Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lean Startups and Bartering Relationships (Part 3)

C) Build A Business That Will Offer Value

You cannot get rich, unless you offer people something of value.

People are attracted to things that they value, thus, they will treat it as valuable. 

How will your business benefit another?

Conduct two measurements before you embark on your business: Do a SWOT analysis, and a Cost-to-Benefit (CBA) analysis. These will give you a fair indication of what to prepare for. 

If you are investing into a business, avoid parasitic processes where you have to 'work' for somebody else's pot of gold. If you do, ensure you are higher up in the process. You can build your team, but ascertain that those you 'lead' will benefit just as much in their near-future. Avoid annoyingly-obligatory sales processes, i.e. selling to friends and family, and the  familiar. 

If it is a skills-based business, ascertain your skills, experience and wisdom. Identify your Unique Selling Points (UPSs) and uniqueness. Clarify this question: What makes you different that we should consider engaging you? Avoid the lowest-price trap (reflecting poor marketing competency).

More to follow. Best of planning and preparation!

How To Be A Better Runner

How do you become a better runner?

Stay injury-free and improve on your weaknesses, is the simplified answer.

How do you stay injury-free?

By training within your limits (we have more physical limitations as compared to our mental ones), you can keep serious injuries at bay. Mild injuries may be unavoidable when you step up on intensity, prior to a race. Thus, my promotion of 'Run Less, Run Faster' is pertinent, if you are already plagued by persistent niggles and soreness. 

Your build-up to the race needs to be sensible and realistic. Give yourself SMART Goals, and be mindful of how well you can prepare. Thus, in your off-season you would do better to focus on lower-intensity, fat-utilising, pace. I recommend lower-heartrate running, swimming and cycling to enhance your 'aerobic engine'. Drink Bullet Coffee (or coconut-oil infused beverages before training on an empty-stomach) to engage your body's ability to tap into your endurance system.

Get quality sleep to recover fully and reduce stress. Eat 'clean' to assist your body to assimilate new body tissues. Eat all major food groups, and eliminate food that cause you allergies. Consume more antioxidants, protect and nurture your gut flora (bacteria), and be well-hydrated. Go 80:20 with your nutrition/meals, and treat yourself,occasionally, to some 'comfort food'. I am a fan of craft-beers after hard training, and appreciate indulging in my sweet tooth. Your fitness will assist you in your day-to-day activities; not just for racing and earning PBs. Focus on building an organic machinery that enhances your life, and promotes your sporting lifestyle.

Training-wise, be smart and enlist assistance in ensuring you optimise your efforts and structural abilities: running-gait, footwear, core-strength, muscular-strength, balance and proprioception, joint-health, and muscular weakness (critical point of incidence). Diagnose your abilities and do a SWOT analysis, and tap on your collective potential and work on reducing your weaknesses. Race occasionally, so as to familiarise with your race-pace (5km, 10km, 21km and marathon).

More of these will be covered in my new Ebook.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

10 Ways To Use Diversity In Fitness Development

What do you do when you get bored of your training and racing?

Motivation can wane through time, so we should be mindful when our enthusiasm and passion loses it fizzle and sizzle. Just as we can 'get our goose cooked', we can experience fatigue, boredom and lethargy. Over-training and over-racing can accelerate our sense of malaise. So, what can do to rejuvenate our interests?

1) Reduce training mileage, and maintain intensity (tempo, track-work, running up slopes).
2) Focus on speed and strength (higher intensity, strength-training).
3) Race in shorter events (add intensity and focus).
4) Participate in fun events (Colour Run, Illumination, mass yoga, Superhero Run).
5) Challenge different muscle groups (do CrossFit, yoga).
6) Take on challenging races that challenge different aspects of your fitness (Spartan Race, aquathlon).
7) Focus on your weakest area (swimming for me).
8) Take on harder terrain (ride on hills, off-road running).
9) Slow down and do fun activities (trekking, mountain-biking, wear a costume in a short run).
10) Do a team charity event to raise funds.

All it takes is to include variety, diversify your energies and interests, and learning new skills - and you will be confident with newly-discovered fitness and prowess!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lean Startups & Bartering Relationships (Part2)

In a continuing series on business startups and entrepreneurial ventures, we discuss the relevance of Relationships.

B) Bartering Your Way To Results

Bartering may seem like 'old school', yet it is one of the backbones of business success. The 'Law of Exchange' is as old as trading, sales, and reciprocity. 

One of the considerations of bartering is that it can be informal, and kept 'off the books'. Because, it is an 'exchange' of service-for-service, or product-for-product, or service-for-product, or product-for-service, you can be flexible with how you calculate your 'costs'. You can barter your editing services for a new business website for advice on accounting and submitting tax forms. You can barter a workshop on business writing for a participant's spot in a business seminar. You can trade your coaching services as a personal-trainer for accommodation in a residential-apartment overseas (when you are on vacation or a business trip). Write an feature article for a website, and in turn enjoy shared readership.  

Tied in to this process of bartering, is the Law of Reciprocity (as observed by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D.). You can reap massive benefits by leveraging on professional and personal relationships (more on this later). This may also pave the way for co-branding, partnering, co-sponsorship, and alliances.

Leadership Lessons: Bartering is about exchanging, and not taking advantage of anyone. You can trade products, services, and even opportunities to maximise progress of your business and vocation. Consider how you barter sensibly and with sensitivity. Sometimes, paying for the service or product is much 'cleaner' and without attachments and encumbrances.

Lean Startups & Bartering Relationships (Part1)

Being self-employed, and a 'free agent' for the last 15 years, I have been asked questions pertaining to start-ups and sustainability. Here are my thoughts distilled over the years for those who are thinking seriously about taking that quantum leap of faith into self-employment. 

To start your own company, and launch it, you can start lean and still be mean. Key considerations are:

A) Have 12 Months of Salary

In case things do not work according to plan, you have a year's worth of savings to tide over your overheads. These include purchase of capital expenses (notebook, work-station, peripherals), operating costs (rental, staff salary, software,licenses, taxes), business expenses (transportation, travel, accommodation) and developmental costs (education, seminars, courses, books, DVDs, EBooks). Do your 'books' according to a simple plan of Input/Output, or Cost/Income. Learn about basic Accounting, if you will, as it is important to be compliant with taxation laws and enjoy prevailing tax reliefs and start-up benefits.

Now, this window of 12 months gives you an 'out', in case things do not pan out for reasons. You still have a sense of relevance and 'recency', as you have not been too long 'out in the cold'.

Leadership Lessons: Plan to succeed. Success comes with planning and working your plan. A 12-month bank of salary gives you an assurance that you can manage your current lifestyle or alter it. What endurance sports can teach us are values of patience, optimism, determination, persistence, and purpose. I used 'The Art of The Start' by Guy Kawasaki as a working manual, and it has useful orientations for business start-ups and entrepreneurial approaches.