Plan To Do Good

Two words can be a constant reminder of our life’s purpose: Loyalty and Kindness.

Loyalty and Kindness

All we do begins with a thought.

The gift of thought raises the human condition above the animal kingdom.

Without the ability to think, we would react as all animals do — with instinct.

With the freedom to choose, we are able to be the Captain of our own destiny.

Although able to choose, the question remains,
Will we?”

Able and Willing are two entirely different concepts. The first is an inherent gift. The second is, literally, a moment to moment decision. Often, the next step is taken with furrowed brow and gritted teeth. By sheer determination and courageous will, action follows thought.

In other words, the ability to think and talk must be followed by the willingness to wink and walk. Thought without action is simply a fleeting fantasy of imagination.

The bridge between thought and action is a plan — a blueprint — if you will. Great plans result in great results.

If you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness.

A certain amount of brick-and-mortar is necessary for a comfortable life. Food, clothing, and shelter are the basics to survive. What is required, if we want to thrive?

The surprising answer is not something we accumulate for our own comfort. Yet, we benefit the most by giving them to another: Loyalty and Kindness.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.

We must choose to believe in the merit of these two words and all they can produce. Constant in our thoughts, they are of value only when practiced. Knowing and Doing are as different as Able and Willing. Education and Experience are required to draft the next great plan of action.

If you search for good, you will find favor.

Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. The only way to displace the unpleasant is to fill the vessel with goodness. That requires a conscious thought, a plan of action — and, a commitment to do so.

Your kindness will reward you.

As the uncertainty of current events swirls around us in a torrent of conditions beyond our control, let’s focus on the jewels around our neck and the journals of our heart.

Two words can be a constant reminder of our life’s purpose: Loyalty and Kindness.

Let’s plan to do good!

www.kimfoard.com

Anatomy of a Victor

Deep within the heart of every victor is a burning desire, to serve. They have asked this question of themselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

Anatomy of a VictorTwo words, six letters each, exactly opposite in meaning and world view: Victim and Victor.

All individuals on the face of the earth are in one camp, or the other — There is no DMZ, or middle ground.

Every person has made a choice to be, exactly, where they find themselves at this very moment.

Why?

Because —

We all have a story to tell.
And, we do tell it so well.

This last week was interesting. Personally, I was engaged in a battle for the future. Right in the middle of the whole dang show was lunch with someone, who is victim, wouldn’t you know — anchored to the past, miserable in the present, and morose about the future.

Why?

Since fire-breathing dragon stories are more interesting than melancholy tirades, this is my story about conquest and victory.

After a year of experimenting with secure Client File Portals for the mutual benefit of my stakeholders, there was an increasing uneasiness about the Hosting Service that I had chosen. The portals were fully functional, my Clients were successfully using them, and I was comfortable in the routine.

(Alert — possible misspelling of routine. Maybe, r-u-t? And, the definition of rut: a grave with the ends kicked out.)

Real danger? Or, just the ever vigilant, vivid, imagination of a Warrior?

All we do begins with a thought.

I was thinking, “There must be a better way.”

In fact, each day, each of us has a choice: Grow, or Die. Remember, there is no DMZ — or, safe middle ground.

I was ready to move forward.

Some of the many benefits of a Client File Portal (personal vault in The Clouds) is 24/7 access to digital Documents — and, the ability to provide copies of files, to stakeholders with a vested interest in building mutually beneficial dynamic relationships.

The only constant in life is change. Over the last twelve months, ShareFile has become a robust service provider of file sharing and portals. By clicking on the hyperlink above, access to their website provides a better understanding of features and support.

Ready and Committed are two, very, different things. Although ready, I was not, yet, committed to move forward. This is the introduction to the next important step on our journey to victory. We need to properly plan and meticulously prepare.

Thought without action is as worthless as a dream without a plan — a blueprint, if you will. Researching viable options and studying the technological landscape was the primary focus in my quest for a better way — and, a better Client File Portal.

This is the time in every dragon-slaying story where the weak may want to seek protection. The battle scenes are for mature audiences, only. The most fertile ground and coveted piece of real estate is between our ears. For me, in that moment, that’s where this war was being waged.

I had invested a year of my life establishing functional, yet primitive, Client File Portals for my stakeholders. I wanted to enjoy the dividends from that investment. What would everyone think, if I changed my mind? And, therein was the answer — moving forward was the right thing to do.

Yet, the enemy persisted. The cost of the old way was less than the price of the new, uncertain, and unknown future way. What if I ‘failed’, again? And, therein was the answer — failure in my earlier choice had resulted in a valuable education and experience.

