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Archive for November, 2011

Yesterday (November 14th) was World Diabetes Day according to my Rotarian magazine. This hits home with the Bush family since my husband and business partner, Phil, has had Type I diabetes (often known as juvenile diabetes) for 35 years. Fortunately, he is good with numbers and making calculations which helps in managing and controlling his diabetes. He also has to be good at tracking and managing the numbers, especially the business critical ones, for our CMIT Denver operation.

In the October e-newsletter, I wrote about utilizing the Red-Yellow-Green tracking system for stated goals (thanks to Patrick Thean). Every entrepreneur is taught and often reminded about the importance of setting goals, tracking them and measuring what you have tracked. Phil has an insulin pump and glucose monitor to help him track the amount of insulin that is injected and what his glucose/sugar levels are. If he starts feeling not quite right, he knows that something went amiss with his calculations or the effect of food or exercise.

Here are 3 Ways To Know Your Numbers:

  1. It really helps to set goals/numbers for each activity that will move you closer to your larger goal, the BIG goal which needs to be S-M-A-R-T. What numbers would fit into the Red-Yellow-Green tracking sheet to give you a visual of how you are performing in relation to the goal. Think of what a “good” or “Green” goal is for each activity.
  2. Schedule a time IN ADVANCE (whether it is daily, weekly or monthly) to review the status of each goal and how the related numbers look. It works best if you set aside a specific day and time frame to review numbers when it’s on a less frequent basis. It really depends on the criticality of following the numbers. If you have a goal of “x” number of prospect appointments each week, it probably is not wise to only look at the results on a monthly basis.  However, if you are tracking marketing expenses like I do, there is no need to review and understand the P&L for this more than monthly.
  3. Have someone who understands your business, can question or challenge you on the numbers (good or bad) and will hold you accountable. I have written about this too many times to count (Haha) and cannot stress enough the importance and impact of such an activity.

There are more ways to know your numbers like making sure you have the reporting tools and processes in place so you can look at the numbers in different formats. Decide which is best for the goals you have set and stick with it.

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Prior to returning to Florence, I had a few friends ask me how many times I have been there? Who’s counting anyway? I was counting the days leading up to last week’s departure, but I haven’t kept track of my visits to Florence. Maybe because, for me, the number will never be high enough.

I should have been counting/measuring since I just wrote an article about knowing your metrics and numbers to increase success. My best guesstimate is 12 times which includes the 2 times I lived there. Let’s just have a quick bit of fun with this article.

The 3 F’s: Fun, Food and Florence

FUN: It’s fun walking around (perambulating) and soaking in this historic city. And, it doesn’t hurt to stop every so often while to nourish yourself so you can walk just a little bit more. I have fun revisiting the neighborhoods where I used to live in Florence which includes the different vendors. Myhusband Phil recounts the story of how we walked into the “pencil shop” as he calls it where I used to buy my school supplies and the couple remembered me after many years. The best part of all is visiting the friends that I made while living in Florence ranging from my school administrator, my Italian language teacher, landlords and friends I made during my time there with whom I am still close.

FOOD: The author of “Eat, Pray, Love” knew that Italy would be the “Eat” part. I love the fresh homemade pasta, the good gelato (ever been to Vivoli gelateria near Santa Croce), and the old eating haunts like Palle d’Oro trattoria off the San Lorenzo marketplace. I have no doubt that I will have a meal at the counter for lunch one day this week. And, the homemade Italian meals with my friends tops it all off – nothing can surpass the food and the experience.  In 2009 when I took my family to Florence my son Aaron loved seeing all the foods (raw and cooked) at the Mercato Centrale. He was taking pictures of pigs ears and more. If you are in Denver and would like an authentic taste of Florence, head over to Parisi Trattoria where the food, the portion size and the price are all great.

FLORENCE: The city of Florence or Firenze is more than 2000 (that’s 20 centuries) years old. One of its symbols is the giglio (lily) often seen in the U.S. as the fleur d’lys and the symbol of New Orleans. Florence was the heart of the Renaissance (rebirth) and walking around you quickly discover why. The Medici family introduced formalized banking to the world and was the de facto ruling family of Florence in the 1400 and 1500’s. Also, it has the largest concentration in Italy of American students studying abroad and that is what has brought me back to Florence. Check out my Rotary project, American Student Ambassadors.

