Now that you have thoroughly described
yourself and your business mannerisms as outlined in the previous article,
the first thing to do, regardless of your current situation, is to pat yourself
on the back. Say out loud “Gee, I’m good. I made it this far.” Say it out
loud now. “Gee, I’m good. I made it this far”. Now doesn’t that shake up
those old cobwebs and give you a more optimistic outlook on yourself and
your future? Everyone has self-esteem, and regardless of your situation,
whether you are as poor as a church mouse or, are a wealthy successful artist
and/or businessperson, your good. Why? Because in the first place you would
not be reading this article right now, if you did not have the self esteem
that you were not good at whatever it is that you are doing.
So now you have established a starting point, and
are beginning at the beginning.
The next step is not to jump too far ahead and say,
“I want to be a very well known artist and a very successful business
person”. I want to have this and I want to achieve that. No matter where
you really are on the road to success, for the purposes of this exercise,
read the paragraph above again. You are beginning at the beginning and
the beginning is now!
Now that you are in an optimistic mood, this is the
time to begin to set realistic goals. If you are not in an optimistic
mood, then go back and say, “Gee I’m good. I made it this far.” Say it
out loud, and keep repeating it out loud, until you realize that you are
good because you made it this far.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the president of
a huge successful bank or the owner of a struggling small business or
an emerging artist. No matter what your status in life is, the method
that is outlined above is a very old, tried, successful and proven method,
one that is much learned from “The School of Hard Knocks”, and is otherwise
called “Pulling Yourself Up By Your Boot Straps”. In the real world of
business, it is always prudent to realize now, that things are not always
going to go in the way that you want them to go, or in the way that you
expect them to go. The real world of business is a tough, hard, competitive
and rocky road. It always has risk changing variables due to economic
conditions, people personalities and ever-changing circumstances. That
every once in a while, no matter who or how successful you are, you are
going to have to reach down and ”Pull Yourself Up By Your Boot Straps”.
You have to realize right now, that it is you, yourself, and no one else,
that is going to be able to tell you where you want to go or where you
should go. You can have all sorts of advisors, consultants, experts, assistants,
suppliers and friends that can give you all sorts of suggestions, advice
and ideas, but the final decisions are yours and yours alone, regardless
of any other mitigating circumstances.
No matter how big, or small your business is right
now, or how successful you, your business or artistic career has become,
the road to achieving your goal that you are about to set begins at taking
the first step. In this instance, the first step is to keep it simple.
It is similar to chopping down a tree with an ax. You do not see very
much happen with the first swing of the ax. The ax only bites into the
tree trunk. It is with the second swing that things begin to happen. The
first chip flies out. When enough chips come out of the tree, the tree
It is exactly the same with any business or artistic
career. The subject is you and the object, the falling of the tree. No
matter how successful you may be, you can be at the stage right now of
taking that first swing with the ax at the tree. Taking stock of yourself
and your business should be done on at least a yearly basis. You are about
to put down on paper, your decisions as to where you want to go.
Now, you can become more complex if you want to,
or if it is necessary. You decide where you want to go in the next year,
the next two years or even the next five years. But you have to decide
this on a step by step basis, and not all at once.
Do not confuse this with a business plan. It is not.
We will discuss this in great detail later on. This is still the keep
it simple method of you deciding where you want to go. Needless to say,
in keeping with this methodology, is to now decide where you want to go
in the next year. The most important points to remember from hereon in
are that you are the subject or, the ax and the tree is the object. Each
chip that you chop out of the tree represents one step towards the end
result being the falling of the tree. Or in business terms, represents
one of the goals that you want to achieve in the next year.
You will note here that the word goals is stated
and not the singular, goal. Again, using the keep it simple method, and
being realistic is, to break this down into monthly sections. This requires
a lot of thinking to set down your monthly goals in the proper order.
It also requires consideration of the risk to the reward principles. They
have to be designed and set down in an order of progression. As stated,
each monthly goal represents one or more chips out of the tree. If you
set more than one subject goal to be met in a year, then you have to go
through this exercise for each subject and set the year end goal. In this
instance we will discuss only sales equals net profit.
