Archive for the ‘finance’ Category

The Most Important Word in Business

I once posted an article on a personal development forum entitled ‘The most Important Word in Business’.

I’ll be honest, it’s a long time ago now and I’ve actually forgotten the exact word I proposed. Not too impressive you might think? What I do remember though was the best business word someone else suggested but I’ll come to that in a little while.

“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” Walt Disney

My ‘word’ at that time may have been VALUE and I still see it as a very important business word. Afterall if you can add value to people’s lives they will reward you for it.

If you’re being hard-nosed about it you could say PROFIT is the most important word in business. In fairness most successful businesses make a healthy profit and this enables them to continue to grow and become more successful.

TRAINING is another important business word. As well as making a living and paying the bills a job can improve us as individuals. Training is vital for any organisation’s desire for continual improvement.

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” – Napoleon Hill

Closely linked to training is the word PEOPLE. It’s worth a fair proportion of our income to work for and with decent people. Companies that care of their employees will always out perform companies that don’t in the long run.

There are may other important business words inluding: SUCCESS, CONFIDENCE, CUSTOMER, INVESTMENT, RESPECT, PROACTIVE etc.

However, I believe the most important word in any business is TRUST. Trust is the oil of all business. People buy from people they trust and everyone likes doing business with people they trust.

Is there a moral to this story. I don’t know, like I said I originally posted this article a long time ago. I know this much though if people trust you and your products, you’ll never go hungry.

“Every young man would do well to remember that all successful business stands on the foundation of morality.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

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Come on admit it, we all love supermarkets?!? Struggling to find a parking space, all the people, negotiating our trolleys up and down the aisles, trainee checkout staff. It’s blissfull.

We’ve not tried doing the food shop on line yet but I don’t like waiting in for people and I’ve never really fancied the idea of someone else deciding on ‘suitable alternatives’ for me. But they say don’t knock something ’till you’ve tried it, so maybe sometime soon we’ll give it a whirl.

Anyway, my wife and I LIKE the struggle and the challenge of doing the foodshop ourselves, it’s extremely satisfying, really, and I want to carry my own shopping over the threshold thank you very much, even if it is persisting it down.

So every weekend, we tootle off down to Tesco’s – the people who insist that they are “helping us save money, every single day”.

Hardly bloody likely, we must put the best part of ten grand into their coffers “every single year” but unfortunately we live in a time when convenience is king. When I think about it though, it would be cheaper to give up work and start growing the stuff ourselves. Now there’s an idea.

So, we arrive at the carpark. In fairness to Tesco’s, it’s large enough, but if you are able-bodied, not a mother with child, toddler, guinea-pig or whatever other restrictions they feel fit to impose on parking then it’s a bit of a struggle.

We’re still calm though, even though we’ve been circling the carpark trying to find a parking space for the last ten minutes. Finally, we catch someone vacating a space, well for the time it takes them, maybe emigrating’s a more appropriate word – Patience is a virtue.

The trolley we choose seems decent enough. Although, after taking on the minutest of payloads ie. one newspaper and a tin of beans it somehow develops a mind of it’s own, and moving it let alone steering it becomes virtually impossible.
 
Why do some people insist on clogging up the aisles?

They bring the whole family, including great aunts and uncles with them, the more the merrier I say. Then they bump into the family from down the road and voila, you’re faced with twenty odd geriatrics, toddlers, pregnant wives and their househusbands blocking of the aisles – joy.

Why do old people insist on doing their weekly shop at the weekend?

They can shop any day of the week, they can shop when it takes half the time to shop, they can divide their shop into five and do it Monday to Friday if they like, but oh no, they wait until the weekend and then descend on the supermarkets in their droves, you can’t move for old dears at the weekend, bless ’em.

No problem though, the aisles are clearing a little, actually, we’re doing quite well for time but hold on a minute, they’ve moved the bread, AND the milk, we don’t mind though, we love a game of hide and seek. When we finally find the new, improved locations (eye-level is buy-level) you’ve guessed it, there out of stock.

