I know I am not the only one who started 2014 with sky-high hopes and a fantabulous marketing plan. January was great, my practice was full, and I was on the right track executing on my New Year’s Verbs. Then one day I woke up and it was March. What happened to February?
This was a miserable winter and everybody, including me, seems to have lost ground due to bad weather, the flu, and other things, but now it is time to get back to work.
I was really taken with one scene from the movie Center Stage where the ballet teacher gently scolds one of the students by reminding her that if there is a problem with her dancing there is only one thing to do: Go back to the barre.
How does that apply to small biz owners? It means going back to the fundamentals. Not many people know this, but I studied ballet very intensely for a while. I took 3.5 hour classes 4 days a week, primarily doing barre work. It was brutal and wonderful. Working at the barre gives you balance and rock-solid technique. That’s what the small business owner needs when things have come to a halt.
Let’s go through a warm-up for a business reboot:
First Position: Ensure existing clients are happy. Reach out and touch someone. I am the worst about this but maybe even calling vs. sending an e-mail is the right thing to do. This will keep your recurring revenue stream flowing.
Second Position: Look for missed follow-ups. Are there prospects you should have sent something to? Added to your database? Called back? Just suck it up and apologize for the delay and do it. People understand. Everybody is busy. Often times someone will even make it easier for you by saying, “I’ve been meaning to call you!”
Third Position: (There is a third position but nobody uses it – did I trip you up? The sequence is always first, second, fourth, fifth.)
Fourth Position: Review your marketing plan. Haven’t updated your blog in x weeks (or months)? There’s no time like the present. Don’t explain or apologize, just get some good content published pronto.
Fifth Position: Get hands-on with your to-do list and your calendar. Capture the must-do activities and block out specific times for them over the next two weeks. Commit to completing these activities and accept no excuses.
If you follow this sequence you are preserving your existing revenue, which enables you to pay your bills while you pursue new revenue opportunities. It’s pretty simple – but definitely not easy. But like anything else, the reboot gets easier over time. And I promise you will have to do it more than once, especially as a solo business owner.
Do you think your situation is different / too embarrassing / insurmountable? It isn’t. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or lying to yourself and just get moving. A body at rest tends to stay at rest so the key is to start moving forward and doing something every day that will bring revenue and success to your business.
Did you enjoy my dancing analogy? Check out what tango taught me about small business.