Planning, costing, goal setting Dragons Den and The Apprentice.
By David HAGUE
One thing I have learned over the last few weeks it is that planning is paramount. I have often reminded myself that you cannot get to where you are going if you don’t know how to get there. And this applies to something as large building up a business and setting its goals or planning a shoot for a single scene in a home movie.
There are a number of tools available to assist in this area and I have spent quite some time in looking around to see what things can help me.
Personally, firstly my best friend is a whiteboard. There are many applications on a computer that mimic the physical whiteboard, but I still prefer the feel of a whiteboard and pen in my hand that I can then step back from and mull over the stuff I just wrote/drew.
Next I use Brain7 which allows me to brain storm and mind map subjects that are linked, with a back end database that has the ability to store subject matter inside it such as associated documents, audio and video files, internet links and lots, lots more.
Microsoft Project is my Project Management of choice; it does need some understanding of the discipline (which thankfully I was given many years ago) and this allows me to make sure resources and assets don’t clash and are used to maximum usage.
I have become a great fan of TV’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ and Lord Alan Sugar’s ‘The Apprentice’ as the business advice imparted on these shows is invaluable. So good in fact I have bought all the associated books for my Kindle and absorbed as much as I can.
The two things that are pushed on these shows is to understand your costs and to put your products in front of people that can buy. As such, Excel is invaluable and I keep track of every single receipt for ANYTHING to work out my costs on an ongoing basis.
But the really important thing I find, is the end game. Just WHAT am I trying to achieve. Unless I know and understand this to the nth degree, the rest is for nought. It is not enough to say “lots of money”, or “get published” or “make a movie”. These vague goals have to be broken into component parts to make sure they are a finite thing. So “lots of money” might be $1 million or $100,000, getting published could be writing a horror novel of 200 pages and seeing it on the shelf in a bookshop, or in the Kindle bookstore and “make a movie” could be a serious entry in Tropfest. Then and only then can you plan to reach the physical goal when the actual definition is nailed down.
Think of it like this. You might have as a goal “I want to travel”. An admirable pursuit. But to where, and when and for how long and to do what and how? Without those more finite decisions to work toward and plan for, they are simply dreams and not goals.
Footnote: Thanks very much for the monstrous personal feedback from last week’s Hydrapinion. If it helped just one person, I feel justified in my somewhat pontification. But I make no apology as this is a very serious subject, very close to my heart, and I welcome any correspondence or discussion on it 24/7 via phone or email. My details are freely available at www.auscamonline.com
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For planning and reaching goals, you may want to check out http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com/, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals, habits, and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate, and most of all, really works!