Archive for September, 2009

Think of every idea or suggestion you receive for your business as a person handing you cash.

Every suggestion that you receive has some worth. Maybe your spouse suggested you wear a different tie or necklace for a meeting instead of the one you chose, and it was a better suggestion. That’s a quick $1.

The barista at the coffee shop suggested you take a different route to get to a meeting downtown because you said you were worried about the traffic. Take it as $5 in your pocket if it saves you time, $20 if your competition ends up shows late. Think of it as a loss of money if the new route actually makes you late.

And everyday that million dollar idea for your company is just waiting to be born from a spark of creativity from any one of your employees, co-workers or partners. In the meantime, you’ll settle for a $100 idea here, and a $50 idea there, especially if you are a small business.

So if ideas and suggestions amount to ‘free money’ being handed to you, would there ever be a case where you would turn it down? If the person giving you the idea had some strings attached that made the money not only ‘not free,’ but put you in a situation where you were uncomfortable or at a serious disadvantage, you’d would politely take the idea ‘in consideration’ and do your best to distance yourself from the person and their idea.

Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of ideas as dollars, take a day to observe how much free cash you are tossing in the dumpster instead of using to make into actual capital. Also keep an eye on how much political capital you are floundering throughout the workplace in the process.

When that quiet guy from IT came to you with an idea early in a process for you to consider. When a new secretary pointed out an issue she has with her new job that was fixed at an old job with a simple and easy solution. When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes. These are example of investors in your company, people with money already in the game, who want nothing more than to see even more success from you, scrapping together real money to put into your product, not shrugging off some pocket change and hoping for the best.

If an investor came to you with $1,000 with no strings attached, other than to use the money for something benefiting the company, could you use it for something? Would you find a way to accept it?

It might not be that million dollar idea being offered up to you, but every suggestions is worth something. Remember that, and make sure you are getting your money’s worth from each and every idea that comes your way.

If you think you’re not getting enough opportunities, take a look at how many opportunities you are offering to others. Sometimes, a completely random idea that will do absolutely nothing for you could mean the absolute world to a friend or co-worker if you offered it and you help with it up to them does. Gestures like this will help you immensely gain more opportunities by:

Telling The Universe ‘I Wants Mine Back…’: Jump starting opportunistic karma is a very good thing, as you tend to get back as much or more of whatever you give, for good or for ill. So think of every idea you get that will help out a friend or coworker more than it will help you as a seed planted that will reap a harvest of greater opportunities for yourself in a few seasons.

Helping You See & Appreciate Opportunities As They Appear: Guess what? You’re probably wasting great opportunities daily. You’ll really grasp just how often an opportunity actually passes right by you as you see the people you offer up opportunities to pass you right by. Just like solid advice, most people are oblivious to when to jump on a general good thing because it didn’t descend from the heavens in the form of stone tablets and bonk them on the head…and even that might not be obvious enough for some. If people take you up on your offers a quarter of the time, you’re rocking Major League Baseball MVP numbers.

Making Your Our Opportunities: If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, you are more than entitled to increase your own luck and the luck of others at anytime you please. Offering up chances to help other advance is the perfect way for other to gain chances to help you in return. Just don’t take on the job of ‘opportunity maker’ with the mindset of ‘mafia boss enforcer.’ It’s not a straight up one-for-one deal.

With Labor Day coming to us in the U.S. this Monday as the unofficial end of summer and the first holiday of the fall, now is a good time to review your personal ‘time-off’ policy. And even if you’re a workaholic with to many open projects (like myself), you still need to find some time to get away from the work that you do, and more importantly, all the work going on around you, to keep yourself sane (or relatively sane, as in my case).

Try working this three pronged approach of scheduling time off:

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Care Of ‘Overflow’: You can get away from normal business and the chaos of those working around you so that you can take care of a few things, work related or personal, uninterrupted. It’s not really a vacation, but it gets you away to accomplish some important things that can relieve some of your personal stress. Just make sure you eliminate as many personal distractions as possible and get the work you’re getting away to get done done.

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Time Off…And Then Take That Time Off: This is your set up for a real vacation, away from any serious work. Don’t try to force yourself into having a good time by getting stuck to an itinerary, and don’t feel guilty if while inside some relaxation time your mind comes up with a clever idea to fix that nagging problem you left at the office. Jot it down quickly, then set it aside to deal with when you get back to the office.

Schedule Some Time Off To Review Where You Are: This one is pretty simple, and doesn’t need HR involvement. Set aside a regularly scheduled time and location where you can do a quick overview of tasks, goals, and maybe even life. It can be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, having lunch with just your notebook on a Thursday, or a full weekly review on Saturday morning.