Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Personal Business Planning: Planning & Goal Setting Ideas

2011: another 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 52,600 minutes 3,153,600 seconds of opportunity, experience, growth and possibilities.

What makes this the most wonderful time of the year is blue sky thinking and planning for the year ahead. Planning starts with setting goals.

Setting goals affects outcomes in four ways:

1. Choice: goals narrow attention and direct efforts to goal-relevant activities, and away from perceived undesirable and goal-irrelevant actions.

2. Effort: goals can lead to more effort; for example, if one closes 4 deals per month, and has the goal of closing 6, one may work more intensely than one would otherwise in order to reach the goal.

3. Persistence: An individual becomes more prone to work through setbacks if pursuing a goal.

4. Cognition: goals can lead an individual to develop cognitive strategies to change their behavior.

Locke et al. (1981) examined the behavioral effects of goal-setting, concluding that 90% of laboratory and field studies involving specific and challenging goals led to higher performance than did easy or no goals.

All the more reason to set goals! Goals need a plan...a map of sorts of how you get from an idea to action.

Here are some general topics to include in your personal business plan. These topics will vary depending on your livelihood, industry and your imagination. If you use these as a starting point, you should be able to build a frame work for goals and a plan to achieve those goals. Things to think about:
  • What is your dream job?
  • What motivates you? Money? Recognition? Goals? Stuff? Looking good in the eyes of others? Avoiding looking bad in the eyes of others? Competition? A long term vision?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • Personal Development - learning a new skill, running a marathon, better health, volunteering etc
  • What are you good at? How would people describe you at home or at work. What could use improvement on?
  • Who do you see yourself being?
  • If money was no object, what would you do with your life?
One of the more interesting company goal setting events I have attended was at Enunciate. The owner rented a theatre and we watched "The Secret". Whatever you take away from that concept, it really helped many of my colleagues think or dream. Funny as adults that we forget how to dream. Part of the exercise was to create a vision board and to list out what you want from life.

"Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve"  W. Clement Stone

This included a list of what you want and you can add pictures to help cement your vision. It also included a list of what you have to be thankful for. Of the 14 items on my list of what I wanted from 2007, I have had 7 of them come to fruition. It's good to be able to know what you set out to do and that you can do it. Quite frankly, some of the things I achieved I did not believe were possible. But ideas keep you focused and with focus you can create action.

Once you have ideas or goals, the next step is about creating an executable plan which is a commitment to yourself. Like all commitments, they have better days than others but in the end, you still have to stay on the path. I prefer weekly plans rolled up into monthly objectives. For example, if there are 16 awake hours in a day, rough out what hours are spoken for and how much time you have for achieving your goals. In the end, something has to give so it is important to prioritize.

Weekly time blocks may include:

Work/Job: 5 days a week X 8 hours a day
Commuting: 5 days a week X 1 hour a day
Gym:  3 days a week X 1.5 hours (includes work out, clean up and commuting)
Dinner: 7 days a week X 1 hour includes Food Prep, cooking, eating & clean up

So far we are at 56.5 hours out of a possible 112 hours. This leaves approximately 50% of your awake hours for so much more!

The trick is to watch for leakage. What steals your time? Goals will keep you on course. That and time blocking but that is another discussion.
The next step is to outline your year long goals or commitments: Spending more time with family, commitments to physical and mental health, doing something that makes you happy. This must be specific. Don't leave it loose or open to interpretation. For example, 50% of what I eat in a day will be vegetables. Spend one hour a week playing a game with my kids. I will arrange a date night with my significant other once a month whether it's convenient or not. I will pack my lunch once a week and save my money for something important to me.

One you have decided how much time a week you are going to dedicate to achieving your goals, the next step is rolling that up into a monthly plan. For example, I am going to spend 4 hours a month learning a new skill. I am going to save $X amount of money this month toward a goal. Open a savings account. The monthly frame gives you a chance to catch up on something you may have missed during your weekly commitments. I keep monthly goals as a note in my blackberry so I can look at them often.

You can layer in quarterly objectives or milestones to keep you on track. There is no fear of failure. If you miss the mark, you need to keep it in your line of site to achieve for the next month. Persistence to your commitment. 

So now you know what you want, you may have some ideas on how to get you where you want to go, now it's time to enlist the advice of others who can give you tips and short cuts. No reason to learn it all the hard way!

