My two good friends 'nafa' and 'ooo'.
Being productive means paying careful attention to your time and where and how it gets used. As part of my workflow and productivity I have two good friends 'nafa' and 'ooo', acronyms I’ll introduce you to shortly.
One thing about time is that you can't control it, you can't make it go faster or slower or wind it back. You can only control how you spend it; in some ways it's like currency except each day you're given a fresh supply to spend how you see fit.
Leveraging time and leveraging resources.
Most people can't work as an island in business, you need a team to support you. Part of your team might be the professional services that support your business such as your accountant, solicitor and business advisors. Other members of your team are your staff, of course, and the third level may be the people you outsource to, such as your graphics designer, web developer, copywriter and more. Some services should outsourced or, if you have the time and expertise, you may choose to do them yourself.
The new breed of outsourced services now include people you have never actually met but trust though reviews, escrow services and 'star' ratings. They are services like Fiverr, Odesk, Elance, Freelancer, Virtual Assistants and many many more.
Even if you're a small business or solopreneur you rarely work in isolation, you really can have quite a team behind you to help your business function. Scheduling your time and the ability to manage your 'team' and their output, plus managing your personal time and still leaving time to earn an income is very important.
Introducing ‘nafa’ and ‘ooo’.
I have two good friends ‘nafa’ and ‘ooo’ who I work with every day when I need to manage my time, work with a team or schedule appointments with clients.
They are nafa (not available for appointments) and ooo (out of office), they help my planning and let my team know through my shared schedule when I'm available, in the office but not available or just away from the office. They have become even more important to me wIth the avalanche of scheduling tools and plugins such as Scheduleonce, Timetrade and Bookeo.
Identifying your available time for clients is critical for keeping up service levels, as is putting time aside for working through tasks and projects.
So why don't you just use 'busy'?
I've never liked using the term 'busy' from the old Microsoft Outlook days. I didn't think it was enough of a description when working with my VA's of the past and staff members. ‘nafa’ and ‘ooo’ are better friends and tell a better story.
‘nafa’ and ‘ooo’ make my daily planning easier and support good time management practices for me and my extended team. I encourage you to adopt and work with my friends ‘nafa’ and ‘ooo’ as well. Use them to make better use of your time.
The common terms I use:
Enjoy productive days ahead.
Leave a comment, I would love to hear your thoughts and what ‘friends’ you use to make your day more productive.
Ever worried that someone is copying your ideas without permission? Recipes, menus, designs – even your name.
When people see that you’re successful, it won’t take long for them to borrow your ‘intellectual property’ – a quick Google search usually gives them most of what they’re after!
In this interview I'm interviewed by Ken Burgin from Profitable Hospitality about intellectual property. We discuss trademarks, business names and logos, customer lists, ‘trade secrets’, photographs and of course menus and recipes. There’s a lot of protection you can take advantage of if you take the right steps – first you need to understand the terms and concepts.
Hop on over to the Profitable Hospitality Podcast to have a listen or download the podcast from iTunes via your favourite Podcatcher application (app).
Below are some useful links that I mention during the podcast:
The Australian Government agency that administers Intellectual Property (IP) rights on Trademarks and other IP such as Patents, Designs and Plant Bleeder's Rights.
Australian Copyright Council
If you search on 'recipes' in the search box the search result will be an information sheet called 'Recipes: Legal Protection', a great resource for Cafes and Chefs.
Arts Law Centre of Australia
A photographer's release form (sample agreement) can be purchased and downloaded for $75AUD. Note: there are many online document supply companies around the world where similar forms can be purchased and downloaded. Choose the company and forms relevant to your country.
United States Patent and Trademark Office:
The U.S. Copyright Office:
The office of public record for copyright registration and deposit of copyright material:
For assistance with protecting your Brand, applying for a Trademark in Australia or IP Strategies and business planning please contact me through the Contact Form on this website.
When I was young I grew up with the comic book series of the Phantom (among others) and I was reminded today that there are a lot of lessons we, as business owners, can learn from the Phantom comic strip series.
While I wouldn’t necessarily advocate wearing a bright purple one piece outfit in public (I think these days they’re called ‘onesies’) we can all learn something from the Phantom.
1. Have superpowers.
While the Phantom didn't actually have superpowers the perception was that he did which influenced many far and wide, he became known as ‘the ghost who walks’ or ‘the man you cannot die’.
No need to go to go the same extremes but work on becoming a thought leader in your industry or as some might put it a key person of influence, become known as the ‘go to person’ to solve problems and answer questions.
Let other people talk about your seemingly ‘secret powers’ and knowledge, your business will greatly benefit.
Build a supportive community around you willing to support and defend you when needed. In the Phantom's case he had a tribe of pygmies from the fictional African country of Bangalla to help him.
But in our society this is particularly a strong advantage of social media in that the various social media platforms gives you the opportunity to build a supportive community who believe in you, are willing to follow you and will defend you if attacked.
3. Fight evil and do good.
This was the mantra of the Phantom. While you don't have to physically fight evil always maintain your integrity and do good for your clients and those around you.
The Phantom was educated in the United States and understood the modern world (well his modern world), so you should continually be prepared to learn and to invest in yourself and in your team.
Complete the courses and programs relevant to your industry and to help maintain your business at the leading edge, if you don’t it won’t take long for you to fall behind your competitors.
5. Keep Cool.
Even when under fire and fighting against the enemy our hero never panicked but kept his cool and fought on. If you know your business model is good and you have the right skill set never give up! Be persistent in your efforts to continually move your business forward, long lasting success is not built overnight but over time.
Seek help and guidance when needed, keep cool, don’t panic!
6. Prepare for succession.
According to legend the Phantom started fighting against evil in 1536 and the cause was handed down from one generation to the next, each one preparing and instilling the skills in his successor.
Run your business as if you’re planning for succession, sale, or for building a passive income. At some point we all have to move on, it might be choice, illness or some other cause, so build systems and value in your business ready for that day. Learn about succession planning and strategic transition; start working on a long term plan ready for that day.
7. Build and protect your brand and Intellectual Property (IP).
In the Phantom’s case he strove to keep his identity secret, his family secret and his location secret but his ‘brand’ and reputation out there.
Fortunately we don’t have to go to those lengths today to protect your brands, we have registrable Trademarks and other mechanisms to help protect our Intellectual Property (IP).
Be prepared to fight against copycats who might to seek to mimic or destroy your brand reputation. Own a Trademark to protect your brand and understand copyright to protect your creativeness.
If you have any questions on how to protect your brand or instill Phantom like powers into your business contact me.
The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip created by Lee Falk first appearing in a daily newspaper strip in February 1936. The feature strip has been adapted into many media forms including television, film and video games and features a costumed crimefighter operating from the fictional African country 'Bangalla'.
© Geoff Moller 2014