Goal Setting and Personal Analytics

goal setting personal analytics

As this week comes to an end, we have started a new month and the weather has warmed up rather quickly. Here in NYC, it was about 45 degrees one day, and 82 degrees the next and has continued to stay warm ever since. The summer is here early and even though you might want to stay out and enjoy the glorious weather, you shouldn’t neglect your duties as an entrepreneur. If you have systems in place,  which you should, you will have the time to handle all your duties and enjoy the weather. One example of said system is  goal setting and personal analytics.

Setting Goals

Setting goals is a great way to stay on track. Goals give you something to strive for, as well as act as a measuring tool on your progress. I like to push myself a little farther, especially after achieving the goal I had set. I review the goal list for the month that just past, keeping note of the ones I achieved, including date of achievement, and the ones I failed to meet. I note what prevented me from completing that goal and 3 different ways, for each excuse, on how to overcome the barrier. Nine times out of ten, the solution lies within you and you just have to figure out the best way to bring it forward. Analyzing the goals is a great method in figuring out your barriers and what you need to demolish them.

Growing from the Failures

As I write down my goals for the new month, I include the ones I did not complete, with the methods I will be using for each goal, in order to meet the goal this time around. If need be, I research and study all the things that were holding me back. Let’s say you did not meet the sales numbers you had set upon, but you noticed you did not network properly to expand your clientele and name in the community. You might want to take a confidence class, which will help you speak and network effectively and with confidence. Confidence breeds success, and when you are confident in your self and what your do or offer, others will see the same and be more willing to work with you. Another example of a business goal not achieved is lack of leads from social media accounts. You might want take a class/course on social media marketing and tools to increase your knowledge in the area and learn the tools necessary to implement a profitable social media marketing plan. The analysis is the easy part, the action you put into meeting the goal is what counts. If you do not intend on doing the work, it makes no sense for you to set goals, since you plan on doing nothing with the information learned.

My Goals for June

Investing in yourself to meet a goal will pay off ten fold in the future. Knowledge is something no one can take away from you. The more you learn, the easier it will be to meet your goals and the more time you have to enjoy yourself and family. Just remember, ad I cannot stress this enough, learning alone will not bring forth success, you have to put into action what you have learned. I set goals every month, and my goals for the month of June are as follows: (1) $10K in sales; (2) Attend 2 networking events; (3) buy new laptop and printer; (4) begin studying for the PACE Registered Paralegal Certification Exam; (5) Do my first webinar. Have you set your goals for June? Feel free to post them on the Martinez Consulting Services Facebook Page or under the picture, featured above, on the Martinez Consulting Services Instagram Page.

 

Finding Time

One of the biggest problems I have, and most other business owners, is finding the time to get things done. With hectic schedules revolving around our jobs, family life and personal duties, it’s a miracle things get done at all. It can be overwhelming and at times I want to give in because it is easier to quit and just continue life without worrying about getting certain things done.

Being a single mom, running two businesses, working a 9-5, really a 9-whatever, and taking care of my dad who has epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, is really hard, but my daily to-do lists are what keep me going. Just so you know, I never get everything done on my list, that is impossible with so many interruptions that arise throughout the day. The to-do list is only a guide for me in which I have prioritized the tasks I have for the day and week. I can get all of the important things done and a few of the other minor items that pose no urgency. I always write down my daily as well as weekly tasks. I do this in case a miracle occurs and I actually get everything done. This has never happened, but I prepare for it anyways. It’s my goal to get everything done and I know eventually I will. I’m just not at that position yet.

I’ve heard people say that if you are not completing everything in your task list, you are getting easily distracted by outside factors affecting performance and/or output. This is wrong as life is unpredictable and you must be fluid in how you get things done. You have to account for the unexpected, especially when you have children. These unexpected factors are what gets you prepared for other situations, as these are the times we tend to learn best.

In business, clients are also your children, and as such, they are equally unpredictable. When you provide a service for someone, they expect your undivided attention, and that’s okay since they are paying for your time. Scheduling and writing down your daily tasks can help keep you sane in a very unpredictable world. Eventually, your to-do list will take into account these unexpected situations, and you will be prepared, time wise, to deal with it effectively.

Writing down your to do list is the first step in ensuring you get everything done. Our brains work in mysterious ways, and writing things down, setting our daily goals and tasks, helps provide some form of accountability. Sometimes you only need that push or nudge to get things done. I’m very visual and being able to cross an item off of my to-do list gives me the psychological motivation I need to get another item done and crossed off. The act of crossing off the item fills me with a feeling of accomplishment and self worth.