As you have a chance to catch your breath and look around over the next few days, start; Start putting down ideas, start thinking about what you want. Then expand on those ideas and make a plan. Could be Power Point. Could be a cocktail napkin. Could be a vision board. Embrace it and have some fun with it!

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Work Productivity: Why work doesn't happen at work

This is an outstanding talk by Mark Fried from TEDx from Chicago. When people are asked where they get the most work done they will say on the porch, at home, on the train, early in the morning, late at night. Why? interruptions. The day is made up work moments due to involuntary interruptions. Tasks that are completed there however but there is rare that long stretches of time to think, create and build are available at the office.

In this talk, they compare an 8 hour work day to 8 hours of sleep. How can you expect to get good quality sleep if you are constantly interrupted? How can you be expected to generate good quality of work if you are interrupted?

What's important to note is the concept of interruptions and involuntary interruptions. People can choose to be interrupted when working at home however the work place offers a cornucopia of involuntary interruptions.

Managers say that the interruption issues are Facebook, twitter and Your Tube. These are modern day smoke breaks.

Mark feels that the real source of interruptions is M&M; Managers and Meetings. He sites Managers and meetings are toxic. Specifically spontaneous meetings.

His remedy is that for the enlightened Managers is "No Talk Thursdays". A whole day or half day when no one is allowed to talk. That is when work gets done.

Switch from active collaboration to passive collaboration in the form of email and IM. You can choose to turn off IM and email, you cant turn off a manager or a meeting.

Cancel meetings. If you have the power, cancel meetings. More will get done.

As a conclusion, his observations really give cause to stop and think about reinventing the work place.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Social Media: Architects of the Social Web

Ever wonder about the geniuses behind the current social media empires? This is a great summary. A couple of things that strike me. One, could they not find a better picture of Joshua Schachter of Delicious? YIKES! The second is that Google seems to want to buy them as soon as they have traction. That is an ideal exit plan. Lastly, these are the revolutionaries of our time. They understand how to harness the human condition.


Susan Corcoran


Architects of the Social Web (Not Named Mark Zuckerberg)

By Focus Editors

Every once in a while, a person or team of people come along and change the Internet forever. In the 1980s, it was Bill gates and Steve Jobs, in the early 2000s, it was Mark Zuckerberg and Tom Anderson, and today, it's the people people discussed below. These folks shaped the very fabric of the social web, and through their contributions, they have made the Internet a more exciting and connected place to be. Today we recognize these architects of the social web, their revolutionary creations, and what accomplishments helped them achieve the heights they've reached.
Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit

The phenomenally popular social news website Reddit enables content publishers to share stories and interesting news items with fellow Internet techies, and have those stories rated by readers according to how exciting or interesting they are. The site was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, two young graduates of the University of Virginia. The company received its initial start-up funding from the popular incubation investment firm Y Combinator. Since its inception, the website has grown into a direct competitor of Kevin Rose's Digg, and recent reports indicate that it my have even overtaken the website in terms of page views.

Dennis Crowley of Foursquare

Foursquare is one of the fastest growing social networking applications according to Innova, and it isn't hard to see why. The service allows users to "check in" at different stores, restaurants, and locations, and earn discounts and special offers for doing so. Foursquare's founder Dennis Crowley is no stranger to the social networking world. In 2000, Crowley invented a mobile location-based service known as Dodgeball that was later sold to Google. In 2005, Crowley began work on a Foursquare, which has since grown into a 4 million user empire with no signs of slowing down.

Pete Cashmore of Mashable

Mashable is one of the Internet's most popular news websites for bleeding edge social media innovations and Web 2.0 news, serving over 10 million unique monthly readers. Mashable was founded by the ambitious and accomplished Pete Cashmore in 2005. According to Mashable's company biography, Cashmore was only 19 years old and living in a small Scottish town at time of founding. Since starting Mashable, Cashmore was featured as one of INC Magazine's 30 Under 30, Forbes' Top 25 Web Celebs, and the Huffington Posts' Top 10 Game Changers 2009.

Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

LinkedIn took the concept of social networking from the realm of casual time-killing and turned it into a way to meet professionals in your field and associate with those you've worked with. With the professional class in mind, LinkedIn provides a people a way to make recommendations, professional introductions, and references for work past and present. Reid Hoffman left his position at PayPal to found LinkedIn and now serves as the Chief Executive Officer.

