Friday, 10 December 2004

Newsletter Issue 89, December 2004


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 89, December 2004
Hi guys,
Is your business going well? Do you know? Might be time to review Your Business Plan. Check it out below.
Another nail in the coffin of highly-processed foods. Take a bit of advice on "we are what we eat" in Trans-fats Dangers
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Your Business Plan

How long has it been since you reviewed your business goals? Last month? Last year? Haven't ever reviewed them? Haven't got them written down to review?
Any good management book will tell you to formalise - write down - your Business Plan. But have you done it? While some of you may have, the vast majority of you will not. Why? Because we think that we already "know" our goals.
However, if you want to really get "get serious" about your business, you need a business plan. A bit of long and hard quality thinking about why you are in business and what you want to accomplish never goes astray, and if you do that around the structure of a business plan, then you have a document that you can use to measure your business performance. In addition, it provides you with a clear path that you can refer to and use to measure any opportunities that come your way - to evaluate if they really are 'opportunities' for you.
A simple business plan requires you to think about and formalise the following things:
  1. Mission - what are you principally here to accomplish. Ask yourself why are you IN business? What makes your business so different? Why do you want to make your business work? These questions are the key to identifying your mission.
  2. Vision - what is your long term goal, where do you see your business in two years, five years, ten years. What do you want to be doing? Do you want to change company direction?
  3. Values - what is your company culture or personality. If your business was a person, what kind of person would it be? Would it be primarily generous or funny? Would it be honest or thrifty? Write up those values and you can use them to judge whether a project or product fits with your business or not
  4. Goals/Objectives - What you want to accomplish in the next five to ten years in all key aspects of your business (which might be any or all of the following: marketing strategies, branding, product lines, R&D, key business targets, divestments or acquisitions, personnel, customer growth, finance, expansion etc)
  5. Measure - Work out what set target dates and measures for your Goals/Objectives and write them down. Weight them from most important to least so you can see clearly where you need to direct most of your resources
  6. Review - review your actual progress regularly against your plan
Writing your business plan will allow you to avoid side-paths, time-wasters and to identify those 'opportunities' that you don't need. You will have a clear path to your business success and all that you then have to do is to follow it.
 
Trans-fats Dangers

A recent issue of the Nelson community newspaper, The Leader, ran a short article on the dangers of trans-fats which piqued my interest & made me do a bit of internet research.
Trans-fats are often used to increase the shelf-life of foods, is a component of the hydrogenated fat used to cook chips and are what margarine is made from. Based on research done by Ann-Charlotte Granholm, a Swedish professor in the Physiology and Neurosciences Dept and Director for the Center on Aging at the US Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, results indicate that a high trans-fat diet is likely to damage our brains.
The reason that trans-fats are so dangerous is because of how they were made. Hydrogen is bubbled through oil, then metals such as zinc and copper are used as cataylsts to make the resulting mixture solid at room temperature. The greyish fat produced is then bleached and coloured to make it look more appealing (all I can say is "Ugh!").
The key issue is that people with Alzheimers disease have a build up of copper and zinc in their brains. And Dr Granholm feels that there are strong signs that high-fat diets - and particularly diets high in trans-fats - increase our risk of getting Alzheimers. There is also research which indicates that people with high cholesterol are more likely to develop Alzheimers.
In her research, Dr Granholm compared rats on a high-fat diet (soybean oil) with those on a high trans-fat diet (hydrogenated coconut oil). While both groups put on weight, the rats on the high trans-fat diet displayed learning difficulties as well. When the animals were required to remember the position of hidden platforms in a water-filled maze, those on the trans-fat diet were about five times worse at the task - learning more slowly and making more errors. Their brains also showed signs of hippocampus damage, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
So what does that mean for all of us? If we want to ensure a long and healthy life, we need to eat as little fats (whether trans- or not), processed food, chips and margarine as we can.
Hardly rocket science, is it?!


Dave's Four Laws of Marketing

"Dave's Four Laws of Marketing" has to be the most simple approach to marketing that I have ever come across, developed by Harvard Business School alumni & ex-marketing VP of Oracle, Dave Roberts.
He thinks that the essence of marketing merely consists of four key points, as follows:
  1. Keep trying new things
  2. Measure how well the new things work
  3. When new things work better than old things, do more of the new things and less than the old
  4. When new things don't work as well as old things, stop doing the new things
Critical to success, though, is that you have to embrace all four points. You can tap into Dave's newsletter at his website, http://www.davedoesitall.com/new_page_5.htm.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • EOM, End of Month. Usually used in conjunction with budgets
  • EOY, End of Year. Ditto for EOM

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do in Outlook. This time we focus on what you can do with the arrow keys, Shift & Ctrl;
  • Outlook "Extend a selection of one card to the next card, regardless of the starting point" Ctrl & Shift & Down Arrow
  • Outlook "Select or unselect one word to the left" Ctrl & Shift & Left Arrow
  • Outlook "Select or unselect one word to the right" Ctrl & Shift & Right Arrow
  • Outlook "Extend the selection to the previous card, regardless of the starting point" Ctrl & Shift & Up Arrow

Hot Linx
Time to budget? Then a quick squizz through this article might do good things for your chequebook at http://www.fool.com/news/commentary/2003/commentary030513dy.htm
If you are a foodie, this timeline showing the discovery of different foods might be of interest to you http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/food.html?GXHC_GX_jst=8258c07850ea6164
Ever wanted to know what your Feng Shui attributes are based on your birthday? Me neither, but it's entertaining anyway at http://www.redlotusconsulting.com/KuaCalculator.html
Got a passion for advertising or design? Then the William F Eisner on-line museum is definitely the place for you at http://www.eisnermuseum.org/home.shtm

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here