The hardest part is finding the motivation to get the first item crossed off the list. Being the business owner, usually there is no one pushing you and providing the motivation necessary to complete the tasks at hand. As the business owner, you motivate your staff, or at least you should be, setting yourself up as a leader and not just a boss. Once that first item comes off, the rest is down hill from there. Like I said before, I never get everything done, but everyday I push through another barrier and hopefully one day I will be able to get all things done and still have time leftover for me….hey an entrepreneur can dream.

Business Structures: What is Best For Your Business

As a business consultant, I am always asked the question “what’s the best business structure?” My first response is it depends what kind of business do you have and how do you want to pay the taxes for the business. There are four (4) basic structures a business can have: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and cheapest structure a business can have. It’s a single individual that can start the business by filing a “doing business as” or DBA certificate with county clerk or other city official, but it is not necessarily required. You can just start working and file your business profit and loss statement or Schedule C with your personal taxes. Under this business structure, you are liable for all expenses, law suits, etc., incurred for the business.

A partnership is the same as a sole proprietorship, but it involves two individuals or more as heads of the business. There’s usually a partnership agreement amongst the parties involved and liability is shared equally. Partnership income is filed under Form 1065 and included when filing your personal taxes.

A corporation is a business entity formed separated completely from the corporate shareholders. It is formed by filing the appropriate documents with the state and paying the required fees. It is recognized as an “individual” by the IRS and it is given an employee identification number (EIN) or tax identification number. The corporate shareholders are protected from being liable for the expenses, law suits, etc., incurred by the corporation. Depending on the type of corporation the business has elected to file its taxes under, determines the way the corporate income is taxed. If the business is filing as a C-corporation, the corporation pays taxes on the corporate income as a whole and the shareholders subsequently pay taxes on their share of the corporate income, a sort of double tax. If the business elects to file as an S-corporation, the taxes paid are through the shareholder’s personal tax return, like a partnership/sole proprietorship, using Form 1120S. All corporations are required to continuously file forms with the state, including but not limited to, shareholder meeting minutes, elections, biennial statements, etc.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a cross between a corporation and a partnership/sole proprietorship. An LLC provides the protection a corporation provides its shareholders from liability, but it is taxed like a partnership/sole proprietorship. An LLC is also simpler to manage as it does not require to file company forms with the state, on a continuous basis, like a corporation does.

Deciding on a business structure is a difficult decision, but it’s never permanent. You can always change your business structure, provided the correct forms are filed with the state. The beauty of being the business owner is that you pick what you want. Some businesses are better as corporate entities because of the protections offered by the corporate veil, but ultimately it is your choice. As a consultant, I always push my clients towards a corporation or limited liability company because of the protections it offers its shareholders or members. You should always protect yourself from any and all litigation and financial obligations of the business, especially in this highly litigious society we live in.

After deciding on your business structure, you are ready to get the business and all your ideas down on paper, check out the business must haves for your business to succeed.

Business Must Haves for Success

 Starting a business is very scary, especially if it’s the first time you are venturing into the corporate world. In order for your business to run smoothly and flourish, you must have certain plans and systems in place to enable this.

A business plan is exactly what the name implies, a plan for your business. A business plan seems antiquated since it has mainly been used to obtain funding from financial institutions, but it has other uses too. A business plan includes your business mission statements and your goals for the next three, five and ten years of the business. Setting dates and goals is a great way to gauge how well your business is doing, as you can review the “health” of the business at the end of the year to see how much closer to your goals you are. Being able to see what has been achieved lets you put your efforts into the goals you have not met yet. Putting your goals and business expectations down on paper enables accountability from you in ensuring the goals are achieved.

In today’s society, any business that does not have a marketing/branding plan is setting itself up for failure. Social media has transformed marketing, as it is easy to market a business to the local community, as well as internationally, in a matter of seconds for free. Word of mouth about a business can spread like wildfire in a matter of seconds, so taking the time out to formulate a strategy on how the business will be marketed is imperative. Using the many avenues available to market your business requires a plan, especially if you run a one man show because marketing/branding can take up a lot of your time allowing other areas of your business to become neglected.

An operations manual is the management bible for the business. It states the day to day activities, job descriptions for all employees, customer service procedures, etc. This manual allows for the business to flow smoothly whether you are present physically at the business or not. Your employees will be able to handle what needs to be done without being told what to do because it is already in writing. Even if you are the only employee of the business, having down in writing what needs to be done helps you stay on track with the business activities. Being the only for the business can be overwhelming and you can easily neglect the biggest task as an employee you have, taking care of yourself. Knowing when and how to do things sets up limits on the amount of time and activities you dedicate for the business. It is easy to overlook things that need to get done, especially when you are the accountant, secretary, manager, janitor and receptionist, all at the same time, for the business.