The check out experience is just that, an experience. My favourite part is when having just watched you load 115 items onto the conveyor belt the assistant asks “Do you need any bags for those?” I always feel like saying “No thanks, we’re going to carry each item out to the car individually.”

But we always smile and say “Yes please” mainly out of politeness but partly because I honestly believe that if we said we didn’t they would take us at our word.

Supermarkets don’t like us using their bags anymore, it’s another cost saving exercise that they can wave the green banner at but they still feel grudgingly obliged to offer us them, so subsequently they have reduced the quality of the bags to such an extent that they tear if you put anything heavier than a newspaper in one of them.

The assistant looks at you in shock-horror if you ask for a wine carrier, so if you’ve purchased more than one bottle of wine (heaven forbid) then load them into one of their plastic bags at your peril.

Having taken out a remortgage to pay the bill, even though we had 53 BOGOFS, (Buy One Get One Free) 27 discounts and God knows how many special purchases we struggle past all the people who insist on checking their bills right in front of the exits and out to the car.

Finally, ten broken plastic bags later, everythings stowed in the car and we tootle off home again. Having put everything away in it’s rightful place we come to the best part of the day, a well earned drink down the pub, but that’s another story.

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

We buy things for many reasons, we buy lots of things we need and lots of things we don’t need. If you have serious designs on making money it is vital that you understand why people buy.

# Necessity:

We can’t live without things such as food, water, shelter etc, so we have to aquire them. However there is a subtle difference between actual necessities and perceived necessities.

Human beings can be extremely impulsive and exposure to products and services can make us think that we cannot live without them. Furthermore we are very susceptible to the power of peer pressure. ‘The kid next door has got a new bike so our kids have to have one.’

We actually feel guilty or bad if we don’t buy our kids everything their conmtemporaries have. Thus, we as a society leave ourselves wide open to exploitation by the advertising industry.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” –  Pliny the Younger (62 AD – 114 AD)

# Emotions:

Our emotions play a great part in our shopping habits, lots of people comfort-shop, they buy things to give themselves a boost. Our mood is easily manipulated and our senses our susceptible to music, visual displays, enticing smells etc.

We buy for fun, we buy things that give us pleasure, we buy things that make us feel good, we buy to escape reality.

Mementos are also big sellers, there is nothing we like more than something that reminds us of a cherished memory – The power of nostalgia is immense.

We are all capable of greed, we all love a bargain, we all buy bulk items that we will never use.

# Real benefits:

We are fortunate to live at a time of great technological advancement, the labour-saving devices that have become available to us over the last 50 years have been astonishing.

Most of us like to improve ourselves, we will buy something if it will educate us or our children. Education is now available to a large proportion of us whereas less than a hundred years ago it was only available to a priviliged few. Furthermore the internet has made it possible for us to access information like never before.

We also buy things that we hope will make us money, we invest in all manner of things from jewellry to stocks and shares.

“To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Lao-tzu.” (604 BC – 531 BC)

# Image:

Everyone loves to look and feel good. image and prestige are both key buying motivators, if something makes us look good in the eyes of other people then we will buy it.

# Health: If we don’t have our health then we have nothing. People will pay to become healthier. Too often though we think we can get a ‘bargain’ a ‘quick fix’. Prevention is always better than the cure, moderation in all things

# Influences:

I started my career in retailing so I know a bit about sales psychology. I think the most important thing you can convey to someone in order to get them ito buy from you is TRUST.

We all like to buy from people we trust, someone that is going to make sure we get value for money, someone who is going to guide us through the minefields of their particular product or service. Trust is a key ingredient of repeat business.

Top advertisers and retailers are extremely adept at influencing our decision making when it comes to buying things, they create the right ambience for their products and services. They appeal to our ego’s, they make us think buying their goods will improve us in all manner of ways.

Personally, apart from life-saving products I think freedom and space are the most important commodities. If we can acheive these things then we owe it to ourselves to find the time to enjoy them.

“Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.” F. Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

How to Get Promoted

When pitching to a group of people it is crucial that we ascertain as early as possible who the decision maker(s) is. A good way of doing this is to ask the group a key question and look who they all turn to for the answer.

