As a child, do you remember the days of feeling so wonderful every day, thinking that the world was SO big, and the day was SO long, and you knew you could accomplish just about anything you wanted? I do. I remember jumping out of bed, thrilled I got to run to the table to eat my Cocoa Pebbles, drink the resulting chocolate milk and then head out with my brothers, seeking the fantastic adventures that awaited me.
I was never disappointed, and I never went home at the end of the day thinking, “What a waste of a day! Everything was a bummer.” Interesting, because don’t we find ourselves saying that too often as an adult? Somewhere along the way, we picked up the idea that we had to push the day and to force the exact outcome we (think we) want. Any deviation from that vision became a failure.
Well, I for one think we need to get back to our six-year old mentality. Let’s head out for the day and say, “Yes! I have a plan and I know what I’m going to do to make it happen!” When needed, we can find a way to adjust to the day, keeping our flexibility and our great attitude, and we’ll never be disappointed, because every deviation will feel like a new adventure. When something unexpected happens, or we feel a setback, instead of “OMG! I can’t believe this is happening to me right now! Ugh!” how about, “Ok! Whoa!” (taking a moment to laugh about it) “I can adjust to this. I’ll just do [this – fill in blank] and see what happens! Hurray!” Because isn’t that how kids are – always excited, always energetic and always malleable to whatever is right in front of their faces? We all deserve to keep those qualities.
In business, as in life, we get to where we think we need to “control” everything otherwise we think nothing we want will ever happen. We get mad, impatient, critical, complaining when things don’t go our way (who cares about anyone else’s way!). I’m guilty, majorly. (I’m sorry, to everyone who hears my name and screams “Control freak!”)
To keep things light and loose at work, remember to keep your eye on the prize, but also “hold on loosely (but don’t let go)” as the 38 Special song goes. Yes, I’m aging myself and totally ok with it.
Before you even start putting together a marketing strategy, there are some things you need have in place first – so you can hold onto them loosely. Write them down, make sure you and your staff fully understand them, and then set them aside so you can focus on what ensuing actions will support it. Now your Marketing Strategy can really launch your business to the stratosphere!
HINT: You can use the below with any area, aspect or subject of your life, including your relationships, raising your children, learning a new hobby or even starting a new group in your community. All you need is a subject – in this case, it’s work.
- Write down the EXACT GOALS, targets and timelines for your business. These will allow you to create the specific marketing and promotion plans, programs and actions to guarantee you will arrive.
- Determine or reiterate the PURPOSE of your business. What is your future intention regarding the business activity you are most engaged in? More specific, better.
- What is the POLICY you are operating to guarantee your business growth? Policy is the protocol that keeps things organized. It can cover anything from your hours of operation, pleasantness of your sales staff, or even dress code, emergency procedures or employee benefit support. These guidelines will mean your focus can be on expansion, not on everyday problems.
- Do you have a list of PLANS to make your goal? Does each of those Plans have Programs (the exact steps to accomplish the Plan)? Programs should list any possible target that will have to be met to get the Plan into fruition, and you would check these off as they are accomplished, staying laser focused on your desired outcome. Occasionally, program targets will need their own checklist because they require many facets to achieve. When this is the case, you can create a Project for this one step of the Program to keep everything simple and spelled out.
- Have you named your exact IDEAL SCENE; which could be your ideal client or ideal working situation? Don’t be timid on this. Make it what you really want, what’s really ideal, not what’s been done in the past. Look ahead into your future, and create a scenario you’d like to see. Naming your dream client and your fantasy work situation will give you a rainbow to chase – and any six-year old will tell you there is nothing more exciting than chasing a rainbow!
- Track your progress. Find the key things you can KEEP STATISTICS on in order to measure your daily, weekly and monthly progress. Similar to computer analytics, keeping the numbers will show you were things really are, not where you feel or think they are. Make sure to regularly analyze the numbers against previous time periods and adjust your activities to support the increases and knock out the decreases. For example, if your receptionist is going on vacation in two weeks, instead of planning on the voicemail filling up and no calls going out while she’s away, see if you can find a game for your staff to minimize that inevitable stat crash. Give a gift card or other incentive to the staff member that collects the most messages or makes the most calls in between their own tasks. Get everyone playing the game to keep things fun and create an attitude of “Let’s make this happen, even without the receptionist!” The camaraderie alone will keep things moving forward, and the receptionist will likely feel like she missed a field trip when she returns. That’s morale!
- LIST WHAT IS EXCHANGED, for revenue or other pay-off. Even if your business manufactures and distributes widgets, it’s important to have a friendly staff, a clean office in a nice building, good relations with other local businesses and government; not to mention all the other value-adds, which can put you head and shoulders above your competition. Find them all.
Once you have these items in place, celebrate, because your foundation is erected. With this foundation in place, you should be able to clearly see what actions you need to take to expand your business, and where your strong and weak links are.
Case in point: your business provides real estate services and your IDEAL client is an older couple with a net worth of $15Million looking for a home in Cape Cod. It will be clear you are off-track if you spend most of your time working with families in Philadelphia with a net worth under $1Million. But, the good news is that, in seeing this clearly, you’ll be able to swiftly change your actions so you are going after your ideal, not wasting your time on something less.
Having a list of Plans, you will see what areas you need to focus your marketing on, whether it be radio ads, social media, networking events or client dinners.
We love helping businesses create their dream situations, and we love even more contributing to make them reality. Let us know how we can help you.