For the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on how the year 2015 was for me, in both my business and personal life. There was definitely a lot of upside, but there’s still room for improvement.
I’ve given a lot of thought to what is needed for me to reach the next level and keep MOBE, its partners, and affiliates expanding and prospering in 2016.
I’ve separated it all into a few different areas: Personal Productivity, Personal Health and Development, State of MOBE, and Future of MOBE. Each has a short overview and a list of some of the action steps that we will take (or are currently taking).
It might surprise you to hear me say that my personal productivity was absolutely terrible last year. Throughout my days and nights, I spent a lot of time in front of my computer and was certainly busy … but not as effective as I could have been.
There were a few key productivity killers for me: checking email, Skype, Facebook, and WhatsApp. (I’ll admit, I also spent a fair bit of time on Tinder, too.)
Besides being distracted with these things, I was constantly changing direction throughout the day, starting different tasks but rarely finishing any of them. At the end of the day, there were a bunch of loose ends with nothing major accomplished. Again, it was another instance in which I was busy but not necessarily effective.
I know that all of these things are productivity killers. I’ve read books like The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, and listened to Brian Tracy’s audio resources about productivity. And it’s embarrassing that I’ve advised others about the importance of resisting distractions, yet I am tempted at times to do the irrelevant things, rather than the important ones.
I took pride in my fast response time to other people and how accessible I was to everyone. I knew that being constantly reactive was not a good thing for my productivity, yet I still continued anyway.
Another big personal productivity wrecker for me was travel—not only due to the time it takes to fly, but also the jet lag; it can often take a full two days to recover when changing time zones. And in 2016, MOBE will have even more international events than ever.
Lastly, my productivity suffered from my lack of a structured schedule. Most days, for the past few years of MOBE’s rapid growth, I have had no set wake-up time, because I’ve always liked the freedom of being able to sleep in. So, my working hours are very strange to most people, like going to sleep at 5:30am and waking up around lunchtime or later.
The Following Are among the Resolutions I Am Going to Make in 2016, if Maximum Productivity Is to Be Realized:
- Greatly reduce or totally eliminate the distractions—Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.
- Complete my tasks in a timely manner.
- Travel less, attend only the essential events, and reduce overall stay time.
- Establish a structured daily routine and set hours.
I need to increase my awareness of where my time is going. For that, my criteria for anything I might become involved with is: “Is this the highest and best use of my time? Could someone else be doing this task so I am freed up to focus on growing MOBE or my personal development?”
Right off the Top of My Head, Here Are Some Things That Will Be the Most Profitable Use of My Time:
- Seeking out and interviewing managerial talent for the company: People who can be in leadership positions and help take us to the next level.
- Putting all my focus on front-end marketing campaigns: And hitting the minimum input numbers to get the desired output numbers we need.
- Proactively investing my money: For the last few years, I have been building up my cash reserves. All my focus has gone into building the company, with very little focus on investing the proceeds.
(I have done some investing, of course. I invested some of my savings in index funds and also a fairly decent amount in gold. Moving forward, I will be getting involved heavily in some real estate development projects. I plan on investing in as many as three resorts in 2016.)
Personal Health and Development
In 2015, I got into better shape. I exercised regularly (still do) and lost weight but behind the scenes, it’s far from ideal.
It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but every night, I eat a bag of Twisties (similar to “Cheetos” in the U.S.) and a whole block of Cadbury chocolate—more than 2,000 calories altogether. I’ve been doing this for a long time as my “little reward” at the end of the day and though I want to, I haven’t been able to just quit cold turkey.
I know this is not good and it will ultimately defeat my efforts to stay in shape.
For some time, I’ve been thinking about hiring a personal chef but I’ve put it off again and again, mainly because I thought it would be a waste of money. But if I were eating healthier on a regular basis—and paying for it—I’d be less inclined toward poor snacking choices.
In the area of personal development, I see that, though I did read business-related books every day, I slipped into the mode of reading just for the sake of increasing my knowledge.
There’s nothing wrong with having knowledge, but the best use of my time would be to study things that I can apply right away to grow my business and wealth.
Every piece of knowledge I acquire moving forward should serve a purpose. For example, right now I’m very interested in investing in commercial real estate, so anything to do with that should have my attention.
Below are ways which I can improve this situation in 2016:
- Replace my chocolate craving with healthier options—snacks that are organic and not full of processed ingredients.
- Have a personal chef come every two days and prepare meals for the following two days.
- Increase my exercise regimen with bi-weekly boxing lessons.
- Monitor my daily weight (already doing this) and keep a chart of it to make sure it’s trending in the right direction.
- Consistently stay under 78kg (170 lbs), be lean, muscular, and in great shape.
- Read books or listen to audio versions 30 minutes a day about topics that I feel can provide what I need to know more on taking MOBE to the next level.
State of MOBE
Overall, it was a good year in terms of sales growth—we were profitable.
