Looking back over 2010, I think most of us would have to admit it's been a toughie. Despite some minorly improved statistics in the news, the recession rages on, and we’re still feeling it in our businesses and at home. So – while we're waiting for the economy to improve, how can we be proactive in our own businesses? I say let's institute a new regime - a new and better way of doing things. Here are a few new rules I've been mulling over:
Rule 1 - Work smarter – Start to make better use of all the time you have to work in a week. Make your day more productive by setting new rules for yourself. Organize your day, deal with work during work time and home during home time and really stick to that. It's amazing how much we can get done if we really put our minds to it.
Rule 2 - Work leaner – Take a good look at your business model and if there’s anything that is not working, clip it off. Focus on the things that are working for now and make them work even better for you. When things start coming back around you and you can afford it, revisit what you’d pruned back. If you see potential, fix it and add it back in. If the idea has no legs, leave it off, no regrets.
Rule 3 - Continue pursuing new business – set some goals in finding new clients this year. Join those networking groups you've had your eye on. Consider doing speaking engagements to get your name out there and make new connections. Attend industry specific conferences or tradeshows and bring a pocket full of business cards. Focus on getting yourself out there and talk about your favorite subject – your business – to everyone. You never know where the next lead will come from.
Rule 4 - Stay in contact with your client list – this does not have to be an expensive venture. Email marketing is a great way to keep your costs down. And personal touches are always appreciated. Call your clients on their birthdays. Send greeting cards. Contact clients you haven't talked to in a while and let them know what new services you are offering that will help their businesses. When you give it a little thought there are lots of inexpensive ways to keep in contact.
Rule 5 - Don’t worry – if you are like me, sometimes worry can take over and keep you from making decisions in a timely manner. If you’re really a big worrier, you may become paralyzed by it. This is never an answer. Find a way to calm down, then make a prioritized list, and keep moving.
My mother says “Always be working toward a goal. You can change it along the way, but it's important to keep moving forward.“ I have to say this advice has kept me going many times in my life. Sitting still doesn't get you anywhere, it's not only depressing but also boring. So keep yourself moving. You never know what doors may open to you as you proceed. As a rule, I think that's a pretty good one.