Last but not least is a continuity plan, which is often overlooked, but it is essential for all businesses, yes, ALL. A continuity plan is a plan that states how certain situations are handled within the business. These situations can include customer service issues like problem clients, customer disputes and things of that such. Also super important to include is how maters will be handled before, during and after a natural disaster. I learned this lesson after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when my house was damaged and subsequently looted when the National Guard closed the street off until the area was safe to walk through. My brand new computer was stolen with all of my business records. I had hard copies of the documents, but the water damaged those too. I lost over $50,000.00 on my lost records alone because I did not have a plan for the business during a hurricane. Lesson learned and now I beg everyone to ensure they have a continuity plan in place covering all situations, probable or not.

Planning is essential for things to run smoothly in life, and in business it is no different. We have calendars and planners to help keep us organized and on track, and all businesses should have these plans/manual so they can also stay on a success track. Businesses run smoothly and succeed when systems are in place and these plans are the basic systems all businesses need. If you need assistance in one or more of these plans, please feel free to CONTACT ME.

THE STUBBORN CLIENT

As a professional providing various services to the community, I have been given an insight on how different people are when it comes to business management. One thing that never changes are good business practices. These practices may be different from one business to the next, but they all have the same gist. Some people don’t understand these basics and never will, no matter how many times you repeat it.

A few months back I stopped working with a client that just would not understand nor accept good advice. This individual owned a restaurant in the state of New York, one of toughest markets in the country. Over $2,000,000.00 was invested into the business and the soft opening showed promise of an income producing restaurant. This honeymoon did not last past the first month the restaurant was open for business.

Although all the employees hired had prior experience in the service industry, the restaurant owner did not feel the need to establish rules and procedures for them. The owner assumed everyone is an adult and should know what to do without being told how to do it. I suggested we implement systems for the business, with emphasis on an operations manual, but all my suggestions were rejected.

The client felt I wasn’t helping the business make money, but rather giving them more work they felt was unnecessary and burdensome. The owner specifically did not like the part of not getting a steady paycheck for the first 6 months of business, until the restaurant could actually turn a profit after all start up costs and expenses were paid for. The client felt the owner should get paid before bills and employees, and the moment I challenged this notion, the client began to shut down and essentially block out all of my advice.

After 3 months, the restaurant was losing over $10,000.00 every month, and lost all of its employees. Eventually the restaurant closed 6 months after opening, owing more than $400,000.00 in outstanding bills. This could have been avoided had the client listened to advice. This restaurant had a dance floor and a mechanical bull, in an area surrounded by 7 colleges and dozens of high schools. It had everything necessary for success except systems for business management.

As a business consultant, you will encounter many people who feel like your advice is unwelcomed and unnecessary. Not everyone will take you serious, especially if you are a female that looks like a teenager, like me. Dealing with these stubborn clients can be very difficult, but looking at them like a learning experience can prove to beneficial in the long run. Every client is a learning experience, and you must take everything in and build from that. You might just develop the skills needed to deal with others who are the same way or in the same predicament, making you the winning party in a bad situation. Have you ever dealt with a problem client? Let me know your story and what did you learn from it.

The Time is Now – Repair Your Credit Today

FullSizeRenderWelcome to a new year. A time to start over and a time to fix our past errors. One of the biggest mistakes people often make is not taking care of their credit. Whether noticeable or not, credit affects our day to day lives, regardless of using the credit or not. Knowing how to use credit correctly can open many doors, like:

  • Better rates on mortgages and refinances
  • No or low interest rates on credit cards
  • Lower rates on car loans
  • Better insurance rates, whether life, auto, etc.
  • Positive results on job screenings that perform credit checks
  • Better housing options

Having good credit is important and you need to stay on top of it. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to dispute all inaccurate, erroneous and obsolete information. Information being reported that is wrong can be legally removed from your credit reports. This goes for anything and everything, including but not limited to:

  • Foreclosures
  • Student loans
  • Late payments
  • Bankruptcies
  • Repossessions
  • Child support
  • Charge offs
  • Public records
  • Collections
  • Judgements
  • Tax liens

Martinez Consulting Services will help repair your credit and teach you the necessary tools to help you achieve your credit goals, whether it’s to be debt free, buy a house, buy a car or take that dream vacation. The possibilities are endless if you take control of your credit and finances today. To request information or to get started, please send your contact information with preferred method and time of contact to Lmartinez964@optimum.net.


 

Other Services we Offer:

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Lorraine Martinez
Mobile Notary, Business and Certified Credit Consultant
Martinez Consulting Services Corp.
P.O. Box 506
Bronx New York 10459
347-947-0084 Tel/Text
800-957-4405 Fax
Lmartinez964@optimum.net

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