It’s very similar when we are looking to advance our careers. Find out who the key people are in your organisation and start getting to know how they tick. Find out as much as possible about them and what you have in common with them. Nurture this common ground.

‘My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.’
Oscar Wilde.’ – (1854 – 1900)

# Empathy:

Don’t kid yourself that your boss will promote you just because they think you are a wonderful person or even because you’re good at your job.

They’ll promote you because they think you can help them realise their OWN ambitions, they want someone who will act as an extension of themselves. Thus, if you want to get promoted you must learn to live and think like your boss.

# Responsibility:

Ask for more responsibility, be honest, don’t bite off more than you can chew, but do everything well. Produce quality work that has impact, not mass output that anyone can do. Keep asking for more and more responsibility and if you keep doing a good job then eventually you will become indespensible.

*If your boss refuses to give you additional responsibilities ask why and what you have to do in order to be considered for more important tasks.

# Image:

Act as if you’ve already been promoted, not in a conceited way but simply assume the position you are aiming for. Dress smarter, walk faster, this conveys importance, stand up straight. Convince yourself and those around you that you are capable of greater things.

‘I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.’ – John Cleese (1939 – )

# Knowledge:

Be in the know, not just about your own business but about business in general, I read the financial pages on teletext every day, it takes less than 5 minutes.

# Confidence:

Don’t be afraid to be a bit cheeky but know where to draw the line. Ask for a better car/package/salary. If they turn you down on one thing ask for another. It’s hard for people to keep saying no.

# Determination:

Don’t give up, you’ll keep improving and learning, eventually you’ll get to where you want to be and if you don’t then at least you can rest easy in the knowledge that you gave it everything you had.

# Patience:

All good things take time, rather than hopping from one career to the next, find out what you’re good at and keep doing it.

‘In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.’ – Warren Buffett (1930 – )

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Time is precious, we all know that. We all get the same amount of time each day, time is perhaps one of the few even playing fields in life. Thus how we utilise it is vital to our success and happiness.

We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch. – John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

Dashing around like a headless chickens acheives nothing, thus planning is vital in everything. If we take a relatively small amount of time to plan it will pay us great dividends later on.

I always start a task by brainstorming, just jotting down everything I (We) know about a subject, it doesnt matter how crazy the ideas are, it’s just important to get it all out.

Next add to your own ideas with a bit of research and then arrange your information into some kind of logical order.

Time is so important and non renewable that we must try to make the most of every second of it. For example even when we are doing mundain things such as queueing we can still occupy our minds in a useful way such as reciting affirmations or ‘compiling’ articles.

Rather than dashing everywhere it is more productive to build TEMPO. The earlier in the day that we can manage this the more prooductive our day will be. It is also important to pace ourselves and to take breaks for food and rest. Burnout sucks, believe me.

There is never enough time, unless you’re serving it. – Malcolm Forbes (1919 – 1990)

Once we have planned our day or task, we must then prioritise, contrary to most other PD specialists I believe in working through easy to tough, except of course when something is time critical.

The easy jobs help build tempo and as the difficulty of the tasks increases we have also gained in fluidity. Furthermore if we spend hours on our most difficult task we then find ourselves short on time to do everything else.

It’s better to have one unfinished piece of work than twenty.

I think that routine gets a bad press, routines can be very beneficial to us and are an integral part of success, we should always try to become quicker and more skilled at all our daily tasks and eventually we will be able to do more and more in the same amount of time and with the same amount of effort.

If something saves me 20 seconds then I’ll do it.

Leisure time is vital, not only do we all need time to re charge our batteries but rest and play gives the subconscious mind time to mull over all our goals and problems.

It is possible to ‘stretch’ time by being more aware about what we are doing not just going through the motions of life.

Time is infinite, it will still be around long after we are gone. If we all achieve emotional happiness our time here will have been well spent.

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. – Theophrastus (372 BC – 287 BC)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

No matter what we think about money it is vital to everone’s existence. Money often gets a bad press but placed in the right hands it can do amazing things.

Money is meant to be fluid, to flow from one person to another, it is not meant to be horded.