That darn dragon refused to go down! He charged at me, again. This time, he plucked at the heart-strings — by camouflaging his attack with my favorite words, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you. Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

That monster of a dragon was about to die.

Deep within the heart of every victor is a burning desire, to serve. They have asked this question of themselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

Picture a vibrant, radiant, pulsating, source of energy within the Warrior. The mechanical, physical, heart is warmly surrounded by a glowing and dynamic membrane of higher power. Love is one name given to the unexplainable — it is a powerful force for doing good.

My love — of those I serve — was the strength behind the final thrust of my sword into the beast.

I was committed to move forward.

Until one is committed,
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would not otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance,
Which no person could have dreamt
Would have come their way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.

Begin it now.

—W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Although illuminated by the warm glow of first love, the beginning of anything is ugly. For builders, it’s the serious business of excavating a hole in the ground and the hard work of pouring a solid foundation. In the realm of technology, it’s the learning of a new foreign language and carefully navigating into uncharted domains.

Although encouraged by early results, the middle of anything is a slog. Begin, and begin again — one step in front of the other. The safe shore of our launch has long passed from view and the destination is many days away. One Client File Portal after another will be established and made available to those I serve — the best Clients (and Friends) — those who give so much to me.

Sometime, in the near future, a celebration beckons. All of the new vaults in The Clouds will be available, as another mutually beneficial tool, with which to build dynamic relationships. The victory will be a time of jubilee, because it will provide the opportunity for other new beginnings — yet, unseen.

In stark contrast to the jubilation of a victor was the sullenness of my lunch-time partner, The Victim. The story I heard was one of the entire world using and abusing them. Granted, the hand of fate deals its nasty blows to all of us, from time to time. Curious, though, I asked, “Where were you — and, what were you thinking and doing through all of this?”

The victim’s response (slightly paraphrased), “I was right there playing the role of saintly martyr.” Seemed fitting for me to say, “We get what we allow.” Lunch was over.

Waiting for me, on the other side of the battle with my fire-breathing dragon, were two, new, wonderful relationships.

On my left side is Christopher Doll, a ShareFile sales executive, who graciously accepted my offer to make a GoToAssist remote connection with him. We played, we laughed, and I purchased. On my right side is Kelley Figg, a ShareFile account manager, extraordinaire — she is patient beyond belief, generous at the core, and a caring professional.

Two words, six letters each, exactly opposite in meaning and world view: Victim and Victor. All individuals on the face of the earth are in one camp, or the other. There is no DMZ, or middle ground. Each person makes a choice to be, exactly, where they find themselves at this very moment.

As for me, I choose victory.

www.kimfoard.com

Build Something — Special

Discovery of the passion for the Why of your existence – an understanding of How to touch lives – and, the What of your gifts. Preparation has created Opportunity and Success.

Build SomethingThis is more than another B.S. musing. A bright financial future is waiting – if, you will accept this encouragement to Build Something Special (B.S.S.).

Let’s begin with that extra “S”: the Special one. Yes — that is YOU. You are one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, and a special creation with a unique set of gifts. You are of great value and have much to offer others. The world is anxiously waiting for you to Build Something Special, for our mutual benefit.

You’ve heard the expression: Preparation plus Opportunity equals Success.

This is, even, more powerful: Preparation is guaranteed to produce Opportunities resulting in Success.

There is absolutely no need to wait around for an opportunity. The encouragement to Build Something Special is really an encouragement for us to focus on what is within our, individual, control. Answer the Why, How, and What of YOU — and, the world is your oyster.

Why do you exist?

How can you make a difference in the lives of others?

What is the very best way to deliver your value to the world?

By thinking about the Value inherent in YOU, a choice manifests for you to become a Master Craftsman and Build Something Special.

Lift your dominant hand up and forward. Carefully, look at the thumb and fingers. Those five digits are the number of steps necessary to Build Something Special. There is a matched set of tools on your other hand. That, my friends, is the extent to which we are in control. Plenty to keep us busy, though. Let’s begin.

Step 1 ~ Establish a Fair Price

A fair price is one which is good for You — and, your Customer. The question begging to be answered is, “Price of what?!” Glad you asked because the question provides the opportunity for YOU to answer it. The secret to finding your way out of this Riddle is to answer the Why, How, and What questions, above.

Define your passion for life and the Why will be obvious. Inventory your abilities and the How becomes evident. Then, you will know, exactly, What you need to do to Build Something Special. You will fully understand whether you will be offering a Service — or, a Product — to the marketplace.

