All About Goals with Asif Choudhury

In this podcast, we interview Asif Choudhury from Bahar Consulting to learn all about setting both personal and professional goals.

Adam Lowe:Hello, good morning. My name’s Adam Lowe, my company’s Adam Lowe Creative, and I’m sitting here this morning with Asif Choudhury of Bahar Consulting. Asif, would you like to introduce yourself?
Asif Choudhury:Sure. I’m Asif Choudhury with Bahar Consulting. We work with small to mid size companies to help them grow. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and love what we’re doing.
Adam Lowe:Great. Can you tell me a little bit about your background, where you came from before you were consulting?
Asif Choudhury:Sure. I have worked in a few different areas. Prior to starting this business, I worked in the construction industry for over 10 years, and prior to that I worked in corporate travel, in sales and sales management, and in the construction industry I was in management. My background gave me the opportunity to really understand all functions of a business, from accounting, to finance, to sales, to marketing, to management, to leadership development. So I thought, I understand all these different functions, and why not try to help other companies with those issues.
Adam Lowe:So what really prompted you to go out on your own and do this?
Asif Choudhury:Really the entrepreneurial spirit of freedom and being able to do the things that I really wanna do and work with the people that I wanna work with and the types of businesses that I wanna work with, and have the opportunity to have the flexibility and autonomy. The real thing is being able to help people and change their lives.
Adam Lowe:Great. What is your ideal client? Who are the people that you say you wanna work with?
Asif Choudhury:Our ideal client really is the best widget maker in the world that all of the sudden is the CEO. You know?
Adam Lowe:The technician that doesn’t know how to run a business.
Asif Choudhury:Right. Could be a photographer that is now a CEO of a business. He could be a plumber that is now a CEO of a business. It’s a completely different skill set, as you know, and trying to work with them in developing their skill sets as a CEO and as a business owner.
Adam Lowe:Okay great. Is there anything new and exciting that Bahar Consulting is working on right now that you’d like to share?
Asif Choudhury:One of the things that all companies are facing right now is how to understand and navigate through digital marketing. We have a lot of clients that are in that industry and have come to us from a variety of different areas, and trying to help them figure out where their focus should be, what their target market should be, how they can express and convey their ideas to their clients or their prospects.
Adam Lowe:And you and I spoke a little bit offline about their being that big divide between traditional marketing and digital marketing. Can you elaborate on that just a little bit?
Asif Choudhury:Sure. Of course. With traditional marketing, you have phone calls, networking, brochures, giveaways, trade shows, things like that. Open houses, events. And then with digital marketing, you have social media, you have your website, you have search engine optimization, you have videos, things like that. There are a wide variety. And it’s, again, different skill sets and different focuses on all of these, with the end goal for both to generate leads.
Adam Lowe:Right. So at some point they have to meet in the middle somewhere.
Asif Choudhury:Right. So that salespeople can go out and close deals.
Adam Lowe:Got it. What I really wanted to talk to you about, we’ve been working together for a while now, and one of the first things that we talked about when we started our engagement was setting goals. And that was really impactful for me, because I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do. Had a good sense of what I wanted to do from a personal level, maybe not so much from a professional level. But goal setting’s really important on both aspects. And I found that working with you really helped to clarify some of those things. So I’d love to hear a little bit from you about what goal setting is, why it’s important, and maybe some of the tools and techniques that you use to help people set goals.
Asif Choudhury:For me, goal setting is really trying to figure out what your life is about. It’s trying to figure out where you want your life to go in the short term, but more important in the long term. Quoting Steven Covey, “Start with the end in mind.” Where do you want your life to be 20, 30, 40 years from now, and how do you want to reflect back on it? At that point, what do you wanna say that you’ve achieved? What have you done that you’re proud of, that you’re happy you went through these experiences, and how does that related to your family, to your friendships, to your financial situations, to your experiences? And then how can a business be a vehicle to achieve those things?
So once you determine those things to really write them down and really prioritize them. For some people, writing them down digitally is great. For some people the old fashioned way of writing them down on a big Post-It or on a big whiteboard so that they can see it every day is effective. So whatever way works for you is important. Then once we get those goals down, let’s set timelines for them and figure out how long is it gonna take to achieve this, and what do we have to do to break it down into … What do we have to do annually, what do we have to do monthly, and what do we have to do daily to achieve this.
For example, let me tell you a silly thing that I have. I have a goal of visiting all 50 states, and 50 countries in this world. I love to travel and really enjoy doing that with my family and my friends, and also for business purposes. Now I can just say I wanna go visit all 50 countries, all 50 states and all 50 countries, but if I don’t have a plan for it, it’s unlikely that I’m going to be able to achieve it.