“Money can’t buy you happiness but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer” (Author unknown)

Many people prevent money from comming into their lives for a variety of reasons. Some people don’t think they are worthy of it, it’s not the money they cant handle it’s themselves. To allow more money to come into our lives we have to believe we are worthy of it.

How do we do that?

We must practice what it is like to have lots of money, get used to the ‘feel’ of being rich. In fact if we want to be good at anything we must practice how to do it. Hang out where rich people do, save up and buy quality clothes and products. Start dressing, acting and thinking like a wealthy person.

Ignore your shortcommings:

Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses instead of concentrating on their strenghs. Just because a person has a limited education, comes from a poor background, speaks with a common accent etc doesn’t mean that they cannot become wealthy. On the contrary most rich people have major shortcommings in other areas of their lives.

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, it comes in handy.” (Groucho Marx)

Money can come to us from many different sources.

Too many people think they can only get money from their jobs. This is such a limmiting belief. Money can come to you from everywhere if you let it. Start thinking positively about it and it will start to flow to you.

Right out of the blue last week I got a cheque from the taxman for over £1,000, the week before my wife found a £20 note whilst clearing out a drawer, the week before that we received an insurance cheque for £850.

Start expecting it, asking for it, wanting it, thinking positively about it, stop moaning abouty the lack of it, being grateful for it and it will start comming to you.

Yesterday, I dropped a penny down the side of my car seat and spent 15 minutes retrieving it, not because I’m a skinflint but because I respect money and what it can do for us.

Andy.

They say that patience is a virtue. I couldn’t agree more, it’s just one that I dont posess, I try, I really do and I’m not making excuses BUT there are just certain things that people do that would make even a saint swear.

However, this year I decided to turn over a new leaf and not let those little niggles get to me.

I get up at 5am and make my way to the bathroom. It does not irritate me that the toilet roll holder is empty, In fact I smile to my self feeling quite confident there will be some in the bathroom cupboard but nope the cupboard is  also empty, no problem, I go down to the garage and get a fresh pack.

On my way down the stairs I think back to the film I watched last night what a great film it was, just a pity the last five minutes hadn’t recorded but I dont mind, I’d only sat riveted for almost 2 hours, I didn’t really want to know the end.

I must’ve set the DVD incorrectly because I’d been interupted for the third time that evening by one of those wonderful telesales people who insist on saving you money, they always become annoyed though when I suggest ringing them back an hour after they have finshed work for the day to discuss the matter further, funny that.

I pass the kitchen sink and spot a dirty cup and plate on the side which one of the kids must’ve left out for me to stow in the dishwasher, I’m still smiling even when I discover jam in the butter.

As I leave for work, I glance at one of our neighbours houses and think for the hundredth time ‘why have they not taken down their Christmas lights yet, it’s May for God’s sake.’

As I head for the petrol station, someone pulls out right in front of me, then proceeds to go at twenty miles an hour, I’m a little late but I dont mind. I try to fuel up but the attendant wont switch my pump on, I’m sure he will eventually, when he’s finished his first cup of coffee of the day, after the second maybe? I then go 1p over the amount I intended putting in, no problems, £20.01 is just fine and dandy, well ok I top it up to £25, that feels better.

As I am leaving the forecourt a young lad pulls in, stereo blaring, no one else bar him has the foggiest idea what the tune is, get me out of here, sorry I mean, we all like a good tune first thing in the morning especially when it’s played by someone else at 500 decibels.

At work we hold an early meeting about the effectiveness of yesterday’s  meeting and what we plan to discuss in tomorrow’s meeting. This afternoon we are having another meeting to discuss wether to divert time away from customer support and use it to hold more meetings.

I must dash I’m late for another meeting. Colin the finance director is chairing it and I promise to smile every time he uses the words ‘cool’, ‘dude’ or ‘sweet’. I also promise to laugh politely whenever he mimicks speech marks with his fingers  or says “Let’s not go there”. I’m still smiling…

Thank God, It’s the weekend at last, the alarm clock goes off as usual at 5am because I forgot to switch it off last night but that’s cool, sorry, I mean that’s okay.

