Sometimes we spend so much time trying to grab the brass ring… we forget to enjoy the pony ride!
I grew up on the east coast… and no trip to the Jersey Shore was complete without a carousal ride. There were usually 2-3 circular rows of horses, chariots and other animals like giraffes that you could climb on and ride for 2-5 minutes. It was almost more excitement than any little kid could handle. Once the attendant said it was your turn, we would run to get on one of the outer pony's. That's where you had the chance to grab a brass ring. In business, you may sometimes run hard to get to the outer ponies to grab that brass ring, but you may be better served by running towards your inner circle… Let me explain!
I spend a lot of time networking. At one point I was going to 26 meetings a month (2-3 some days). I have piles of business cards on my desk that I have scanned into my contact manager and email programs. I work hard to start, build and foster relationships. Then I had an epiphany. Although I was communicating with my past customers, I was not whole heartedly re-investing by nurturing my relationships with all of them. I realized that I might just be spending too much time trying to get the brass ring of new business and not enough time appreciating those who I had already done business with.
In my last post I discussed the difference between transactional and relational business. It really made me dig into the data to determine if I was following my own advice.
New relationships accounted for a large part of my success this year, but after reviewing my financials in Quickbooks this year… more than 50% of my business was repeat business or new relationships associated with past clients. Now… I am not advocating that you stop trying to grow your business through starting new relationships, I am just asking you to reflect on how you are treating those that you have already done business with!
Resolving to Re-Connect
So as we enter this new year, it helps to take a look back at what got you to where you are today. Here are some things to think about before you forge into the potenial of possibilities in 2013…
- After reviewing last year, if found I had created or administered 60+ WordPress sites. I resolve to segment that group, and communicate, and educate how they can upgrade, maintain and enhance their investment. Who did you work with and how can you enhance that relationship?
- I have 100's of other customers that I trained through classes, webinars and more. I resolve to offer that group new materials and training I am creating. What past customers can benefit from the knowledge and experience you gained in 2012?
- I've managed 40+ Facebook pages over the last year. I resolve to keep up with the (almost daily) changes to Facebook and communicate them through posts and training videos. What technology or information are you following and how can some of your customers benefit from that?
- I've amassed 80 + sites that I monitor with Google Analytics. I have learned so much about trends, SEO and traffic generation last year. I resolve to help people better understand how traffic gets to their websites and what it means. How can you use the data you've collected last year to help others enhance their business in 2013?
- Finally, I resolve to keep doing what works, stop doing what is wasting time, and replace that with activities that grow myself and my business. Have you taken the time to explore your last year, or are you just plowing ahead?
Was not the world supposed to end on 12/21/12? The Mayans never predicted the end of the world, they just ran out of calendar space just like we do every December 31st!
Now… I know New Years resolutions are often started with the best of intentions, but sometimes crash and burn like the Hindenburg, but you have to start somewhere. There are so many images and messages admonishing our future failure, but not trying is just giving up. Reaching for that Brass Ring of new, or bigger, or better businesses, and not just enjoying the ride and learning along the way, may lead to more of the same… just with a new name and location.
I have been listening to the Steve Jobs biography, and he was an interesting dewd, but was always driven to change the world by doing the unthinkable and impossible.
Let the quotes begin…
“If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.”
“Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”