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Pop quiz: What are the two biggest days of renewal for business owners, professionals, and independent consultants? Answer: New Year’s Day and Labor Day.
While the renewal power of New Year’s resolutions are well known, the lesser known Labor Day resolution is a similar phenomenon. When the kids go back to school and summer vacations end, many in business see this as a last chance to make an impact on yearly goals.
“Fall is the biggest season for client decision making,” says Scott Hamilton, founder of the Executive Next Practices Institute, a forum for C-level executives. He says fall is no time to fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent items on the to-do list.
“Your choices for the rest of the year are to focus on the urgent, the important, or play Pokémon GO,” Hamilton advised a group of Orange County, California business leaders this week. “Focus on the important during the 15 weeks from Labor Day to Christmas.”
Also speaking at the meeting was business development expert Mark LeBlanc, author of the book Growing Your Business. LeBlanc says it takes more than focus. What is needed now is extreme focus. Here are his three best practices to maintain extreme focus as autumn takes hold:
1. Create a profile of your ideal week. Good news, everybody. You don’t control much in life, but you do get to control your time. Isn’t that why you became an independent professional, solo consultant, or small business owner in the first place? (For example: My day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t meet with clients, I focus on writing and planning. On Wednesday mornings I do volunteer work. Am I perfect? No.)
2. Maintain your daily focus. Mighty castles are built one brick at a time. All LeBlanc asks is nine minutes a day to make a call, send an email, and mail a card. “One a day, one a day, one a day, just like taking your vitamins,” says LeBlanc. He calls these “stormstarter” calls, emails, and mailings. That’s because they start a storm of new business development.
3. Develop your will-do list. Scrap those traditional “to do” lists. Instead, what three accomplishments will you complete in thirty days and ninety days? These are the stars you guide your ship by. “Put everything else in a parking lot,” says LeBlanc.
What should you be sure to include on that will-do list? One new contact strategy is a teleclass on your area of expertise.
“The best clients are those who seek you out because they have already heard of you,” says Steven Van Yoder, author of the excellent book Get Slightly Famous, and an advocate of teleclasses. “Having heard you speak, people feel they know you personally, and are more confident about hiring you.”
The advantages are abundant. You don’t have to be personally present to give a talk that reaches your target market, says Van Yoder. Online chats and teleconferences, using your own or others’ telephone lines, can help you reach a lot of people eager to hear your message.
Teleclasses are a great way for businesses to provide information to prospects, clients, and customers all over the world, with minimal cost and effort. Unlike seminars and other meetings, they eliminate the need to travel. Both hosts and participants can attend from their offices, their favorite easy chair at home, or even by mobile phone while on vacation. (Summer isn’t the only time people take off – those holiday vacations are just around the corner.)
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