In addition to LinkedIn, Hoffman serves as a board member to Grassroots.com, JumpStart Technologies, SixApart, and Vendio. According to his professional bio, he has also served as an angel investor to popular social networking website Friendster.

Joshua Schachter of Delicious

In 2003, Joshua Schachter created Del.icio.us, the website that pioneered social bookmarking. This type of service enables people to share their bookmarked websites with the rest of the web, allowing users to discover new websites and keep their bookmarks in one place. Schachter is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to founding Delicious, Schachter is the creator of Memepool, a website that collects popular Internet memes and viral content and posts them all in a central location.

Garrett Camp of StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is the world's largest Internet discovery service with over 10 million registered users and 45 million human-submitted webpages. The browser plug-in lets users specify their interests and press a button that takes them to interesting websites and videos submitted by other similar users. Garrett Camp has founded the service in 2001 and has after studying for his Master in Software Engineering at the University of Calgary. Camp was also distinguished by MIT as the recipient of their TR35 award.

Richard Jones of Audioscrobbler & Last.FM

Last.FM is a music discovery and sharing system that monitors the songs a user listens to and recommends new music based on its perception of the user's tastes. In addition, Last.FM posts your playlists to your profile to share your music tastes with friends and other users. Richard Jones innovated the method of scanning a library of songs and determining music taste as a computer science project for the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science in the UK.

This audio engine, which he later termed audioscrobbling, caught the interest of Felix Miller, Martin Stiksel, Michael Breidenbruecker and Thomas Willomitzer of Last.FM, and was soon incorporated into website as the main feature if the growing music community. In 2007, TechCrunch reported that Last.FM was acquired by CBS for $280 million.

Marc Brown, Steve Haldane, Kevin Woolery & Anthony Batt of Buzznet

Buzznet provides users with one place to share photos, videos, and small blog-like journal entries. Buzznet differentiates itself from other social networking communities by focusing primarily on shared interests and communities based around ideas and passions (such as art and photography). Founders Marc Brown, Steve Haldane, Kevin Woolery and Anthony Batt started Buzznet in 2005 with an initial investment from Anthem Venture Partners, and before the end of the year, their fast implementation caused several prominent newspapers to use the site for their relevant photographs.

By March of 2008, Mashable reports that Buzznet gained an additional $25 million in funding and achieved a place in the top 20 in the social networking industry.

Brilliant minds....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Social Media Stats: Demographics & Growth

We came across this blog by Danny Brown and it has an outstanding amount of Stats on Social Media. 52 to be exact! There are some very compelling reasons to adopt Social Media for business.

1. The average Facebook user has 130 friends.

2. More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) is shared each month.

3. Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application.

4. More than 150 million people engage with Facebook on external websites every month.

5. Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook.

6. There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

7. People that access Facebook via mobile are twice as active than non-mobile users (think about that when designing your Facebook page).

8. The average Facebook user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events.

9. People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

10. There are more than 1 million entrepreneurs and developers from 180 countries on Facebook.
Statistics from Facebook press office.


11. Twitter’s web platform only accounts for a quarter of its users – 75% use third-party apps.

12. Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.

13. There are currently 110 million users of Twitter’s services.

14. Twitter receives 180 million unique visits each month.

15. There are more than 600 million searches on Twitter every day.

16. Twitter started as a simple SMS-text service.

17. Over 60% of Twitter use is outside the U.S.

18. There are more than 50,000 third-party apps for Twitter.

19. Twitter has donated access to all of its tweets to the Library of Congress for research and preservation.

20. More than a third of users access Twitter via their mobile phone.

Statistics from Twitter and the Chirp Conference.


21. LinkedIn is the oldest of the four sites in this post, having been created on May 5 2003.

22. There are more than 70 million users worldwide.

23. Members of LinkedIn come from more than 200 countries from every continent.

24. LinkedIn is available in six native languages – English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

25. Oracle’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Epstein, was headhunted for the position via his LinkedIn profile.

26. 80% of companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool.

27. A new member joins LinkedIn every second.

28. LinkedIn receives almost 12 million unique visitors per day.

29. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn.