While profitability is definitely a good condition to be in, one of the biggest dangers is that you can become too complacent enough not to see if all revenue sources are in fact profitable. It’s very easy for the profitable revenue sources to hide the unprofitable ones. If you’re not paying attention, those losses can begin to pile up.
So, this year I will do a better job of checking if things are actually being done and if the data I receive is accurate. That means, I’ll be less inclined to merely take someone’s word—I’ll verify it myself.
Though things in general were good, I know that to rest on my laurels and expect a “good trend” to continue would be fatal. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t expect things to go right—you should—but you’ve to plan and take action to ensure it will.
Speaking of planning, I will give you a “for instance.” Last year (and ever since we started), we’ve never had proper budgets or forecasts in place for all divisions. We’ve just winged it, really. And though production has been generally good all around, we’ve never assigned weekly targets for each division to hit. That’s all part of planning.
In 2016, my overall goal is to triple the size of MOBE—triple the revenue and triple the commissions paid out to our affiliates.
How? Well, as one of my own mentors always says to me: “Metrics, metrics, metrics.”
Last year, I monitored gross sales daily against what we projected to do that month and how that number relates to our previous record month. (Were we 22% up? 15% down?) I knew exactly what targets we had to accomplish every day to beat our previous highest-ever. By paying attention to the numbers and driving action to make those targets, we beat it again and again.
In 2016, we have already started to break down the revenue targets for each division (e.g. events, phone sales, etc.) and, based on the last 12 months of data, determined how many front-end units are required to hit those targets.
This afternoon, I met with my CFO and we went over the numbers necessary to hit our January target. Even though we still need to make a lot of adjustments on the data, for the first time, I felt like we had a real plan.
Here’s What I’m Doing to Ensure That We Reach These Targets:
- Monitor MOBE’s revenue metrics: And engage in a daily obsession on how to improve them and reach the daily and monthly goals.(How obsessed? Last year, I checked the numbers on a massive flat-screen monitor over my desk. Now, I have it on my iPhone. I can see the targets for both daily and monthly revenues, and also what the business needs to be averaging right down to the hour to meet those targets. Every time I look down at my phone, I will see those numbers and be reminded not to squander time.)
- Goal reviews: Thirty minutes each day, I will review goals. I have a small storage room in my apartment that I made into my “Focus Room.” Twice a day, I will go in there just to review the monthly and daily targets. With this undistracted time and space, I can determine what I need to do to stay on track.
- Twice a week: I will review our metrics with my CFO; then relay that information to our sales managers (phone sales and event sales).
- Maximize live events: All over the world with daily focus on event registration numbers. I will take the numbers with me in my “Focus Room” sessions to determine what’s needed to make the daily targets and overall attendance.
- Create weekly reports of: Net Posting high gross sales figures is great but it’s not the whole truth. Net sales tells you if you’re actually making a profit.
Future of MOBE
I’ve been saying for some time now that MOBE seeks to be the #1 small business training company. In actual practice, what this means is that we will be repositioning the perception of MOBE in the marketplace from a home business opportunity to an educational or seminar company. Mainly, I want to do this because it’s much more scalable and we can target mainstream business owners as well.
To pull this off, we will be changing some of our key programs in the first quarter of the year. We’ll be making changes to our compensation plan as well. To ensure a smooth transition, I want to make sure that I am not rushing into these changes.
Here’s Some of the Ways We Will Carry out This Shift:
- Meet with affiliates and sales teams: I’ll be talking to our top affiliates, sales managers, and sales reps to make sure that we don’t make any abrupt changes that affect our current conversion rates.
- Build an eight-person in-house marketing team: With full-time copywriters, to create the campaigns and bring about the shift in perception.
- Focus on selling more: I’ll present a major sales webinar every week. I’ll also have new offers ready for the affiliates, twice a month at the minimum.
- I will take an active role: In creating business for the company by generating inbound leads through our affiliates and through our corporate media buys.
- Update our email marketing strategy: First, I will create a much better segmentation of the lists. Then, I will start getting daily emails out—every single day. And everything we send out will be at a higher level of quality, even if it means we have to take an extra hour or two to get the format, design, and copy “just right.” Nothing is more important than maintaining and improving our relationship with our list.
- Improve communication with affiliates: On promoting events (including much more advance notice).
- Stronger MOBE affiliate support, especially for our top earners: Daily reports, concierge service, whatever they need.
- Monday affiliate “State of the Company” address: I’ll be having many more webinars to engage our affiliates and to communicate important changes.
These are just a few of the things I’ll be doing to expand and reposition MOBE. (I could have told you a lot more but I was trying to keep it to about 2,000 words.)
One lesson that I have learned and practiced with success is that by writing down my goals and putting them up for all to see (as I’ve done here), I create a sense of accountability with everyone and do what I say I will do.
I look forward to a prosperous 2016.