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What a year 2020 – What will come 2021?
What a year 2020 was this? One year ago, almost nobody would have expected that live could change so fast, isn’t it? We have all been taught better. Bill Gates has warned of a pandemic several years ago, but nobody took it seriously. Maybe the lives of all would not have changed so much if we prepared for such pandemic, maybe not. It was another year for all of what we could have imagined of. What can we learn of this? I think we should never take something as a matter of fact. Because something worked out today it is not proven that it will work out tomorrow. Because something happened today it must not happen tomorrow. Life could change in a matter of a millisecond. I think now almost everybody is aware of this. Now I am 30 years old. If I think of living 100 years before I would have experienced World War I. Definitely something I must not experience. The restrictions were probably much worse at that time. This is in no way to downplay the current situation, but it could probably always hit you even worse. Nevertheless, I hope for a bit more normality in the upcoming 364 days ! How did I experience 2020? Well, I would divide this in 2 things: business and personal. Personal From a personal view my year started pretty nice. As you may remember from my last blog posts in 2019, I did a diet and earned a nice sixpack. So, I was full of energy to outperform this in 2020. How to do this? My goal was to achieve 90kg with 8% of body fat. But then what happened in spring 2020? Right, everything was shutdown including the gyms. But no problem if you really want to do something. I bought a few barbells a bench and I could do a great home workout. I even realized that it is not bad to be forced to change something. New incentives are always an engine for growth. But after a few weeks everything got a bit monotonous and I was a bit behind my plan. So, I was very happy when gyms could reopen again. In the end in summer, I nailed it down to 91kg with 9% of body fat. Sure, I missed my goal a bit, but you know what: nevertheless, I was happy of what I achieved with all of the restrictions and ups and downs. And what will be in 2021? Well, I have an idea, but we will see how things are going. Maybe I can let you know in a year. I also had plans to visit some business partners in Georgia and China and combine this with some personal time off and visiting new places. How eagerly I looked forward to the time off and see my partners in person? But plans can change fast and so I want to catch up those plans this year, when hopefully travelling will be possible without problems again. Business From a business view my year started also pretty nice. In autumn 2019 I left my old startup Binando due to various reasons and started a Web-Shop in e-commerce. This worked out good so that I could employ new people. A dream come through when I could employ my sister as the first employee. Already Years ago, I thought how nice it would be to have a family business. Of course, this has good and bad sites, but I think we managed it well until now. We could grow constantly, experience skills in Online Marketing, Paid Ads, Shop Optimization and so forth and grew to 4.5 people until now. In summer 2020 we decided to launch a new brand. We worked it out besides our running business and could present BEAUTY babe just before Christmas to everybody. We focus here on core values we want to bring to the world which are very important to us. A year ago, I never thought that I would ever have an own Beauty Brand and even for Women. But boy just let it happen and discover new challenges. How cool is it to hold your own product in your hands? Until now it was a really nice journey. We managed a lot of stuff in the background which nobody sees. We build a brand-new Website with an Online Shop, we found a reliable Fulfillment Partner for our orders, we found a reliable Partner for producing our Beauty products in Germany, we found a reliable Partner for Photography and Videography. This is a setup and network we now have and which nobody can take us away. In the future we can earn the seeds we have sown. Furthermore, I did a big step forward in what I want to become in the next years as well besides growing successfully my own businesses: Business Angel and Investor. I want to help people grow their own business in Tech, E-Commerce and related areas. I have made my first two real investments in 2020. For sure I always helped people, give tips and hints and talk for hours on new business ideas, process optimizations, hire people, scaling techniques and more. But it is another way if you commit also with your time, your money and your expertise to grow another business and if you are shareholder of a company. I hope those investments will also pay out in any way in the future and will become more and more investments in the coming years. For me it is not about the money you can earn. Sure, you should be able to live the life you want, pay your monthly bills and treat yourself now and then. But more important for me is have happy people around me, which want to achieve something. See how they grow together with me beyond what they ever thought they could achieve. It is more about the path going together the next weeks, months and years than how does it look like in 5 years. Fight successful battles, deal with defeats and learn from them, and celebrate victories in a proper manner. So, what stays to say? Have a really nice year 2021, make the best out of it! Hunt your dreams and improve step by step to the life you want to live. Stay hungry, stay foolish and keep on rocking on your dreams and goals 🚀!
