It’s hard to believe that it’s already Mad March, meaning we’re hurtling towards the end of the first quarter of the year.
Take a second to think about all those plans you had in mind for the beginning of this year – have you actioned them, or have you been too busy working and let them slide – again?
You’re not alone. We publish ridiculously good-looking magazines and do other awesome things with digital and social media marketing, but we’re a business too. So we get business.
Over the last few weeks we’ve taken a good look at some strategies for our own business (with some help from the team behind the book Rework and the fabulous Amy Porterfield) and thought we’d share them with you.
These strategies will help us all to work smarter in 2016.
It’s all about how to look at different ways to approach our work so that…
- We get more done
- Everything we do leads us to big results
- We all end the day feeling more satisfied with where we are headed.
These strategies will help us all get more done with less time, less money and less resources… the precious things we all seem to be short on.
Below we’ll cover each of these eight strategies:
- Embrace our constraints
- Become curators
- Be more focused
- Make decisions often
- Create offers our ideal customers cannot refuse
- Sell our by-product as an upsell or downsell
- Make sure our work really matters
- Be SMART
Strategy #1: Embrace our constraints
Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got.
There’s no room for waste and that forces you to be creative. Rework.
Sometimes it can feel like there are never enough hands, minds and bodies to go around. Let’s stop thinking, “Poor me, it’s not fair, I don’t have enough of this or that”. Stop playing that game right now. Instead, we’re going to ask what we can do with what we’ve got. We’re going to get smarter and more creative!
Strategy #2: Become curators
We must constantly ask ourselves… Is this incredibly tailored to the needs of our customers?
It’s the stuff we put in that’s important, but we must remember that it’s what we leave out that matters. When you’re in a museum, what you see on the walls is just as important as what you don’t see on the walls. There’s a curator involved that decided what would be perfect for the museum.
More importantly, what could not be in the museum because it would throw people off, or create the wrong feeling or emotion, or send people down the wrong road.
Everything we all do in a business must fit with our kind of style. But most importantly, it must fit with what our ideal customers want from us, not just what we want to show them! Don’t know what they want? Simple, ask them.
Strategy #3: Be more focused
What’s the three most important things, right now, that our individual products bring to the table? When we drill it down and focus on just the three most important things, we can produce focused products that meet our customers’ needs and desires. We can then pour ourselves into these three core focus areas and make them better and better.
Strategy #4: Make decisions often
The next time you hear yourself saying you are going to think about something or if you tell the team you haven’t made a decision but you will get back to them when you’re not so busy – stop for a minute and ask if you could just make a decision right now. Remember you will never have all of the information, but do you have enough to make the decision to keep our team moving forward, to keep the momentum and movement, and to keep taking action so we can get results? Amy Porterfield.
You’ll be amazed how strong your decision-making skills can get when you make it a habit.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all take action every single day toward our goals? Let’s swap the idea of thinking about this for a while with the mindset of deciding on it now. Let’s make decisions often. When you make a swift decision things can then happen… momentum starts. Either things will start moving forward or obstacles will present themselves – either way, that’s good.
Strategy #5: Create offers our customers/audience cannot refuse
One of the best ways we can do this is to offer more of ourselves with more customer touch points and more great deals. Here’s a simple story…
“A farmer wanted to buy a pony for his little daughter. There were two for sale in his town. Both ponies were equal in all aspects. The first man told the farmer he wanted $500 for his pony, take it or leave it. The second man was selling his pony for $750. But the second man told the farmer he wanted the farmer’s daughter to try out the pony for a month before the farmer had to make any purchasing decision.
He offered to bring the pony out to the farmer’s home along with a month’s worth of hay to feed the pony. He said he would send out his own stablemen once a week to show the little girl how to groom and care for the pony. He told the farmer the pony was kind and gentle but to have his daughter ride the pony each day to make certain they got along together. Finally, he said, at the end of 30 days he would drive to the farmer’s and either take back the pony and clean up the stall or ask then to be paid $750. Which pony do you suppose the farmer decided to purchase for his daughter?”
From the book Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got from Jay Abraham
Strategy #6: Sell our by-product as an upsell or down sell
The upsell is not a necessity. It is not like you are screwing them up if you don’t include it but it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, if I offered ‘this’ those people that were really serious about getting results would take me up on it in a hot minute.’ Amy Porterfield.
It has been widely reported that approximately 60% of people take you up on your upsell when you do it right.
Work out what are our upsells and down-sells – then reap the rewards! This is the icing on the cake, people.
We all know that we have to put much less work into an upsell than getting a new sale. So maybe take the time in 2016 to be very clear on what ‘other’ services and products we can all offer our clients.
Strategy #7: Make sure our work really matters
Nothing really matters if our work doesn’t matter to others… or to you.
Why are we doing this?
We could look at the big picture question of why we are in the business we’re in. Or, we could make it even more specific and ask why we create the individual products we do? We need to think about who they are for, who benefits, and the motivation.
Is this actually useful?
It is easy to confuse enthusiasm and usefulness. We get really excited about our ideas and what we are creating and we are so excited that we kind of lose sight sometimes. Make sure that whatever we are selling or creating is incredibly useful.
Are we adding value?
Adding too little value will leave our audience confused. Adding too much value will just be overkill. An example is that “too much sauce can ruin your fritz and sauce sandwich”.
Is there an easier way?
Remember, pursue simple and get fancy later. First we have to get really simple. We want to pursue simplicity. If there is an easier way to do something in our business, find it now because this is how we will all work smarter in 2016.
What could you be doing instead?
This is where we need to be looking at our team and our resources. If we are working on one thing, what else is not getting done? Are we making decisions every day that are moving us toward our goals or are we sitting on a bunch of decisions we need to make, working on things that aren’t really moving the needle, and probably slowing down momentum on our team?
Strategy #8: Setting SMART Goals
Everything we do in 2016 will be aligned to a SMART Goal.
- S – Specific The more specific we can be with writing down our objective, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is we need to accomplish. Often, answering the five ‘W’ questions – who, what, where, why, and which—can help us achieve greater specificity.
- M – Measurable Can our goals be measured? How will we know when we’ve achieved our goals?
- A – Attainable Another way of putting this is ‘realistic’. Is it possible to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves?
- R – Relevant For businesses, relevant goals mean that they have the potential to impact our business objectives, vision, or values.
- T – Time-bound Give our goals deadlines.