As we slowly creep in on the last quarter of the year, are you reminded of the marketing tasks you have been putting off? Whether you are a new or established business, marketing is an essential part of your success. The average consumer spends almost two hours a day surfing social media for new content. Getting the right message to your connections at the right time can be tricky, especially if you don't have the time, don't understand, or maybe don't even like marketing...
We all know that dreaming, planning, and discussing only gets us so far. A successful personal and professional life-plan does begin with a thought. The thought is possibly to, at long last, start paying attention to your financial numbers more carefully, hire and collaborate with more people, or strategize for a more targeted marketing and communications campaign. It begins here, but it can stop here too. In fact, these four things could be a detriment if they keep you from the one catalyst to massive action.
What is that one thing and how do other things serve as barriers?....
Do the important things first? In my last post, I told you not to worry about the most important things. I just want you to start doing ANYTHING and start crossing things off of your list. Working on feeling accomplished and creating momentum is key to getting things done. However, there are some IMPORTANT things you should do first.
Let me define important...
Important is NOT that project you've been putting off; it's not checking your email to make sure you don't have any fires to put out today. Important is any activity or task that creates energy for you rather than draining it. Energy creating activities include drinking water, taking herbs, stretching, exercising, meditation, making art, journaling, brainstorming, or anything else that raises your vibration. Meeting a colleague or friend for coffee, going for a challenging hike, taking a long hot shower... These are the MOST IMPORTANT things to do first. It just takes a simple shift and a tweak.
I am an AVID reader of time management books and I am constantly researching new time management methods. Ever since I was 11-years old, I have studied this subject. My mother passed away when I was 12-years old but was sick a lot of my childhood. In order to help manage my household, I was home-schooled for grades six through 12. So, at a very young age, I had to learn how to manage a household, take care of myself, and get through school. Needless to say, I learned to be VERY disciplined. It was through the study of time management that I learned to be self-sufficient. 30 years of study has taught me a lot! Today's post is all about time management (as part of a series).
From paper day-planners to apps, there are literally dozens of time management tools to help you go from chaos to organized. But many of my colleagues and friends still report finding it hard to manage daily tasks; to truly stay organized AND have enough time left in the day for all the things.
I want to share a story with you...
The summer I turned 14-years old, my dad decided he was going to designate the task of cleaning windows to me. I was to go around the entire house and clean every window from the inside of the house. He would clean them from the outside.
So, I began. Mind you, by age 14 I had pretty much everything figured out, especially when it came to cleaning our house because I already had a solid 5-years of experience at it. I imagined sparkling windows and my dad giving me huge praise for doing such a stupendous job. Instead, I got streaks, white spots, and lots of fuzz from my rag. The windows were getting clean, but lacking the desired results.
As I cleaned, window after window, my dad kept telling me to use newspaper instead of a rag. I rolled my eyes every time. "How in the heck would newspaper do the job better than a rag? He must be making it up. There goes dad again, trying to tell me how to do everything HIS way." I certainly did not need anyone telling me how to clean, of all things...
Have you ever witnessed a firefly show? I grew up in the Midwest. It's an understatement to say I am fascinated by fireflies. It is much more accurate to claim that I am obsessed.
Fireflies are cool for many reasons. I've studied their habits informally for many years; from behavior patterns to the energy-efficient light they give off. That light is now being studied formally at UC Berkeley to see if they can recreate it.
It is the firefly's incandescence that mesmerizes us. That subtle, consistent blinking light is the way this little bug communicates with other fireflies. If you've had the pleasure of witnessing them, it is a beautiful, subtle, dance of survival. They NEED to attract other fireflies to mate and proliferate. This communication is delivered with precision and then a whole community of fireflies will blink their light in unison, as if proclaiming..."I've got your back, I'm here for you, and you are not alone!" It's quite inspiring. I realized when I was forming my business almost 11 years ago, that fireflies shaped my philosophy on communication and marketing, hence the namesake Firefly Strategies.
3 Things You Must Do When Managing a Crisis
When we plan, whether it's for personal, small business, or non-profit development planning, the assumption is a successful outcome. We work hard to make sure the plan will lead us to profitability. But, many things cause delays or derail us from our end game. Most plans do not have a crisis component built into it, which is a mistake. ANYTHING could go wrong. I've seen some of the best-laid plans fail miserably because something went wrong.
When a crisis occurs, you might be able to manage it internally without news leaking to the public. However, more often than not, the public finds out. So, plan for the fail, for a crisis, and for news going public.
Here are 3 things you must do when managing this kind of crisis...
Not long ago, I was struggling to keep my head above water, trying to manage WAY too much. Unfortunately, this predicament isn't something that happens to me only. I know MANY businesses, organizations, and individuals that are currently under incredible stress, and exhausted due to juggling too many hats.
Sometimes it seems there just isn't a way out of the chaos. Hiring someone is not feasible. There's no time to recruit an intern. And volunteers, though great, just don't have the right skills.
So what CAN you do when you are on the verge of "drowning?" Create systems! With the right systems in place, you can eliminate quite a bit of reinventing the wheel. Also, systems provide a framework for hiring someone or recruiting an intern or volunteer. There is a clear expectation of what needs to be accomplished, and less time spent orienting because documented systems can serve as training material.
Here are the top 3 systems I recommend you put into place as soon as possible...
The other day, I read a fantastic article on pricing your services and products. This article was written for women entrepreneurs, but I saw how it could be applied by any business or non-profit. It made me think about all the steps in the sales strategy. The first step, of course, is making sure you have a price figured out for your business, but how do you know if you are charging the right price. For non-profits, how much should you be asking for when requesting donations?
A solid pricing structure for your sales strategy starts with knowing what you are trying to earn and/or how much you want to raise monthly or annually. Figuring out this simple goal can help you create a very targeted and strategic sales plan...
I consistently get asked what is the 1 most important marketing activity to do. People ask "what is that 1 thing I need to do in order to get customers?"
My answer usually is that there isn't. There is no 1 thing you can do to gain customers or more sales. People are complex human beings. We like to receive and absorb information differently depending on the time of day, season and how we are feeling on any given day.
Yesterday, I read a report by MarketingProfs, a leading marketing research, and management company. One of many organizations dedicated to studying and reporting on marketing and communications findings.
The report they published showed what major marketing departments across the U.S. are utilizing and spending their money on to get their message across to their target markets...