The true courage of a Lion

A Lion, the King of the jungle! The Bible depicts that this mighty animal does not turn from anything, and when we see them in a zoo they are just laying down waiting to be fed. In the wild, a lion has to wake up each day and hunt for their food, it’s not given to them! Please be careful which type of lion you become because we can mimic the zoo lion which everyone looks at and mocks!
A lion in the wild is considered the most dangerous, feared, and revered animal in the wild! In fact, the lion is called the mightiest among the beasts. There is a reason why God created animals like these, because with respect, with loyalty, and within Kingship, fear needs to instill in the eyes of the enemy.
What type of lion are you? Are you the zoo lion? Majestic in view but not respected in your domain! Strong but nowhere to show your strength! The same animals you naturally devour watches you and mocks you, and you can’t do anything about it! Waiting for your food to be handed to you like you’ve been domesticated! Or, are you the beast that’s not confined in a cage, you get up and get yours! Your enemies fear you! WHAT ARE YOU!? Be that lion that does not fear of anything, that does not let themselves be confined by the enemy!

This was made to encourage not to insult, please read this daily to keep your heart like a lion!

Brick & Mortar vs Virtual

You might think that you need a place to perform a business, or you might think you need to be mobile. But in reality, it depends on what kind of business you want to perform. During the years we’ve received a lot of individuals which states “Should I buy, should I lease, or should I be mobile”? When in fact the kind of business they are trying to run it’s neither. Sometimes just trying to focus on your business plan on what your selling is key, whether it’s a product or service you provide, whether its something tangible or not. 

Our Octomaven Team brought some scenarios to assist on which plan of action you need to take to provide your business a home…

  1. Service Industries – Either you are providing a product or performing a service for a client, it really depends on how to deliver such a thing. Let us say you want to start a cleaning service, and you want to purchase a storefront, do you have the capital? Do you need the client to see you, or can you go see the client yourself? Usually, with service industries, it’s nice to have a Brick & Mortar only if you have significant products to upsell, but if you just provide a simple service 75% of the time you will either be virtual/mobile in most cases providing the service to your clients as promised or seeking new clients. In addition, you will save a lot of overhead if you can go to the client instead of them coming to you.
  2.  Products/Sales – This becomes a big debate when consulting with clients, only because people usually have a grand vision of seeing their product(s) on a shelf. Well, that is nice and all, but you are limiting your product to possibly stay on the shelf. You can harm your potential sales if you are only focusing on the locale instead of the product. I had a client who opened a boutique a couple of years back and called our company to assist in creating more traffic to her store. She did her homework and found a good area for traffic, but she wasn’t hitting the correct demographic for her product to move fast. Our consultant mentioned to the owner about the online marketing approach, and possibly don’t need to keep the store to cut cost. This online approach can also move her product faster, but when giving her the details she froze and mentioned that her product is “deserving to be on a shelf in a distinguished store, not on a computer screen”. As you can see the owner’s vision was not moving the product, but how she liked seeing her product staged.

In today’s technology, you can literally turn your business into a mobile/online monster, with the right apps and resources you can possibly make millions, but if you don’t have the time and energy to learn these apps and tools you can face a dramatic loss, possibly losing your business. Having a Brick & Mortar can cost you, but if you did your homework, and can move product off the shelf, then it can be a lucrative investment.

Small businesses, why do we stay so small?

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Have you ever drove in your car and see a small brick and mortar and say “how do they stay in business”? Small businesses are dying, why, you may ask? It’s very simple, someone decided to create an idea and did not perform the proper research. Or maybe they did perform the research but lacked in vision. Every successful business never started with the same ideas they have now but evolved to fit the current times. In fact, a successful business always display’s maturity. For example, if your business is selling crafts inside your storefront, and that is what you’ve been doing this for the past 2-3 years, but finding that your business is struggling to keep the doors open? Then, my friend, you lack maturity and vision. Maturity is learning to see that your environment is changing, and vision is finding ideas in getting your product out faster and efficiently. For example, Maturity is you should be participating in your local cities craft shows to learn new ideas, and vision is to set up free themed craft parties and invite your clients plus 1 to attend to show your crafts, and possibly sell them also!

Many businesses are unique in every way and that is great, in fact, business owners are using more creative ways to stage their company. The problem is that the same creative juices become rancid as the business owner becomes stagnant and needs help, this is the reason why my company exists. A consultant can look at a business from the outside in, and the benefit is that that a consultant is not wrapped up with the internal issues or have any ties with your employes, a good consultant can see very clearly and come to the owner with a non-biased resolution. Now to be honest it’s not always that easy, in fact, most business owners don’t embrace change, but once you show that this will profit and make their company grow, then they will follow you to the end of the journey.

