Monday, February 28, 2011

Alternative healing

I have never been much into modern healing and drugs. Firstly, I have always been fascinated with the body’s ability to heal itself. I studied eastern religions and martial arts for many years. I have enjoyed the benefits of acupuncture and acupressure too often during and after martial arts bouts to think that this form of healing does not work. I have first hand seen broken bones been restored through Tea leaves of a specific bush from the mountains of Japan. I know modern day scientists will try to debunk this all as a myth, but suddenly we see massage therapists springing up everywhere.
For years we have experienced the results of a good massage therapist, and now its seems that the medical world is finally catching up. Maybe the medical world has been afraid of losing clients? Massage therapy is a wonderful alternative source of healing. I have experienced first hand the effects of a great massage. Muscles relax, stress dissipates, healing takes place. Seeing as so much of our modern day ailments are stress related, seems to be a logical conclusion that we should all engage the services of a great massage therapist to simply reduce our stress. 
We change our car’s oil regularly, why not de-stress our physical bodies regularly? Nutrition and exercise should be a part of our everyday routine maintenance of our bodies. Include in that a massage every week, fresh air, and some meditation. I think you have a recipe for success...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The trifecta of success

Psychologists have long theorized over what I consider the trifecta of success. There elements of personal paradigm. The first is your actions. Your actions impact the way you ‘view’ the world and all its ups’ and downs. A depressed person will interpret every action as a personal assault, an entrepreneur views every setback as an opportunity to make money and a gambler views every loss as one step closer to the big hit.
The second aspect is of course your emotions. An upbeat person, is more likely to succeed simply because he or she is more prone to action. A depressed person is more prone to a sedentary lifestyle, waiting for something to fall out of the sky.
Finally there are the thoughts. Your emotions are closely tied to your thoughts. If you see the glass as half empty, it literally becomes what you see it as. You fulfill your own prophecy through the power of suggestion. Thoughts become words, and words lead to actions. You therefore become what you think you. Descartes said something along the lines of :”I think, therefore I am”. Basically, it theorized that because he thinks, therefore he exists. I want to take that philosophy to the next level. I become what I think I am.
I act what I think. I ‘feel’ what I think. Therefore, my thinking determines who I am, what I feel and whether I become successful or not. In fact, the word success is by and large determined by my own evaluation of my situation. True success is personally defined and evaluated. 

“I think therefore I become.” - Timothy Edwards

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Leadership v management

I have served in leadership positions since I was a cub scout in grade school. Through the years I have learnt a few things about leadership, but being a some time weekend warrior blogger, I have an opinion on everything from ants to zoos. Somewhere in the mix I needed to do something on leadership. So here goes...Tim’s view on leadership.
First of all, a leader is not a manager. I should actually rephrase that to say a manager is not a leader. Managers can lead, but generally they are better at managing. Leaders on the other hand can lead and often make great managers too. Managers make for poor leaders. Managers like to control and be in control. Leaders on the other hand are comfortable giving up control, and prefer to bring a vision to the project and lead others into completing the project.
Managers like to be in control and retention of control is critical. So where does a visionary fit into this mix? A visionary that is going to be successful has the right mix of leader and manager. Visionaries that are more leadership orientated can fall by the way in getting the project going. The fine balance between leadership and management is the reason we have so few successful visionaries and so many failed dreamers.
Managers are by their very nature administrators. They administer through controls and systems. Everything has a system, a place and a corresponding form. Every form is filed and nothing occurs without a form.
Leaders by their very nature move away from all forms. Leaders prefer to use ‘forms’ to scribble their next big vision/dream/idea on. Visionary leaders are great at cutting through bureaucratic legalese. Its not surprising then that churches attract a lot of managers, but tend to shy away from leaders. Traditional churches are managed by bureaucrats rather than dreamers. Traditional churches tend to attract managers who need a place to manage. Think mid level supervisors. Top business leaders are seldom drawn to the local church. Simply put, the local church is unattractive and plain boring. (This does not have to be the case, but more than not it is. Reason being you have a manager leading a visionary. Not going to work)
Leaders that are successful have one other attractive quality. They can inspire people to follow them. In fact, good leaders are well liked by many, and are found to be truthful, honest and have integrity. When polled about leaders, people will often remark that they come across as ‘believable’. People need to ‘trust’ their leaders of they are going to follow them. Without this ‘trust’ forget about having any followers. Without followers, you cannot lead.
Now some people will never make leaders. You are either born a visionary or not. You cannot be trained to become a visionary. Leaders have this innate ability to ‘see’ into the future and then they have the ‘believable element’ within their character.
The next aspect to a great leader is the ability (and this one can be learnt) to convey the vision to many people. This requires the ability to speak eloquently, with the correct body language, correct dress and ability to put the vision into simple terms that the man on the street can not only make sense of the vision, but more importantly he can grasp the vision. Finally the man must want to see the vision fulfilled. This requires a deft ability to convey the vision with enough enthusiasm and excitement that the receiver (man on the street) get really excited and wants to grab onto where the leader is going.
The final character requirement for a great leader is the excitement variable. If you can get people excited about your vision, you are half way there. People who get excited about your product, blog, vision will share it with others. This in itself creates momentum for your vision.
Manager mentality works with paid staff. Visionary leaders attract intelligent people who see value in the vision and are therefore willing to put up with the eccentricity of the visionary. (Howard Hughes is a classic visionary eccentric) Too much of the visionary quality can make you appear to be eccentric and that does not attract people. 
Its okay to be a visionary if you are a Howard Hughes, Bill gates, Marc Zucker. If your vision brings you sudden and dramatic wealth, then you don’t need people to make your vision successful. If your vision is not of another facebook then you need to suppress your eccentricity and work on your people skills. Thats the problem that visionary pastors face.
To be continued...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Online marketing

