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Timing is everything. Hate to be late? The early bird gets the worm. Hesitation, when it comes to marketing, can mean the difference between making a sale and walking away empty handed.
Success in many things we do is dependent on how fast we can process information in order to do something. Response time can be critical when you're trying to start a business and while you're trying to stay on top of one that is already in full swing. Examine where you might be hesitating and think about what opportunities you may be missing because you allow an opportunity to pass you by.
1. Selling yourself. Your number one responsibility when you're marketing is to sell yourself. Many new business owners don't like the idea of having to sell themselves, as they may have never done so before. Or, the word “selling” may conjure up all sorts of unpleasant thoughts. The next time you meet someone, adopt the attitude of just having a simple conversation about who you are and what you do. Don't pass up any opportunity to promote your business.
2. Still working on the website? Some people get caught up in the technology of doing business. They make all sorts of excuses as to why they can't do things because they're “still working” on their website. My suggestion is to keep working on your website (offline), but keep a version of it up and running. It's important to maintain visibility with your current and potential clients. Websites are a great and inexpensive way to maintain a presence.
3. Returning phone calls. Do you ever have days when you don't want to return phone calls to clients, or to anyone for that matter? We all do. But, there is a serious downside to not returning them. You never know when you might be missing a time critical opportunity. Even worse, you are sending a strong message to callers that you might not be the right person to work with because you don't attend to important things like returning calls. Clients want service, and they want it yesterday. Set aside one or two times per day to return calls and just do it.
4. Failure to respond to emails. As with returning telephone calls, emails left unattended can send negative messages about you and your business to current and potential clients. Today, email is a more common mode of communication than the telephone. It's not uncommon to receive 100 or more emails per day. The danger is letting them sit unanswered. When you don't answer emails, people might think you aren't on top of things, aren't detail oriented, or still worse, that they aren't important. If people don't get the prompt attention they desire, it's easy in this competitive marketplace to go somewhere else. Don't hesitate when it comes to communications. Plan regular times in your schedule to catch up on correspondence.
5. Letting opportunity pass you by. It's amazing how many opportunities you can be presented with to market your business and get new clients. But, how many of them are you really taking advantage of? Are there speaking opportunities with local clubs and associations to be pursued? Find a list of organizations and either write them a letter or make a phone call to see if they a need for speak what their needs are. In a few minutes of your time, and usually at little to no cost, you can create a situation to get the message out about who you are and what you do.
6. Incomplete projects. How many projects are you working on right now? How many projects have you started, but have now abandoned? Adopt a new attitude of finishing what you start. It's refreshing to see something come to its completion. Unless you start something that turns out to be a blatant step in the wrong direction, try to complete everything you start. Even if you don't like the final outcome, you might be able to salvage the project for another use, possibly by pulling material from it to create articles, or free reports which you can give away.
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7. Make decisions now. Making decisions in a timely manner is something most everyone struggles with. We are concerned that we might not be taking enough time to think things through. We may not have enough data - or we might, but we just aren't comfortable enough with what we have. Or, we don't want to make the wrong decision. These are just some of the things that keep us hesitating when it comes to make decisions. But, hesitation when it comes to our businesses can translate into missed opportunities. While there isn't a magic formula as to when to make a decision on something, don't spend too much time thinking about it. Inaction will get you nowhere in your business. Even if you make a decision you might not like, taking action and pushing forward will give you more immediate feedback. You then learn something that allows you to correct. Action will bring success to you a lot more quickly.
8. Putting things off. Procrastination is hesitation at its best. When you put things off you stop the flow of everything. If things aren't flowing, don't expect new business to show up. If there are tasks you don't enjoy doing, delegate them to someone else. If you are a solopreneur, hire a virtual assistant to handle things you either don't enjoy doing or don't know how to do. If you're not moving along with business ideas or projects, consider forming a partnership or strategic alliance with someone else. This can serve to motivate both of you.
9. Not following through. Similar to not completing projects, not following through with business matters can bring serious consequences. As they say, you only have one opportunity to make a good impression. Well, a client might have a good impression of you and your business at the start, but can you maintain a consistent level of attentive customer service with them throughout the relationship? Whether it's returning phone calls, following up with emails, or delivering a product or service to the client, make sure that you complete these tasks fully.
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10. Breaking promises. Our words are who we are. When you tell someone you are going to do something, it's important that you follow through to keep that promise. The first time you break a promise to a client, depending on its severity, it can be the last time you do business with them. If you find that keeping promises is difficult, try promising small things and accomplishing those. Sometimes breaking a promise is necessary as when a client or customer makes demands that are outside of the scope of the original agreement. In that case, it's about protecting you and your business. Every situation is different. While keeping promises to clients and potential customers is critical to business success, it is just as important to keep promises to yourself. Consider adopting a new attitude of everything I say I will do, I will. © Copyright by Alicia Smith
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