Top 7 Things To Look For In A Business Partner

Having a bad day?

- Whew -

 

I haven’t had much time to breath lately – and boy was yesterday a humdinger (yes… sometimes I say ‘humdinger’)

In fact, the past few months have practically flown by. What’s all the fuss about you may ask? (Go ahead, ask. I’ll wait)

We’re opening a business. A Restaurant in fact. Well, more of a restaurant/cafe fusion serving up healthy comfort foods. I can’t say much more about it just yet, but believe me – it’s going to be fantastical!

Now, I don’t know if you know much about restauranteering,  but let me tell you, it takes a ton of freaking work to move something this big forward. It’s stressful and crazy and just a little beautiful if you can take a moment to step back and breath once in a while.

In short, opening a restaurant is a very emotional experience; very, very raw. Most things seem to be beyond your control and almost everything is a HUGE make/break decision (or feels like it at first).

As I mentioned, yesterday was a day full of woe, where everything seemed to be going the wrong way. By dinner I was more exhausted, physically, emotionally, than I can remember being in… well, years.

As it turns out, almost everything ‘came up Milhouse’ by the end of the day, but at any given point in time throughout the day, I was pretty sure this whole project was coming to a crashing halt.

But, if you want to be an Entrepreneur, no matter the industry, you have to be ready to move. To pivot. To navigate the turbulence and not just survive the experience, but drive positive change because of it.

Yesterday was just such a day.  And it got me thinking… Thank goodness for my partners. My wife (life partner) and my business partner. Both of whom helped me survive the day. Not that it was pretty. There were a few arguments. Some heightened tensions. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure I would have pulled through without the help of these people in my life.

PartnersPartners, CAN be a great thing. So today I wanted to talk a little about Partners. Specifically, what makes a good partner.

And so, without further ado…

What you should be looking for in a good partner:

  1. Someone who shares your passion. Having someone who has a similar level of enthusiasm and commitment that you have will help ensure that you weather the tougher times and that good ideas will continue to see the light of day. And passion is the source of all motivation!
  2. Someone who shares the same vision. What’s the overall plan? How will the business be structured? What is your target market? What is the exit strategy? Are you going to fight over the same position? Being in alignment could be a make-or-break decision for your new business.
  3. Someone who shares the same business philosophies. My wife and I couldn’t be more different. Different hobbies. Different interests. Different types of friends. Different ways of looking at things. Different methods of handling difficulties, problems, and stress. And while this may cause tension from time to time, everything ends up aces in the end because we share a nearly identical set of life philosophies – We see eye-to-eye on things like money, kids, family, life, etc. – All the things that are really important in a marriage. Business Partners need to be like that in their business.
  4. Someone with the right handle on their personal life. Take a look at your perspective partner’s personal life and relationships. If everything is in shambles, how can you reasonable expect them to handle their business affairs any differently?
  5. Someone who can offer resources, experience, talent or credibility. If they can’t, then why are you considering them as a partner? Maybe they would make a better first employee.
  6. Someone who has the ability to listen and the strength to disagree. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t know how to really listen. I SAID… A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO LISTEN – sorry, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to that guy in the back there, typing on his iPhone. Compromise is good for everyone, and a good argument can help sand off the rough edges from any new plan. Partners should be helping to hone the vision, and bring new ideas to the table – and they won’t always be great.
  7. Someone who complements your skill set. Are you the visionary? Then find a partner who can execute. Are you Right brain? Then find a lefty to take care of the analytical side of the business. Are you the sales guy? Perfect, find someone who can run the business while you are out selling. Know where your biggest shortcomings are and find someone who can pick up that slack.

Here’s a short bonus section: How do you make it work in a partnership?

  1.  Trust, transparency, patience, respect and appreciation of each others efforts. Remember – it works both ways.
  2.  Top notch communication!
  3. Stay focused & don’t try to do everything. Opening any business, but especially with restaurants, there are 1 million + details that have to be figured out. Half of them will be unknown when you start out and there will be stressful, frustrating days. Remember that you are on a team and lean on your partner if they can help.

 Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!

15 No-Brainer Methods For Leading An Incredibly Average Life

Average People
Most people are average, and you can be too.
Don’t worry: the world was built to cater to average people!

