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Random Thoughts

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Maximizing Profits – The Business Building Cycle

Ever heard of the Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 rule? I’m sure most of you have, but how many of you are applying it to your business? If you haven’t heard of it, the Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.  It’s more an observation than rule, and a loose rule since the numbers often don’t exactly fit 80% and 20%. But as a generality it can be found everywhere, including in your business. This concept (that I learned in the forums) can be used to help make your business more efficient. If you take a serious look at your locations, you will find that somewhere around 20% of them are underperforming. You should consider eliminating those locations. The effects will have a small impact on your income, and a larger impact on freeing up time. A caveat is that this should not be a simple action. You don’t just want to dump that bottom 20% without taking a few steps first. Take a look at the location, and products, and figure out if there is something that could bring it up. Maybe it could be in a better location, or a change in products could make a big difference. Does the machine have a flaw that nobody has told you about? Sometimes people will avoid the machine that “eats their money” without ever mentioning it to the Vendor. Distance is also a factor. A location in a real convenient location that takes little to no time to get to, or is on the way to another can perform lower than a location that can take a long time to drive to. But even then, that further location might not be as bad if you are expanding into that area. How you eliminate is also depending on if you want to grow. If your growing your business, you want to eliminate slower than you are building. If you are right about where you want to be, you keep adding locations, and eliminating the worst performer each time you add a location. And then if you are wanting to cut down, you can be the most aggressive, until you get down to where you want to be. Although you might want to sell off those locations instead of just eliminating them. Every time you do this you are increasing your hourly income. Below is the cycle you should follow, but while they are in a numbered order, you really want to do all constantly: 1.       Grow a.       Add new locations. Some will be good, some will be average, and some will be bad. 2.       Modify a.       Attempt to fix the issues with the poor locations. Doesn’t hurt to see if you can make your good locations better too. 3.       Eliminate a.       Remove the worst locations at a speed consistent with your desire for growth. 4.       Repeat

The Mage

The Mage

 

Success Series Part I

I have been working toward improving myself, and my life for a few years now. It’s still a work in progress, but I have learned a few things along the way so I decided to write about what I have learned. There is a lot of stuff that is just fluff, and I have found people who really do not know what they are talking about. Is somebody giving real advice, or is somebody just making up crap trying to sell something? By searching through books, blogs, and podcasts, videos, and meeting real successful people I believe I have found a lot of what actually works, and isn’t just hype. I have tried my best to think through anything before I reject anything somebody says, and at the same time I attempt to think through things before simply accepting anything. As I put some of these ideas into practice I needed to figure out if my success or failure was a result of the process, or me because I didn’t, or wouldn’t follow the process. In the process I have also learned a lot about myself. That is probably the hardest part of this endeavor.   Happiness Why am I talking about happiness first? The biggest reason people work to achieve success is to attain happiness. That is the elusive goal that keeps people motivated, but many people do find that if they attain happiness that it is just a fleeting experience. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they treat happiness as a reward, and they put conditions on it. “I’ll be happy when…”, or they put it on other people, like their parents, spouse, kids, friends, that person they have a secret crush on. Maybe they are waiting for that random stranger or event to change their life, and make them happy. Happiness is a choice, a state of mind. Not the result of anything else, but a conscious choice that we make to be happy. Why spend time being miserable to get to happiness when both the journey, and the goal are happy experiences. I experienced depression on a regular basis for decades. I am talking about from grade school into my 40’s it was a constant part of my life. It prevented me from a lot of success in my life, but at the same time it motivated me first to search out a better life, then to figure out what was going on with me. My next discovery was that I was the one driving my depression. Choosing happiness isn’t easy after spending 3 plus decades driving yourself into depression. Depression was a very strong habit that I had to break. I did enter into another depressed state after learning this, but I also paid more attention to what was going on, and decided I would start fighting it. I found that there was a pattern to what would happen to me. Some minor event would happen, and I would start by making it worse, then start talking negatively about myself in my head. As I felt bad it would feed those thoughts, which would make me more depressed, when would drive those thoughts further. The more depressed I was, the easier it was for those thoughts to drive me further into depression, and the more irrational those thoughts became. Logic went out the window. I did come out of that depression, and made a conscious effort to prepare for the next time it happened. I practiced arguing against some of those negative thoughts instead of just thinking them, and feeling bad. Then something happened, and those same thoughts were there to push me into depression again. But this time I recognized them, and I thought, “Wait a second, how accurate is this thought?” (Not the exact words, but effectively what I thought.) This is what is called a pattern interrupt. I found out what the pattern was and proceeded to alter it. Once I changed what was happening my mind was no longer on its familiar route of heading toward depression. It couldn’t get back on track, so I didn’t end up depressed. This happened again, and I knew I have to be vigilant, but every time it happened it was weaker and weaker. I had built up a new habit and it got in the way of the old one. There are other steps, like spending a little time visualizing something negative in your past as an outside observer, then blank your mind or think of something neutral, (this is important,) then think of a good memory as if you are seeing it through your own eyes. (Associated vs disassociated states.) Do this often and your mind will start to alter your memories to fit, and start doing it automatically. Later on, try to actively think of the positive memories often, and try not to think about any of the negative. If one pops up follow the routine above. At this point you can notice happiness creeping into your life, and as a choice, not the random event it used to be, or the reward at the end of some rainbow. It becomes a choice. Satisfaction At this point your motivation may drain away. If happiness was your goal having it could take away your motivation. So, what do you do? Be happy, just don’t be satisfied. So now instead of achieving to be happy, you happily achieve. You can enjoy the journey, not just the destination. I put satisfaction goal extremely high. Technically it could be infinite, but an extremely high goal is fine. Then break down that goal into more manageable chunks so that while you are “shooting for the moon” you still have plenty of sub-goals to hit. Let’s say your goal is to run a marathon. (Would never be my goal,) Before doing that, you should set a goal to run a half marathon. But why not set a quarter marathon before that? How about a 5K before that? Or a 1 K before that? How about just getting used to running around the block every day first? (About 320 meters, or a fifth of a mile based on the average block.) There are multiple reasons to break up goals, but increasing the number of times you achieve a goal is good for both happiness and satisfaction. Not to mention it’s an indication you are on the right track. Summary Happiness is a state of mind, not a goal. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination or goal. Always be happy, never be satisfied. Break down goals not only to track progress, but to give you more successes.

