GRANDSLAM: Your Way to Success in Life

I have the privilege and the distinction to have this column in the Small Business Alliance newsletter.  A tremendous opportunity for a Financial Advisor; I get to give advice!  But the truth is, I want that advice to truly be of help to you, the Small Business Owner.  You are the ones who have to design your business, solve all the problems, get everything done — almost always with less time and money than you believe possible.  So if I’m going to give you advice, it had better be darn useful, totally simple, and work effectively.

With that in mind, I’m going to introduce my GRANDSLAM way to success in every area of your life.  WOW!  That way when you read my upcoming columns, you’ll be able to quickly use them and start getting the results you want.  So if you want to see results in your life, go for the GRANDSLAM. Here we go…

Get a clue. State your problem in concise descriptive words. Mull it over.  Instead of “spend less money” use “Stop spending money on wasteful items.” You’ll get a clearer, more powerful goal. Think about why you want to solve this problem; is it worth the effort you will have to make to solve it?  If not, be happy — you learned something about yourself.

Review your situation.  Get all the data. This is your benchmark.  To find where you waste money you need to look at all the money you spend and determine what value you got for every dollar. Be a detective; some of it is hidden.  Most people don’t know they spend $40 a month or $500 a year on coffee and donuts at Redners because they don’t get a receipt and sit down at the end of the month and see where their money goes.

Accumulate choices. Ask people you respect for some of the things they might do. Make a list of at least 10 good choices.  This will force you to think. The answer is probably not in the first three or four obvious choices or you would have already solved it. By creating 10 potential, realistic alternatives, you won’t run out of solutions before you make significant progress.

Narrow down your choices to only one or two that you want to do, can do, and will do. The busier you are, more you need to pick the easiest ones.  Buying extra PowerBars, apples and Baby Carrots at the grocery store will give a quick nutritious, portable, money saving alternative to fast food. But the bigger your problem, the more impactful the solution needs to be. Taking your lunch can save you $40 a month over fast food; but if you are spending $300 on credit card interest, switching to a 0% card might save you more.

Determine your first steps. “I will go to the Web and find a low interest card.” “I will find 5 protein choices at the grocery store that make good instant lunches. Formulate a plan. If you can’t determine good steps or need an expert, find one. Don’t let that stop you.

Start today.  Do it.  Without action you will have wasted your time.  Do you have time to waste?  I don’t think so!  If not today, set a date. “When I go to the grocery store on Tuesday, I will find my 5 healthy lunch choices.” “When I pay my bills on Saturday, I will compare interest rates on all my credit cards and search the Web for alternatives.” Don’t let the inertia of your current habits keep you from your goal.  If you start and then fall back into your old habits, start again. You didn’t get where you are in one day, you won’t get where you want to be in one day either.

Let time be your ally.  It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Stay focused daily on your new action until it has become an ingrained habit. If you lose focus too soon or picked too many actions to implement, you won’t stick to it long enough to have your new actions become an automatic part of your daily life.

Announce your success.  Let your best friends know that you had this small success. It will invigorate you, refocus you on the larger picture, and help keep you moving in the right direction.  Your old habits will try to sneak up on you — share your success in a way that’s consistent with your new goal.  Don’t go out for fast food or go shopping with your friend if those were your reduction goals.

Measure your results. Look at the numbers again. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! How much progress did you make? What was the old benchmark you found in the Review step above? What is the new number? Did you make all the progress you wanted on this problem? If so, really celebrate. If not, keep going.

Now that you have a generic tool for solving problems in your life, start having more GRANDSLAMs. Keep this article as a reference.  Practice until the next issue.  Call me if you get stuck. In future issues I’ll give you at least 10 great choices for solving some problem area in your life. I promise to keep the choices practical, useful, and efficient. You will want to choose the best ones for you to implement using your GRANDSLAM method. Until next time!

As a former SCORE Counselor, small business profitability consultant, Certified Financial Planner and active member of the Berks chamber’s small business programs, Merra Lee Moffitt keeps her eye on the pulse of Eastern PA Business.  Having created and built her own 30-person company, she KNOWS how to solve small business problems. A recognized expert on service business issues, Merra Lee can be reached at 888-920-2030 or  © Copyright 2003 Merra Lee Moffitt.