The “why” of taking action
The most important part of any plan or goal is actually “taking action“. Without this crucial step nothing will come to fruition. A dream is but a dream unless you move to make it a reality. It’s not just about taking action, it’s taking action in the right way. Doing the important things that need to be done to carry out the plan and achieve your desired goal is what’s necessary. If you can act with purpose, make sure you are doing the important things in a productive manner you cannot fail to make progress. Throughout this post I am referring to “taking action” in a business sense, although many of the principles can be used for personal goals/plans with little adjustment.
Don’t let fear stop you
Sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it is as long as we don’t allow fear to overtake us and sabotage our actions. The fear of failing, the fear of rejection and the fear of disappointment are our enemies in such situations. They show themselves in the form of procrastination, indecision, overwhelm, insecurity and self doubt. To overcome these enemies we must re-frame them in our minds, believe we are good enough, not fear failure, but embrace it as a necessary component of making progress. If you have never failed at anything, you have never pushed yourself to your boundaries of your capability. Imagine your life inside a bubble: only by pushing past the boundary of that bubble can you make it bigger. A bigger bubble equals a bigger life. Quite often the fear of something is far worse than the actual experience of it, so get out of your head and get on with taking action.
We are sure to come across obstacles along the journey. Obstacles are part of the learning process, they test us and our plans. We should be refining and improving our plans as we move along our journey. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, so difficulty is a barrier to entry for our competition also, and means that the weaker ones are weeded out along the way. You’re ahead of 90% of the population by even making a start, so take strength from that fact and push on. Use problem solving techniques to overcome difficult-to-solve obstacles, and look for “role models” to find better ways of doing things and overcome things that get in your way. Look at the systems, models, habits and relationships that successful people employ(ed) on their path to success. Research these and test them for yourself. Use the acronym M.A.R.S.H to remember these important areas of study.
Models – Business models are an area of study in themselves. It’s important to understand how businesses do what they do, the nine building blocks of business models include:
- Core capabilities: The capabilities and competencies necessary to execute a company’s business model.
- Partner network: The business alliances which complement other aspects of the business model.
- Value configuration: The Value Configuration describes the arrangement of activities and resources that are necessary to create value for the customer.
- Value proposition: The products and services a business offers. Quoting Osterwalder (2004), a value proposition “is an overall view of .. products and services that together represent value for a specific customer segment. It describes the way a firm differentiates itself from its competitors and is the reason why customers buy from a certain firm and not from another.”
- Target customer: The target audience for a business’ products and services.
- Distribution channel: The means by which a company delivers products and services to customers. This includes the company’s marketing and distribution strategy.
- Customer relationship: The links a company establishes between itself and its different customer segments. The process of managing customer relationships is referred to as customer relationship management.
- Cost structure: The monetary consequences of the means employed in the business model. A company’s DOC.
- Revenue: The way a company makes money through a variety of revenue flows. A company’s income.
There are so many examples of business models
- Auction business model
- Bricks and clicks business model
- Collective business models
- Cutting out the middleman model
- Direct sales model
- Distribution business models, various
- Freemium business model
- Industrialization of services business model
- Low-cost carrier business model
- Loyalty business models
- Monopolistic business model
- Multi-level marketing business model
- Network effects business model
- Online auction business model
- Online content business model
- Premium business model
- Professional open-source model
- Pyramid scheme business model
- Razor and blades business model (bait and hook)
- Servitization of products business model
- Subscription business model
- Value Added Reseller model
- Unbundling business model
- The long tail business model
- Multi sided platform model
- Free as a business model
- Open business model
Look for alternative ways of doing things and thinking “outside the box”. Look at other industries and see if it can be ripped and piveted for your purposes.
Relationships – Probably one of the best ways of getting what you want is by forming relationships with others. None of us are an island and we all need to develop good personal and working relationships. Form relationships with like minded people that can help you and you can help in return. There has to be some form of mutual exchange for any relationship to flourish. So don’t fall into the trap of forming relationships for pure selfish gain. Form them to improve the lives of all involved and nurture them with genuine concern and caring. Win win situations are the only sustainable option we have, otherwise eventually the one getting the raw end of the deal is going to feel used and unappreciated and move on, it’s just a matter of time. Think about how you can add value to other people’s lives in every aspect of yours. We all admire people that put others first. For example, I once had a guy, who I had never met, design me a website because he just “wanted to help me out”, he is now a good friend of mine and I still haven’t forgot that gesture. I have done similar myself since, and it feels great to do something special for another human being out of the blue.
Systems – Famous systems include franchises such as McDonald’s, where they can afford to employ lots of young adults with little or no work or life experience to work in a multi million pound fast food business and produce consistent food products time and time again. How do they do this? Well they have very efficient systems of food processing and product delivery that give consistent results. Systems include procedures, processes, courses of action or methods that achieve a specific result, consistently.
Habits – Habits are actions we do automatically, without thinking about them. We can form good or bad habits. Habits are formed with practice and doing and thinking things in a certain way over and over again.
Use goal setting to control the direction of actions. Taking action without goal setting is like driving around a town without having somewhere to go. So use goal setting to focus your actions like a compass, and move you in a direction that will lead to a better life.
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