Strategic Partnerships 1

There is more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to building your business. I block off a section of time each quarter to think about and work on strategic partnerships.

Strategic partnerships come in all shapes and sizes. In essence it’s an agreement between two or more companies to work together in some way that results in increased revenue for all with limited monetary expenditure.

When I was starting my current business free run 3.0 v3 femmes and didn’t have a lot of capital, I approached companies that specialized in the services I needed and offered a service trade: They provided their expertise for free in exchange for my company providing our expertise for free.

When I say free I mean that neither company had to outlay the usually expected fee. Neither of us received cash for our transaction, and each company covered their own cost of getting the work done.

One of the partnerships we established was with a web development and marketing company. We matched apples to apples between our service and theirs. They wanted to become a vendor to the Federal Government and we had the expertise to get them set up. We wanted a fully optimized website and one year of technical support. Each side had to bear only the cost of in-house labor. For my company it amounted to about 15 percent of what we would have had to pay if we had purchased the website service on the commercial market. Both sides made additional sales that would never have been realized, all without a big layout of money.

I read an interesting article some time ago about two fathers who worked and cared for their children from home. They created a type of strategic partnership by trading off days: One of the fathers would watch both kids while the other focused on working. The children’s days were enhanced (they developed a stronger friendship and had nike lebron 11 undivided guardianship) and the fathers had more unfractured time to focus on work.

Strategic partnerships are not easy to put together. They require a very well-thought out and scripted agreement. But if approached properly, they can yield big results with limited investment.

Dirty Laundry

We can’t create extra time. We can, however eliminate unnecessary lost time.

I define “lost time” as time spent doing something that could be done faster by changing the process. Lost time cannot be recovered, but it can be prevented. When I save time, I can use it to catch up on work or to spend more time doing things I enjoy.

The key is to project the time savings over the course of a year — that’s where the real value of enacting this philosophy becomes apparent.

For example, if I can save two hours per week (while getting the same result), that totals 104 saved hours per year. That’s over two and a half working weeks (at 40 hours per week) per year free run 3.0 v5 femmes of saved time. That’s a lot of hours that I can use for working on my business or taking off special days to spend with my daughter or wife. If I can save four hours per week, I earn over a month of extra time per year.

Consider something as simple as laundry. There’s not much about washing clothes that I can control. The washing machine takes the time it needs, as does the drier; and loading and unloading either doesn’t present much opportunity for saving significant time. However, there is one big part of doing the laundry that I can control: the time spent separating clothes.

In the past we spent about one hour per week doing nothing but sorting whites, darks, baby clothes, linens, etc. Today we save that time because we made one small and simple change.

I still take off my clothes when they are dirty and throw them directly into the laundry basket. The difference now is that we have four baskets rather than one: One for each person and a fourth for towels. (Actually, some of them are net bags since those are easier to carry together.)

The result is that I lose no time throwing powerlins ii femmes clothes into separate baskets, but I gain all of the time that I would have spent separating them later. This one simple step saves an hour per week, or 1.25 working weeks per year.

I think about this concept with everything I do. Any time I save betters both my business and my quality of life.

Dodging Trains

The bedroom of our new apartment overlooks the house’s modest backyard, followed by a small municipal parking lot, then by the elevated platform for the N/Q subway line. Trains come and go about every two minutes or so, all day. Seven-month-old Maggie is riveted.

This presents a challenge: We change her diaper on our bed, which is about four feet from the window. When Maggie hears a train coming, she immediately transitions from normal squirmy to championship-caliber squirmy, flipping over and around to see the shiny trains rumbling in to the station. Suddenly every step of wiping and diapering is free run 3.0 v4 interspersed with having to twist her tiny body back to face-up.

Trains triple not only the time needed to change her, but also the chances of spreading a mess.

Thus, changing diapers has become a task of opportunity. If Maggie is not upset about the secretion she’s sitting in, I am behooved by waiting for the station to be trainless. Once the tracks are quiet, I rush her into the bedroom and try to swap diapers before the next arrival. It’s a race against the New York City transit system that I rarely win.

So I’ve learned to change diapers faster. This helps not just with my train dodging, but when I’m busy with work, too.

My process:

  • I calmly explain that Daddy will win almost all of these little battles, so she may as well cooperate. She smiles at me and giggles.
  • I keep the essentials on the bed throughout the day. This would drive my wife nuts, as she prefers household items to be properly stowed at all times; she’d be great on a sailboat. However, having the diapers, wipes and A&D on the bed and ready to be used saves me precious seconds.
  • I give Maggie a job. Her hands are like kittens, roshe run curious and impossible to herd. If left to find her own interests, she would grab everything she can, including the dirty diaper and a handful of vitamins in goop form. So I give her a toy. Or I hand her a diaper with a request that she hold it (“Can you help Daddy?”). With her attention (i.e., her hands and mouth) briefly focused,  I can work faster. And I can work cleaner, which translates into working even faster than faster.
  • I withdraw the required number of wipes before opening the dirty diaper. This helps expedite the cleaning when the mess is exposed, reducing the odds that she gets a hand or foot in it.
  • Rather than placing a new diaper to the side, I open it and slide it under Maggie before removing the old one. That means that once she’s clean, the replacement is already in place. Also, if Maggie decides she’s not done doing whatever she did, the bed is protected. Again, any measure for cleanliness potentially saves time.
  • If Maggie is particularly squirmy, I can throw a light blanket or T-shirt over her face for a faux game of peek-a-boo, which usually buys a few seconds of stillness. This also works on alligators.

