TIME - we all have the same amount of it, it's what we do with it that counts.
I'm back out on the road again - smack in the middle of a two week trip. In light of my experience last month I've been more static this time but today was travel day and on my way I was passing close to a heritage steam railway.
Steam trains have been so inbred in me I can't not go and see them if I'm in the vicinity, so I popped in to Bluebell Railway just in time to see a train leaving the station. I had a wonder round the loco shed and the museum they have put together in one of the station buildings and then I got collared by one of the curators, who was obviously curious about why I was there - I clearly didn't fit in with the other train spotters hanging around on the platform.
So why was I there and what's it got to do with business?
As I mentioned, steam trains are inbred in me. My dad loved them and so we always had to visit steam trains on holiday, when the Flying Scotsman or the Mallard came to Sheffield we had to go down the bottom of the road to see it pass by and there were pictures in the house of steam trains. So I go in part because it's traditional for our family and reminds me of holidays when I was younger, but also I think I go on behalf of my dad. I guess if he was still alive and going to these places himself I might not be so bothered about going, but somehow I feel I'd be letting him down if I didn't go and get excited about a good old fashioned steam training puffing down the line!
When I was walking back to the van I got to thinking about the saying "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got" and whether it's always bad to do what you've always done and good to always be doing new things?
I know that there are definitely times when we should make changes to enable us to strive and achieve new things (in life or business) but we have to be careful that we don't make change for changes sake. I for one am I nightmare with "new shiny object syndrome" when it comes to software and I've had to stop myself constantly changing to the next new thing I come across - I was driving my team nuts!
And that piece of marketing that works and brings in customers - don't stop doing it because you feel you should try something new. Try something new by all means, but keep doing the thing that works!
So I think it's about getting a balance - keeping the "old" things that work or have a purpose (as long as they're not holding you back) but be brave enough to try new things along side them to see where they can take you.
Isn't that called having the best of both worlds!
As I write this it's the hottest day of the year so far (Tuesday) and it's getting late in the day so my brain is getting a bit frazzled. I therefore thought I'd cheat and find a funny video to share with you for this week's email and so I popped onto Google and typed in "hot office videos". Suffice to say, I won't be sharing any of the videos that came up in the results!
But it got me thinking, do you know what your prospects are looking for when they're looking for your service?
What are they typing into a Google search and will your website come up in the results, either natural or paid?
What do they need to hear when you're doing your 40-60 second spiel at a networking event that will make them sit up and think, "I need to speak to that person"?
We all know our businesses inside out and it's easy to assume that everyone knows what we do, or to describe it in a way that involves too many technical or industry-specific terms that doesn't mean anything to anyone else.
I remember many years ago, when VAs where not common, thinking that describing myself as "a secretary who works from her own office instead of yours" would made it more understandable for people. What I eventually discovered was that unless you'd had a secretary in a previous 'life', nobody really knew what a secretary did, so it didn't help at all!
So if you're struggling to get people to buy into what you can do for them, have a real think about how you're putting yourself across. Try and put yourselves in the shoes of your prospects - what are they actually looking for and how would they describe it, not having inside knowledge of your industry?
A big part of this is the features vs. benefits issue that many people struggle with:
I'd love to hear what you think you do for your customers and I'll happily feedback what I think that means and see if it's what you actually do.