By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
The other evening I was listening to Matt Furey’s Magnetic Mind Power for Peak Athletic Performance and I was again reminded that success – whether it’s in business, financially, with your family, or physically – is an “inside job” based on correct thinking and consistently making the right choices.
Unfortunately, most people choose to fail because they choose to wait instead of taking the actions they know they must.
What are they waiting for?
They are waiting for extra hours in a day to magically show up. They are waiting to hire that new technician/sales person/administrative person who is going to gloriously unburden them. They are waiting for that project/client/installation to finish up. They are waiting until things “slow down.”
Whatever the reason, they choose to wait…and waiting around never gets anything done.
The extra hours never show up. A new project/client/installation lands on your desk. The employee you hired didn’t solve the problems you’d hoped they would. And when have you ever had things truly “slow down” so you could work ON your business? This is entrepreneurial reality. Everything costs twice as much and takes three times as long. There is never a “perfect” time to do anything and there is always a reason to wait.
Since doing nothing and waiting seems to be the easier, less painful path, that is what most business owners do. They choose to wait, forget, ignore, procrastinate…
Problem is, they get to the end of a month, a quarter, or a year and they realize that they are still working their butts off and they still need more…more money, more time off, more help, more success. Then they sling-shot back to focusing on the things they know they should be doing (marketing, goal setting and strategic planning, working smarter, not harder) but where are they going to find the time?
It’s a vicious cycle.
So how do you fix this? I don’t have all the answers but I do have one key secret…
First, you must realize that success and achievement in any form is not free. Yet when most people think about achieving something, they think only in terms of “more.”
I want to make more money. I want to take more time off. I want to attract more clients. I want to sell more managed services contracts. The question that should follow this statement (but rarely does) is what they are they willing to give up in order to get what they really want? In other words, how are they going to pay for it?
If you think about the hours in your day, you know they are full. You are always doing something. If you aren’t working, you’re driving, reading, eating, talking, surfing the web, posting, sleeping or doing something. Every minute of every day is taken up by some activity. Some of these activities are necessary. Some are things you simply enjoy doing. But most are variable activities that you choose to engage in. And it is those day-to-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute choices that ultimately decide our fate.
Take marketing your business for example. Most people would agree that marketing is a critical and essential part of running a lucrative and successful business. Yet they choose not to do it. Why is that?
The number one reason I hear is, “I don’t have the time to work on it,” when the actual truth is, “I choose not to find or make the time to work on it.” The first lays the blame on some external factor that is outside of their control. The latter puts the responsibility where it should be: on their shoulders.
In order for ANY of us to improve, change, or acquire something we want, we must be willing to give up to get. This requires you to take a hard look at where you are spending your time in order to trade that activity for marketing.
If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to give up eating bad foods and sitting in front of the TV every night for one hour or more.
If you want to attract higher-paying clients, you’ll have to give up the small, annoying clients who don’t appreciate your services and change your marketing to appeal to higher-end clients.
If you want to increase your income, you’ll have to give up your unorganized way of running your business, shift priorities, and invest quality time into building a better client attraction system.
You must learn to make better choices.
You must figure out what to ignore and give up and what to focus on and pursue. Not all activities are created equal. Not all projects are equally important, and not all clients are worth pursuing.
The problem is, most people are so busy doing the wrong things that they never have time to work on the right things.
So here’s my advice…
First, get clear. What do you REALLY want out of your life, your business? What is truly important to you?
Second, pay attention to what you are doing moment by moment. What are your daily habits? Most of us run on autopilot through our days and never stop to consider that there may be a better way of doing things. Think back over this past year. Were all of your days pretty much the same? Did you make any dramatic changes in the way you worked or approached problems? If you had a breakthrough, chances are you did. If you had an “okay” year or made very little progress, chances are that you are clinging to and repeating bad habits.
Do you REALLY have to do a particular activity? Can you outsource it, delegate it, or just plain ignore it? Do you REALLY have to take on that new project or clients? Does it move you closer to what you want, or does it stall, distract, or hinder you in some way? Are you constantly improving or are you just going through the motions?
And finally, WHY are you not taking action on an activity that you know you should? In most cases, it’s an emotional reason. Do you REALLY have no time or are you simply not finding time? I cannot believe that every single moment of every day, every activity, or every project you are focusing on right now is equally or more important with the activity of revenue generation (marketing).
Of course, you are free to choose to do nothing.
You can choose to keep on spending your time, energy, and focus on doing the same activities in the same way you’ve always done. You can choose to ignore the marketing of your business. You can choose to settle for an average income and an average business.
And maybe you are completely satisfied with your life and have no need to improve or grow. But if you aren’t, I would suggest you take a sober look at what you are doing day-in and day-out and make a choice to stop doing one or more things and choose to replace those activities or bad habits with ones that empower you.