Visiting 50 countries isn’t easy. You can’t just do that in one year. Most people can’t. And again, if you’re gonna pay for it yourself, you gotta figure out the finances related to it. I’ve tried to map out 50 countries that I want to visit. And I’m trying to pace it out. How many per hear can I do? One is probably not enough, because at my age, that’s probably not …
Adam Lowe:You only have a few years left.
Asif Choudhury:That’s probably not gonna be … Obviously I’ve visited a lot already. I’d have to look, but I’ve probably visited 30 or so. So I need another 20. So one a year, okay. But I wanna make sure that I hit that goal. So maybe I should aim for two a year. Do you see what I’m saying? Because we don’t know what life brings, and what challenges and things, and maybe some years I won’t be able to go to any. And which ones do I wanna go to first, and which ones make sense to go to with my family? Which ones make sense to go to just my wife and I? Which ones make sense to go for business purposes? Really map it out.
Adam Lowe:That’s great. That’s a great goal. I talked to a lot of people that when we talk about goals and objectives, they’re really scattered, and they can’t articulate it. They don’t even know what their goals are. They just chase the next shiny thing. Can you tell me a little bit about how you help people direct their focus to actually come up with those goals?
Asif Choudhury:Absolutely. The probably is people end up thinking about goals that they hear on TV or what other people’s goals are. The number one goal for everyone in the last quarter of the year, or in December, is to lose weight next year. That’s why January 2nd typically is the biggest gym day of the year, because everyone’s motivated and things like that. By February 1st, half those people have dropped off.
Part of the reason is they don’t understand the why of it. What’s their reason for it? Okay, you wanna lose weight, but why? You wanna get healthier, why? So that you can spend more time with your family, so you can achieve things, so you can live longer, so you can feel better? It’s really important to understand the why behind things.
That’s what we do. We try to focus on what’s really important and the reasons why. Oftentimes, we do a lot of interviewing for our clients, and oftentimes somebody’ll come in right out of college, and we’ll start talking about what kind of money they wanna make, and they’ll tell me they wanna make six figure income. Like, well why? What are you gonna do with it? Where did you come up with that number? What makes you feel like you deserve that? How do you justify that? So it’s really important that you understand the why in everything.
Adam Lowe:Gotcha. Understanding the why is definitely important, and there’s lots of resources out there for people to understand their why. It’s still an incredibly challenging thing to figure out, so I know that you spend a lot of time guiding people there, and that takes a lot of effort.
Asif Choudhury:Part of the other thing is we try to focus on the different areas that are important to people. Obviously financial is one of the areas, spiritual is one of the areas, friends, family is one of the areas, health and wellness is one of the areas. So really looking at experiences, what do they wanna achieve. Really talking about and bringing up some of these things, asking questions, so that they’re thinking about it. Part of the problem is people are so caught up with their day to day lives, and running around, that they’re always thinking, “Someday I’ll do this,” or “Someday I’ll sit down and think about this,” and “I wanna do this, but I don’t have time to work on it right now.”
Adam Lowe:Right. You just talked about a lot of things right there. You talked about personal goals and business goals. Again, there’s an interaction there between the two of them. How do you find that you can help people, especially small business owners, business leaders, find that connection, so that they connect their life goals into their business goals and make it all happen?
Asif Choudhury:For me, it’s all really about personal goals. It’s all about personal goals, and where does the business fit into it? You know? And even a business … Like I said, for me, starting the business was a lot of personal reasons. I wanna help people. People tell us that we’ve been able to change their lives. So why not get in a position where we can affect more people’s lives for the better? That was one of the reasons to start the business.
Again, it starts with something personal, and how does the business become a vehicle for achieving that.
Adam Lowe:That sounds great. Anything else on goals that you wanna …
Asif Choudhury:It really comes down to daily behaviors, whether you’re trying to go to 50 countries, or lose weight, or just get healthy, or make more money.
Adam Lowe:This is the second time you told me I need to lose weight.
Asif Choudhury:I didn’t say you. But if you wanna take it that way …
It really breaks down into daily activities and behaviors that are measurable that you’re holding yourself, or someone else, is holding you accountable for.
Adam Lowe:Gotcha. That accountability piece is really important, and I’m sure a big part of why you do what you do.
Asif Choudhury:Absolutely.
Adam Lowe:Great. Thank you so much for that. I do have a couple lightning round questions for you just to keep you on your toes. So you ready for this?
Asif Choudhury:Sure.
Adam Lowe:All right. If you could give one book to everyone you meet, or even every client that you have, what would that be?
Asif Choudhury:In terms of a book, the old classic by Steven Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I don’t know how old that book is. It’s at least 25 years old. But it’s still …
Adam Lowe:Still relevant.
