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by Rocky Rhodes

Resolutions you should have made already

Categories: 2012, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

It is February, which means one of two things has already hap­pened: Either you never made any res­o­lu­tions and lack some focus, OR you made some, for­got them, and lack some focus! Oh sure, there are some of you who are on track because you resolved to read more indus­try arti­cles like this one so… keep up the good work! I resolved to sub­mit arti­cles to Coffee Talk before my dead­line. I’ll have to start that in March.

Regardless of where you are right now, here are some ideas for 2012 res­o­lu­tions you should com­mit to in order to move your career or busi­ness for­ward. These res­o­lu­tions will do two impor­tant things for you. First, it will get you think­ing. You will need to find where you can apply these ideas in your life and busi­ness. Soul search­ing is a great exer­cise in ‘get­ting real’ and these sug­ges­tions will help you get there. Secondly, it will spark some moti­va­tion in you because that is what goals and res­o­lu­tions do. Motivation comes from the inside and goals focus the effort.

Before I give you these sug­ges­tions, I need you to do some­thing. Either go get a blank piece of paper or open a new Word doc­u­ment, or even bust out your jour­nal. Seriously, go do this…. I’ll wait…

O.K. Since your read­ing this you have your means to write stuff down in front of you. We can con­tinue. If you don’t write this stuff down, how­ever, the result is going to suck for you because a writ­ten goal is 97% more likely to be accom­plished. (I totally just made up that sta­tis­tic to make my point that you should write this next part down.)

The intent of the exer­cise is to get you focused on con­tem­plat­ing what you will com­mit to do in the fol­low­ing three areas:

Quality. Marketing. Sustainability/Self Improvement.

For each area I will give you a brain­storm­ing exer­cise to draw you toward a res­o­lu­tion that you know should make already. But at the end you will know WHY you should make it. If you get to this point you of know­ing why, you are 633% more likely to see it through. ( I made that one up too but you get the point.)

Quality.

I had a cus­tomer pose a ques­tion to me early in my roast­ing career. “Why would you do any­thing in busi­ness if you were not com­mit­ting to be the best at it?” I was strug­gling to make pay­roll, had just built out a roast­ing facil­ity that was cost­ing an arm and a leg and I was pound­ing money down a rat hole called my retail store that was attached to the roast­ing plant. My ini­tial answer to the ques­tion was, “What good is qual­ity if your busi­ness doesn’t sur­vive? Cut the cor­ners you have to in order to keep going and then become a stu­dent and pur­veyor of qual­ity when things get bet­ter.”
Your brain­storm­ing assign­ment is this: Please write a page or two on the fol­low­ing question:

What is right or wrong with my phi­los­o­phy above?
Try to dig below the sur­face and really con­tem­plate what you might have thought given the cir­cum­stances. Does offer­ing the high­est qual­ity prod­uct always mean it will cost more to pro­duce? Can you sell as many high qual­ity prod­ucts as aver­age qual­ity? What are some advan­tages to being just above ‘good enough’ but not nec­es­sar­ily ‘top in class’? Can you offer two lev­els of ser­vice or prod­uct?
So now do the fol­low­ing: Finish this para­graph; “It is impor­tant for me to be the best that I can be in _____________. I real­ize that it may take some time, like (x mos / yrs), but I will start today by doing the fol­low­ing things before the end of _____________. Action 1:_____________ Action 2:_____________ Action 3: _____________.

Marketing

I never stud­ied mar­ket­ing in school, but I’ll bet if you took all the text­books and boiled them down to a sim­ple premise about mar­ket­ing it would be, “Tell peo­ple about the cool stuff you do and then ask them for some­thing spe­cific.” It does not mat­ter whether you are a barista work­ing for a large chain or an owner of that large chain, you still need to tell peo­ple about the great stuff you are doing and ask for some­thing in return.

Coffee pro­fes­sion­als are hum­ble peo­ple and to some, the thought of ‘brag­ging’ about what you do is akin to being a used car sales­men. (No offense to used car sales­peo­ple; you just mar­ket dif­fer­ently than cof­fee peo­ple would!) Well, I have news for you. The rest of the world thinks that what we do is pretty cool. Coffee is so per­sonal for so many peo­ple that they feel they can relate to you as soon as they meet you. Yet I’ll bet you have thought the fol­low­ing even as recently as this year: ‘What I do goes unno­ticed, under­ap­pre­ci­ated and if the right peo­ple knew what I did they would be all over me because I do a good job. ‘ I have news…. We ALL feel that way! So what you have to do is decide to go ahead and tell those you want to do busi­ness with (whether a boss, cus­tomer or other busi­ness part­ner) about the great job you do, why it is impor­tant to them, and what you want them to do. Let’s try; here is your exercise:

Make a list of five ‘tar­gets’ you want to know about what you do. (Yes, write them down. That is what the paper is for!)
Finish the fol­low­ing ‘mar­ket­ing mes­sage’: I wanted to tell you about what I do, I pro­duce _____________ and have been doing it for _____________. I would like you to hire / buy / pro­mote etc. because I / my ser­vice / my prod­uct can do the fol­low­ing for you. Now list the top three things that fin­ish the thought.

The next step is rad­i­cal: Go deliver your mes­sage to the peo­ple on your list. Don’t be apolo­getic, shy or ashamed. Just do it! You will be amazed at what happens.

Sustainability / Self Improvement

Make a com­mit­ment right now that the most impor­tant sus­tain­able project is YOU. After you take care of you, then you start on the rest of the world.

Complete the fol­low­ing: I will do the fol­low­ing things to make me stronger this year: list at least one in the fol­low­ing areas; Body, Mind, Soul, Relationships, Finance, and Profession. Be spe­cific and add action items with due dates. Here is a for­mat you can use:

BODY: I will move from being a seden­tary per­son and get my heart rate above 140 for 20 mins at least three times per week start­ing today.

Now you will have a solid action plan. Now you will know why you are tak­ing action. Make your almost New Year res­o­lu­tions and go accom­plish them.

Me… I resolve to stop mak­ing up sta­tis­tics for at least 118.65% of the year. I bet­ter sub­mit my arti­cle now.

Rocky can be reached at rocky@INTLcoffeeConsulting.com