December '22

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empathy and self-ref lection. You must look internally and understand how those around you receive you. It's about being part of more than just you and your com- pany's needs but also lifting others and supporting your community. It's also about asking for help and support while implementing and engaging in the infor- mation you receive from that help and support. • Creativity/Innovation - Successful entrepreneurs and those with more than just a J.O.B. (just over broke) spend time being innovative and creative. This cre- ativity can be problem-solving, creating new things, or even the creativity of your craft. But the truth is that the process is messy. You must be willing to try some- thing hard to be creative and innovative — yet know when the "sand" is getting too far outside the sandbox. • Flow/Focus - We live in a world of distractions, shiny objects, and notifica- tions that steal our attention. Successful people don't accept interruptions and dis- tractions as "just the way it is." What have you done to get better organized and cre- ate those sacred times to get in the flow and be focused on a difficult challenge? How do you get to this state of losing track of time because you are so in the zone? How much time am I spending working on vs. in my business? There is a difference between the two. "Working in" are the daily fires, customer emails, ordering products, and even cre- ating goods and services. These are very important to handle, but they can become overwhelming and ineffective if you nev- er spend time working on your business. "Working on" includes projects such as evaluating your numbers, setting goals, developing a plan, implementing policies, and creating workflows and standard op- erating procedures. When you work on your business, the "in" items are more manageable, effective, and exciting. I en- couraged you to schedule at least 15% of your time to work on your business. Look back at the last 12 months and see what you need to change for the next 12 months to get that minimum of 15%. How is my business doing in regards to the three things customers actually care about? The minimum requirement of a com- pany is to do good work and deliver on time. You will only be in business for a short time if you do not meet those crite- ria. But you don't want to be in business. You want to thrive and have something that I love doing each day. Not just anoth- er job where you work 168 hours a week and get paid less than minimum wage. So, the question is, how are you deliver- ing on these three things - speed, clarity, and empathy? • Speed - You must believe that speed is important and think you can be excep- tionally fast because speed is a choice. In today's modern world, speed is the name of the game. This means the speed of re- turning emails, replying to social media posts, getting the work done, and more. Where can you improve your speed? • Clarity - If things are not clear for your ideal customers, they will move on to the next name on the list. Many of us are looking for complaints about our busi- ness, but are we on the lookout for clarity warnings? When your customer says, "I'm confused," is it because you need clari- ty too? • Empathy - This comes naturally to some and not so naturally to others. It is something we must work on, and it G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 4 5

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