Your goals at this point should only require a simple
accounting principle. This should be your selling price less all costs
associated creating your product, less anticipated taxes. You have to
know first what your likely net profit will be in order to calculate your
goal. Also, you want to know what your selling price has to be set at
in order to reach your realistically predetermined goal.
To set your monthly goals in the correct order of
progression is, to set your goals in such a manner that you can use this
month’s goal as a stepping stone to achieving next months goal. In starting
or running the business of being an artist, you cannot use the “shotgun
approach” and fire off enough buckshot and hope that one pellet will hit
the target. This again is an unrealistic approach, because you have now
introduced the element of uncertainty.
Therefore, to set this month’s goal is to set a goal
in such a manner that you have a more than reasonable chance of achieving
it. To place this into more business terms would be to consider that again
you are the subject. and now the object is your service and product. That
whatever your expertise is, your service and product are now combined
into the object. That the now basic object of any business is, the resulting
sales which thereafter translate into gross profit and subsequent net
profit. So your goal on a month by month basis is to increase your sales.
As an artist, to increase your sales, again two factors have to be taken
into consideration. First, productivity and second, consumer contacts.
Having arrived at this point, and still using the
keep it simple approach is, to determine your monthly goal in direct ratio
to your product production and net profit, to the number of new consumer
contacts required to create one sale. Then you know the number of consumer
contacts required for the number of sales necessary to reach your goal.
Once you do this, you have determined the basic principle of running and
building a business.
It is important to keep in mind that, however successful
you are, that your success is determined entirely from this very basic
That therefore, to start off in the right direction
is, to use your product on hand, and realistically determine how many
consumer contacts will be required to sell all or part of your product
on hand or, additional product required in accordance with this months
That for next month’s goal is, to use the mannerism
that you have decided upon to obtain these new consumer contacts for this
month together with your product on hand and/or new created product inventory.
You can use this month’s consumer contacts, and you should expand the
number of consumer contacts every following month to keep within your
preset monthly goals, known otherwise as your “Target Market”.
Now all that is left to do is, to return to the beginning
and decide how many or, what volume of sales that you want to have for
this month that will equal the net profit that you want to achieve in
accordance with your predetermined goal. You are now able to determine
how many consumer contacts are required in order to reach this goal. Using
the concluding factors from point one as contained in last months article
“Where Am I Now”, decide if this is a realistic goal or not that you have
set. If it is a realistic goal, and you are satisfied with it, then this
is the goal that you are going to implement for this month.
In conclusion, the key points to remember here are,
we are only setting realistic goals, which we feel confident in being
able to meet on a month by month basis. We are not attempting to be over
optimistic but realistic and at the same time taking as small a risk as
possible. We are only using the simple ratio of productivity to how many
consumer contacts does it take to make one sale. We are going to use this
month’s consumer contacts as a building block for next month’s goal. We
are going to carry out this method on a realistic rate of progression
for the next year. At this stage, it is important to remember to take
into consideration the predetermined set-of consumer variables. The predetermined
set-of consumer risk variables again are your ability of production, economic
conditions, people personalities and ever-changing circumstances. In the
setting of each monthly goal, allowances have to be made for these factors
to keep your goals realistic. Consequently, your goal has to have some
slack or leeway. Otherwise it is very easy to create unnecessary stress
upon yourself and/or your entire company, and that simply by the unneeded
additional daily stress, your goal has become unrealistic. Therefore,
you want to have realistic goals set with as little stress attached to
them as possible.
There is enough stress in the world order of business
right now, and you certainly do not want to take on more of it particularly,
if it is not necessary.
We are not even thinking yet of how are we going
to make these consumer contacts. We only begin to think of these under
point three, “How Am I Going To Get There”. In this area we will begin
to discuss some simple first step methods that work, and will begin to
build a marketing plan. However, before we can even consider this, we
have to know first, “Where Do We Want To Go”.
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