We are doing the weekly food shop but can’t move for OAP’s, they have all week to shop but hey, the more the merrier on a Saturday that’s what I say. It did not irritate me or annoy me for that matter that the woman vacating the parking space that I was waiting for spent five minutes on her mobile before leaving even though she knew I was waiting for her spot, no it didn’t, really.

Inside the store, we choose the checkout with the smallest queue but then discover it’s the smallest queue because it’s being operated by a trainee who has to keep calling for assistance.

Whilst waiting patiently I notice the couple in front of us are wearing matching sweaters and make a mental note to get a pair for my wife and I, sweet.

On the way out we bump into someone I haven’t seen in years, I can’t remember his name so I don’t introduce him to my wife, this appears incredibly rude  but what was the alternative?

As we load our groceries into the car I notice someone else has left a shopping trolley in my way but I don’t mind struggling to the trolley park with two trolleys, honestly.

We unload the shopping at home without breaking our necks on one of the cats that insist on brushing round our legs or tripping over the kids’ discarded sports bags.

Finally we walk into the village and reach the sanctuary of the pub, this should be great a few drinks and a nice meal, no cats, no kids just my wife and I, pure bliss.

Wrong, there are more kids here than at the local creche. Their parents don’t appear to be anywhere in sight. When eventually they do materialise they refuse to take their screaming brats out of the pub no matter how loud they cry or complain.

I go to get another round of drinks and to order some food, the guy in front of me proceeds to order food and drink for his party of about twenty people, he keeps getting it wrong, changing his mind, going back to ask other members of the party what they’d ordered. Like I said, bliss.

Eventually 10 minutes later, the order is complete, double and tripple checked by the waitress, I breathe a sigh of relief, the waitress breathes a sigh of relief before aunt Ethel suddenly appears and asks if it would be a great incovenience if she changed her meal.

YES IT WOULD YOU OLD…of course not maddam.

We finally make it home, kick off our shoes and switch on the TV. Up pops Simon Cowell, smiling that all-knowing smile of his – Perfect.

Life doesn’t get any better.

Andy

Clothes shopping is definitely a passtime that divides the sexes. Most women love it and most men hate it. Personally, I can just about tolerate it, I like OWNING new clothes but going shopping for them is a different matter.

I always try-on new clothes before buying them because they can look totally different on than they do hung up in the shop. I always tend to be with my wife when I shop for clothes. The reason for this is probably a combination of her motivating me to buy them and me trusting her taste, if she doesn’t like it I wont buy it.

Her judgement I can handle but most of the male changing rooms in the Uk have a waiting area where all the repective wives and girlfriends congregate. The upshot is that you end up modelling the clothes not just for your own partner but for a host of other women you have never met before as well.

By the end of a clothes buying session I feel that I know these women personally, afterall, most of them will have commented, to my wife more than me, on how I look in numerous different shirts and pairs of trousers. ‘Shucks, the mere thought of it is making me feel all embarassed.’

How come there’s no waiting area for the men in the female changing rooms? They probably use the space to stow all the ‘unsuitable’ shoes and handbags.

What is it with women and handbags? (closely followed by shoes)

Why do women have to posess upwards of thirty handbags? I just dont get it. Yeah, okay they need somewhere to put all their girlie-stuff and I understand the need to match the handbag to the outfit but 30, 40 or even 50 of the damn things, it’s just absurd.

I think a more realistic luggage allowance would be 20kg for men and 100kg for women, ‘That’s including shoes girls put those back in the wardrobe NOW.’ On our last trip abroad I was only allowed 2 pairs of shoes, whilst my wife somehow scraped by with 7.

Why have women never got anything to wear?

This is another fashion mystery, how can it be physically possible to have nothing to wear when you spend half your waking life shopping for clothes?
 
Most items women buy go straight in the wardrobe and next see the light of day when they decide to have the ‘old season clearout’. Why buy something if you are never going to wear it, guys will wear things until they are worn out and THEN utilise them for wearing whilst doing the gardening or DIY.

I once left my wife alone for 10 minutes in our local village center and when I met up with her again she’d bought a new dress! I vaguely remember her saying something about how it was an absolute bargain and it would’ve been foolish of her NOT to buy it…hmm. Foolish of me more like.