YOU have the responsibility to establish a Fair Price for your offering. As long as the Customer perceives Value greater than Price, they will believe the price is fair. Naturally, the Customer’s perception can be enhanced, by offering Value many times greater than Price — which, is also mutually beneficial in achieving a Fair Price for You.

In the simplest of definitions, a Fair Price for You is one, which — enables You to provide for your Family.

(For a complete narrative and solution to fair pricing, see the detailed examples in the articles Price We Pay and A Better Business Plan.)

Step 2 ~ Ask for Acceptance

Unless the Customer wants what is being offered, the price is irrelevant. We, all, want what we don’t have. The secret to acceptance, then, is to provide options which satisfy what the Customer wants. The only way to know that is to carefully listen. Yes — listen, with care, to discover what is of Value, to the Customer.

By beginning with the end in mind, we can negotiate mutually acceptable terms and expectations. Simply ~ Who is going to do What by When.

Step 3 ~ Plan the Work

An old Proverb best communicates this powerful principle: Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house. In other words, every successful venture requires planning — and, bountiful harvests are necessary for nurturing our families.

The purpose of Blueprints is to Build Something Special on paper, first. By doing so, we consider the required resources of Time and Money. The best use of resources is to proceed from Start to Finish, without interruption.

Step 4 ~ Deliver on Promises

This is the time for action. We have a quality offering — the Customer has a want in need of fulfillment — terms have been agreed upon — and, resources allocated. Preparation has generated Opportunity. Get-er-done is our mantra as we push forward to Success.

Step 5 ~ Enjoy the Celebration

As with any party, Ribbons and Bows showcase the gifts. You have exceeded the Customer’s expectations. They are all kinds of excited. It’s appropriate to celebrate with them. Do a walk-around. Let them express their Appreciation for spectacular Results. Listen for the Opportunity to provide even more to them in the Future. Accept their willingness to Pay in full for Value beyond Price.

Experienced builders know the secret to success is to Begin — and, Begin Again. Five digits at the end of a strong arm. Five steps to Build Something Special.

The sweetest surprise for YOU: Discovery of the passion for the Why of your existence — an understanding of How to touch lives — and, the What of your gifts.

Preparation has created Opportunity and Success.

You did it once.

You can do it again.

Build Something — Special

kimfoard.com

 

Tight Fences

In Montana, we have an expression and a tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Six Wire FenceIn Montana, we have an expression and a tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Those individuals intent upon building a ranch empire will jest, “I don’t want to own the entire state; just what my neighbor has.”

Much more than keeping those types out, the focus of this article is about fencing ourselves in.

Fence me in?!

Literally, I can hear and feel the push-back. The idea of taking personal responsibility for ourselves is a novel thought. For several generations, we’ve had exposure to the 24/7 propaganda: “If it feels good, do it.”

As a result, our “fences” are in disarray; the wires are loose, staples are missing, posts are rotted, and we find ourselves trampling on each other.

There is a better way. It begins with us, individually, from the inside, out. We discover and define ourselves. Then, we build dynamic relationships with others. Regardless of the enterprise, life is all about the people.

Think about the best six-strand, barb-wire, fence you have ever seen. That was a “stretch.” Wasn’t it? There aren’t many six-wire fences. Many ranch managers will build five-wire fences. The hobby-farmers settle for four. And, the rhinestone-cowboys cheat with three. A six-wire fence is a little bit higher, with spaces between the wires narrower, and the boundaries a whole lot tighter!

Nothing goes over, through, or under a six-wire fence. Permission to pass is offered at the gates. With good braces at the corners and every opening, the gates are designed for ease of operation. In our great state of Montana, neighbors are few and far between. When they’re in the mood to visit, we want to graciously provide the way. We know they will respectfully close the gates upon passing through.

Pretty simple.

Yet, some might be wondering, “What do tight Montana fences have to do with life?”

Everything.

Forget about the neighbors for a minute. Let’s focus on ourselves. Harder to do; I know. It’s so much easier to see what others are doing “wrong” and mettle in their business. Since their affairs are beyond our control, let’s re-focus on what is within our sphere of influence. We will find that at the tips of our fingers and looking back at us from our favorite mirror.

Yep, there we are.

Now, ask these questions:

Who am I?

What do I believe?

Where am I going?

Why do I think the way I do?

When will I commit to the future I want?

How many of my friends will help me grow?

The answers to those questions will define YOU and your current condition. Capture that image vividly in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and save it to the hard-disk of your mind. Open your eyes. Now, go, quickly, to build a six-wire fence around the wonderful creation of YOU.

