BNIGuy's Blog

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Take Time, make time

with 4 comments

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” ~~Jim Rohn

Brainstorming is always a valuable exercise in planning.  Go ahead and brainstorm different ways you can grow your business.  Challenge yourself to think of twenty different methods you could use in 2011. Don’t limit yourself to things you actually do…think out of that box a little.  Be creative.  It’s only brainstorming.

Stop reading until the list is complete and you have at least twenty ways listed.

Once you have a list, each entry usually falls into one of four different types.  Each has its place and they all have strengths and weaknesses.

The main differentiating points involve whether an activity is primarily active or passive and whether an investment is largely time or money.

We won’t examine each area deeply as they are disciplines principally beyond the scope of this blog.

At the far end of passive activity with money invested is advertising.  Many of the items on your list probably fall into this category with radio, television, Internet, billboards, signs, promotional items, etc.  Once the message is planned and content developed the lion’s share of involvement is based on budgetary considerations.

Another passive activity—this one with relatively lower dollar investment—is Public Relations.  Many businesses never even consider this or have dedicated resources to apply, yet publicity can be a valuable factor.  Social Media somewhat straddles the area between Advertising and Public Relations.  It is more active than either and relatively low-cost, as well.

In the high activity low cost arena is cold calling.  Some excel at this and some businesses thrive on this model.  Most people, however, do not like engaging in or being approached in this manner.

Another high activity low cost entry is networking.  That is actually the focus of my business, my marketing efforts, and this blog series.  One of the things I like best about networking is that it reduces (and may over time eliminate) the need for most of the other areas.  If you rely heaviest on networking, the other areas simply support the effort.  Once again, Social Media fits neatly with networking, as well.

One thing to consider, though, is that we are taking about net-work.  It does require effort and that takes time.  A frequently asked question is, “How much time should I apply to networking?”  Naturally that depends on your specific requirements.  Studies recommend seven to ten hours per week and my experience bears that out.

I have no doubt that you are already busy and cannot conceive of carving out a work day per week.  Think back to last week’s exercise and look at the areas you will increase ten-percent or so.  Setting the time aside makes this increase possible.  Block out your time on the calendar now.  If you attend regular networking events consider blocking some time just before or just after for one-to-one meetings.  Carve some time out two or three days earlier for invitations and introductions and one or two days after for follow-up.  Look ahead at local training events.  Find some that interest you and leverage them by inviting people you want to help or want to get to know better, as well.

In time, you will begin to do networking more naturally and more often.  Start by setting time aside, though, to develop the skills.  Furthermore, you will have a lot of fun (and better results) doing networking when you have a plan.

© 2011 by Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Stephen Hand of Triangle BNI.

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Written by bniguy

January 9, 2011 at 2:17 am

4 Responses

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  1. Steve, another excellent blog. If you send me your twitter info, I would love to acknowledge you on twitter and follow you as well. Thank you

    Moji Ajele

    January 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  2. Nice job on breaking down the four basic types business owners have to grow their business. I have to say that the networking portion has been the most fun for me in growing my business.

    I agree you you when you say you have to set aside time to properly network your business. I am an accountant and I have been doing network word of mouth marketing and it has given me 95 % of my business. Since it is 95 % of my business I spend one day a week (20%) of my time for networking. I have set aside one entire day for this activity and have appointments set every hour for the entire day besides my regular networking meeting that I attend every week also.

    Ronda Zaragoza

    January 9, 2011 at 4:04 am

    • Thank you, Ronda. As you point out networking delivers an excellent return on the time invested. Your clients must love working with you.

      bniguy

      January 9, 2011 at 10:10 am


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