[SSB#23] Vision, Goals & a pair of blue shorts!
A newsletter from
Welcome to the 23rd edition of our newsletter "Supersonic Business", a fortnightly publication by Mantle, written by me, Laura Landmark, with a focus on business growth, value and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.
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Sandnes, Norway, Wednesday afternoon, 9th September 2020 ☔
"Supersonic Business" is sent from me, a Management Accountant, to those that have a leading position in SME's (small/medium businesses), and their accountants. The vision for the newsletter is to share information, tips and tricks to build healthy, thriving businesses from the 'inside out', it is written from the finance and administration perspective.
I hope you enjoy [SSB#23], write to me on email@example.com if you have any feedback or questions.
I have had a Fitbit sports watch for three years, but have managed to hide it in a drawer most of the time. I really didn't want a watch bossing me around so avoided wearing it, but during this summer I decided it was time to see what it could really do.
I have spent the last few years kicking Mantle off the ground with my partners, we are gaining traction, the business is going well. My kids are now nearly three years older than they were when we started our business and are becoming more independent every day, so now there is no excuse for not getting myself into shape! 😅
I have spent time on my vision for what it would mean to be fit again, and all my decisions are being made out from this. They say in business that a vision is 'a clear image about what you see your business being in the future', it provides focus and clarity. My vision for my health-kick more than an image, it is a feeling, I want to feel comfortable in my favorite old blue shorts, the ones that 10 years ago were comfortably big, and now are uncomfortably small! This feeling is motivating and captivating.
My strategy is to use a combination of running, music, and restricted time eating (RTE) to reach my goals and milestones. RTE doesn't mean eating less necessarily, it means eating a healthy well-balanced diet within a restricted time period, so that the body has 12-14 hours to 'recover' every night. There is a huge amount of science around this, google it if you are interested. My goals and milestones are to gradually increase my running speed and rapidly decreasing the size of the waist in a controlled and healthy way. (I am not into fad's or quick fixes, but I am determined!)
The sports watch is just one tool in this journey, it is fundamental in motivating me. The Fitbit and its related app is giving me real-time feedback via dashboards reports and measures that are fueling my desire to keep traveling towards my goal, as well as helping me make decisions about how I want to get there. It reminds me all the time where I am and how I am trending and fosters a feeling of wanting to stretch myself a bit more.
When I first started running I thought it was fun, but everything hurt, especially my thighs and my lungs! Every step after the first 1KM or so was a real effort, but four weeks later and it hurts a lot less and feels a whole lot easier. Nonetheless, I am using the watch and various other techniques to make decisions on how far, how fast, and how long to keep going. It's all about the feedback.
There are so many analogies between this journey to better fitness and business that it seemed appropriate to write about it here. They say in business that you should set a vision or purpose, it is the north star, the guiding principle, and without it you are directionless, uncertain if the decisions you are making are moving you closer or further away from the goal.
If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable
Seneca (Roman Philosopher)
The vision also keeps us determined and focused when the going gets tough. We all know it will get tough, nothing worthwhile comes easily, not in life or business.
Vision is not enough though, we need a roadmap, goals, measures and objectives that will chart the path from here to there. But having goals, measures and objectives is also meaningless if we cannot measure our progress against them, and this needs to be real-time. It would be no use to me finding out in three weeks, that the run I did today was 3 minutes faster than the one I did earlier this week, that wouldn't provide me with any opportunity to refine, react or upgrade or change tact.
We at Mantle implement reporting and dashboarding systems in small/medium businesses, like Microsoft PowerBI, for this very reason. Using these tools our clients are able to gauge what is happening in the moment and make adjustments accordingly. My Fitbit is doing the same job for me personally, it is giving me enough critical information to guide me towards my goals, coupled with my vision which stops me going to the fridge for the extra bit of chocolate cake!
Remember, the reports and dashboards, plans, goals, and objectives are NOT about having it all figured out. It's is about putting a pin in the map, then using a range of tricks and tools to make great decisions to keep nudging towards the big vision.
In this post-Corona age, speed is everything, we see how they are racing to come up with a vaccine, that is because of slowness costs. It costs money, opportunity, and in this case, tragically lives too. There is no better day than today to start working on tomorrow. The faster we move, the faster we learn, but just like driving a car or flying a plane, we need instruments to keep us on track.
We at Mantle are dedicated to creating all the 'plugs & plays' to get your systems talking & you quickly to goal. We help you create oversightly reports and dashboards to keep business's speeding on the right path towards a vision. Business is getting faster and bigger, and there is no time to get comfortable or complacent as it is never going to slow down. Just as I keep pushing myself towards my personal vision with the help of my Fitbit, PM me if you would like to discuss how online reports and dashboards can breathe new life into your business.
“Someone else is already dreaming about excelling at the things we take for granted, lets not loose our own game.”
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn if you would like to know more about how we use technology to make life in business easier and the way forward clearer.
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Embrace the power of planning and adopt a mindset of maintaining!
COVID-19 has left business owners feeling like they took an unexpected blow to the head. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. A documented plan with targets that measure its success along the way has never been more important. Understand and develop the key drivers that have the greatest impact on your organization's ability to achieve its desired results.
A flexible model gives you the ability to ratchet up and down your various assumptions as time unfolds. In this article, you can learn more about how planning tools can have perpetual value to a business!
A designers guide to creating effective dashboards
Do you want to learn more about how dashboards can present data in a quick, easy, and relevant way? The next web gives you examples of how you successfully can design a dashboard in a strategic, analytic, operational way, besides giving you the basic principles that are the core of any successful dashboard design.
Dashboard Design: best practices and examples
Dashboards should always communicate the most important information for the user, and most importantly save time for the user. Justmind.com gives you awesome examples of dashboard design, a look into different BI dashboard types, and best practices.
“Dashboards must always save the user time. Always design your dashboard so that it helps your user to be more efficient” - www.justinmind.com
6 mistakes when designing a Dashboard
According to Userfacet these are the six most common mistakes you make when designing dashboards:
1. Getting the Navigational models wrong
2. Not matching the user’s mental model
3. Failing to match the right data visualizations
4. Having a lot of static content on a dashboard
5. Having an excess of Padding & White spaces
6. Not designing for different user roles
Books on the bedside table this week.
I am still reading this fabulous book which is all about sequencing. Its about mastering the art like chess grandmasters who look several moves ahead. He's pretty funny and the book quite inspirational. At least it gets you focused on the fact that to get from here to there is going to take a bit of thought power!
Always end with a thanks!
🙏Thanks to Helene Lambrechts Kværner at Markedssjefene for being a driving force in our branding, messaging, style and generally helping us 'tidy up', your support is really valued Helene 🌻
For that matter, thanks to Sverre Andreas Ruud too for diligently managing our accounts for the last three years. Dream team 🙏
And thanks to Siv Sivertsen of Sooo Creative, for a bunch of inspiration, great graphics and creative inputs of all sorts to our business over the years, you are a great collaborator Siv and a super creative mind 😁
Something to watch
Here is a link to the chat I recently had with Daniel Andreas Bøhler Mantle's CTO and one of my business partners. He is a clever guy and has a lot of interesting insights on how to use technology to make your working day more efficient, to get greater control and to reduce costs.
Thanks for reading & see you next time
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