Archives for May 2014

How Your Customers Benefit from You Investing in You

Or, I Went To This Conference And All I Got Was a Bunch of Great Ideas For My Business

Have you ever gone to a conference, met some really interesting people, heard a bunch of motivational speakers, gone home, put the binder on a shelf and went back to head down at your desk?

This isn't the conference I went to. Mine was cooler. Photo courtesy of TSLAC

This isn’t my conference. Mine was cooler. Courtesy of TSLAC

Guilty. My only excuse is that it was very early in my career and I was too dumb to know any better.

In my last blog, I told you to make professional development a priority. I took my advice and attended a

conference of my peeps, the Solo PR Summit. It rocked. And I’m proud to say I’m enough of a grownup now that I’m putting the smarts I learned to work!

Here are six takeaways that any business owner can apply right now:

  1. Find out why.

Keep asking questions. I loved this example from Mary Barber’s presentation: A potential client said, “I need a brochure”. Well, why? She eventually got to the bottom of it: The client was tasked with marketing a new community program. She developed a great plan that gave them many more tools and successes than a brochure would have.

  1. Tell stories. If you’re already telling stories, tell them better.

People want to work with or buy from people like them. Be conversational and relatable to your customers and future customers. If it’s hard to relate, tell them about your customers who are like them.

  1. Manage your time.

You have an obligation to yourself to create an environment where your work-life balance is manageable for you, your partner, your kids, your dog, everyone.

  • Hire an assistant, whether real life or virtual, to do the stuff you hate. Whether it’s bookkeeping, data entry, research or something else, ditch it.
  • Learn to say no: To customers taking advantage of you, to partners you’re really not compatible with, to negative energy that stops you from moving forward.
  1. Make yourself accountable. If that’s too difficult, get a buddy to help you.

Find someone who will help you stay on your path. Have coffee with a mentor, a sit-down with your supervisor before your next evaluation, or a monthly check-in with a peer. I met Lorraine Schuchart at the conference and we made a pact to meet regularly to help each other work on our businesses. She is a terrific PR pro, and I can’t believe my luck that I connected with a peer who is teaching me so much.

  1. Share.

This kinda goes hand-in-hand with getting a buddy. If you’re embarrassed or concerned you’ll look bad to your peers, you’ll never meet the friends who are having the same problem; you’ll never get the feedback or reassurance you need to power through.

  1. Go to conferences!

In addition to smart speakers, you’ll meet lots of cool people who have different ideas than you, who are dealing with the same stuff as you and who are fabulous dinner companions. It’s highly likely you’ll come home fired up, recharged, thoughtful and ready to kick some bootay. So go do it!