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What You Should Really Invest In If You Want To Be Successful

What You Should Really Invest In If You Want To Be Successful

What do you think of when you hear the word “invest?” What do you think of the word “success?” Doing the first will lead you to having the second, but how?

What I Thought Success Required

As a child and early teen, my vision of success came from my parents and society. My parents encouraged me to learn all I could at school. So I did. I focused deeply on my studies. My grades were great and I was in the top three in my high school class. It didn’t matter the subject, over time I learned to enjoy them all—except gym class, I wasn’t really into sports. But I knew that was fine. Education would rescue me.

The odds are that you were given the same story: get an education, get a good job, stay at the company for 40 years and retire with a big pension. If we’ve learned anything since the Crash of 1987 and the 2008 Recession, it’s this: jobs aren’t stable.

Success Will Cost You

I know you want success. So do I. But the idea of coasting to success based on a degree (or multiple degrees) and a single company just doesn’t happen anymore. You know success is possible, but how? You have to pay the price. You have to make the investments. Not the investments in mutual funds, real estate, or the stock market (although those have their places). No, you have to make investments that will have a positive return—no matter what happens to the market, or your job, or anything else over which you don’t have complete control. Here are the five areas you should really invest in if you want to be successful.

1. Invest in Books

According to Pew research, half of all American adults read less than 5 books in 2013. That number is essentially unchanged from previous years. Five books in a year is a relatively low number. However, if they were books to help you succeed and you applied all of the principles, then you might benefit very much!

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Success Books

    What are people actually reading? According to author Tom Corly,

    People who make $35,000 or less per year read for entertainment 79% of the time.

    People who make $160,000 or more per year read for entertainment only 11% of the time.

    People who make $160,000 or more per year read two or more books per month in areas specifically targeted to help them grow personally and/or in their careers.

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    Among the $35,000 and below income group? 15% read the same number of books in those areas.

    It’s pretty clear that investing in reading the right kinds of books can make a great difference in your level of financial success!

    2. Invest in Events

    In one of my businesses, I went from a $500 investment to over $70,000 in monthly revenue—in seven months. My wife and I were working out of our home helping people to lose weight and get in shape. It was so much fun! But do you know what we did before we made much money at all? We went to an event to learn from people who had already done so.

    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

      No matter your industry, there are likely events that you could attend. In the automotive industry, there are the Detroit and Chicago auto shows. In electronics, there is the Consumer Electronics Show. Real estate investors have multiple conferences per year. When you invest in attending an event, you not only learn, but your vision grows. You see not just where you are, but where you can be. In talking about mission trips for people (a very specific type of event investment) best-selling author and pastor Mark Batterson puts it this way, “A change in place plus a change in pace equals a change in perspective.”

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      3. Invest in a Coach or Mentor

      Do you know why you are reading this article right now? Let me share two of the reasons: I attended an event and I hired a coach. You may know exactly what you want to do for success. You may have a vision board, a series of daily affirmations, and wonderfully specific goals. But do you know how to make it all happen?

      Mentor

        Do you know all of the small details, or the possible pitfalls? Do you know where making a tiny change could result in a huge return? Do you know where you are just beating your head against the wall and need to stop? No? But guess who does: someone who has already been there. When you hire a great coach, you will save yourself years of frustration and thousands of lost dollars. They will lead you, correct you, encourage you, and (like events) show you a vision bigger than your own. Take your money and invest in a coach, or suffer the consequences of trying to figure it out on your own.

        4. Invest in Relationships

        Success isn’t all about money. How happy will you be if you are making $10 million per year but have no friends or loved ones with whom to share your time? I’d rather be flat broke (and I have been) and happily married than insanely wealthy but all alone.

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        Relationship

          When you are climbing the ladder of success, don’t leave behind those you love most! Lift them into their own success and enjoy the climb together. Invest in relationships because they are worth more than the most precious of diamonds.

          5. Invest in Health

          When I was in my mid-thirties, I decided to take charge of my weight. In less than a year, I was down over 50 lbs. Overall, I lost around 72 lbs from my heaviest and am now in my target weight range. When I was 42, I took up running. I’ve now been a runner for more than four years (feel free to do the math). Do you know why I made these changes and why you should too?

          Running

            Investing in your health has three main benefits:

            • You’ll feel much better: greater energy, a zest for life, and finally enjoying how your body performs.
            • You’ll inspire others: my wife, son, his wife, and a bunch of people I mentor are runners now.
            • You’ll live longer: success does you no good if you are dead. When you invest in your health, you’ll be around for more years to enjoy and share your success with those you love.

            Conclusion

            The idea that a degree and a life-long job will bring success no longer rings true. If you want success, you have to make it happen yourself. Success IS attainable—if you make the right investments. Investing in books (print, electronic, or audio), events, a coach, relationships, and your health will get you the success you so greatly desire… and will help you to bring others with you along the way.

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            Troy Stoneking

            Troy is a coach and speaker who helps people develop amazing relationships and love their work.

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            Last Updated on January 6, 2021

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

            Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

            In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

            For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

            For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

            Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

            Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

            Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

            How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

            1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

            Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

            For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

            2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

            Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

            Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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            Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

            3. Create a System

            Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

            This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

            You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

            Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

            Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

            4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

            We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

            If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

            Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

            Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

            5. Use a Ratings Scale

            Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

            Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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            It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

            6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

            This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

            You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

            You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

            7. Offer Feedback Forms

            Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

            First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

            Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

            You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

            8. Track Cost Effectiveness

            This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

            Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

            Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

            9. Use Self-Evaluations

            Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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            Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

            10. Monitor Time Management

            This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

            Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

              The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

              While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

              11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

              We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

              Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

              For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

              Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

              Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

              From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

              12. Utilize Peer Feedback

              This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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              Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

              Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

              It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

              13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

              When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

              Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

              Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

              14. Use an External Evaluator

              Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

              They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

              While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

              Final Thoughts

              These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

              The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

              The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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              Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

              Reference

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