DON’T SET ANY GOALS FOR 2018!

DON’T SET ANY GOALS FOR 2018!

Right now, whether it is on Linkedin, Facebook, or any other social media/marketing platform, you cannot help but notice the annual rounds of suggestions, courses, and training proclaiming new year new you, set fresh set of goals for an amazing 2017.

To all of these, I say, ‘HOGWASH.’  So once again you think a wagon has come off of Neils’ wagon.  Well, the wheels have always been a bit wobbly, however, as usual, I am of course being a little facetious.  I am not ANTI Goal setting but rather perturbed by the volume of people, courses, trainers and even coaches who are missing the single most crucial point.

I believe the skill of goal setting in an essential one, a skill that improves with repetition, execution, and importantly completion.  January every year sees a simply marketing drive to conflate real GOAL SETTING with the far less substantive ‘New Year Resolution.’  By doing this, I would suggest that most professionals who engage in this sort of January flimflam sale will get nowhere.

Do not just take my word for it lets start by looking at things as they are.  Then we can examine the real cause of the problem before I end by suggesting a way avoid the whole madness.

I like to deal with facts and figures so let us look at a couple:

Firstly:

But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

https://goo.gl/QglYYz

Secondly:

How long do New Year’s resolutions last?

https://goo.gl/tkPdZk

So let us say that the average reader of the article fell somewhere between the ages of 35-45 and started making new years resolution from the age of 16 this would mean that for 20+ years you have been making new years resolutions/goals.  Now with at best a success rate of between 8-14% at the very best why do YOU keep doing it?  I’m sure if in other areas of your life your success rate was as low you would have moved on to other more profitable endeavors by now.

The reason we carry on is that we ‘know’ goals work so persist and yet fail to grasp the real opportunity to make our goal setting truly life-changing.  I am sure you are all familiar with SMART targeting… ever checked your new year’s resolution to this standard?

New years resolution tend to be in areas of life where currently we feel we have lost control.  Now the mistake that everyone makes is in not recognizing that we define ourselves as much by our negative states as we do the positive.  Why is this?  The mind at a fundamental level does not differentiate between a positive and negative a belief as you would at the conscious level.  Therefore your subconscious will do everything it can to prevent you from reaching your stated goal!

Take the number one new year resolution that of weight loss I bet we all know friends who see this every year.  Firstly they lose weight then they put it all on again and ‘define’ themselves as a yo-yo dieter.  We all have patterns of behaviors that are very hard to break unless we apply the correct framework.

My experience is that it is incredibly hard to reach your business potential on your own, we all need networks around to support us.  We need to combine personal development with education/training.

So do not set goals as part of your new year’s resolution at least not before you put in place the necessary framework to support you.  Apply the same vigor to Goals whether they are personal or career.  Apply consistent methodologies/techniques such as SMART combine coaching and training to flex the muscle of decision-making.  Start small and build momentum and set goals all year round do not join in the once a year hullabaloo call New Years Resolutions.

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About the Author

Neil Jeffery
Founder Of Meta-Manager

Over the last ten years, I have worked in a mixture of commercial management roles, and public sector business support projects.  I've both designed and delivered thousands of hours of support via workshops and one to one sessions.  My clients range from start-ups to multinationals. The tools I've developed have allowed me to more than double my income within two years at the height of a recession.

IN BUSINESS NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

IN BUSINESS NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

I have never met anyone in business who does not see the value in ensuring effective communication across or channels and media.  Ask any NLP practitioner, and they will start talking to you regarding the ‘Meta-Model,’ or the ‘Milton Model’ and the importance of stories and metaphor.  Ok, there is a lot more depth to NLP, but I am not writing about NLP.  However, over the last decade whether coaching or training, I’ve seen the power of all these ideas in practice.  As a species, we are born storytellers whether literal, metaphorically, analogously, in fact in whatever form it is packages we love a good narrative.  The bigger the story, the more culturally significant, the greater the impact it holds.  So make yourself comfy and indulge me a little as I invite you into my very own private cinema.

For me, Film is the ultimate storytelling media in both scale and scope and something above all else I return to time and time again.  It has taught me valuable life lessons, educated me, scared me half to death and allows me to escape into worlds, times and experiences that I am unlikely ever to experience in my everyday life.

Have you ever watched a film and wished your life was more like that of a movie? The extreme risk and reward with the dice loaded 100% in your ultimate favor. Well, perhaps you already are, run with it see what you think!  The famous Alien poster used the tagline, in space, no one can hear you scream, and I think this has a real value from a business perspective for clients and coaches.  Running your own business can be tense, overwhelming even a little scary.  Like Sigourney Weaver, your running around a maze of business options, tightly contained by issues of cash flow, invoice payment, and debtors books.  The scream of a business owner is internal and rarely shared.

