That Time I Went To War (Part 2)

I know!  You probably have as little patience as I do!  You were thinking…REALLY!?!?  She is going to make me wait for the other two key areas!  Okay, Okay.  Here are the goods!

There are two more key areas that I get really serious about when I take my business into battle:

Showing UP

Sharpening UP

So, let me explain.

Showing Up

In the military, when they say that the battle begins at Zero 4 hundred.  (4:00AM) They mean that.  They don’t mean after breakfast.  They don’t mean “when your company wakes up fully”.  They mean Zero 4 hundred.  When they tell a battalion to arrive at a certain place at a specific time, that isn’t a suggestion.  The location and timing are critical.

Now let’s put that into perspective with your business.  Marketing is critical.  I see so many business owners say “I got busy” or “Other things are important.”  Let me just say this once…NOTHING is as IMPORTANT as making sure PEOPLE KNOW about your business.  You will find yourself OUT of business if you drop the ball on your marketing.  As I also said in Part 1, marketing isn’t expensive.  Marketing is INTENTIONAL.  Showing up in the right places at the right time is critical in battle.  Think about how many of your competitors have “dropped the marketing ball.”  Now think about the ones that are crushing it!  They are probably showing up in every way they possibly can.  Email, banners, mailings, social media…even old fashion phone calls to past clients.  THEY SHOW UP.

Sharpening Up

This is where you might need to get a fresh set of eyes.  Maybe really getting your team together to brainstorm.  Maybe hiring a consultant to do a strategic review.  Get some fresh eyes on where you need to improve.  No matter who you are or how long you have been in business, you can improve.  As a consultant, I have made suggestions like:

**  Clean up the breakroom.  Clients might see that!  That microwave is disgusting

**  Invest in a little paint.  The environment for your staff means productivity.  The environment for your customers means they come back.

**  Social media audits tell you what is working and what isn’t.  It also tells you if your clients or potential clients really find a reason to stay connected with you.

**  Staff effectiveness is critical.  Are people in the right jobs?  Do you have the right people?  Do you need different people?  Do you need some standards and guidelines?

**  Customer testimonials tell others they can trust you.  Do you have any?  Do you ask for them?  Do you utilize them?

**  Are the print materials up-to-date?  Do you have PDF versions to send by email?

**  What does your website look like?  How about your Google footprint?

** What training or learning areas would make you a better leader and business person?

**  What training does your staff need?

**  Does your technology meet your needs?  What ways can you cost-efficiently upgrade?

SHARPEN means to improve.  Even in battle, soldiers are refining their skills.  They really see if what they learned in training is working.  They see where they need to improve.  They even communicate with each other to give both positive and constructive criticism.  In battle, you need every area running at top performance.  During a crisis, it becomes very clear very quickly what needs improvement.  Don’t cringe because something is not quite where it should be!  Just make a plan to correct it!

Take a moment….ask yourself the questions above.  Find some places that you need to improve?  Alright, Soldier!  Get to work!  You have a battle to win!