Finally, I believe that in order to stay alive in this cut-throat capitalist economy, I suggest hiring a business consultant like Octomaven to create an evaluation of your business and see if there are any opportunities to provide ideas, and processes to efficiently grow your business.

Business owners, love your business again, and reach out to a consultant near you!

Ralph Johansen | CEO, Owner | Octomaven, LLC

Puerto Rico after the storm…

I am writing this blog from the Island of Puerto Rico months after Hurricane Maria passed over. The island has a lot of repairs to complete, and there are still signs of frustration with the locals, but the one thing that I found that inspired me to write this, is despite issues and difficulties, theirs still an attitude of “business as usual”!. The island which has been through so much scrutiny and financial struggles are still displaying a spirit of continuance that moves me as an Entrepreneur and as an individual.

Keep your prayers for Puerto Rico, and other islands which have been through this terrible storm, and reflect…are you really doing your best to keep a positive attitude and a spirit of moving forward?

Ralph Johansen

CEO | Owner of Octomaven, LLC.

Truth, like rain, don’t give…

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A business owner for a neighborhood grocery store is on the brink of closing due to too bad administration. The owner decided to hire a consultant, and the minute the consultant decided to take a look at the financials, the owner got a bit nervous and started getting defensive with the consultant. The consultant took the professional route and mentioned to the owner that he is only trying to assist the owner in getting his company back on track.

The owner decided to allow the consultant to review the books. When the consultant found the discrepancies, he gave the report to the owner and explained that their accountant is making over-orders and not reconciling the budget correctly. The owner took a deep breath and said: “I know, but I can’t let her go”! The consultant looked over at the young accountant and asked the owner “why do you keep her working here”? The owner responded and mentioned that the real reason was that she is a single mother, and she had to drop out because of her baby, and the business owner was trying to give her a chance. The consultant saw the compassion in the owner’s eyes, and took a minute and said…”You’ve taken a decision in providing a chance for this individual, then you need to finish investing so you can reap your rewards!

In conclusion, the consultant suggested giving classes in showing the accountant how to properly reconcile the owner’s books and created a solid budget that saved the company from going under, and that same accountant after several years was promoted to General Manager.

Ralph Johansen

Owner and CEO | Octomaven

http://www.octomaven.com

Season’s, which are you in?

There are times we expect that our business should be in constant Summer mode, but when Fall or even Winter arrives businesses starts to get hit hard in the financials, then we ask why? Remember that with any business there are seasons, and some of these seasons last longer than others. The only thing is to take the example of nature. They don’t have the ability to read calendars or know what day of the week thereon, but for some odd reason they know when to store up for those frigid days to come, they obtain the instinct to prepare.
In business, this should be the same concept also being placed. We need to be prepared for our Falls and Winters. Follow these steps below, and you will be more than successful in your time of drought.

1. Be frugal – Don’t allow anyone or anything to take much from your business, what I mean is cut overtime if it’s not necessary. With inventory don’t over-order or stay in debt with your vendors to keep money in your pocket, as you might need products and find that you don’t have the credit because of your debt.
2. Research Cost and Margins – Watch for vendor sales, and ask for discounts, make sure your prices to your clients is beneficial for you, don’t undersell yourself, and can’t make a profit!
3. Keep efficiency at its highest – Review your employees and find your slackers, and your winners promote your winners or provide incentives. This usually encourages the slacker to work harder.

Ralph Johansen

Owner and CEO | Octomaven

http://www.octomaven.com

Department’s is key!

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Department [dih-pahrt-muh nt] 

a distinct part of anything arranged in divisions; a division of a complex whole or organized system. (www.dictionary.com)

It’s important to departmentalize your organization. It’s vital! If you have several employees or even 100 or more! The reason for this because no matter how many employees you have working for you the possibility of them knowing their exact role in the organization could be dumbfounding. Performance can’t be gauge and tasks are not completed where you don’t know your role in the organization.

A department can have many roles within, but a department should know its purpose within an organization. Put all your departments together and you will find a network of different teams that makes your whole organization run smoothly.

If a business owner doesn’t want to departmentalize, then they can find chaos when it comes to the quality or the running of the business. Also, creating just a shipping department or a technical department might not just be enough, you will need to sit and observe how your business is currently running, and see if combining roles can be efficient or create disasters for your employees.