Well for me that was the case when I saw those heroic actions heroes on the screen and wanted to be them, and I took it in my late teens and early twenties to an extreme! Indiana Jones or more precisely Harrison Ford was who I wanted to be. I pictured myself bullwhip in hand, swinging across precipices, and retrieving some ancient treasure.  My initial attempts involving some particular hazardous treks around national trust parks and climbing walls in public gyms went reasonably well.  Sadly, however, when I followed in Indy’s footsteps with some trekking in an Amazonian rainforest, the only thing I brought away was malaria.

As I lay in bed, the sweat pouring from my body as I simultaneously shivered from the cold, I like many others experienced some bizarre fever dreams.  One that stands out was of businesses executives all over the world waking up screaming with terror and saying,  “I need a Business Coach!.’

Okay, everything in the last paragraph is a complete fiction, well apart from my man crush on Harrison Ford.  However, it illustrates a clear REALITY no one ever wakes up and says ‘I want a business coach’ despite my government lobbying it is unlikely we (Coaches that is) will ever be the fourth emergency service.

So while people may not wake up screaming for a business coach what they often do is lose sleep and worry about how they are going to pay the wage bill, whether they can make that loan payment on time.  These issues are the effect. The cause is often one of needing more business, more customer or better margins on items sold.  Now, as that is where business owners need help and support, that is where I focus my work.  Meta-Manager uses the five-step profit formula:

More Leads

More Conversions

More Transactions

Higher Prices

More Profits

Aligning our methodology to the real business needs may not mean people are waking up from a fever dream and calling for a business coach, but they may now think of Meta-Manager to solve their business problems.  Working with a skilled business coach can be transformational for your business so go on give it a go!

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About the Author

Neil Jeffery
Founder Of Meta-Manager

Over the last ten years, I have worked in a mixture of commercial management roles, and public sector business support projects.  I've both designed and delivered thousands of hours of support via workshops and one to one sessions.  My clients range from start-ups to multinationals. The tools I've developed have allowed me to more than double my income within two years at the height of a recession.

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM PARIS HILTON

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM PARIS HILTON

Today we’ll talk about shameless self-promotion. That’s right, I said it! Shameless! After all, we are learning from Paris Hilton here.

It’s all about self-promotion! Self-promotion comes in many forms and you can use different tactics to get your name out there. Look at politicians! Talk about self-promotion and in some not so discreet ways, at that. But, seriously, consider some of the major superstars we all know. Madonna, Donald Trump, Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, just to name a few.

We all self-promote. Did you raise your hand in class to show the teacher you knew the answer? Of course! That’s self-promotion. This is the kind of self-promotion we’re talking about. With dignity, class and the knowledge to back it up. If you self-promote only to prove you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose business.

Natural self-promoters are the former, and I want to tell you about the three major traits they have and use to build themselves and their businesses.

  • The first is position. You need to position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. You need to do this frequently. You need to wake up every morning and ask yourself “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” In fact, go a step further, write it in big, bold letters and tape it on your bathroom mirror.

Also, consider:

Who can help me meet my goals? Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?

Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone, and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.

  • Now, let’s talk about Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need an Armani suit to bring in more business (though let’s be honest, it wouldn’t hurt) J What this means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?

If you are meeting a lot of people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem! This means you have an opportunity to present yourself in a more memorable way.

There are lots of little subtle changes you can make. Reassess your:

  • Business Cards

  • Company Message

  • Your Picture

  • Your Wording

Maybe even, your hairstyle (of course, now we’re back to the expensive suit, but it works!)

You get the idea. There are lots of little ways you can work on making your image and business more successful. Also, consider how you sound on the phone and how you greet people at meetings or other events. Think about your 30-sec elevator speech.

  • The third trait of natural promoters is repetition. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need until they get a response. Would you remember a commercial for Coca-Cola if you only saw it once, no! You see it over and over and eventually; you head out to the store.

You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.

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HOW TO MAKE A £MILLION BUSINESS IN SOFTWARE

HOW TO MAKE A £MILLION BUSINESS IN SOFTWARE

The last 20 years have been a boom time for those within the technology space with startup going from zero to multi-million business in a couple of years.  Observing this trend has led to yet further increase in the volume of these highly time-sensitive software products and Apps.

If you are among the many of people with a great idea and looking at launching a new software product, then one of the things you need to consider is how do you license it to maximize profit and keep value in the business if you’re thinking of selling the company on at some point.

There are several standard licensing schemes for software. Most of them depend on the software’s architecture and the intended market. I have compiled a list of those most commonly encountered.  All of these different models have implications for the monetization of your software product.

Licensed per named user

Tied to a particular person. This license is popular for web applications and also for many shrink-wrapped desktop applications.

Licensed per installation/computer

This license allows the installation and usage of one computer. You need multiple licenses if a person is using the software on more than one computer. On the other hand, it is usually allowed that numerous persons use the software as long as they use it on the same computer.  A Very traditional licensing structure where software installed directly on end user’s machines.

