Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Skills Needed to Create Your Own Position

Over the years I have noted the necessary skills needed to create your own position in business. Some can even be considered skills for life as well. I will let you decide which ones work for you in life but all seven are needed in business.

No. 1: Accounting and Bookkeeping
For most people this is a boring subject to learn and others eat it up like candy. Wherever you stand on the issue, accounting and bookkeeping are the two top skills you must have in order to create your own position. Don't fret if you are not a whiz with numbers because there are programs you can get that will help you kepp track of all the numbers step by step as you keep track of your finances and growth. You can also hire an accountant and/or bookkeeper to handle it all for you but I am more partial to knowing how to handle it yourself. How else are you going to control you destiny?

No. 2: Written and Verbal Communication
Superior communication skills are essential in business, specially in today's instant information driven society. The person who can clearly get their information through will win every time. Writing can take time to develop and even professional writers take time to learn better ways to spell out their information. If you are having a tough time with writing do your self a favor and take a course either at a college or online. A well developed writer is a value to any business. The next equally important form of communication is verbal. Being able to present your idea's verbally has sometimes been lost in business today with the advances in social media which means it will take that much more effort to get your point across in a timely and professional manner. Public speaking can be intimidating for most and in my experience even the most seasoned public speakers still get butterflies before a presentation. It's only natural. What you need to do is practice and even join a public speaking club.

No. 3: Marketing and Promotion Techniques
This is not only for you to use as a service to provide but also as a tool to promote yourself. In order to create your own position you have to promote yourself effectively. Attend mixers and business social functions as often as your schedule will permit. This is one thing I am still struggling with to develop in my own business because I am excellent at marketing others but have had a hard time over the years marketing myself. What I have found is that the use of some specific marketing techniques in social media as well as within the organic community can be very simple and effective. General marketing 101 material is the starting point and creativity takes over from there so develop the right side of your brain a bit and be creative with your self promotion as well as with what you offer to the public. In todays information driven world the more creative the better.  

No. 4: Social Media Management/SEO
You will be missing out on more than you can possibly imagine if you discount the power of social media. It may not be necessary to sign up for every social site on the web but the ability to promote you and your abilities at the least cost possible is the best bet in ant book. My top choices are LinkedIn and Facebook to mingle with people and introduce yourself without ever leaving your home. Saves a ton on gas. This is not to say you should not mingle in public. As I said before, you should always attend functions in the organic community in order to work on your self promotion. It also helps with your public speaking.

No. 5: Goal Setting and Time Management
Zig Ziglar has one of the best takes on goals. I recommend his teachings on witting your objectives down, setting a deadline, identify the obstacles, identify the people and organizations you need to work with,  make a plan of action, spell out what you need to know, and write down what is in it for yourself. It is a proven method to success. Of course your attitude must match your intention to accomplish the goal or there is no reason to even set the goal in the first place. So, always have a positive attitude about the outcome throughout the whole process. Some goals are harder to attain than others and you must realize that ahead of time. There are courses and seminars on this topic as well.

No. 6: Leadership and Customer Service
In order to be an effective leader you must be an effective listener. The same is true in customer service and I don't mean as in a waiter at a restaurant, although that is a noble profession I was never good at. Customer service is in every job and in every company. A customer is anyone you engage with that you do something for. Most of the time money is exchanged but other customers can be your office manager, or the payroll clerk that needs you to fill out your time card correctly. The way in which you communicate with all of your daily customers will help develop how well you are as a leader. There is a great seminar called "The Internal Customer" that covers customer service in great detail.

No. 7: Experience and Sound Judgement
This is the hardest skill to measure and teach because it is a scale only you can control. What you learn from your decisions will dictate both the value of your experience as well as how good your judgement is. Be sure to always remain a student in life and do not be afraid to not know the answer. Part of learning sound judgement is the ability to know when you need to learn something in order to succeed. Experience is taking all that you have learned and putting into action.

I will go over all of these seven skills in more detail, as well as share my stories of success and failure with creating my own position, in my book "KungFu Marketing". Continue to check back daily for more information about creating your own position and I will share more details that will help you as we dive into 2011.

Don't forget to follow my blog by clicking the follow me tab at the top of the page and share with your friends online!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Do what others will not do for a short period of time in order to do what you want to do for the rest of your life.

I've been an entrepreneur all of my life. I say that not because I have owned businesses or came from a rich family. Far from it actually. I say it because ever since I sold candy bars in the second grade and couldn't keep the money, I was determined to find out how to make my own money. As I got older I realized making money was just a game with no instructions or set rules. There are consequences for breaking the law but there is nothing stopping you from making money. In my family there are some of the hardest working people I know to this day. They are up at dawn or some at night, who make it  to work on time every day, week in and week out. The blue collar, middle class working folks that make our world go 'round. When they would hear of the next deal, or the next opportunity, or the next best plan that I was working on they did what all good families do, they told me to get a job!

"Hey, the Post Office is hiring..."
"Did you look in the Wednesday classifieds..."
"You have security experience, join the police department..."

Success was based on a stable income and benefits. The amount of your income was a bonus. As long as you have a steady job with benefits you were a success story. Today that philosophy has a cautionary tail due to the amount of lay offs and cut backs. Working my way up the corporate ladder I began to get knocked off and sometimes even thrown off. All the while, I would always remember that feeling I had when I gave my hard earned candy bar money to Sister Rita Mary. I was playing the money game by the wrong set of rules and I was loosing. It was not to say that my family was wrong, it was just that the instructions did not work for me and I needed to play by another set of rules.

I have been called a jack of all trades because of the many different industries I have worked in and the most success I have ever had was when I said, "This is what I can do to help." rather than, "What do you want me to do?".  Once I began to list the things I could do to help others, I began to be seen as a valued commodity not only in the work place but also to myself. No longer was it necessary for me to wait for the Wednesday classifies. I was creating my own position. I would find a business that needed my skills and implement a position to handle those issues. Mostly small businesses and not for a whole lot of money but it was always enough and I didn't need to fight up any stupid ladder. Over the years I have been able to learn from business professionals as I help them solve their problems. As my skills improved so did my ability to offer more services and the more valuable I became in my own work place.

My lesson of life is, that in order to learn you must be willing to teach and in order to live you must be willing to learn. Allow this new year to open the doors to new possibilities and adventures. 2011 promises to be a year of opportunity so when you hear the door knock... answer it.

Happy New Year!