 

So, here are my top 15 no-brainer methods for leading an incredibly average life:

  1. Pay $30+k to ‘find yourself’. Go to University because you’re supposed to and you have no good ideas for what else to do with your life anyway.
    Don’t worry: Take out student loans, you’ll have lots of time to pay them back.
  2. Get a job and work 45+ hours / week, because – “hey!, everyone needs a job” right?
    Don’t worry:  You may hate it, but at least you have a paycheck.
  3. Head into the ‘office’ every day for the next few decades and sit in your cubicle – or, if you’re ‘lucky’, your open office seating. Check off boxes on a never-ending todo list and jump through hoops.
    Don’t worry: you can surf Reddit, check Facebook and play Solitaire when nobody is watching.
  4. Live beyond your means. Buy a fancy car, a big new TV. Put it on your credit card!
    Don’t worry: It’s kind of like free money and your friends will be impressed with all your ‘stuff’!
  5. Watch commercials, billboards and magazine ads, trust marketers to tell you the truth about life and how to make yours more fulfilling.
    Don’t worry: You deserve some luxury items after all your hard work jumping through hoops and checking boxes all day and ‘they’ said it was cool!
  6. Don’t push the envelope, try new things, voice your opinions.
    Don’t worry: Your favorite restaurant will always serve your favorite dish just how you like it.
  7. Accept what everybody tells you at face value and don’t bother spending any time thinking about other peoples motivations.
    Don’t worry: Everybody you meet has your best interests at heart.
  8. Concern yourself about what other people think.
    Don’t worry: Your boss, your friends, your parents, and most of the people you pass on your way to work everyday know what’s best for you.
  9. Develop a regular weekly schedule. Plan out meals, social events and all activities well in advance.
    Don’t worry: It’s important to always know when leftover night falls.
  10. Never travel anywhere truly foreign. Other people can be strange and have nothing to teach you.
    Don’t worry: Trips to all inclusive resorts and package cruises are nice and affordable and you’ll be able to rub shoulders with other people who jump through hoops and check off boxes most days.
  11. Have some kids. Stick them in daycare. Put them in school. Trust the system.
    Don’t worry: The system has your child’s best interests at heart.
  12. Watch a lot of TV and movies – The new golden age of television is here!
    Don’t worry: It’s great quality family time right? Besides, at least you’ll have something interesting to talk about over the water cooler between hoop jumping and box checking.
  13. Don’t bother wasting time thinking about life and what you really want out of it.
    Don’t worry: Things have a strange way of working themselves out for better or worse and at least you didn’t waste any time planning for it.
  14. Spend a lot of time day dreaming.
    Don’t worry: Dreams can be very fulfilling, and they’re a great way to eat up some of that 45+ hours a week jumping through hoops and checking off boxes.
  15. Live in the same city you grew up in. Forever.
    Don’t worry: It’s comforting and you’ll know everyone.

American Mailboxes - Hope Street ... Tired Of Inequality? (September 12, 2013 3:05 AM) -- Read an excerpt of Average Is Over ...Don’t worry: Life and everything in it seems to pander to the average. Average is easy. Average is safe.

But…

Average is incredibly boring. Average is completely un-fulfilling.

 

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!

Defining MichaelValiant.com

Always Chase Dreams
Once upon a time, in a ‘verse far far away (how’s that for a mixed-bag of references!), this blog had many readers. Now – and this is just a rough guess – anything I post pop-ups (and rather unexpectedly I imagine!) in the RSS feeds of about 12 people… most of whom will have no memory of adding me in the first place.

Fair enough. This is the sort of thing that happens when you take a blogging hiatus… vacation… well, really I just quit this blog altogether. Back in 2010, between 4 kids and a very busy corporate job, I found myself spread too thinly and eventually forgot why I was blogging here in the first place.

Over the years I thought about coming back and taking up the blogging mantle once again – I would think of grand ideas to explore, articles I wanted to write… but thinking about adding another time commitment always managed to cool the jets.

But life changes. I walked away from corporate (don’t worry – I kept the four kids!) and spent the past year doing pretty much nothing (a very broad generalization), and now find myself with more time than commitments for the first time since… well, in a very long time.

So, “Myself…” I says, “It may be time to start thinking about getting back to writing.

Everybody has a couple of things hidden away in that secret little thought garden inside their souls – you know, the thing, or things you ‘always wanted to do/see/visit’ right? I think most people hold these dreams to close and spend most, if not all of their lives never pursuing them actively. Some people get lucky and fall into some job that vaguely resembles their dream, but very few people truly have the courage to step up and chase their dreams.

I had two (if you don’t count Astronaut and Fireman – both of which still sound like fun!):

  • My first and oldest dream has always been storytelling. An avid reader since before most kids even knew how to say their alphabets, I wanted to be a writer since before I knew I needed to grow up and get a job in the first place.
  • My second dream has always been to be an entrepreneur. Now, even being an avid reader, I had no idea what entrepreneurship meant when I was young, but I did know this: My father, a corporate executive, was often miserable and rarely home, while a couple of very wealthy friend of his, who each owned 1 or more businesses, were jolly, owned huge houses and many cars and toys. This left a pretty clear impression on my 7 year old self.

