November 30, 2010

A Few Good Reasons

"Why do I care if I get along with my co-workers or not?"

This bold statement came from a young woman participating in a workshop I was delivering at a Halifax cosmetology school a couple of years ago. It was more of a statement than a question.

Oddly, it actually shut me up for several seconds. Not because I didn't know the answer but because I was surprised that she didn't.

That day we brainstormed 6 key reasons why getting along with other people is critical to any success. Working together, we can achieve these things that we cannot accomplish alone:

More creative solutions. When we bounce ideas off each other, we arrive at better solutions than we would alone.

Implementing complex plans and strategies. Because the work can be divided, together we can tackle complex projects more effectively than we can alone.

Learning from others' skills and experiences. When we work with others, we also learn from others.

Endurance. If one person is responsible, the loss of that person can cripple an undertaking. When we rely on others, the loss of an individual may be difficult, but our work will continue.

Increased motivation. We want our colleagues to see our very best effort.

Getting feedback. When we work with others, we benefit from feedback that is essential to our continued growth.

Being an entrepreneur, getting along with practically everyone is important. As you build your business relationships, keep in mind that there are lots of good reasons to make them flourish.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on November 30, 2010

November 16, 2010

What I Learned from a Marketing Guru

I am fortunate to be good friends with a sales and marketing consultant. After years of advice, some things are definitely sticking. One of the most useful has been the P-O-S formula:

Pain - what is your clients' pain?
Outcomes - what will be the result of working with you?
Solutions - how do you achieve that?

I use this formula for all of the marketing writing I do. If I'm having trouble getting started, it helps me focus and draft my thoughts. If I had no problem writing, I use it as a checklist to edit at the end. It's quick, simple and memorable. Give it a try!

Thanks to Debi Hartlen MacDonald of New Life Business Solutions!

Check Things Off

I have clients and potential clients that want to start e-marketing campaigns. They are stuck at the step of putting together their first mailing list.

In an effort to help, I decided I would give them a specific list of things they can do to compile their initial list. To add to my own ideas, I did some online research. An article called “How to build your mailing list” sounded promising. The skill level required was listed as ‘moderate’. Good so far. It went on to say:

Step #1: Create a well-optimized website…

Hmm… I’ll get right on that.

It’s hard to get motivated when we start with BIG tasks that are really more like projects. That article sure didn’t move me to accomplish anything. I didn’t read far before I felt overwhelmed.

When I seek ‘how to’, I’m looking for a task list that I can check off as I complete things. Being able to check things off gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue. If the first thing on my list is going to take days, weeks, or months to complete, I’m going to lose interest pretty fast.

Build your TO DO list with tasks not projects. Break down the big things into smaller pieces. Each task should be something you can accomplish in one sitting. Then cross it off.

What is one thing you can do right now to start building your mailing list? Send an email to your family, friends, colleagues, business partners, clients, and suppliers. Ask them if they would like to receive a newsletter from you. Copy and paste the email addresses of people who agree into a spreadsheet.