September 08, just as the ‘credit crunch’ was taking over the universe – I wrote a post about keeping energy levels up amidst the doom and gloom.
Whilst many of us have really great intention – it is often zapped by people we meet, work with, live with – and the reality that our most precious resource, time, just seems to run away with us – there simply are not enough hours in the day.
Optimism, passion and energy are really key fundamental success factors we need to personally harness as, when you think about it – it’s energy and enthusiasm that keeps us all going – the sense of purpose that motors us on.
Think back to how you feel when you’re not 100% – I know myself that I can’t think straight – and often feel overwhelmed by the usually manageable everyday tasks.
Whilst the 2009 media was dominated by the ‘doom and gloom’ relating to the economic climate – so many of us were keen to get into 2010 – and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling really optimistic about 2010. And, of course, optimism is infectious – perhaps that’s just the way it works – a self fulfilling prophecy – resign yourself to D&G (and I don’t mean Dolce and Gabanna) and that’s what you’ll get heaps of.
So if optimism is infectious – let’s spread it. And to keep ourselves keen on spreading it – let’s ensure our energy and enthusiasm levels are maintained too. Revisiting my September 08 post – much of what I stated, remains…
- Watch out for ‘energy vampires’ – and by this I mean those people that ‘suck’ the life out of you. We all have them in our lives – these are the people you are around for a period of time and you come away from feeling ‘low’, ‘negative’ or hugely frustrated. Try to avoid these ‘vampires’ as much as possible. If you have to be around them, zone them out as much as possible. And counteract their negativity with positivity. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
- Counterbalance the ‘vampires’ by being around ‘energy boosters‘ – these are people that really excite you – get you enthused and positive about what you do. They ooze energy and when ‘boosters’ get together – energy is shared – and it generates more energy so everyone comes away feeling ready for anything. You know who these people are – so spend more time in their presence.
- Get fit – mentally and physically. At the time I wrote the original post, I had just run my first half marathon (have to say that I haven’t run another one since, but do regularly run 6 miles at least a couple of times a week). Whilst a person who has always been very sporty and active, running was something that I had done down the gym for 10 minutes at a time – but long distance was not my bag. Preparing for a marathon (or half marathon) is hard work – and it takes dedication, commitment, resolve, determination and self belief. You really question whether you’ll make it round, will you fail, will your heart give out! But in your heart of hearts – you know you can do it. Coping with the doom and gloom of our economic climate is somewhat aligned to running a marathon – nothing is going to happen quickly – and so you need to prepare yourself for the long run. Stay well – keep focused on the end goal – and keep going, be determined – you will get to the finish line…
- Me time – get into the habit of making some ‘me time’. There’s nothing clever about working and worrying 24 hours a day. You’ll burn out, lose momentum, become low and energy and enthusiasm will slip far from your grasp. Don’t let yourself get to that stage. Take ‘me time’ – and by this I mean doing whatever it takes to ‘recharge your batteries’. Whether it’s a long walk, training for a marathon, yoga, meditation, hanging out with the children, feeding the ducks, dog walks, listening to music, dancing, going down the gym, reading a book etc – whatever it takes – be sure you do some of it regularly. I recommend at least 1 hour of ‘me time’ a day. Sounds like it should be simple to fit in just 1 hour a day – but you’ll find that it isn’t. So start with setting 1 hour as your benchmark – and see how you go…
In my viewpoint – there’s no reason why 2010 shouldn’t be the year of the small business. As market confidence returns and businesses start to come out of hibernation, this poses opportunity for smaller organisations that have ridden the storm to push ahead of those that may still be struggling:
- Small is responsive, fast and nimble
- Small is very price competitive
- Small provides excellent service levels (often direct from the people who own the business)
- Small is willing to tailor services and innovate
So if the time is right for small businesses to push ahead and steal away business from larger organisations – what types of things should we be thinking about:
- Well – for one, where possible we need to ‘unbundle’. If consumers are focused on just buying the ‘basics’ – then don’t over complicate the purchase. Strip back all the ‘frills’ – and provide a ‘basic’ offering. You can always hedge your bets by providing the consumer with the option to ‘add on’ if they wish to – but keep it simple. If they want a sofa – just let them buy a sofa (without the chairs, lamp and side tables thrown in)!
- Market hard and direct – we know we can compete against the bigger players – so it’s time to market hard. Create a list of target businesses you want to work with and create a campaign. My suggestion is that you do the research in building the list based on your own client criteria (what’s currently working is always a good platform to build on) – build a list and then build your selling proposition – and then get on the phone (either directly if you’re good at telesales and have time – or appoint a professional to help) – and make some appointments to get in there to let them see how you can provide exceptional value for money, provide excellent service levels without any compromise on quality. In my opinion, marketing now, as we come out of the really negative climate into a slightly more confident one still needs to be ‘direct’ – so focus efforts on winning new business and not just brand building.
So that’s it – simple eh – keep optimistic, energised, enthused and focused on what you want to achieve in 2010. At the end of the day it’s you that matters – with your mental and physical energy levels in tip top condition, that’s what’s really going to help you stand out in a crowd!
Here’s to an energetic, happy and successful 2010! I’ve got a good feeling about this one…
Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.