food storage and breaking down of the food into edible units of food.
Made me think about how oblivious we, as humans, generally are. We look for the obvious but don’t investigate the not so obvious which quite often solves a problem or offers an answer. Like the ants use fungi, why don’t we as humans co-exist and help one another. In the current COVID crises we are looking at the virus and seeing death, destruction, financial ruin and devastation. Yet if we just take the time to look, investigate, try something new we may find the answers to the success we so desperately seek. Look away from the obvious and look into what’s not so obvious.
Add to that the beauty around us like the sunsets and even the scary snakes in our paths we can appreciate life and what it has to offer. In the obvious we take for granted that snakes hibernate in winter. Yet this winter I have seen more snakes than in any other year. They cross our paths and we cannot be held to ransom for this block in our path, go around, jump, hop or skip over the obstacle. Again don’t look at the obvious there is always something to be grateful for even if it seems like a block in our plans. The winter cold brings with it beauty as well as obstacles, but that should never stop us from reaching for our goals.
My goal to complete minimum of 10 kms a day for the month of July to celebrate and raise awareness of those who have to walk to and from work. Lets not let the cold, snakes and daily chores stop us from getting out there and enjoying what life and nature has to offer us.
Two years ago I came home from a particularly wet and muddy hike. Left my very expensive, incredibly comfortable hiking boots on the tail gate of my Land Rover to dry. Completely forgetting that they were there, I drove off the next day with the boots still on the tail gate. The boots obviously fell off and some lucky person picked up a pair of amazing boots who had travelled many thousands of miles on my feet. I was very sad as those boots and I had history and many memories.
I tried various other hiking shoes and boots but didn’t find anything that suited me or felt right. Today I received a pair of Hoka Hiking boots that I had ordered online and decided I would take a chance on. A quick diversion here. I discovered Hoka walking/running shoes through interactions with the various international virtual walking/running groups that I am part of. I fell in love with my #Hokas. For the first time in many many years I do not suffer from burning balls of my feet during and after a walk. I decided that if they can make shoes that fit my soles then they can be the soul for my hiking boots.
Couldn’t wait to take them out for a trial hike. Off I headed into my favourite valley this morning. WESSA Umgeni Valley is my happy place. Tried these new boots on grass, dirt, rocks, steep inclines and sandy rocky banks. 10 kms later I arrived back home with comfortable happy feet and a smile on my face. Have fallen in love with my new hiking boots. Looking forward to many miles and memories to be made.
It does make me realise how blessed I am that I can purchase a pair of beautiful boots for my leisure and pleasure, whereas there are many who cannot afford a pair of shoes. Be blessed, stay humble and be kind.
“Kind words and kind deeds keep life’s garden free of weeds”.
Not sure who wrote this but it certainly strikes a cord given the current crises the world is facing right now. The feelings of anxiety, stress, fear which are constantly eroding confidence and planning. It takes nothing to be kind, to smile, to share a compliment with someone. So why are we not doing this more often.
Walking almost every day I come across many different persons. Some are quietly avoiding me and not wanting to make eye contact. Yet when they do and I greet them with a friendly tone (through my mask) their facial features (eyes) light up. Just a simple good morning with a happy tone can make a difference. There are those who greet back wholeheartedly and a short conversation takes place. Usually leaving me feeling good about the positive interaction. These regular walks mean I get to recognise an number of people coming to and from work. We have a lovely routine of a hello/howzit how are you. It’s inconsequential conversation but with the right tone you can make a difference to someone. Those who are finished with a night shift are tired, having to take care of someone needing mental, emotional and physical help. A kind word goes a long way with someone who is tired.
The cashier at the supermarket has been on their feet for a long shift. Be kind. Be nice. Leave them feeling like you really appreciated the work they do. You like to be appreciated, offer the same in return.
“Days are like suitcases – the same size, but some people are able to pack more into them than others”. Anonymous
How true is that? At the end of some days, I look back and I think to myself…..what on earth did I achieve? On other days I look back and say, wow that was a phenomenal day.
How does one ensure that you pack into your day’s suitcase as much as you need to? No answer to that question, I’m afraid. Each day brings news challenges, new knowledge, new interactions and life happens. What you do need to ensure is that at the end of the day you can put your head on your pillow knowing that you have done, what you can do, and not beat yourself up about what you couldn’t do. During the day in your suitcase there needs to be a space for you. A breathing space for you to be you, to enjoy you, to do what you want to do. And don’t ever let anyone guilt you out of this. BUT and its a large BUT ensure that you have achieved something each day.
When we pack for holidays, we usually over pack and take far too much. That’s what our days are generally like. We try to pack far too much into them, instead of planning what we need and using only what is essential and leaving behind the unnecessary baggage.
Do yourself a favour and leave the unnecessary behind and enjoy what you have packed into your suitcase.
21st century business requires more than product and services. 21st century business requires problem solving skills, agility and offering of product and services which are on the go and will make an already busy customer happy.
How to attract this social creature who is the 21st century consumer? The changes in the market demands are fluid, rapid and swayed by ‘likes’. However these ‘likes’ do not necessarily mean business. You could have millions of ‘likes’ and no interactions. Social media sites offer statistics that an entrepreneur can follow and analyse. Do this! These stats are useful. What you have to look at is the interactions because these are your interested customers. What are they looking for? Which posts did they interact with vs those they didn’t interact with. Are you using the # effectively and efficiently.
