Archive for the ‘kaizen’ Category

Life lived as a Business Model

I’ve heard the phrase “Treat your life as a business” many times and it got me thinking of how this could be possible. How does the way businesses are started and operated translate to life itself?

Establish a Niche

One of the first things businesses do is establish their niche. Sometimes this could be a previously non-existent niche e.g. Twitter and Facebook in social media or continuing an already profitable niche e.g. Operating a Burger King Franchise. Either way, the business defines its niche prior to establishment.

biz_niche

To truly live, we have to establish a purpose. It’s the reason why most success books start by asking what your desire is. Chris Guillebeau in his World Domination Manifesto asked “What can you offer the world that no one else can?” Stephen Covey in 7 habits calls it “Beginning with the end in mind.” This  search for a purpose It’s the reason why The Purpose-Driven Life was on the New York best Seller list for a long time. The answer to this question is the first step to living your life to your fullest capacity. Sometimes purpose is established through the divine, other times it’s wrought through passion, but there’s no denying that this is the first step in living life.

Compose a Business Plan

All businesses need some form of capital to take off. This usually comes in form of a loan, angel investors, family etc. However before this happens, the entrepreneur will be asked to come up with a feasible plan. This detailed plan shows the expected profits, expenses, gains and pitfalls of the business and illustrates what the bank and the investors are getting themselves into.

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In the same vein, once your purpose is defined, the next step is a detailed plan on getting there. This is essentially your written GPS with purpose being the destination. I remember stumbling on this guy’s twitter and his description said: “Working on my life, it’s gonna be flippin’ awesome when it’s complete.” It made me think about how our lives are a work of art. Every day we spend on earth is a day in crafting that work and every day that passes without making a dent on that craft is a waste. Your plans at 20 will differ from your plans at 30 or 40, but the plans you make at 20 will get you to 30 while remaining on the right path. It’s even more fun to look at how plans change from year to year with the big picture intact.

Dominate the Niche

Once the niche and plan has been formulated, the next thing the business tries to do is make their name known through focus on quality, great customer service and advertising. All this is done to fill in the niche that has been previously chosen. One of the greatest disappointments is when we live mediocre lives. It’s disappointing because the world is blessed by the achievements of individuals like you and I, and mediocrity erases our ability to share those blessing with others. History is littered with the achievements of great men and women who worked every day to quench their burning purposes as should we. When we live the best lives possible, we satisfy that desire and simultaneously give the world something that no one else can.

Make Profit

The primary purpose of a business is not just to make money, but to make a profit. Souns simple enough, but it’s the reason why business go broke and eventually fail. Essentially resources will be spent, but more has to be made than is spent or this leads to bankruptcy. To do this, the business attempts to reduce costs and maximize sales. Some businesses have taken this too far and have done this as a detriment to their purpose (Enron as a classic example). The businesses that endure realize that reducing costs also involves maximizing resources and not cutting corners.

biz_profit

The most important resource we have is time. It’s the one thing we cannot get more of out of in a day, so we have to ensure that it is well spent while achieving the optimum results. Setting goals and timeframes is one of the ways to do this. This helps ensure that time is being spent well even if means taking a break to refresh the mind and body. When time isn’t operated on the principle of profit, we consistently play the game of catch-up.

Involvement in the Community

Finally, most businesses understand the importance of being involved in the community they are a part of. Pizza places on college campuses sponsor student organizations; department stores perform highway cleanups and so on. Good businesses understand that the people who live around them are their customers and essentially factor in community effort as part of their expenditure. In the same manner, no man is an island. It is important that while attempting to be the best we can be, that we not forget people around us. The principle that “We get what we want by helping others get what they want” is founded on the belief that as we work together with other people, we fill in their weaknesses and they in turn do the same for us. Napoleon Hill calls it the “Master Mind Principle.” Dependent people fail, Independent people partially prosper but the interdependent individual uses personal resources and the resources of others to prosper.

The business of life is a tricky one and can be overwhelming when one has no idea where they are headed. As we make strides in forward progress, we create a life that is worth emulating.

Image 1 courtesy of Arborlawn United Methodist

Image 2 courtesy of Queen’s School of Medicine

Image 3 courtesy of Word Constructions

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Welcome

Earlier today I was listening to Stephen Covey’s Audiobook “Living the 7 habits” and he was referring to the 7th habit: Sharpening the Saw. Essentially he was pointing out that after the previous 6 habits had been dealt with, it was important to revisit the 6 habits and remind and continue to make adjustments where necessary. In talking about this, he mentioned the term Kaizen. I had heard this term many times before: I had a friend who put it up as her facebook status almost every night for the better part of summer ’07.  To be succint, it is a Japanese word meaning continual improvement. The definition I put at the top of this blog is from good ol’ Wikipedia. As far as the pronounciation, a quick search brought me to a blog where the following comment was found

kaizen would be correctly pronounced:

kai zen

so it “kai” is like saying “Hi” in English and “zen” is is like “Den” in English. In Japanese, e’s are pronounced like “eh” in English.

This term embodies my philosophy to the core. It involves continually wanting to move ahead and moving forward. The word involves constant progression and growing from strength to strength. When I thought about blogging, I question whether it should focus on finances, personal development, social media or something else. I realized that it was hard for me to pick, so this blog is more of a combination of all this spheres but overall the concept is kaizen. I hope that you will take this journey with me as I learn to improve myself in varying aspects and perhaps teach something in the process