Wednesday, July 30, 2008

HTG Thoughts

I first met Arlin Sorensen at the second-ever SMB Nation conference.

He was doing a presentation on leadership. E-Myth, goal-setting. All that good stuff.

At the time I remember being very impressed with his operation and his attitudes.

Then he started a series of mastermind groups call HTG (Heartland Technology Groups). See Arlin's Blog.

And he asked me to join. And other people asked me to join. Many people just assumed I was a member.

Anyway, Arlin and I have done business over the years. He was the second-ever SBSer of the Year. I was the third. (Bob Hood was the first.)

Arlin and I have appeared together "on stage" several times. We've sold books together. We include each other in various activities and see each other in three or four different cities a year.

But I was not an HTG member.

HTG requires commitment. Commitment to building my business. Commitment to other people in the group. Commitment of time. And a bit of money (a few hundred bucks).

My businesses have grown dramatically over the last few years. I couldn't see myself committing to a program that was likely to make the growth even faster. I've seen more than one business burn out and crash from rapid growth.

Anyway, we finally put in a slow-growth plan.

And I applied to HTG and was accepted.

Our group -- HTG 13 -- met for the first time this week.

My fears were correct. This is going to result in more growth, more direction, more focus. Accountability from someone besides myself.

- - - - -

Focus

Everyone has a different approach to getting through the day, the week, the month, the year, and life generally.

Some people lose themselves and their values in search of the almighty dollar. Not Arlin.

Arlin -- and HTG -- puts emphasis on having a plan and executing it. Life plan. Leadership plan. Business plan. Execution. Execution. Execution.

But underlying all of this is a real commitment to community. Arlin builds communities. The HTG members build and live in communities. They participate in communities. They contribute to communities.

For me, there's a lot of consistency here. My Relax Focus Succeed(R) work relies very heavily on planning and goal-setting. And, obviously, I'm addicted to the community. In addition to making friends, I enjoy helping people. And, at the end of the day, it all comes back.

My biggest challenge is focus. That's why I emphasize it so much in the book.

Planning is good. And execution is good. Both of these things are visible events you can show to other people.

But somewhere between them comes focus. Here's what I believe:

You will have success in whatever you put your focus on.

Having a business plan is great. But if it sits on a shelf in a binder, and you can't even remember one goal for the year, then it's useless. Focus means you need to put your attention on that thing. Focus means you need to say no to activities that drag you away from your plan.

You need to say no to business opportunities that make a little money now, so you can focus your attention on the big plan that will make more money in the long run.

You need to focus on building friendships and not just business relationships. When all the money's gone (or you're so wealthy that it's irrelevant), friends will be the most valuable thing you have. After all, when you have a bad day, you don't email the bank. You email a friend.

So as I take home my assignments and begin the HTG journey, my personal challenge will be focus. I need to give this new community the attention it deserves.

I'm looking forward to it.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post. I've been trolling for a few weeks now and you were the impetus for me to kick off a real "plan" based loosely on your 30 days to MSP series. Also this blog has been great in getting me to refocus on what I should be doing as a business owner. I get sucked into the day to day virus removal at times and need to focus on the business as a whole and not each job.

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  2. Thank you for the very nice comment.

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  3. Karl,

    Does this mean that you've abandoned the slow growth plan?

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  4. Good question, Amy.

    I have not abandoned slow growth. We have a "plan" and my goal is to be more strategic about executing it.

    We hope to add one client per quarter that moves us closer to our ideal client type. That hasn't changed.

    So I don't see HTG as a tool for faster growth, just more strategic.

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