Licensed per client

Typically used in client/server architectures. You usually need to acquire a license for each client (called Client Access License or CAL in short), and in most cases, the server requires an additional server license. Very useful in situations where you have hundreds or thousands of users.

No license fees at all

Often case when dealing with open-source or freeware software. It is also increasingly popular when selling support for a particular software application is far more profitable than selling the software itself.  Although not your model!

Licensed per developer

Not applicable to all products traditionally used in teams of developer they can be broken into small types such as floating license, concurrent users or named user.

Site license

The software product can be used by all persons on the same ‘site.’ A site can mean all persons in the same building, the same physical address or all persons in the company. This license scheme is often not used because of possible discounts like many people would think, it is used to make the licensing and license control easier for the purchasing party.

Floating license

The software is accessed on multiple computers by multiple users. You just have to make sure that only one user uses the license at the same time. A floating license can make sense if you have a costly software product that the users just need from time to time. Floating licenses are usually offered in addition to other licenses and are more expensive in most cases.

Royalties per item sold

This scheme is only appropriate for software products that are part of other software applications or are sold as a part of a package.

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SHINING CHEYENNE – A CAUTIONARY BUSINESS TALE

SHINING CHEYENNE – A CAUTIONARY BUSINESS TALE

I do not know if this applies to you, but I can sometimes be a victim of ‘shiny syndrome’ where the lure of something new temporarily blinds me to common sense and the obvious.  I find this syndrome even more common in business, where continual changes are the norm, and it is impossible for us to hold mastery of every area essential to our effective performance as businesses.  Strive to look beyond the superficial do not mistake the symptom for the disease, cause for effect, etc.

We often hear how we are in the age of communication, from the early days of the internet, email and social media the world’s increasingly a smaller place.  Every new generation of laptop, a smartphone, and tablet offering a convergence of multiple devices into one.  Businesses are offering BYOD, so we need only carry one phone and not one for home and one for work. Innovations on the horizon suggest further rapid change we have seen the first examples of augmented reality and VR finally appears to be something people can use.  Beyond this, looms the internet of things, where your fridge can not just tell you-you are running out of milk but place the order and have it delivered it via drone.  People speak in awe of disruptive technologies and the implication this will have for changes in the workplace.

However, rapid changes I see is also creating gaps in traditional skills sets.  Essential skills that remain core to business today.  If we buy into the hype, we are now a connected planet everything and everyone a click away swimming in a sea of digital information.  I wish this were the case, yet I fear it is still a very fragile connectivity, built upon shaky foundations as new skills supersede traditional ones in a global case of ‘shiny syndrome.’ I can best illustrate this via a story, so if we’re sitting comfortably, I will begin (If you are old enough and from the UK you will know that TV reference).

Let us set the scene, the heroine of our piece is Cheyenne fresh-faced 20 years old with a 2:1 Hons degree in Marketing & Brand Development.  When we meet her she wearing a smart charcoal grey trouser suit with her favourite set of Christian Louboutin that gives her a little extra height, confidence and a killer set of designer glasses.

“So Cheyenne tell us what your marketing approach will be to our growth strategy?”

“It’s very straightforward really; we build an integrated marketing strategy that seamlessly blends your traditional print media with the new digital platforms!  We leverage your social presence to drive your Instagram customer to your Facebook, Facebook to Twitter via LinkedIn, Periscope and Pinterest.”  A quick intake of breath.  “We focus on outbound via print while driving inbound on your digital platforms.  I can then use Adwords, PPC, sponsored content enhanced by robust SEO to create a peerless high-value brand while simultaneously raising you to thought leader status across the globe!” And Breathe.

“Ahh, I see….”

Ok, so I see that her response is 99% jargon, and chances are the MD has absolutely no idea what any of it was really about but what for goodness sake Neil is the point of this story?  Obviously, I am surprised you have not already spotted it.  Well, I am a great believer in using at least a 1000 words where 500 would do so I beg your patience for a little while longer.  You see this issue isn’t what Cheyenne says but rather what she doesn’t even know.

Cheyenne assembles her team of super smart, immaculately turned out A team.  Each is bursting with thousands of ideas, stylistically distinct and a world-weariness born from higher education.  She delivers on every single claim she outlined in her interview and increased enquiries accordingly to google analytics by 1000% and is somewhat surprised therefore at being fired and escorted from the business barely three months later.

What? 1000 % growth and enquiries what are you on about, I thought Hapless Bob was bad enough, but now you are taking the proverbial biscuit!  Any business would kill for that type of volume you are a gibbering buffoon Sir and some more colourful metaphors, similes, etc.  As always your, absolutely correct but this is where I dramatically pull back a metaphorical curtain shout ‘TA DAAA’ and reveal the fundamental flaw, the Achilles Heel of everything Cheyenne did.  However, I cannot resist a final visit to the surprised Cheyenne.