30. Recruiters account for 1-in-20 LinkedIn profiles.
Statistics from LinkedIn press centre and SysComm International.


31. The very first video uploaded was called “Me at the Zoo”, on 23rd April 2005.

32. By June 2006, more than 65,000 videos were being uploaded every day.

33. YouTube receives more than 2 billion viewers per day.

34. Every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

35. The U.S. accounts for 70% of YouTube users.

36. Over half of YouTube’s users are under 20 years old.

37. You would need to live for around 1,000 years to watch all the videos currently on YouTube.

38. YouTube is available in 19 countries and 12 languages.

39. Music videos account for 20% of uploads.

40. YouTube uses the same amount of bandwidth as the entire Internet used in 2000.

Statistics from YouTube press centre.

41. 77% of Internet users read blogs.

42. There are currently 133 million blogs listed on leading blog directory Technorati.

43. 60% of bloggers are between the ages 18-44.

44. One in five bloggers update their blogs daily.

45. Two thirds of bloggers are male.

46. Corporate blogging accounts for 14% of blogs.

47. 15% of bloggers spend 10 hours a week blogging.

48. More than half of all bloggers are married and/or parents.

49. More than 50% of bloggers have more than one blog.

50. Bloggers use an average of five different social sites to drive traffic to their blog.

Statistics from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009.

Bonus Facts

51. 90% of Internet users know at least one social network.

52. The average social user has 195 friends.

Statistics from Online Media Gazette.

Did you know...

The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004. Half of all workers have been with their current employer for less than five years. There are roughly one billion searches performed on Google every day — more than ten times the number just four years ago. It took radio 38 years to reach a total audience of 50 million people; it took the Internet just four years to reach that number, the iPod three years, and Facebook only two years. There will be more pages of unique information published this year than in the last 5,000 years combined.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blogging: Why businesses should Blog

Not sure of the benefits of blogging? Some of our clients are not sure what to publish and why publish. Here are some compelling reasons to add Blogging to your marketing strategy.

Social Media is all about sharing knowledge. Blogs are a fantastic way to share what you or your business are subject matter experts in. In the spirit of sharing, here are the common questions or concerns we here and what we feel are viable answers:

What is the Benefit of having a Blog?

Social Media marketing helps you spread your brand across vast geography and potential customers, turning strangers into advocates and advocates into customers. The more your company name is out on the web and the more it is associated with high frequency words, the higher your search ranking. Search ranking is HUGE!

Simply by publishing a weekly blog you can increase the two most weighted criteria used by all search engines; “Google Juice” and “Link Love”. You get a greater SEO ranking just because you’re blogging.

“Google Juice” is the number of indexed pages for any given keyword(s) by a search engine. How many pages are returned when you type in your “company” your “product” or “your name” in Google in the top right corner? By blogging, you create page after page for search engines to index with priority treatment.

Your customers will participate in the conversation that you started. Other bloggers will link to your blog content creating “Link Love”. This will drive your web / blog site to the top of the search engines.

What should we be writing about?

Blogging is the most effective tool you can use to show your customers and prospects that you are participating, you understand your industry, and your a thought leader providing insights and information.

Write about what you know!

A blog only takes a few minutes, requires 400 words once a week, and creates and invaluable platform for you and your customers / prospects to engage in meaningful dialog that builds trust; which ultimately leads to sales.

Not every post needs to be original. Repurpose materials and other articles you find. The etiquette is that you give credit to the source you copied to your blog. So easy! Again, not everything has to be original content!

When should I start Blogging?

There is no time like the present! Setting up a Blog Site is easy and free. It's important to know that you haven't missed anything yet. The opportunity to make an impact is still available to you.

What you need to know about new age of Marketing...

You’ve probably heard, and repeated, the old sales adage, “People do business with people they know,
like and trust.” There is an implied progression wrapped up in that axiom: a movement from not knowing
to knowing, and a movement from unfamiliar to increasing levels of trust.

Marketers have turned the adage into a sales funnel or, to match my definition of marketing, a marketing
continuum where strangers are welcomed and then nurtured or cultivated through a process over time.

Marketing seeks to move people through stages. Whether you call it a sales pipeline or marketing funnel or something else, we all tend to see the process as a linear sequence. In this wild and wonderful age of social media, there’s a growing, intriguing phenomenon: Advocates may or may not be actual users! That means it’s probably worthwhile for you to spend time nurturing people who will never flow through all the stages of your sales funnel. You’ll see Blogging as a way of addressing the needs of your non-using advocate community.

In the end, Blogging represents a new realm of possibilities and an infinite market place. How fun is that!