Barb WireWipe the sweat from your brow, clean the blood from the cuts on your arms, and dab the tears from your eyes as you look (maybe, for the very first time) at YOU. For everyone who makes the effort to build that tight fence, we all see the same thing: Gardens of goodness and Patches of weeds.

After we tidy up the areas of neglect, we feel a sense of peace and tranquility. We thoroughly enjoy what is ours and we generously offer our best to others. In time, we realize that to serve more people in a better way, we must continue to grow.

Fenced PasturesThe best way to do that is to close our eyes, again, and dream: Big dreams, vivid dreams in full color, even those beyond our wildest imagination.

Anything is possible.

Forget the past; it doesn’t matter. Ignore the nagging worry about the future; right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Position yourself in the center of that marvelous territory (the one protected by the new six-wire fenced boundary) of YOU — and, dream!

Are you there, yet? If so, write down what you just imagined. It’s much more than a fantasy, or a dream. If you can sketch the rough outline and, then, draw a detailed blueprint of that place to which you just went, it can be built.

By standing in the image of that new country of YOU, you will be able to see the steps to take ~ from where you are, to where you want to be!

www.kimfoard.com

A Better Business Plan

This is a blueprint for how to begin building dreams into reality. Literally, in 5 Minutes, you can understand the cornerstones of a brilliant Business Plan!

BlueprintsBlueprint For Success

A seasoned carpenter shared this secret to success: “You must begin — and, begin again.”

For the dreamers among us, the question is: “Where do I begin?”

The purpose of this article is to provide the parameters for a quick analysis of an idea to determine its possibility, and probability, of actionable success. As with any legitimate construction project, we build it on paper, first.

This is our blueprint.

Owner Compensation
The concept of beginning here is novel for a Business Plan. Yet, this number will keep our attitude right and provide the Retained Earnings for business expansion. One of the principles of success is: Begin with the End in Mind.

Debt Service
Unless adequate funds are available for start-up, the early years will include a Banker for a partner. The goal is to buy them out as quickly as possible to retain their share of profits, which are paid out of our business as Interest.

Taxes
Self-employment, Federal income, and State income taxes must be paid timely. Because of severe penalties for non-compliance, governmental entities are a bad source of financing.

Overhead
This is the delivery system of providing value to the marketplace. It is everything from the brick-and-mortar to indirect expenses. It is the price we pay to have a Company.

Direct Costs
Each project and customer will want, and need, something different. The flexibility to “Wow!” them requires additional expenditures.

Productive Units
All of the above is accomplished by understanding the finite number of units available for distribution. For service enterprises, this will be a reservoir of “Hours”; for a products company, this will be the capacity of the “Shop”; and, for an inventory business, this will be the “Goods”.

Formulas:

Net Income = (Owner + Banker) / (100% – Tax Rate)
Value to Customers = Net Income + Overhead
Sales Price = Value to Customers + Direct Costs

Example Variables:

Owner Compensation: $80,000 ~ [For the Family, after taxes]
Debt Service: $40,000 ~ [Loans $200,000; 5 Year maturity]
Tax Rate: 40% ~ [S/E 15.3%, FD 20%, ST 4.7%]
Overhead: $144,000 ~ [Ads, Insurance, Rent, Utilities, Etc.]

Solution:

(Owner $80,000 + Banker $40,000) / (100% – 40% Tax Rate)
Is same as: $120,000 / .60 = $200,000 Net Income
$200,000 Net Income + $144,000 Overhead = $344,000 Value

For those providing Services to the marketplace, the final step is to divide Productive Units into the Customer Value. Full-time employment is 2,000 hours per year. Entrepreneurs will work much more than that — with only a percentage actually billable to Customers.

If our Start-up Enterprise team can be 86% productive (after allowance for duties of internal and external management) each Employee has an annual reservoir of 1,720 billable hours.

$344,000 Value to Customers / 1,720 Hours = $200 per Hour: Price for Value

Those providing Products, or Inventory, for sale to customers, will factor in the Direct Costs. In fact, they will consider the number of meals (if a restaurant), or suits (if a boutique), as their Productive Units and establish their Mark-up, accordingly.

Now, step apart from the crowd and consider the most important variable of all: “What is my passion — the one unique thing about me, for which the world waits?”

The rest of the story from our successful builder, quoted at the beginning of this article, “Find something you love to do and do a lot of it.” If we are able and willing to tap into that passion and grasp the foundational principles of a Business Plan, we are simply minutes away from A Better Business Plan — and, a new beginning!

kimfoard.com