In your business, does it feel more productive, to be fulfilling the orders, or spending half a day on marketing or planning?
You see, the majority of people go into business to escape working for a boss, or the long commute to work or the 9 to 5 boredom. They want freedom, flexibility and a better income.
So, they take the incredibly gutsy move and go it on their own. They step right out of their comfort zone and they become the boss!
They are enthusiastic, because everything is new and exciting. Their mindset is in exactly the right place, and they attract the orders with their enthusiastic personalities. This could be as simple as attending a networking function, or dealing with the local printer, who knows someone that requires their services or product.
They are dedicated and everything gets done just right. The orders flow in, the business owners are happy, the suppliers are happy, now it's time to fulfill the orders.
So the mindset changes from “let's go and get some orders" to “let's get these orders filled. " The conversation changes at the networking functions and the local printer, to “Wow we've got all these orders to fill" and they inadvertently stop attracting any potential orders, with what they are saying.
Eventually they get all the orders filled and realize they need new orders. So they change their mindset and off they go again. The problem is though, that every time they go back to the “let's get some orders" mindset they get less and less enthusiastic.
Why? Why do they get less enthusiastic? Because when they are fulfilling the orders they are in their comfort zone. That's what they know best and humans will always gravitate towards the comfort zone.
When they are marketing or selling, it is outside of their comfort zone. It becomes a lower priority and a task that is only completed when they have their back up against the wall.
When they first started the business their back was firmly up against the wall. There was no comfort zone. It was a case of “Get out there and get those orders" or we don't eat, basically. But, when the orders are flowing the comfort zone is the fulfilling of the orders, so the selling gets neglected.
Small businesses have an extremely high attrition rate, especially in the first 12 months of operation. Going from being comfortable one week with lots of orders, to the next, where you have to go and make new sales becomes too hard.
Sales will have huge peaks and troughs when plotted on a chart over 12 months. Emotions will be just as wild trying to deal with this, but there is a very simple solution.
No matter how insanely busy you may become, always set aside one focused hour a week for new customer attraction. Block out that hour, on the same day every week, for the next 12 months.
Treat that one hour like a prized possession, because this will be the secret to leveling out those sales and emotional peaks and troughs. This will be the secret to the longevity and success of your business.
In this hour find a place that you will not be disturbed or distracted by absolutely anything and focus intensely on attracting new customers, that's all!
This may be by producing a new ad, hiring a copywriter to produce a direct mail piece, calling 10 potential customers, writing an article for the newspaper or engaging a joint venture partner or anything else. Make it your goal to attract at least 5 new customers every week with whatever you do. Over 12 months you should have attracted at least 250 new customers which will compound because they will tell their friends.
Your total focus in that one hour should be generating new relationships and attracting customers that have never dealt with you before.
Now you are probably thinking, if I'm so busy fulfilling orders how am I going to deal with the extra orders? Well, that's where your growth comes in, that's when you hire people, sub-contract the work out or find creative ways to get the orders filled.
It puts you in a very powerful position because you get to call the shots. You decide which customers to deal with and which ones to send to your competitors. You can negotiate better discounts with your suppliers and generate more profit.
You gather momentum and it will be very hard to slow that momentum down.
It's easier not to set aside the hour, especially when you have orders coming out your ears. But if you want to survive and be successful it is critical that you have a system in place to constantly attract new customers.
And the thing is. . . new customer attraction can be accomplished in as little as one focused hour per week. One hour per week is the difference between having a business that plods along and having a business with highly profitable orders that just keep coming in, month after month. A business where you get to decide which customers you want to deal with, a business that charges a premium price and a business with a far greater value.
Block out that hour in your diary now. Do it for every week for the next 12 months, no excuses because it's going to quadruple your income, guaranteed!
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