The 21st century customer is also looking for accountability and reliability. With the vast reach of social media it is not a good idea to offer shoddy service and then fob off poor service with excuses. That’s trouble asking to be taken up.
Look at adding value to your clients/customers. Offer them more than just your product or service. Women In Business is offering a free virtual race in November. Why are we doing this? We want to encourage healthy work life balance and we are wanting to introduce our members to new world thinking for Business.
Join #WomenInBusiness for a FREE virtual race from the 10th November 2019 until the 15th November. Yes you have 5 full days to complete this event or you can do it one day. Its absolutely up to you. Any where, any time at your own pace. Walk/run/cycle whatever turns your toes back 🙂 As its our first virtual race ever, its free. All you need to do is get off the couch, put on your walking shoes and walk or run for 12 miles (19 kilometers) wherever you are. That’s the joy of virtual walking – you don’t actually physically have to be where the virtual walk is. Here’s how it works: o Sign up by submitting your name and email. o Run anywhere (seriously, anywhere). o You track your activity by a GPS watch, app, sundial, change in the tides, or any other means. o Reply to a daily email with your activity (yea! you’re smokin’ fast!). o Your place on a map is plotted instantly (you get a really cool avatar!). o Your total mileage will be tracked. Sign up and get your friends to sign up! It’s always more fun when you’re running with friends. https://womeninbusines.racery.com/r/women-in-business-virtual-walk/
Writing a business plan and training for sport require very much the same actions. Both require planning, time lines, visions and goals. Without these your business plan nor your training plan will work.
Today I went out on a Trail Walk (I don’t run) and my plan did not work. I had not done enough preparation to achieve my goal of completing 10 kms in under 3 hours. I was not fit enough, as I had not done enough of the correct training. I had not researched the terrain sufficiently to understand the physical and mental energy required. I had my goal – to finish the course. I had my mission – another trail walk to add to my list of events done. BUT I had not planned nor had the correct foresight.
However I did enjoy the trail walk. I met some amazing people on the way who taught me lessons and enabled me to think differently. All of this is very similar to planning and setting up a business plan. Next weekend my plan may be different as the terrain will be different, the weather will be different. Not unlike a business plan where the economy changes or the market changes.
What did I learn? Both in business and in physical activity it is not good enough to have a vision and a mission. There is planning (short, medium and long term) that needs to be done and there has to be flexibility to change.
My 2nd Rhino Run was extra special as my daughter walked with me. This event continues to be a wonderful outdoor experience. Sadly not as well supported as it should be. We enjoyed the walk and the magnificent views around iNanda Dam. We decided to make a weekend of it and enjoy the pleasures of being in the outdoors. As a country South Africa has so much to offer to the outdoor enthusiast. Any reason to drive my #LadyMavis #LandRover is a good excuse. We booked into the Msinzi Tented accommodation and had a wonderful afternoon and evening outdoors and in touch with nature. Being with nature truly grounds you and makes your realise all the dramatic drama of the work week is sometimes in our heads. Being in the quiet stillness of nature brings everything into perspective. Well worth the visit and the stay at Msinzi iNanada Dam
One of the issues that is raised consistently is the fact that the enquirer is ‘not making money’ and they need help with marketing their product. In discussions with the entrepreneur I generally discover that they have taken the focus of their core business and diversified into a number of other unrelated products/services. This diversification is particularly onerous when the range of products/services is from health care, through to construction to catering. Such a wide variety of offerings can only be detrimental to the entity. No entrepreneur, especially a small emerging business, can cope with this kind of diversification. Through the interactions and mentoring process it becomes clear that the entrepreneur in question has been given unsound advice by friends and family. They have often invested large sums of money registering a company. They have not taken into consideration the onerous reporting procedures required of a company nor the accountancy costs. The entrepreneur is under the impression that if they are a registered company they can obtain finance and are eligible for tenders. Then they offer every single service they can think of without proper planning, testing the market, assessing their customers, no business plan or financial plan. No vision or mission. When questioned as to why they are not trading as a sole trader business, which is less onerous, they are ill informed as to the benefits of being a small business to start off with.
It is so sad that many aspiring entrepreneurs do not seek advice from reputable organisations or service providers. In the long run it would have saved them large amounts of money, time and disappointment.
On our website is a link whereby members of the public are able to contact us and we will assist and start the mentoring for free (limited number of sessions). We will also direct genuine entrepreneurs to reputable service providers who can assist them in their entrepreneurial journey.
Today I set out on an event that I have never participated in before. Purely because I have always had something else on at the time. However this weekend was the right weekend and I set out on the Capital Climb event in Pietermaritzburg. 15 kms of grueling testing of the legs on a pure uphill climb to World’s View and a pure downhill back to Voortrekker School. The event was a test of determination. The hill climb started on the tar road, led into a dirt road and then a slippy track which was extremely steep. Once at the top we could not see the view due to the mist, but just the sheer delight in having conquered the muscle stretching climb to the top was enough.
This event made me think of how entrepreneurs have to climb many hills of various challenges in order to make it to the top of their game. If you give up you have achieved nothing, but if you keep going and continually encourage yourself you can do anything you set your mind to. The event required training and preparation, as does a business. You have to be mentally and physically fit to be in business. You need to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to ensure your success. BUT you cannot have immediate success without having to slowly find your way to the top. Quick success leads to quick failures. Rather slow and sure to be able to manage and plan the business path.
Today’s event taught me a lot about tenacity. In one’s own life, private and business, this tenacity will go a long way to ensuring success. Don’t give up because you can do it.