Building a business and being the brand takes a commitment. As an image builder, I know how important it is to invest in yourself and your employees. This is that time for me.
Recently I attended Facebook Community Boost during the DMV’s Entrepreneurship Week. The brand behind the business needs to be carefully built and this week we looked at how Facebook and Instagram can help. They fed us a nice lunch, provided snacks, tea and coffee. Finally they topped it all off with a wonderful networking event for women sponsored by She Means Business.
We were given several sessions to choose from. My favorite session was Instagram Story School because it was so interactive.
I asked a staff person if these wonderful features will help me take great Instagram pictures. He said, “no, you do that.” That simple answer opened my eyes and revealed a lie. I was wrong to believe that the tools I have are not good enough. I was wrong to believe that having more would make me better. He looked at my pictures and thought they were very nice. I’m realizing, “all you need is a very good eye.”
Later that night, She Means Business sponsored a networking event for female entrepreneurs. They partnered with Civic Dinner to provide a unique networking experience. We were placed at a table with five to nine other women that we did not know. Businesswomen getting to know one another’s dreams and challenges. We were sharing and building friendships. A room full of lady entrepreneurs cultivating relationships. We are women encouraging women.
One lady encouraged us by giving fiery advice, Angel Rich. She was an honored guest at the networking event that night. What blessed me the most was how she was enjoying the moment, along with all of us, women entrepreneurs. She has been called the next Steve Job, but I think she is more than that. I prefer to call her “One Of A Kind.” I was honored to stand next to her with hopes that she was as encouraged as we were.
Do you have a Facebook or Instagram question that you want answered? Please leave it in the comments.
The previous topics, finding your why and asking questions, are not only important for planning but also for problem solving. We must make decisions everyday of our lives. A perfect example of how my “why” helped me to press forward. At the end if my freshman year of college, I made two “C”s. I felt so sad and I walked around looking pitiful. My friends did everything but laugh at me as I sat in despair thinking I was doomed. They did not understand the damage two “C”s had on a GPA. I had an academic scholarship that was dependent on me maintaining a 3.0 at all times. I felt lost and did not know what to do.
I gave myself a few weeks to recover, but once I refocused, I was able to make additional plans. Let me be honest with you, it was hard to stop myself from fearing the worse. I actually had to spend long hours in bible readings and prayer before I could realize new plans that would compensate for the loss of revenue. It was going to be hard work but I was finally ready. The summer before my college sophomore year, I worked and saved most of the money for the purpose of registering for the new school year. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to help me with paying for college. All of the financial and emotional pressures were on my shoulders to carry alone, but in the planning process, I realized this would be one of the challenges. I was already committed to persevering. Quitting was not an option.
First semester was the focus and I was going to tackle second semester after I had jumped that hurdle of first semester. I asked financial aid questions and their answers helped me toThe registrar accepted what I had as a deposit and I signed a written agreement regarding the monthly payments. Work study earnings were all saved and it paid the remaining semester balance. I finished the semester debt free and regained my scholarship for the second semester when my GPA hit above the 3.0 requirements. It was a year full of excitement, heartache, and a beautiful victory. Doing the homework during the planning process helps us to consider options that are available. Remember, you always have choices. I asked financial aid questions and asked for arrangements. This process of problem solving has helped me to push through many tough situations.
The Little Red engine faced his biggest challenge, and as he climbed the hill, he encouraged himself. He repeated, “I think I can, I think I can.” Getting to the top was his goal and pure hope and determination gave him the strength to push forward. Like that engine, we will face mountains we will need to climb. Goals strengthen us because the only way to the other side is to push past challenges. I define goals as a hope for a specific outcome. It serves as motivation and a guide. Goals are to be placed as the first priority in the planning process. It is most important and should not be overlooked.
Years ago, I worked in direct sales, and controlled when and how I worked my business. I decided what I would do after I established my financial and leadership goals. I worked very hard, but I was disappointed at the end of each month. I had to ask myself, are these the wrong goals? I gave myself time, and and after a while, I began to understand the company’s sales algorithms. The top salespeople sold a certain number of units each week consistently. They encouraged us to only work on the things we could control. We can not control who would buy or what they would buy, but we could control how many people we spoke to each day. We could control how many phone calls we made each day. I began to realize that consistency in the things that I can control was my best form of accountability. It was also my favorite measure of success. Success was not based on the outcome but on my consistency as I met each challenge.
My goals changed from being result oriented and became action oriented in describing my desired outcome. For example, instead of saying I want to sell $1,000.00 in products, I say I want to sell 100 units to reach my goal of $1,000.00. In turn, I’ve changed the way I plan. My plans became task oriented and served as helpful action points in achieving the prize. For example, I can plan to speak to 10 people a day (which can make approximately 3 sales).
This example of an action oriented goal can be changed to even meet student’s needs. For example, instead of saying I want an A on my math test, I would say I want to study 2 additional hours this week to make an A on my test. My task oriented plans may include studying math facts and practicing additional problems for 30 minutes each day. Those 30 minutes do not include the normal time I take completing homework assignments. You may need 30 minutes with a tudor or a teacher, and that is to be written into the plan. These are only examples in helping you to understand goal setting and the role it plays in planning.
I conclude with words of encouragement. Life is full of the unexpected. There will be times when things do not work out. Planning does not shield us from people hurting our feelings. It does not shield us from disappointments. I have learned to have faith in God and this has produced true confidence. I believe that God blesses beyond anything my efforts alone can produce, so I include prayers as an active part of the planning process. Planning is not a perfect remedy, but God gives me perfect peace with whatever comes. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3