Are You Intentionally Planning to Fail Or Does It Just Look That Way?
A friend asked me how my business was going. I was happy to say things are going really well. I have some good-sized deals in the pipeline that can boost my business for the next several months on top of the business I already have.
“Can’t complain,” I told him.
He pulled me aside and gave me some advice. I thought I’d share it with you in this month’s post. He told me:
“Make sure to plan. If someone gives you nine hours to cut down a tree, you spend 6 of those hours sharpening your ax. Don’t forget how important those plans can be.”
That's some solid advice for me and I think it applies to all us. It’s so easy to chase down the deal, win it then become completely enthralled with delivering to the delight of your customer.
While doing that you go and:
- pull back on your business development activities,
- forget to execute on the plan that originally got you the big deal and
- fall back to the “I can do everything without delegating mode.”
It’s a vicious cycle and I know it's a expensive mistake I've made. And what makes it worse is that you won’t see a problem in the short term. You pay for it in the longer term because:
- your sales pipeline takes a hit (that's a big ouch),
- your productivity and efficiency suffers as you transition back to owner / bottleneck and
- your focus shifts away from running and overseeing your business to working as a critical component inside it.
I see these tendencies in myself and I see signs of it in my clients. I’ve had customers eagerly give me deposits to start an Internet marketing campaign only to have it take weeks and months get started. A customer can’t quickly get me bios and pictures I obviously need for their website. They can’t find time in their schedule to review podcast scripts or get training on how to best use their video, recording or editing software. The list goes on.
Don't get me wrong. As business owners we have to focus on delivery and customer issues. That's crucial. But just as important, and maybe even more important, is the fuel that drives the business several months into the future - your marketing.
Here’s some advice I can give you from something I did to get past this. Spend about 10 minutes thinking about the things you do best. These should be the things that you not only do well, but also enjoy doing. These should be things that energize you.
Then take a few minutes to list out the things that you know have to get done, but take a huge amount of effort, you dislike them and they suck life out of you.
It shouldn’t take too long to do this.
For me, the things that energize me are
- Networking and interacting with prospects and clients.
- Take the results of marketing campaigns and designing follow-up campaigns for responded and getting even better results.
- Tweaking headlines and site content to improve open and click through rates.
You know what’s a real drag for me?
- Graphic design work. (I’m a programmer not an artist.)
- Hands on detailed search engine optimization (SEO) work.
- Website visual finish and detail work.
The things is I have good people available to help me with the things that are a drag for me. And these are things that energize these other people. But sometimes the “I can do things better if I do it myself” mentality takes over and I make a mistake that cost me real money especially in time.
I hope this advice is helpful to you. I've used it to help myself get past times when I've lost balance. Hopefully, it can help you too.
And I hope you give me a call if you need help with something that isn't you top strength. Things like:
- building Wordpress websites,
- running email campaigns using tools like Constant Contact or iContact,
- automating process using tools like Infusionsoft and Eloqua and
- executing Internet marketing campaigns
which are things I love to do. These energizes my team and me and it’s a real thrill to put these Incredibly Powerful Marketing ideas to work for you.