Create a Flight Plan for Growth
When we deliver unique, true and compelling value that matches the opportunities where buyers will pay for that value, we fuel our growth. Consider the value of your KSAs–Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. You do that already, you say? Well, maybe you think you do. But what if your mind has you thinking you know your best markets and value–and you’re wrong. What if you’re stuck in a downdraft and don’t even know it yet?
We tend to create a business flight plan and then follow it. While sure, we make course corrections at our annual planning meetings, those corrections end up being way too late in today’s changing markets. To grow, we have to be ready to be dynamic–prepared for continuous and constant shift. I’m not saying we run around like chickens with our heads cut off–changing our plans every day. That would be silly. But we certainly need to adjust our perspectives and be ready to shift with the winds of our markets. Either that, or we crash and burn.
Reevaluate your KSAs to make sure that gravity hasn’t gotten a hold of you. Are you trying to operate within the right markets? Where are your opportunities?
Companies who fly with the market winds, who are willing to focus forward, spin on a dime and consciously evolve their value to be in sync with their market lift–wherever it may be–are the companies which defy gravity and grow.
The rest, those who choose to continue with the way they’ve always done it, staying stuck in gravity–well, they sink out and are often never heard from again. Which are you?
Here’s as simple ‘flight plan’ checklist:
1. Assess your options.
2. Find someone that can advise you and that you trust.
3. Do not cash out your IRA.
4. Make a shift for your lifestyle changes.
How many housewives do you know with a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)? Not too many, right? Well, let me tell you a little story about Janet P. who married a man who was a Senior Vice President of Regional Sales for a technology company.
Now, given his title, it is safe to assume that Janet’s husband was making a comfortable living for. The housewife had earned her CPA, yes, but due to her husband’s generous annual income, was able to stay home and raise their children and not obligated to work outside the home. She stayed at home for seven years and took care of the house, the kids, the shopping–everything. For seven years, she did nothing with accounting except prepare her family’s taxes and continue her education in order to keep her certification current.
Unfortunately, due to the downturn in the American economy, Janet’s husband lost his job because he fell into the category of ‘highly-paid-middle-management.’ So let’s recap: we have an out of work, middle-aged middle manager and a CPA who has been out of practice for nearly a decade. What did this couple do? Well, the husband spent his time trying to find another job, but, due to the downsizing of many large corporations, there was little opportunity.
Because of her accounting background, Janet calculated the cost of her husband sitting without work for an undefined period of time would not allow them to maintain their standard of living. It would also lead to falling behind in other aspects of their financial lives.
Janet decided to take matters into her own hands and drive over to her local department store make-up counter to apply for a job. She got the job, worked many more hours than she was accustomed and even moved up quickly into management roles. What did she get out of selling make up? Well, aside from free make up and health insurance, she ended up meeting a gentleman who was shopping for his wife and owned a local accounting firm. He was willing to hire her during the busy tax season and allow her regain experience in the field while paying for her continuing education for her certification. Eventually, she left the department store to focus full-time on accounting.
Families are not the only people who need to manage their debt. This student took her financial matters into her own hands:
Completing her work-study requirements in the financial aid office at her university, Sara J., a college sophomore decided to start her financial future out right. The economy was starting to turn and people were appealing their financial aid packages left and right in pursuit of more assistance. Sara considered the amount of loans that she had already taken out for the First two years of her education and realized that that number would only double by the time she graduated.
To combat the stress that she was seeing her graduating friends endure upon realizing the amount of debt in which they started out their post-college lives, she decided to save some money. She opened a savings account, linked it to her checking account where her work-study paychecks were direct-deposited, and set up an automatic transfer of $200 on the 15th of every month. She figured that, by continuing this process, she would be able to save over $7,000 by graduation.
Foresight allowed her to find the opportunities she needed to help her.
Had Sara started this process her freshman year, she would have been closer to $10,000 by the time she graduated, but she wasn’t too upset about that. How many recent college graduates do you know who have over $7,000 in their bank accounts? Not many.
Sara may not have the money to pay off all of her loans right away, but she certainly has a healthy cushion of support while she searches for work. What is the best part about her plan? She is still in school and has not even begun accruing interest on these loans, yet! This money is going to go directly to the principle and knock years off of her repayment schedule. Good thinking!
Who hasn’t been short on cash at some point in their lives? When you are making life decisions at the gas pump–am I going to eat today or am I going to drive to work?–the phrase living ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ rings very true. Making minimum payments on maxed out credit cards and getting angry when people unintentionally run up your utility bills constantly reminds you that you’re barely making ends meet.
Everything stresses you out. Your constant worry about whether or not the bills will get paid on time or if your heat will get turned off in the middle of winter contribute to that stress. Everything in your life seems as though it has to do with money and your paycheck is simply not enough. Well, you have to make it enough.
It is time to create shift. Get another job, reallocate funds and plan how you are going to use your money. Take control and start valuing the opportunities that you have. Get creative with what you have and what you have to do. Take grocery shopping from a panic attack to brain teaser–see how far you can stretch your dollars and actively look for the best deals! Shift your attitude and you, and those around you, will be able to live harmoniously and happily while alleviating some of the stress.**** An excerpt from Shift Happens! No Job, No Money, Now What? ****