Know how to make a cat a better hunter? Stop feeding it. Give a cat its fill and find him playing with the mice! Time and time again it’s a marketer’s pet peeve to observe a business totally succeed on a comfortable plateau – which to some may be the goal – while watching new opportunities lazily come and go. Another name for plateau is flat line.
It’s a funny thing that happens when a business is chugging along. Projects and product is moving, work comes walking through the door rather than chasing it – we’re on cruise control baby! Believe it or not there are perils in this situation, the difference between becoming a fat cat or a hungry hunter!
Don’t get me wrong, I might be mistaken calling it a “fat cat syndrome”, that would imply the person sits back, and prints money… not quite! A fat cat can also be someone so busy that they’ve quite chasing new business, the thing that guarantees a bright future! Why would I work on new business when I’m so busy with current business?!
I admit, I struggle with this myself! Luckily I’m reminded by annual slow periods that I have to prepare for. Working 12hrs a day is no excuse, you have time for the minimum you have to do, and it all comes down to a few things:
Reply to your email regularly.
It’s odd, but when I contact a busy business and I get a timely response I’m flattered! Don’t let your customer base think they are imposing on you for some of your time – give it to them! The best system is to clear your inbox in the morning, concentrate in the afternoon – whatever works!
Value past clients as much as future clients
Like any commodity, it’s easy to devalue your client commodity as its abundance goes up – it doesn’t work that way! If a client asks for advice after you’ve closed the project, give it to them. If a problem turns up with your product, drop everything and fix it! So many businesses take their clients for granted and think they could almost stand to lose a few! A free service to your client has huge value to your future business!
Sounds silly, but I can’t live without them, especially while we are concerned with the little things! My lists are broken up into two categories, “large projects” and “small tasks”. This is where finding time for the little things comes together. You have to take a break from any big job you do, the key is to jump to the small tasks between the large ones. By the end of the day you’ll be amazed at all you’ve accomplished! (According to my wife my list of the little things isn’t long enough 🙂
Sometimes you have to say “I don’t have time for this but it has got to be done”. What you paused will always get done. Do you think I have time for enewsletters?! Ha ha!
So, stay hungry and stay ahead! You may be comfortable cornering the market now, but someone is looking to take it away – so stay on top of things! Paranoia will take you far!
Scott Kasprick is a graphic designer in Brandon, Manitoba and owns and operates Reaxion Graphics while helping his wife raise three lively daughters!