Asif Choudhury:… still relevant. Reading that has always been something that works for most people. I gave it to my son the other day.
Adam Lowe:Wow. Yeah, i probably read that one about once a year. I have it on audiobook. I love it. Any other resources like that, that may not be books?
Asif Choudhury:There are some excellent … Speaking of my son and kids, there are some excellent resources on YouTube and on video by Kahn Academy, which started out as something for kids and education, but it’s expanded into some business tools, too.
Adam Lowe:Interesting.
Asif Choudhury:There are lots of videos to break down in simplistic terms how to understand some conflicts, things.
Adam Lowe:That’s great. I see that also on linda.com, which is now LinkedIn Learning. They’ve got some great resources there.
Second question. What’s the biggest mistake that you see business leaders make?
Asif Choudhury:The three biggest issues within most companies, or the most common issues, revolve around accountability as we talked about, communication, and trust. Business leaders need to be aware of these things and set up systems so that they are insuring that these aren’t problem issues within their organization.
Adam Lowe:You mentioned trust. Can you elaborate on that just a little bit?
Asif Choudhury:Sure. Trust, a lot of times we hear things like, “Well, accounting doesn’t trust sales, and this department doesn’t like that department,” things like that. But really it’s not the departments that like each other or have distrust. It’s the people within them. It’s a matter of building or starting to build that trust within those people. Creating communication and better understanding is one of those things, and holding them accountable also, makes it …
Adam Lowe:And certainly the larger and more complex the organization, the more that becomes an issue.
Asif Choudhury:Absolutely.
Adam Lowe:All right. What’s the one tool that you feel like you couldn’t live without and why?
Asif Choudhury:I guess my iPhone. I’ve been a big phone guy forever, just a regular phone, because I made a ton of phone calls, because I think that human relationship building, keeping in touch with people, is critical. And now with the smart phones for the last 10, 12 years, it’s really hard to do without. There are obviously other mechanisms to communicate now in addition to telephone, traditional voice phone. That’s a great way, and a great tool that would be very difficult to do without now.
Adam Lowe:I’ll get you a little rotary phone for your birthday.
Asif Choudhury:Thank you.
Adam Lowe:If you could have lunch with anybody dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Asif Choudhury:Probably my paternal grandfather. He died a few years before I was born, but I’ve heard a lot about him from a lot of different people. He was a politician, he was a writer, he was an athlete, and he was a great storyteller. Someone that a lot of people have shared that they really enjoyed his company. Never had the opportunity to meet him. He’s passed away now for over 50 years, and people are still talking about him. There’s a university in Bangladesh that’s named after him, and a postal stamp that’s named after him. I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to get to know him.
Adam Lowe:What kinda wisdom do you think that he’d have to impart on you?
Asif Choudhury:I think, he was always working for people and trying to give, and making sure that the people that he served in politics were taken care of. He did a lot of things that are still talked about in terms of some of the issues that he dealt with. I hope that people are still talking about me 50 years after I’ve passed away.
Adam Lowe:Maybe in different terms. All right. Tell me one little fun fact about yourself that people may not know?
Asif Choudhury:I never had a sip of alcohol, but I can act as stupid at three in the morning, so I don’t know if that qualifies.
Adam Lowe:At three in the morning or at 9:50 in the morning.
Asif Choudhury:Yes, either one.
Adam Lowe:It doesn’t matter, huh? All right. Speaking of goal setting, where do you think your business is going to be in the next 12 months? What’s your goal in the next 12 months?
Asif Choudhury:When we started this business, again, it was about helping people first, not focused on money. Because if you focus on really the customer, then all the money and everything else will come. Nothing’s really changed there. We’ve had consistent, steady growth ever since we started. Wanna continue down that path and ensure that we’re servicing all our clients, and making sure that they’re achieving their goals, and everything will fall into place for us.
Adam Lowe:Excellent. If anybody wants to reach out to you, have a conversation, or to work with you, what’s the best way for them to reach out? Or what does an engagement with Bahar Consulting look like?
Asif Choudhury:It looks like a lot of fun. There are challenges that every business owner faces, and tough decisions, and circumstances that they never dreamed or had nightmares about. But we’ll hold their hand through it and make sure that they make it through and prosper as a result.
Adam Lowe:Great. So what’s the best way for them to reach you?
Asif Choudhury:If they go to baharconsulting.com, they’ll find all the contact information they’ll need.
Adam Lowe:And that’s B-A-H-A-R consulting.com?
Asif Choudhury:Yes.
Adam Lowe:Great. Fantastic. Thank you so much for spending some time with me this morning.
Asif Choudhury:Thank you Adam.
Adam Lowe:All right. Take care.

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