Arrivederci for now and watch for my December e-newsletter that could easily have a follow up article to my Florentine adventure.

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Have you ever heard about taking one tiny bite of the elephant (i.e. big task or project) at a time?

During the end of the year “frenzy” in setting goals for the new year and to be honest any time of the year, it’s really important to be cognizant of goals that you set and how you intend to achieve them. Even something as simple as buying gifts for the holiday season can be daunting. My CMIT Pacesetters mastermind group recently shared our individual office key goals and initiatives for 2012. I think that putting them down in ink (pen or printer) and sharing them with others makes a big difference. However, if you don’t hold yourself accountable for necessary actions to achieve the (SMART) goals and if your peers don’t hold you accoutable, then the impact isn’t there as much.

On my monthly Captain’s Call for the marketing accountability groups, we discussed the difference between putting down “tasks” as goals (e.g. select color of envelope for newsletter) versus the BIG GOAL, sometimes known as a BHAG or SHAG (Big or Somewhat Hairy Audacious Goal). On a weekly, granular basis think about the most important thing that you can do to move you closer to your big goal. The “I hope to get it done” verbiage doesn’t cut it. If you need to downsize a weekly item due to extraneous things happening (like a Rotary trip to Italy), then do so. Better to meet the smaller goal that is part of the big goal than to fail in accomplishing your weekly action item.

When I was assembling my Rotary project, I wrote down all the different things that I would need to think about. Then, I applied a timeline for different actions to be completed. I couldn’t book an international flight the week before you plan to depart. I booked it in July and then moved forward with the other key elements for this project. The same could be said for a deployment of a new solution or for hiring a new employee. The process and a realistic one at that must be in place to guide you to a successful result.

Keep It Simple and just get one teeny, tiny bite at a time of that sacred “elephant.” Check out the slideshow provided by Real Simple (I love the magazine and the eblasts) by clicking  Tiny Bite.

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In October we achieved a new credential which cemented our position on the 1st string team in our industry. CompTIA, a technology industry training and resource association, conferred their MSP Partners Trustmark credential on our firm. In layman’s terms, this confirms that CMIT Solutions of Denver meets the standards and best practices for a managed services provider.  By having such tools in place as our monitoring and management and ticketing systems as well as a comprehensive process and agreement, we are in a better position to service our clients and have a successful practice in this arena. These fall into place for our proactive techno-logy wellness program, CMIT Marathon. We intend for your business technology to be in the whole game and season, not just a few plays.

Similar to a football team implementing and following best practices for success from its owners to its couches to its players, our team utilizes proactive strategies to enable us to take care of our clients and grow the business. It is important that we have not only our daily procedures in place for caring for our clients, but backup or substitute plans also in place for  the roles in our organization. When my son, Daniel, got a torn hip flexor from football, his coaches needed to have other players ready to step in and take over at his positions. It could be a challenge mentally and logistically in football and in business to feel confident and ready to step into the first stringer’s shoes or for us the primary engineer. That is why it is comforting to our executive team and especially to our clients that we are following industry standards and best practices in order to continue without a misstep to move the ball down the field.

Trust Your IT With CMIT Denver - an MSP Partners Trustmark Associate

As the trusted advisor and technology partner to our clients, especially our proactively managed ones, we regularly review and update their technology playbook.  As I always stress to our clients and prospects alike,  CMIT focuses on their business which means we have to listen a lot and ask quality questions about the state of the business and short and long term goals.

 Since I have been using football analogies for business, I will keep consistent with the theme. After watching my sons’ games and the miraculous Broncos victory over Miami (in the last 3 minutes), I realize that it’s not just about the tangible points that are put up on the scoreboard. It’s about how a business can and should score extra points with the services or products it delivers.

Also, the people who make this happen and infuse energy into the environment make an intangible difference in the outcome. My son Daniel couldn’t play in a recent game, yet he was there at the practices leading up to the game and being a leader from the sidelines. CMIT Denver wants to be a true partner in growing your business so you have the opportunity to score the extra points (during regulation is preferred to the stressful, nailbiting overtime).

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