“Who will run this department”? You can easily make quick notes of your employees, and take your most knowledgeable and efficient personnel out of the bunch to be placed in charge of that department. They already know the ins and outs of their initial role. Finally, create an org chart and announce your changes accordingly throughout the organization, as you don’t want others to guess who is the manager or supervisor. Follow these steps and you will find a better company with happy employees.

-Ralph Johansen

Owner and CEO | Octomaven

http://www.octomaven.com

What are you selling?

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I know, I’ve probably been writing in parables lately, but people have been reaching out to me, thanking me for the recent posts. I have felt so inspired to continue to reach out to my readers and provide them with simple yet customizable support to assist them with issues that not every consulting company focuses on.

To be successful in business, you must have a quality product or service, but also to provide a sense of customer satisfaction. At times a business owner only thinks about numbers and rate themselves on how well they are doing with only numbers, but if they don’t transfer that positive touch to the client or customer, let’s face it, the love is gone, and your numbers are not going to be high for long.

We focus on a business owner who can’t make those high numbers. They probably have a great product or service, probably have a great location, and might have a great marketing strategy, but what does that matter if your customer or client doesn’t feel comfortable buying from you or your company, then you will find these sales woes become a reality!

With a simple smile to the client or customer, can go a long way. Always remember that you can have the best product or service, but without sales and revenue, you’ll not be in business for long.

-Ralph Johansen

President/CEO | Octomaven, LLC

http://www.octomaven.com

When Opportunity stays silent…

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Apologies if the title is a bit vague, but I would like to share another of my short and inspiring stories, enjoy!

There was a natural unmanned garden which had many types of rare, beautiful flowers and plants grown. People nearby will come and pick from this garden, but one day a great storm came and destroyed the garden. Which also uprooted a majority of the plants that were sustained in the garden. When the locals came back to assess the damage, they were so despondent to find the garden in total disaster.

The locals thought this will take too much time and will be costly. They thought to themselves that the garden will never be the same! A group of kids felt the emotions of the people and eagerly mentioned “we can do it!”, but the adults scorned and mocked the kids as they said, “it will be too much for you to manage”!. The adults left, but the kids stayed behind. They saw an opportunity and kept the plan to themselves. Every day after school, the group of kids took tools from their parents’ shed and went to the garden to work hard day after day diligently.

After several months the kids gathered the adults and mentioned that they would like to have a meeting where the old garden was. The adults were puzzled, but yet followed the kids to the garden. To the adult’s surprise, the garden was revived! The adults thought that this was a hoax, as the garden looked better than before. The kids mentioned to the adults that they have taken each play day and every coin they usually use for sweets and invested in the garden. Afterward, the group of kids pitched a plan to the adults to have the garden run only by the kids, and sell the flowers to the adults. The adults were so impressed with the effort, and so proud of their kids that they allowed them to have a floral business in the garden.

As a result, the kids found a hidden treasure through tragedy, and capitalized on the opportunity, even when the opportunity was silenced by negativity and disbelieve. If you are still looking for an opportunity to speak up to you, then this will never happen. You need to grasp the opportunity even when it’s been silenced. If you are looking for a business, you don’t know what kind, don’t wait! Start a simple Internet business and grow from there.

-Ralph Johansen

Owner, CEO | Octomaven, LLC

http://www.octomaven.com

Above it all, but below to self?

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One day a boy was playing with a shiny quarter and he was enticed of how he can flip and how bright the coin was. Well, not too far away the boy’s father was watching and saw how happy the boy was as he was playing with his quarter. The father thought to himself and mentioned: “Imagine him with a whole dollar, he’ll go nuts!”.

With excitement, the father reached into his pocket and pulled out a whole crispy dollar bill, but as when the father reached to grab the quarter to replace it with the dollar the boy’s face changed immediately. The boy decided to cry and asked for the coin back. The father explained, “this is more valuable!”, but the boy wasn’t hearing it. The father was confused and returned the coin to the boy, and his face returned to its excited expression as before.

The moral to this story that at times we are like that boy playing with a coin cherishing the physical aspects not the value, even though we are provided at times to have the unattracted, but valuable dollar we lower ourselves to obtain something shiny with lesser value.

In conclusion, This is not psychological preaching, but only an example of proven facts. People treat their business and family the same way they treat themselves, and at times it’s not their fault it’s all they know. I would like to explain the word “Value”. This word signifies the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

-Ralph Johansen

Owner, CEO | Octomaven, LLC.

http://www.octomaven.com