Thankfully continuity pays off – my personal résumé after one year of blogging
When you follow my blog since the beginning you remember that my first blog post went online exactly 1 year ago in August 2018. If you don’t remember you can read it here. There I also explain my motivation why I started my own blog. Until now I can say, that I am very happy to did it. Of course, it is not always easy to find the time to write about a specific topic in the fast and time-consuming daily business. But as you can see I managed it to release one blog post every month 😎. One secondary aspect for my blog posts was SEO optimization. I often talked to people with new business ideas how they can improve the search results of their businesses or products. Of course, it is not negligible that you should appear under the first few results for certain keywords in Google. For example, if you are dependent on online sales and you are not under the first results you definitely need to pay for ads, which need to convert in a certain manner. Otherwise you will just burn money. In my case of course my website should rank on top of Google when you search for Moritz Pfeiffer. One year ago, that was not the case. My website was somewhere in Nirvana not under the first 10 pages. When you now search for Moritz Pfeiffer I normally rank between place 1 to 3. And I changed nothing except added my blog posts every month and I included some of my Instagram pictures on the start page. Site rank of Moritz Pfeiffer in google.de As you can see in the above picture in Google Germany I rank nowadays on rank 2. That is totally fine for me. That was a real experiment for me as I wanted to know if releasing rarely some new good content is really so good for Search Engine Optimization as it is always promoted or not. Today I can say it is definitely very important. If you need a good ranking in search engines I would really look into creating good content (Blog posts should be fine) every 1 to 6 weeks, depending on what you want to achieve. It could be also interesting to look into SEA (Search Engine Advertising) for sure, but it could be worth to use a good consultant to get into it and that you get that out what you expected. Site rank of Moritz Pfeiffer in google.com In google.com it was still a bit better and I rank nowadays on rank 1. As you may already recognized I took the effort and operate this website in German and English. Thus, I assume the rank in google.com is that high. When I would have my website just in German I assume that I would not be ranked under google.com. So here it is also important that you think before you just do something: what do you want to achieve? And then plan what is required to achieve it and then execute it as fast as you can! For example, if you are a tax consultant in Frankfurt and are new in the business it would be helpful if your potential customers can find you with keywords like Tax Advisory Frankfurt, Tax Consultant Frankfurt or Income Tax Frankfurt and other. It is important that you create again and again good content where those keywords occur in the text and also in the headings. And then it should be easy to rank very high with those Keywords in the future. Of course, mouth to mouth recommendations is for lots of business also very important, but a nice and good working online presence could never harm. Another thing I do really love and I wrote about also more often in my blog posts is sports. One specific post was last fall where I wrote about health and also mention a sixpack, here you can read it again. What should I say? I started after Christmas with my first ever planned diet and this summer I had (and still have) a body with a good sixpack 😅. I could not have imagined that it really went that fast and in the end it is really easy when you could be consistent, so also here continuity paid off. I just started it to see where I can go. The finish was 82kg with 7% of body fat by mid of July. Now I am around 83 – 84kg still with 8% of body fat. And after the summer by mid of September I would start gaining muscles again and plan to achieve 90kg with 7 – 8% of body fat in 1 or 2 years. So here it is as always: be clear in what you want to achieve and then you can first plan it what you need to do to achieve it and second just execute it and handle with the unexpected. If you don’t have goals or dreams you want to achieve you just live in the day. If you want to do that it is totally fine for me. Essential is that you are happy in the long run. For me personally I know to be happy and confident I need to set goals, which I can achieve and when I achieved them it is a real great and satisfying feeling 😎. A lil’ sixpack never killed nobody 😉 What stays to say for me? My experiment is over now. That does not mean, that I would never write a blog post again. I have still 2 to 3 good topics in mind I would definitely write about in the next time and I am sure new topics will come to my mind when time passes away. But maybe my frequency would not be as consistent every month as the last year . Because I don’t do it to gain money but just for my own development. So please stay hungry, stay foolish and keep on rocking on your dreams and goals 🚀!