Online marketing for small Businesses
There is much to be said about conducting business online. The biggest deception is that if you build a website, they will come. Totally rubbish. Building a website is not good enough. You need a web presence. What you really need is a Youtube video to go viral. Now that will really give your business a presence. Of course, n one really knows the ‘right’ formulae for what causes a video to go viral and what does not. So, unless you find that exact mix of humor, fun and perfect youtube video, the rest is pure hard work, and constant hard work at that.
To begin, you need to be active in social media. This by itself will not drive business your way, but it will get your brand out there. If you can get bloggers talking about your business, then you have hit the mother-load right there.
For the rest of us, here are a few key ingredients you need to get started.
  1. Facebook - you absolutely have to have a facebook page. Be real, interact and preferably be witty. Build an online presence around a facebook page.
  2. Twitter - powerful medium to build brand awareness, but you have to be active. The key to twitter is to be active, build a following, by simply following people in your industry and related industries. Most will follow you, and thus you will slowly build up a list of potential clients.
  3. Linkedin - Linked in is great for networking with other business and seems more professional minded. This one costs you for a ‘professional account’, but I am not sure there is any real value in paying for a social presence.
  4. Online ads - Google adwords are a great place to place ads. Give you exposure, relatively cheap and brings great value to your advertising campaign.
  5. Facebook ads are in my opinion the best value for money out there. The ability to define who will see your ad, and the price gives you real value for money with good returns on investment. Thats the way to go for a smaller budget.
  6. Myspace is really geared towards a younger generation and caters largely to bands, musicians and comedians. There are plenty of individuals on myspace, but with Facebook’s ability to interact in real time, myspace is losing ground in advertising.
  7. Youtube - the really BIG GUN. If you can get a short video clip of your biz to go viral, you have hit the jackpot. A youtube video can literally go around the world in hours giving you worldwide recognition right away. Some key thoughts on what makes a great youtube video.
7.1    It needs to be short, 3 minutes or less
7.2    It needs to be funny, preferably with a cute animal, baby or kid in it.
Finally the ‘blog’. A great tool to keep clients aware of new products, or services. It also serves to build brand following and get the word out about who you are. There is a growing trend amongst the internet generation to buy from people who share their value system. Blogging is a surefire way of letting people know what you believe in, dream and hope for. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

What does it take to start a biz?

Starting and growing a business
What does it take to start a business?
The question is simple, the answer is as simple, but the truth is beyond simple. Starting is easy, its the finishing thats difficult. Anybody can start a business, from your housewife next door with her make up sales, (or some other multi level marketing program) to your college genius inventing the next facebook. What separates the success stories from the hundreds of failures? Well, thats where this blog comes in.
Starting a business - the elements.

Vision. You need a vision, a dream. This is most important. The vision or dream needs to be as detailed as possible. Color in the picture. Give it a sense of smell. Yes, you need to even incorporate the smell of success. What does success smell like? Simple, a brand new car interior smells like success. Not the test drive model, the brand new Mercedes Benz, the new Porsche. Thats what’s success smells like. Once you have that smell in your nostrils, make sure it is deep in your memory banks. You want to be able to access that smell when your refrigerator is empty, your closest bare, and you have no gas in your car. When you second hand car breaks down yet again, you want to be able to access that smell of success.
When you get turned down for the umpteenth time that day (by a potential client, bank or provider) you want to be able to bring that smell of success back to your mind.

The second element of this formulae is ‘drive’. The drive to succeed beyond failure is what separated Edison from the many who had gone before him. He failed over 100 times at inventing the light bulb, but his drive to succeed kept him on track. Today we are all familiar with what is soon to become extinct...the old lightbulb.
Drive is a vital element in the success formulae. You have to be driven by your vision to go beyond failure. Plan for success at all times, but never allow the road bump of failure to slow you down!

Time. You never have enough time. When you launch your new venture, you are fast going to run out of time. You need to invest your time very wisely. Keep a time tracker going. Track your time for 7 days. On the 8th day do an assessment of what part of your schedule produces the most output. Cut out all the unproductive time. Time is the one commodity that can never be replaced, or purchased. To build a successful business, you are going to invest a whole lot of your life. Before you embark on this adventure, make sure that you are really ready to invest your life into your dream.  Is your dream worth investing your life? If the answer is yes, then get going. If no, then find a new dream.

Money - I hate to point this out, but without money, its not going to happen. There are two ways around this issue. One, you can borrow to the hilt, take a second mortgage etc. This strategy is not one that I would recommend , but this blog is not about finances, so I won’t go there.
The second way is to start the business on the side, while you work 2 other jobs to finance it. Not the easiest manner to raise funds, but its cheaper than a second mortgage and of course you don’t have unwanted partners. Of course, there is the third option, get a bunch of investors on board, do the whole presentation thing and hopefully someone buys into your idea, and does not take all your profits when you make it big. (Just kidding of course. All investors are really philanthropists in disguise)
Personally, I have always gone with the work two other jobs to finance the new venture. That way I am independent from having an investor, and can make decisions quick without having to consult 15 others.

The final element to a successful business is patience. It takes a whole lot of time, to succeed. Expect 6 months or more (depending on product/service) before you get your first real break. Most business manuals tell you 2 years to even get close to breaking even. During these formulate years, you are going to need plenty of the preceding elements to keep you warm, belly full and spouse happy!