Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ever feel like you're doing it on your own?

I speak to a lot of creative people. I hear from people who own businesses and from people who work independently. They all want to talk - they all have something to say and have lots of good ideas. And many of them really want someone objective to help them decide which ideas are worth pursuing, and to help them to figure out the right steps to take.

But so many of them have no-one they trust that they can talk to about it. They don't want to talk to their employees or their competitors. They trust their lawyers and their accountants but how much do they really understand the subtle dynamics of a creative business?

I suppose this has come to sound like a pitch for my services. Well so be it. I do believe that the service I provide is a needed one - I hear it every day.

But if you don't choose to get in touch with me - at least look around and find someone objective whose opinion you can trust and bounce your ideas off them. This could be another change that will really help you.

Where do sales come from?

Several clients have told me that they have lost faith in their sales people: that they haven't produced anything for them recently and they are wondering whether to keep them.
Sales people are not just magic wands that you wave and suddenly wonderful things happen. They have to be employed as just one tool that works with all the other smart pieces of your marketing. They cannot be effective in isolation. Could this be an area where you can implement some more change?
I thought it might be helpful to look at a few new clients who have placed their trust in me in the last couple of weeks and see where they came from. One thing is for sure - they didn't all come from one direction.

One came directly from a referral from a former happy client. A few came from a carefully targeted direct email. One came after literally years of personal cultivation. One came from LinkedIn and contacted me through that site. One contacted me from the pollock|spark website but can't remember how he found himself there. And one is a repeat client - don't we just love repeat business.

So they come from all over. You have to pay attention to all angles and contact points and approaches. And you should weave your sales people into this mesh so that they can be maximally effective.

So where are your clients coming from? Where could they come from? Think about whether some change in the way you use sales could get you stronger results.

Change we can make

So finally we voted - and we voted for change.

But the heavy lifting should not all be left to our President-elect. We should seize this moment ourselves to make some changes too and work harder to generate jobs and opportunities and all the things that we have said we want. As President-elect Obama said on Tuesday night, "this victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change."

Well here is a change that I can implement myself right away. I will take all the time I have been spending on Politico and Fivethirtyeight and MSNBC and Realclearpolitics and watching Keith and Rachel and Chris and Wolf - and spend it on focusing and growing my career and my business and on helping others to build or rebuild theirs. This is a whole bunch of time (more than I care to admit) that is suddenly newly available to me. I must use it well.

This is my first change. I'll recapture that time and not let it fritter itself away. I encourage you to do the same.

Okay I know Barack Obama wasn't just talking about your business and my business - but he did stress the importance of self-reliance. We all need to find fresh smart ways to re-energize our own businesses, pulling together to re-energize the economy, so that he can make the macro changes that so urgently need to happen. So let's get to it and start rebuilding wherever we can.