December 31, 2014 is just 10 short weeks away. Like the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! Now is a great time to start the annual rite of passage. Reflection. Take the opportunity to look at what took place over the last 10 months. Think about how you can complete the year on a strong note. So where to begin? Here are a few suggestions for making the most of these last precious weeks:
- Review your marketing plan. Establish what you have accomplished and what is left on your plan. There is always more that can be done. Don’t forget to take a moment and be pleased with your progress.
- Prioritize the remaining goals that haven’t been reached. Select one or two priorities and create a renewed, actionable plan for working towards those goals.
- Book ten, thirty minute time slots in your calendar, one each week. Spend those precious minutes on forwarding your marketing and business development plans. Be sure to make these appointments with yourself a priority, after all this is your last chance!
- Review your contacts list; make sure it is up to date and get it ready to use.
- Connect with one of your contacts each week. Email or call specific individuals to see how they are doing, ask about their year and offer to be helpful.
- Decide on how you will connect with your networks this holiday season. Mark a date on your calendar to send out your communication.
- Revise your current marketing plan and position yourself to take action in 2014. Make it reasonable, but also a challenge!
- Start tweeting and posting status on social media consistently. By the end of the year you will a productive new habit in place for 2015.
Whatever you do, make sure you embrace your success from this year and think about ways to expand upon it for 2015. If you haven’t made the impact you had hoped to achieve last January, recognize that it isn’t too late to start. Choose to make the most of these last few months of 2014. Ten weeks is plenty of time. Good luck!
Asking for business can feel very daunting, sometimes unsavory, to some people. The reality is, asking for business need not be so hard or uncomfortable. Think of it as an extension of good service. Here are a few things to consider the next time you feel weary about asking for work.
- It’s not always about making the sale now. Asking for work shouldn’t be the first thing you think about when you meet with a prospect. Instead, think about how you may be the best solution, the most helpful and the most useful.
- Building strong relationships are the foundation of your future. Make sure that every time you ask for work, it furthers the relationship. Everything you do should build value for the future.
- Know your goal and how you will get there. Clearly define actionable steps that will help you reach your client’s goals and you have already furthered your own success.
- Keep your quick pitch in your pocket. If you know your quick pitch cold, it will always be ready for you to use.
- Uncover obstacles and brainstorm solutions before you encounter them. Anticipate delays for earning new business and work at removing them before they become a gating factor.
- Be Yourself. This may be the most important piece. People hire people they like and trust. Never give anyone a reason to distrust you. Say what you mean and follow-up on your promises.
Asking for business may never be easy, but it can be more comfortable. Build your relationships for the long haul and don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
Focus. It is a crucial element to success. I am not talking about minimizing environmental distractions, although that is helpful. I am talking about focusing your targets, pitches and short-term goals. Think about it. Which is more attainable? To “lose weight” or “lose 5 lbs over 10 weeks.” Having a clearly defined path helps you create a specific list of actionable items that you can systematically achieve.
So, what does this mean for your business? It means understanding:
- Your value proposition is and how to apply it.
- Exactly which services you offer successfully.
- Who most benefits from your skills and services.
- What kind of work you make money on.
- That it is ok to turn away non-lucrative work.
Perhaps most importantly… it means you just can’t be everything to everyone. However, you can be a deep resource that helps others find solutions they need.