Learning and Planning For Your Business

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Learning and Planning For Your Business 

Having a consistent work flow throughout your company is a crucial element, whether you are an individual affiliate controlling your own projects, a small team focusing in the start up world, or a large corporation trying to take over the world. Management and planning will not only help you organize your time, but ultimately improve your product and help you push the boundaries in your field.

This article can be applied to individuals or companies.

Whether you are a -

  • Copywriter
  • Coder/Programmer
  • Designer
  • CEO

All individuals work differently, some have optimal studying times and others have optimal working times. Well all do things differently. I am a Kinesthetic learner (something I remember being engrained into my brain as a young one). Others learn by listening (Auditory), and others learn by seeing (Visual).

These different forms need to be applied into our business life. No matter what your job, there will always be times where you’re stuck, confused and have to learn a new process.

The startup world holds many elements that include the idea of learning. Nearly everyone who has entered a startup will tell you they have ended up doing some jobs they are not trained for or have never learned. I for one can certainly agree to this. ‚Our’ work is different to any company. We are not given tasks every hour to complete and finish. We create our own. We have to think, what’s next, why is this a good step, what are the negative and positive connotations to this step, how will this increase growth, will it increase productivity? This world is different from even some corperate models where your freedom is gone, and you’re controlled by the man above. You have to plan, learn and implement.

In a startup there is not enough time to have orders passed down, reviewed, done and checked. No startup would ever take off if this were the case.

An individual business owner can apply the same thinking pattern too. Don’t waste time, plan, but keep on going – learn by doing and do by learning.

My Planning Style –

When I create my own projects or concepts I go right back to basics. I remove myself from the computer, sit there with a pen and paper and begin. I let my mind settle and analyze the problem, nearly always writing.  I use pen and paper as my first port of call. It lets me think, and gives me time to spread my ideas everywhere. From here I summarize my points into a collective, and see if I have reached my goal or target.

For me pen and paper is important. I’ve been to many work sessions where people sit their on iPhones or laptops taking notes and planning. For me it doesn’t work. I’m wild, creative. I mind map, I create rough lists and THEN organize.

Now I’m not saying this is optimal for everyone, as said different people have their own ways; but working in a company is like learning, you should never stop your brain from moving forward, progressing and taking in the next steps.

To take this a step further and transition this model from personal planning to company planning it’s relatively similar. Each worker must have his ideas, his plans, his goals. But how do you put these into a system which utilizes the entire workforce to conglomerate and combine work?

This is something YieldKit has been re-planning for a long time. We are a small team, but our job rolls are completely different minus a few cross overs, meaning it can be tricky to find out where everyone is at.

We have been through many planning styles. Originally on a paper board, updated with key tasks under our names put on the wall in the middle of the office. This system began failing due to updating. In the age of computers many people just forgot to pick up a pen and change their paper daily.

Our second step was using a service called PivitolTracker. This online tool allows organizational planning. I found it useful, it gave me a place to store my final ideas from paper. There were downsides in a group dynamic though. Our CEO found it hard to see what people were on set tasks. I would sometimes find it hard finding my own tasks in each project. Some tasks would be stored in different dates, on the Icebox or even in the backlog file. When some employees were using more than one project tab it was awkward to track their entire work load. Tasks weren’t being prioritized and work was getting lost and forgotten about.

Now Pivotal is a great tool, it just didn’t fit in our company dynamic and working model.

Yesterday we tried a new tool, Asana. This holds the premise of Pivotal, as it is a management system, but its functionality allows for deeper integration over crossing projects. Asana is more text based, and allows for simple and clear reading. The emailing system sends back tasks that need to be completed today or in the future. Asana also has an email update system, informing workers of what tasks must be completed on which days. Such a bonus as it keeps all workers on their toes and up-to-date. Cross project management is beginning to be much easier.

Now not all people will need such planning systems, but even if you are an independent affiliate or web publisher, these tools can even benefit you.

Imagine you are an affiliate marketer. You are running multiple sites, working with many advertisers from different countries and different currencies. Things can get confusing. It is crucial to spend time on finding a system that works for YOU. Create your own system.

The whole point of this article is to say that change and understanding of how you work is not bad. Every person, every company is different, but a solid management system will push your overall productivity and (if in a team) working coherency to the next stage.

Many thanks,

Rob Walker