Cheyenne complete with killer heels is being dragged backward by two kindly security guards holding her firmly, yet appropriately, by the arms. Her genuine look of surprise magnified subtly by her killer glasses, “1000 % increase in unique site visits, bounce rate down to 40 %, 1645 new follows on Twitter, 798 new likes on Facebook today alone… what more could I do?”  Watching her go her fellow teammates are busy changing the name on the next marketing plan and picking out a new set of killer specs.

You see although the level of connectivity to the various digital platforms is high something is going awry. Look at the majority of social scenes, and you will have observed people hunched over phones and tablet, tapping away whether texting, emoji, gif, etc.  Greater connectivity heralded as a cohesive liberating revolution can just as easily create new boundaries, destroying the art of conversation.  So when the 1000% increase in customer enquiries occurs and the phones start to ring, the phone rings, and the millennial generation starts to sweat.  Like rabbits in the headlights a split second before being flattened by a car, they lack the experience to say hello, let alone carry out a sale.

Yes, technology has made significant changes to the way we do business but the old sales cliché that people buy people remain true. Virtually every B2B sale involves people to carry out the close, a complete contrast to our experience as home consumers where we can buy everything by clicking a mouse and need never see another human being let alone interact.  Therefore, it seems evident to me that the company that invests in all the latest bells and whistles may not realise the expected results by merely neglecting another section of the transactional process that they, possessing an older skill set, take for granted in newly hired staff.  The Tragedy here is that Cheyenne was very good at her job and delivered as promised her failure was one common within the business where the axe falls on the result rather than the cause.   Avoid Shiny Syndrome, ensure you review the entire business channel before potentially losing your own, equally brilliant, Cheyenne.

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SUCCESS EQUATION

SUCCESS EQUATION

Confessions of the coach

The Success Equation

(Gc + Gc1)MM = Success +++

Where: G = Good           B= Bad              c= client             c1 = coach

MM=Meta-Manager

So let us presume that at some point in your business journey you recognise that your business is developing in either a way you hadn’t anticipated or is moving in a direction contrary to your intention.  In such a circumstance you may well have considered looking for support.  To help you understand the how, why and wherefore let us do some maths.

Gc1 + Gc = Success

Bc1+Gc =   Failure

Gc1+Bc = Failure

Even with the few basic variables, you can see that success is not a certainty.

You have only got to search LinkedIn for business coaches and even by refining to sector and geographical location you still have a choice measured in the hundreds.  Now, this is an issue for both the coach and the client, as a lousy coach working with a good client fails to deliver and damages the reputations of coaches as a whole.  On the flip side if you have a brilliant coach with a mediocre client you have precisely the same scenario.  Why?  It is merely the reality that coaching is a contract between coach and client based on honesty, integrity, and professionalism on both sides.  If either party fails in this contractual agreement success will be limited, if acknowledged at all, or relationships on both sides break down acrimoniously.

Coaching is clearly a B2B service, and LinkedIn is the worlds’ largest B2B sales platform.  You thought I was going to say social network, didn’t you!  The reality is that it is both, but it is also the fastest way for coaches to get their message right in front of their client’s eyes.  So if they are not doing this correctly, it’s the first strike against their credibility.  If they pass this gateway, then, by all means, have a phone call or better still a face to face meeting.  Now at the meeting, the best coaches don’t bother to sell.  You may be wondering why this is the case, the answer you’ve agreed to meet them right!  If you want to meet with me, then you want to buy.  Any loss of a potential sale is therefore at that point down to me as the business owner.  Instead, good coaches collect lots of information and add value.  So if you feel you’re being pressured, sold or offered a cookie cutter style program; Strike Two.  The third strike for me is the follow up where you get involved in a protracted series of emails, phone messages, etc.  The best coaches ALWAYS ask the hardest question first when do you want to start and when do you want my invoice.  Now if your scratching your heads wondering why I’m not advocating a softly, softly strategy it is because as a good coach I’m looking for good clients.  Clients who want to grasp the bull by the horns today!  Good Client remember with a Good Coach takes success to the next level it’s the synergy between the two ‘goods’ as much as anything.  If you apply these three tests you can quickly reduce the volume and increase the quality of the coaches, you meet.

Meta-Manager is my response to the dilemma outlined above it provides a vetting and management service to ensure you get a good coach whose accountable throughout.  We aim to plug that gap in the aspiration SME community for business coaching with honesty, integrity, and professionalism.  The processes at our core ensure we hold clients equally accountable, so you get the right equation.

(Gc + Gc)MM = Success +++

Having the right Connections, Coaches, and Clients, Meta-Manger is well on its way to being the Brand of choice for inspirational business owners and manager.

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