This past Wednesday, I started to see a few hundred downloads of my ebook on "Writing the Winning Business Plan", and then a few hundred more on Thursday, and already early this AM, lots of detailed questions from readers. Then I realized that it's that time of year that new students in the MITx course on business planning were gearing up, and this is a core read. The book is also used in my own teaching every fall at MIT in the ME course taught by Dr. Chun, who asked me 21 years ago if I could assist in teaching a few business principles to his undergrad and grad students. That exciting experience, which continues every fall at MIT, also led me to the opportunity to teach at Tufts 16 years ago.
Whenever I can, I start the day with a run on the NH beach. This is a picture from Wednesday morning. Yea, I know! Some of you right now are asking...
"Does NH really have a beach?"
And the answer is 14 miles of pristine ocean and sand with some of the best surfing in NE. This is where I and my brothers grew up as kids, and when our mother wanted to get rid of us, she would tell us to go out and find beach glass and bring her back a present. Decades later, I still look for beach glass.
It's already the third week of my classes at MIT where I teach business planning and marketing, and at Tufts where I teach classes in Marketing and in the "Science of Sales". We're now ready this coming week to jump from knee-deep-testing-the-waters-concepts to full immersion in the reality of my methodology of teaching "Process-Tools-Technology-People & Math" and wrapping those mechanics into the practice of Sales and Marketing.
Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, meeting networking, free marketing projects from universities, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts
Think about...for just a minute...how many times you will hear that phrase today at work.
Of course, this weekend you will be reintroduced to a slightly modified version from your partner in words such as "I only need you to help me for 5 minutes." The reality is that in all of our work, in our family lives, and in our social environments, time is the number one denominator that factors above everything else since it is totally inelastic.
Working in Boston, now back traveling to the offices of our clients, teaching at Tufts, hanging out in NH, and digging in the dirt and snow of Vermont, I go through lots of different clothes, boots, shoes and jackets. Like you, I greatly appreciate quality, style and especially value in what I wear and the cars I drive, which is why I drive a Subaru Outback most of the time. When it comes to clothes and shoes, being a Vermonter I love both the brands of Orvis (the headquarters is just down the road a piece) and Carhartt (the basic uniform of most Vermonters).
This time of year, in between Zoom and Team calls, I've been ankle-deep in the dirt and last weekend's mud in the gardens in both NH and Vermont planting, cutting and weeding. It's good for the soul and my hyper-sense of organization to be able to dive into the deep end of the mud and "get er done" no matter what the weather...or the business...forecast is.
- Right here at the beginning of June, our Q2 business forecast is looking pretty good among all of our clients now working through the details to end with a robust close to the quarter. Concerns about supply lines and labor unknowns are obviously top of mind, but business forecasts in general seem to be solid for the next four weeks.
- When I got in the car last night to drive from Boston to Vermont for a day of morning meetings and garden work this afternoon, the weather forecast also looked pretty good, and I planned my calls and meetings for the day around that forecast. Early this AM, it's a raw 55 degrees and pouring rain, but somehow the outside work still needs to be completed between lawyer calls at 10, a weekly Team meeting at 11 and a F2F 3:00 new client meeting this afternoon.
Bottom line is that weather forecasts change all the time, and of course, we have zero control, but yet, the work still needs to be completed. Business plans and sales forecasts go through just as many variations as the unknowns of the weather, but at the end of a week like today and the end of the quarter in less than four weeks, sales quotas still need to be met and operating plans and product commitments completed just as we forecasted.
As anyone who has seen my Vermont woodlot, everything is "neat & tidy" especially in the spring and summa'. That organization allows me ready access to a season's worth of kindling and two of the four cords of wood I burn every winter.
Having everything organized and "in its place" is the way I work out in the woods and also in my management consulting work since that level of organization allows me to have "extra time" when the weather changes or in the case of work, unexpected client speed bumps occur.
Rising through the ranks from Manufacturing to Engineering to Operations and then through a battlefield promotion to division president, I never stopped along that path to learn anything about Sales or Marketing. I've always been a process, tech, time-management and metrics guy, and back-in-the-day, the world of Sales seemed to revolve around travel, food, and golf, none of which I do very well. Marketing to me back then was even more confusing since it was simply expensive black magic.
With Valentine's Day Sunday, I find myself once again in the woods of Vermont this morning with a -4 degree temp and "yet-another-dusting" of four inches. Just enough that it will ice unless attacked by "Big Orange", my brand new 30" Ariens delivered by the superb sales guys up the road a piece at Brown Enterprises. For variety, I work out of the NH beach Monday through Wednesday, drive to Boston following Wednesday's Tufts class, check on the now-vacant office, pick up the mail and then drive to VT.
I work here in VT on Thursdays and Fridays...and then, depending on the weatha' for the weekend, stay or leave. I love the variety of the rural VT woods and the NH sand. It's my own own stress-reducer keeping my head screwed on and the entire weekly process reaffirms my love of what I do.
After 30+ years of management consulting including 20+ of teaching at MIT and Tufts, I have the opportunity to work with the management of hundreds of companies every year and hundreds of both students and alums at both universities. I love the work, the challenges, the extraordinary variety of both problem solving and creating new sales opportunities along with the inherent management coaching that goes along with it. This is all I do, and I can't imagine doing anything else except a little snowboarding in the winta' (but not this year) and surfing in the summa'
With teaching every Wednesdays at Tufts, I always have a process (should not be surprising to anyone who knows me) to making sure that everything is in place since I well know by now that both time and students are unforgiving.
Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Yes, it's the end of a week, and right in line with our weekly Friday morning blog, and since it's been a blogging kind of week, I thought that I would share a couple of insights into why we consider blogging the most critical #1 Inbound Marketing tool!
First, some basic definition, and although I live in an Inbound Marketing world and personally love blogging, I frequently get asked "just what is a blog?". More often than not, I find out that the vast majority of small and mid-size companies don't blog at all...although a senior manager I might be talking to "has been thinking about it" for some time.