Unfortunately, I grew up shy. An introvert with grand dreams and a complete lack of self-confidence – You know that little voice in the back of everyones head that likes to whisper sweet nothings in your ear like: “You are not good enough for this…”? Yeah, well, that force was strong with this one, and looking back I know I’ve missed some great opportunities because of it.

But every day is a new chance, a new opportunity to do right, do more, to chase your dreams.

That is largely what I have been doing over the past year. Catching up with family time, and delving deeply into the dream well – trying to reset, or re-establish who I am, what I want, and why I’m here.

I’ve been truly lucky to have had the time, this opportunity.

So here’s the New Me, which is basically the old me, or rather the original me since I’m older now… But with more focus, more passion, and more energy (it’s amazing what you find when chasing dreams) – or for short: More FPE… which doesn’t actually sound all that great so never mind.

But to chase dreams effectively, you need a plan, otherwise it becomes too easy to fall victim to that little voice in the back of your head telling you to give up, go home, and watch some TV.

So, without any further ado, (but a fair amount of preamble) here it is, my goals for myself, and this blog in 2014:
Personal Goals

  • Start a business that can support myself and my family (underway – but more on that later)
  • Write. Write often, write well, but: write, write, write.
  • Try to convince more people to trust their passions & chase their dreams

Blogging Goals

  • Explore the nature of dreams… actually, really just the act of chasing them!
  • Explore tools and mindsets (just another tool right?) that help
  • Explore methods for getting it all done
  • Talk about starting & running a business
  • Talk about writing

I may also talk about photography – another passion – and life in general – hey! with 4 kids, ‘life in general’ is often at the forefront of my thoughts! - from time to time, but I’ll try to keep it relevant to the above goals.

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!

Currents of Time

time by www.flickr.com/photos/mattwestoby/

Isn’t it funny how ‘watery’ time is.

 

Sometimes moving so painfully slow.

And at others flowing so quickly it’s all you can do to try and grasp some of it before it’s all gone.

I guess life’s just like that.

What do you do so that it doesn’t just pass you by?

Thoughts on Blogging

Do you blog?

I’ve been blogging for 7 or 8 years now. I have a food blog, and I once ran a photography blog. I ran the 1ShoppingCart blog for a couple of years. And there are others.

There are 2 things that I’ve learned about blogging: 1. It’s a lot of work. 2. If you stop, even for a little while, it’s really difficult to get started again.

And that about sums up what’s been going on with this blog for the past couple of years.

My blog was hacked in 2010, and I lost a years worth of posts. I have thought about blogging here ever since… but one month bleeds into another… and here we are with the end of 2011 in sight.

Time is a funny thing. It’s really difficult to gauge how much of it you have at any given time and if flows faster the older you get.

Or maybe that’s just an excuse we like to use as we age.

I could always blame my kids, who I happily dedicate most of my free time to.

Or maybe I could just take the time to blog.

 

 

 

Music at Work

I’m often asked variations on: “What’s important to know about designing good software?”

One answer? Good music piped through good headphones!

Really…

Know the music that gets your blood moving, but doesn’t act as a distraction and get it into your ears.

Top 10 reasons why you should wire in to music while working:

  1. It will help you manage ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’
  2. It will help you tune out the ‘water cooler talk’ around you
  3. It will get your blood moving, your foot tapping and fingers typing – we are multi-taskers by nature, and for most people having audio in the background helps us actually work faster
  4. It will make you look busier – people will think twice before interrupting you (sometimes I will put the headphones on even without the music for this reason)
  5. It will give you an excuse to try and ignore even the persistent people – “Oh sorry, I didn’t hear you!”
  6. It will help keep you focused longer by giving you something else to concentrate on during short breaks (instead of getting dragged into other tasks, or email)
  7. It’s a lot better than listening to the hum of the fluorescent lights and other high frequencies
  8. Music helps release stress! And who doesn’t have too much of that?
  9. Many of us don’t actually need 10 reasons to listen to good music…
  10. Hrm… hold on, I’m going to listen to some music for a bit and try and come up with a better #10… um, nope – that’s it.

Music has been linked to biological changes, mood control and productivity over and over again… and if that’s not enough, the ‘Mozart effect’ isn’t even limited to humans – one study I saw even pointed out a case where dairy cows produced more milk after listening to classical music!

 

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