Why it is important that you take off regularly some time to recover and get new spirit
In this year’s fall I will be self-employed for 4 years. The whole journey had lots of ups and downs but was in total really great until now and hopefully there is a lot more to come. In the early beginning, there was almost no time for other things than look after my projects that they will succeed. That means I had no time off, no vacation and I rather worked 7 days a week for 12 – 15 hours (so a total of 80 – 100 hours a week). That is a huge workload and there is really no time for a lot of other things. For me personally it was and is very important that I do lot of sports for compensation and stay healthy but what is with family, friends, other hobbies or relax? Yes, this is definitely a topic, which everybody building a sustainable business would encounter. In the early beginnings I worked very often from my lounge and not a desk. That worked out for sure because I got the shit done, but I got carried away by the statement, that I will never need a desk again. How naive could one be? But sometimes you get affected by other things. During that time startups were already a very hyped and a well-known thing and I saw a lot of pictures of lounges and couches in startup offices. Everybody tried to establish a nice environment, which is of course good to have a better working atmosphere. That tempted me to come to such a statement. Of course, I am working sometimes from my lounge (and at the moment I am writing this blog post from it), but for sure I have a desk from which I am also working a lot of the time nowadays. But now when you are working that much time what happens with your mind, your inspiration, your goals? What I discovered is that you are getting heavily focused on the topic what you are doing right now. Maybe you can also think of, that it is like getting blinders and don’t see what’s left and right. Of course, it is important that you are focused that you get your tasks done and move forward. But at the same time, it could happen that you miss out great opportunities, which could be business or even life changing and you don’t see them as you are focusing so hard on your daily operations and tasks. Therefore, it may be a good starting point to take some time every week and recap. Was it the right direction you went last week? What are your plans to achieve next week? Are you running in the right direction? If no, then you will recognize and can adjust. If yes, you can just go on. Horses often get blinders, that they don’t be frightened from what happens left and right. For us it is sometimes also good to have them, but sometimes you need foresight and it is important that you also look left and right. So, it happens, that most of the time I solve complex problems not at a desk or my lounge. At those places I get the everyday, normal tasks done like fix bugs, answer E-Mails, manage employees and so on. But when I discover I need a solution for a hard decision to make or how to solve a complex programming problem, I would get inspiration and door openers while doing sports, while driving a car or while doing another activity. In my opinion new environments and things give your brain new impulses and that leads to new thoughts and ideas. So please don’t think it is necessary that you need to do new and other things all day long – as a lot of the time you must find a good mixture that works out for yourself. People are different and so maybe for you it would work out to cook, to knit, to paint, take a walk, meet some friends, play (computer) games or others to freedom your mind and get new ideas. I would suggest that you try to implement different things to widen your horizon and get rid of the blinders at the time you need it. Another important point is vacation for sure. Now in July begins the time where it could take 3 weeks until you get an answer regardless if it is a customer, a partner, a friend or someone else. This is because almost everybody goes to his summer holiday and takes a couple of days off. As a startup, when you must make progress, that could be a very difficult time, because no changes could be very bad , and actually threaten your existence. But I think you just need to be aware of different times that may impact your business in a negative or positive way and plan for it, so that it would not be a problem in the future. I think it is best when you also take off some days and travel around, lie on the beach, do activities or whatever you like to do. Than you could recover yourself and free your mind and I am convinced that you will come back with a completely other focus and mindset after 1 or 2 weeks. It's better than trying to do your job with an empty head and move your business forward by hook or by crook. This leads to more productivity in general and that you have new inspiration to master your challenges. In this sense I wish you a nice holiday and come back stronger and inspired 🏖🗺🏔. Have nice holidays and enjoy!
Does a startup need written down workflows or is it viable to do everything freestyle without any statutes?
One definition of a startup could be “the action or process of setting something in motion”. Another one could be “a startup is a company initiated by individual founders or entrepreneurs to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”. That sounds very straightforward: have an idea, develop a business model for it, if it goes well scale it, if not redefine your business model until you are able to scale. To my experience it is not that straightforward until a startup found a product or service that gets traction with paying customers and is able to scale it. The road to success looks more or less like the following: The startup curve There are lots of ups and downs especially with the through of sorrow. Most of the people don’t see the blood and sweat and tears, which is necessary that the curve goes sustainably up. Most of the people just see the success stories of big well-known names like Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook, Zalando and much more. Do you know that 9 out of 10 startups fail in the first 3 years? From those other 10% of “success” startups you probably heard nothing from most of them. So that is a number, which one should borne further in mind. But let’s talk more about the beginning of a startup. There is no clear way or definition of which step should be taken after another to develop your startup to the next unicorn. Of course, there are different approaches, which should support you to go through the different steps a startup or new company goes through. Those steps or stages a startup normally goes through could be defined by means of the funding stage, as follows: Early Stage (Pre-Seed): Here you try out your first ideas, build a MVP (minimal viable product – about which I will probably write another blog post in the near future), get useful data out of your pilot tests, do a pivot if necessary, get a bit of traction – best with the first paying customers Seed Stage: Best case would be that you have a validated MVP, know the features your product needs to satisfy your customer and you could develop that now to a market ready product or service Growth and Establishment (Series A/B): Your product or service has a market readiness, your customers are happy and best rip you the product out of your hands, you are ready to scale your business to a higher level and higher sales Maturity (Later Series): You have a very good running business with a stable organization and sales and you look for other markets or internationalization Acquisition / IPO: Another company could need your customers, technology or people you have onboard. Or you need fresh new money for your bigger plans and visions. More or less every company somehow goes through the above steps regardless if you go the way with investors or completely bootstrapped. There are different methodologies, which help you to go through the beginning of the pre-seed phase, like the Lean Startup Methodology. That will help you to get a MVP very fast and iterate so long until you should be able to start scale it. Now the question is in the very beginning of a startup: are established processes overkill or is it necessary, that you will count to the 10%, who make it through the startup curve? My personal experience is that it would be good to define certain workflows, which are important for your business. Than everybody knows how to do special things. For example, every company needs a hiring workflow or a vacation workflow. If you are a software company, how will you develop new features? If you are a consulting company, how do you assign people to the projects? If you are medical institution, how are people able to get an appointment? I think you don’t need to write down everything your company does and things will develop and grow as your business gets older. But a minimum capture of the most important workflows and steps, which are obvious for your business, will help you to keep track of them. And also, for new people it will be easier to get them onboard to your great journey of success. There are different ways to note workflows down. You could simply write them down in words and describe everything in a continuous text. Or you could use different types of charts like a flowchart or swim lane chart. The following shows an easy swim lane chart, that your employees are able to go to the beach or mountains and refuel a bit: Vacation Request Process - Source: Gravity Flow There are also different tools, which you could use to write down your workflows. You could just start e.g. with Power Point for very easy workflows. When you want it a bit more beautiful, standardized and some predefined help, you may want to look at Asana Work Management or Nintex. If you want to do even a bit more, also have your workflows supported by IT to track them and you also maybe want to develop your own actions, you could have a look at Camunda. It is an open source platform for workflow and decision automation, which should bring business users and software developers together. Summarized I would say: indeed, it is good to write down the most important workflows your business has. But don’t overdo it, so that your organization can still breathe and have room for new stuff.