Usually before this is all over a train has arrived anyway, and despite my best and quickest efforts, Maggie is rolling over to observe it.

But sometimes I succeed.  Then we can just calmly watch the train together, as daddy and daughter.

A Winning Strategy

Running a business can be very stressful and most owners will tell you there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Most stay-at-home parents say the same thing. I am just crazy enough to try to take on both at the same time. However, as the owner of the business I have the ability to reduce that stress by making changes on the fly.

One of the benefits of running my own business is the ability to set and change the company direction. I don’t have to bounce ideas off of a boss to try to get permission to follow a new path. I have full free run 6 v2 femmes control to temporarily hold off new work so my plate is not too full or to make changes that bring in revenue faster. I build the business offering and the workload to benefit my personal and professional life.

As an entrepreneur my focus is on finding new opportunities where I can provide a service (or sell a product) for a profit to a person or company that needs it. But not all opportunities are created equal, and not even all opportunities that are good for me are good for business overall.

The key is that I look for a Win/Win transaction between my company and the buyer. If it’s not a win for both sides then I let the opportunity go. There are just too many potential problems that can arise from breaking this rule.

A Win/Lose looks good on the outside. My company would get the profit it expected but if the customer comes out not getting what they expected, that can have bad long-term results.

For instance, customer referrals are a big part of any business. Losing that long-term opportunity for a short-term gain is not a healthy business strategy. The immediate gain of making money is trumped later by having to spend extra time and cash to rebuild reputation. Moreover, we would have to spend additional money to generate the same amount of prospects as we would have received from referrals if the deal had been more equitable.

A Lose/Win is a desperate business move that I look to avoid. I often see small businesses or new entrepreneurs make this mistake because they feel that a less-than-ideal opportunity is better than no roshe run suede femmes opportunity at all. However, that’s simply not true.

If the company loses and the customer wins, that usually means you did the work for no profit or a loss. Additionally, even if the happy customer generates referrals, they will usually be to others who expect the same Lose/Win deal. While a practical thinker would say this type of thing should never happen, it’s actually one of the most common business problems I run across when talking to others.

Winning is always better when it’s a shared result. When both parties benefit, everyone feels good and everyone’s business grows.

The F Bomb

In many homes, for at least one half of the marital couple it’s a dirty word: Finances.

For most people, the word triggers a fight-or-flight response. The problem is that for each individual, the response is almost always the same. At the mention of the word “finances,” some get excited and prepare for battle with numbers, while others prefer a more pacifistic approach.

Furthermore, when the twain mix, intramarital wars can often arise.

In my house, I’m the finances warrior. My wife Courtney and I are so polarized in this area that if I want to watch a ballgame alone, all I have to do is drop the F Bomb. She’ll vanish from before my very eyes, leaving behind just a cloud of dust, à la Wile E. Coyote. There is no way I can package the word without bringing on her instant anxiety.

Well, there’s nothing like throwing a baby into the mix to make the finances challenge even greater. It really makes you start thinking about the future.

College: Are we going to pay for it? That should be a palatable $300K bill by the time our daughter graduates. Wedding: That’s cheap, right? Maybe we can convince her that weddings are bad. Or maybe we can lock her in the attic for the rest of her life — that would save on college, too. Insurance: We all live forever so why is that air jordan 9 important? Will: In the event of a fiery wreck that kills Courtney and I, who is going to care for our child and where is all our stuff going?

So how do Courtney and I approach this? Plan A was scratch-off tickets, but that seemed a little risky. Plan B could land me in jail for a while. So we are on to Plan C: the crazy notion of looking at the numbers and starting to strategize our financial life.

I handle personal finances the same way I tackle business finances: I use tools and seek knowledge. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Taking the first step is a bite, and if you take bites frequently then you’re on the right track.

My tools? I use Quicken to track business and household finances. It’s a very easy program to learn and it allows us to see all our money plans in one picture. What gets measured, gets managed.

My knowledge? When I don’t already know something, air jordan 5 femmes or when I need a second opinion, I go to Edward Jones for advice. Not only are they professional and knowledgeable, but they have a great feature for a work-from-home father of a 4-year-old: They make house calls.

No matter who in the home feels comfortable with the F word, it’s important to confront the matter early and often. If you can’t tackle it as a team, at least make sure you acknowledge which of you is the quarterback and which is the water boy (or girl). Both roles are important to putting a winning team on the financial field.