There is no doubt about it women love clothes and a word to the wise for the boys, women ALSO like men who wear nice clothes, I’ve even heard women describe men by what they were wearing and not by what they looked like.

‘Scary, consign that old wardrobe to the gardening shed guys and go out and buy yourselves a new one. That’s if you can you can get past all the women blocking the entrance to the male changing rooms of course.’

Andy.

Wether we like it or not competition is all around us. It’s in the classroom, the play ground, the work place, it’s on the sports field, it’s on the high street. We are never going to get away from it so how we deal with it is obviously critical to our own personal success.

Just because competition is ubiquitous it does not naturally follow that it is good for us. Food is critical to sustaining life but if we eat too much of it we become overweight and lethargic.

Competition has many benefits though. It brings progress, improved choice, we all want to purchase better products for less money. We all want a better lifestyle for ourselves and our families.

Children learn about competition from an early age. In fact as soon as they start to interact with their peers they instinctively start to compete with them. It is therefor important that parents and teachers give support and guidance to the child on how to deal with competition and all the positive and negative emotions that surround it.

I’ve said many times previously that a parent should praise their children’s EFFORT not their ABILITY. The reason for this is psychological. Praising someone’s effort encourages them to try even harder whereas praising their ability nurtures within them a ‘fear of failure’.

Children are often branded as failures way too early in life and this can inflict massive psychological damage upon them. We cannot all be good at everything but most of us are good at something. Children should be encouraged to focus on their strong points. These are what will bring them success and enable them to offer the best level of contribution to society.

If we harness competition and control it, it can do wonderful things for us. The enjoyment that the human race has derived from sport down the years is immense. The rivalry between teams of all denominations has given us all untold pleasure.

Competition is good as long as we control it and harness it. However, we need to keep success and winning in perspective. Everything has a price and once we start ‘overpaying’ in order to succeed then we start to loose out in other areas.

I’ve always believed that the main aim of a person’s life is to be happy. Happiness is the best feeling in the world and if being successful at something makes us happy then we should strive to acheive it.

Find out what really makes you happy, decide what you are prepared to give or give up in order to acheive it and go for it.

I believe that competition in moderation is good for us.

Andy.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to get stuck in a rut, we’ve all done it. Practicing bad habits over a period of weeks, months and even years, then we wake up one day and think how did this happen to me? how did my life become like this? it’s not how I intended it to be, it’s not how I intended to be at all.

We all had fantastic dreams when we were kids, we wanted to be all manner of things; astronauts, football players, models, actors.

Then we hit adolescenece and we started to think differently, by this time we’d been sufficiently conditioned by society to think small, to be sensible and to accept our lot.

Why should we limit ourselves?

Why shouldn’t we think big and if we’ve done things we regret or not been a very nice person we CAN change it, we can set the record straight not just for other people but for ourselves.

Jim Rohn, the legendary personal development specialist once said “Work hard at your job and you will make a living, work hard on yourself and you will make a fortune”.

How true this is, even a little time spent working on ourselves will yield rewards, just admitting that we should strive to improve ourselves is a major acheivement.

I’ve always said that a total life transformation takes about five years but as soon as a person begins working on themselves they will see changes immediately and not just small ones either. But habits both good and bad are hard-wired into our brains so if we want to change them we have to be prepared to be persistent.

When we are looking for a starting point for how we can improve our lives the best place is with the concepts of COMPROMISE and EMPATHY.

If we can make ourselves just 10% easier to deal with both in our business and personal lives then our world’s will take on a much happier complexion. Once people realise that we are making more of an effort with them they will reciprocate it, often to a much greater degree.

We are by nature very impressionable so the company we keep is vital, we should strive to get good people around us – our own personal support group and avoid NEGATIVE people at all costs. Negative people are like parasites they feed off and sap other people’s energy.

Many famous people have turned their lives around so I recommend delving into biography.com occasionally to see how the did it.

There is good and bad in everyone, thus it is vital that we are not too harsh on ourselves and we make our personal development goals small and achievable.

We are our own masters, we are free thinkers, we can be whatever we want to be.

Andy.