by Guest Blogger, Lena West
What a great response to my Online Business Wake-up Call post from last week! Someone even linked to the post in Italy (can't find the link now). Who knew??
But, Bonnie, over at The Best Online Earning Strategies, brings up a totally valid point when she gives a great plug for the post on her blog, "Heck, it’s hard enough for me to be reactive to this fascinating, complex and ever-changing world of online marketing. I’m supposed to be proactive, too? Sheesh!" Now, granted Bonnie said this a bit tongue-in-cheek but, she's kinda right. So, Bonnie, this one's for you. I hope it's helpful.
Yes, business owners need to be proactive. I respectfully submit that that's what real business is all about. Now, no judgments or disrespect intended...because I've been there but, If you're reacting, you're not really running a business - you're managing an expensive hobby at worst or moonlighting (even if you don't have a day job) at best.
Here's why I say this:
Michael Gerber of EMyth fame and a bunch of other super-smart and stupidly successful people have proven that the way to business success is through shifting out of the "technician role", proper planning, forethought and effective delgation. If you're not getting the success you'd like online (or in your business in general), why wouldn't you want to take advice from someone like Michael Gerber? Unless you're OK with running around like a chicken with your head cut off - in which case, jog on. If you're not, you need to ask yourself why. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, if you say don't like being in "react mode", why don't you change it? Newsflash: It's no longer 'cool' to be "busy".
Business is defined as "that with which a person is principally and seriously concerned". I'm asking...how can you be principally and seriously concerned about your business, if you're wigging out and putting out fires? You can't.
Clients who want our help in turning their online businesses around, must be prepared to put the work in. They have to want success - and be willing to back it up with focus, commitment, determination and a hunger for something greater - for themselves and the World. Because to the degree that you don't have it together online, the less you are able to help the World benefit from your products and services. And that just stinks.
We don't sell the set-it-and-forget-it dream. It's a lie. It doesn't work. It's crappy. It makes people delusional. Someone has to (wo)man the machine. Someone has to put the time in now - writing articles, pitching the media, posting to the blog, creating programs, developing products, building strategic alliances - so everyone can grow later. I'm not saying it's easy but, it is simple. What's easy is saying you're too busy. What's easy is being overbooked. What's easy is living day after day in relative chaos. Sliding downhill is easy. Standing up and walking (or running) uphill? Now, that's not easy but it's simple.
We always tell our clients, "We'll teach you, mold you, support you and help you - but we won't carry you."
So, how do we get to proactivity? How do you start making time to do the strategic activities to grow your business - like determining answers to the list of questions I asked last week?
It's a little thing called a dedicated business development day. Some people call them focus days. Some people call them work days.
Each Friday, I gather together all my business development activities (brainstorming new white papers/articles, outlining a new program, working on our brand overhaul, telecons with potential clients and strategic alliances, etc.) I prioritize the list and mercilessly slice through it.
It gives me a jazzed feeling during the week knowing that I'll get to my business development tasks relatively soon and the sense of accomplishment at the end of the week always kick-starts my weekend!
But, here's where my system differs from most. Rather than letting tasks go undone for months at a time, whatever I don't get done that still really needs to get done (yes, this happens), I schedule work days with my business friends once or twice THAT month to clear out all those undone tasks. These are usually Saturdays (although I try not to work on weekends sometimes it's inevitable) and we call each other every hour or two to make sure we're still on-target. Usually, we only need the first two calls and then we're off to the races.
Next week, I'll share with you a really effective tool that I use to meet anyone. So far, it's worked every time! Or, maybe, I'll talk to you about my Percentage Method for getting work done. The Percentage Method worked really well for Beth over at proimpact:
"Lena's advice and recommendations have dramatically changed the way I operate my business. I was given a system to reduce my pile of 'to-do’s' into percentages. Now I can take on everything I need to tackle in a day without dropping the ball anywhere. This is such a relief. "
Or, why don't you tell me which you'd rather hear more about?