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.)
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: _____________.
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