The Mage

The Mage

 

Return of the Blogs

Blogs are back up and running again. If you want to post about vending, have some advice, or opinions, go ahead and write about it in the blogs section.

The Mage

The Mage

 

Success Series Part II

Success programs and books always seem to start with goals. This seems the logical first step but I see a problem with that. When motivating people, I don’t think it’s a good idea to start off with a big task. That will scare a lot of people, or cause them to put to the side whatever program they are looking into by saying they will do it later. (Later means never.) We don’t want to motivate procrastination. Many people have already gone through some sort of goal setting program in the past, often more than once. The idea of writing down your goals for the 10th time just isn’t appealing. And once you do have your goals, then what? It looks like a massive overwhelming task and that can be intimidating, again causing people to procrastinate. On the opposite end are the people extremely motivated, but really don’t know what to do, or people who jump in without a plan. Not realizing that a goal is not a plan. Instead of starting with big goals I think it’s a good idea to get momentum going, and create a few habits first. Most people already have an idea of what they want anyway so I think goals can be delayed for a while. When following this idea people even without goals should be more successful. Don’t clean your house Let’s say you want a clean and organized house. Congratulations you have a goal and it only took 5 seconds. If your house is the disaster area most people think it is, cleaning a house seems like a ton of work, and that may not be motivating. The secret is to not clean your house, instead clean a room. But even a room can be intimidating, so instead do some dusting, or clean a table, organize a bookshelf. If the bookshelf is too daunting, just one of the shelves. Now you have done something and succeeded. You have achieved your task, your smaller goal, and have made a step to the larger goal. Make it too easy When trying to achieve goals the secret is to make it too easy. There is an old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Or a call to Uber.) Achieve something small and you made your first step. Then do another, and another. The next step doesn’t even have to be today, it could be tomorrow. Often that momentum will carry you forward, and you end up taking 2 or 3 steps, maybe more. But not because you are forcing yourself to, you already achieved the goal, you do it because you feel like it. I first ran into this concept with an author that said he couldn’t write a book, but he could write 10 pages in a day. He then went though his process to end up with a book. Tim Ferriss takes it further by making himself write only 2 pages a day, and it doesn’t matter if they are good or not. If they aren’t good he just tosses them. But he finds that sometimes momentum takes him further and he gets many more accomplished, while other days he stops at the 2 when it isn’t working. Either way his goal is achieved. Anthony Robbins also uses this idea. He describes how a tiny 1% difference doesn’t seem like a lot, but over time it is quite substantial. From LA to New York the difference is 153 miles, and puts you below Philadelphia.1  Habit Another person I learned this from is Dr. John Berardi. Probably one of the most successful physical transformation coaches around. He gives one simple and small goal or task to follow every day for 2 weeks, and only if the person believes there is a 90% chance he or she will follow it. If they do it for 2 weeks it starts to become a habit and takes little effort to keep up, so another habit is introduced, and the cycle continues. Nobody quits because it’s too hard. In fact, they worry about how little they are given to do. But a year later they have become a different person. One of his 2-week habits might be just be more mindful (pay attention) when you eat. We shouldn’t just work on our goals but make our actions to achieve them habits. When something becomes a habit it no longer seems like you are really putting in the work. It can become harder to not do it. Tim Ferriss interviewed a person who had a rule that he had to put his exercise clothing on every day. That’s it, nothing else, just put on the clothing to exercise. Later he had to walk to go to his car, and sit in the driver seat. And later he added driving to the gym. He didn’t have to go in, didn’t have the rule that he had to work out, but more often than not he would think, “Well I’m already here, might as well workout.” Bottom Up Approach This is a form of what is called a bottom up approach. Many systems focus on the top down, from goals to tasks, while this focuses more on tasks to goals, and sometimes not even the goals. This is popular with the Getting Things Done system put out by David Allen. (I use a modified version myself.) Scott Adams of Dilbert has stated that he believes in systems instead of goals. I’m a little more in the middle. I think that starting with the systems and habits is good for everyone, but I still believe in goals, at least eventually, I just believe that once this system of achievement is in place, your success with goals will be greater. You won’t just have dreams on paper, but a system to achieve them already in place. I plan on discussing goals later.   1.       I used a direct straight line, not a route, and 1% of 360° resulting in 3.6° of angle. 1° would have resulted in 42.7 miles.

The Mage

The Mage

 

The purpose of a Blog

When I reopened the blogs, I hoped people would use them more than they have. From what I have read I get the impression that people are mixing up the purpose of a forum, and a blog. You really don’t want to post questions, or start conversations in a blog. It is more of a one-way conversation, more like an article, or a journal entry. It’s a place where you can tell your story. People can follow you as your build your business. Another idea is to write about what you have learned. The tips and tricks that help people become more successful. Maybe you are good at locating, found a quicker method for servicing, or ideas about increasing revenue. You could just journal about your day. Later you can go back and see your growth, and remember things you forgot. The above is just advice not set in stone rules, you could do it in a way nobody has ever thought of before. Creativity has no limits. Whatever you do make it yours.

The Mage

The Mage

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