If you can dream it, you can do it
The title of this month blog post "if you can dream it, you can do it" is a famous citation from Walt Disney. Personally, I am fully convinced of it. Everybody should have dreams they are seeking to achieve and everybody needs dreams to grow, to become a better version of themselves and to achieve something – regardless of what it is. When you achieve your dream than it is a great feeling. Dreams could be as normal as losing weight, finishing a (half-)marathon or travel to a special country. Or they could be “a bit more challenging” like flying to the moon or mars, improve the wealth of human beings or fix todays mobility challenges. Regardless of what you are dreaming: work for it, hunt your goals and dreams and sometime in the future you may reach it – but please never forget of what you dreamed, as when you forget it you would never recognize that you already achieved it. In my opinion dreams should guide you through your daily live. They are important to see your big picture, the big why am I doing this. Also, a very famous and appropriate citation is: “Don’t live to work, work to live”. What are most people doing when they are grown-up? Did they not work from Monday through Friday, 8 hours or more, complaining about this and that, looking all the time for Friday and is very sad when its Sunday? To be honest I know enough people whose everyday life looks like this. Sure, they work to live, but is it worth it like that? I mean with a 40hrs work week, 1hrs commute to work 5 days a week and with 8hrs sleep every night people are working 45% of the time per week they are awake. Would it not be better to have a better purpose for this time than just gain money to live? There is a very good guy out there from whom I love to watch talks and presentations. His name is Simon Sinek, already heard of him? I try to look especially one Ted Talk from him at least one time a year: "Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action". Please do me a favor and watch it now when you don’t know it. It is worth the time watching it. I think it is not just for leaders to inspire everyone. But also, everybody needs his own why. Why am I doing this or that? If you start asking this yourself maybe you are totally fine with the status quo and everything is good. But maybe you need to change your job, start a new hobby or even go for new friends to be more satisfied every day. The best thing is when you are not complaining all the time anymore and when you are sad when its Sunday 😊! Why, how, what. Please watch the video above when you don’t know what this means. Of course, I also had dreams and have dreams. One of the biggest dreams throughout my childhood and teenager time until I turned 19 was to start one-time at the biggest and greatest cycling competition of the world: Le Tour de France. That dream pushed me to go over and over again my pain threshold, overcome the inner piggydog countless times and become German champion, won lots of medals at championships, travelled through Germany and Europe a lot and had a really nice 10 years journey. Unfortunately, my dream burst when I came to the elite class in 2009, because exactly there the German Pro Cycling was devasted as there were some dope stories and Gerolsteiner cancelled their engagement and the Team closed their doors by end of 2008. It took several years and nowadays the German Pro Cycling is flourish again and we have lots of great young athletes who are mostly 5 years and younger than me. Of course, I could have tried it in a foreign country as a Pro and maybe would have done it because I had a good outlook to become a good athlete but I rather decided to take another way. A nice article about my cycling career and future plans back 10 years ago can be found here (only in German available). Good old times. Since than I wanted all the time grow my own company and see how it develops. It took a few different stations and projects I started the last years. By the way I am a great advocate of “Learning by doing”, in my opinion there is no better way to learn things fast and best. Since almost 3 years I am highly involved in (text: http://binando.com text: Binando target:_blank). We are doing great stuff here and help a bit to get cleaner and better-looking and more livable cities and also save the earth a bit. That is of course not the end of the path and I am looking really forward for what to come, but for sure I am looking to get the solution we developed to establish in lots of cities and companies over the next years and then I will see what will be afterwards. I am highly convinced that I will find a new challenge and dream and purpose when it is time to take on new challenges 😊!