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The World Didn’t End and Six Ways to Do Better

So the world didn’t end yesterday.  But apocalypse or not, it's important to remember each new day, month or year is an opportunity to do better.

Yup, that's me holding up the front page of the
Ottawa Sun's Dec. 21 issue.
Doing better is top of mind for me because not only was December 21, 2012 the day the world was supposed to end, it was also my 49th birthday. That’s right, the start of my fiftieth year!  And there’s something about milestones that makes me want to improve the way I live and do business.

I’ll spare you my personal intentions but as this year draws to an end, here are the six ways I resolve to do better professionally:

  1. Be clear on who we do and don’t do business with:  last week I wrote about a few examples of when it's best to refuse business.  In a follow-up conversation with my sales coach, Colleen Francis, she urged me to go as step further and describe the types of clients we no longer wish to do business with.  While that may sound arrogant, the purpose is to make sure we waste nobody's time, ours or the prospect’s, so that we may in fact be better able to deliver excellent service to the types of clients we do want to do more business with.
  2. Have more meaningful conversations:  the wider the audience, the more difficult it is to have significant dialogue.   Clarity about who you want to do business with allows you to reduce the number of prospects in your database that may otherwise dilute your time and effort.  For instance, it is easier to personalize your e-mail newsletter and have more in-depth content if your audience is highly defined.  (Read more advice on data management with our 7 Tips to Taming Your Database).
  3. Improve the user experience:  Recently we had the pleasure of helping a long-time supplier with their website re-design and Search Engine Optimization.  We’d learned a lot in the last year about how to make a website generate more inbound marketing leads and it was great to put this knowledge to work for a valued partner.  This also made us realize we had to renovate our own site to improve on our own user experience.  Stay tuned for the changes.
  4. Be more engaging with social media:  in a recent post, brand marketing agency CEO Bryan Kramer urged his readers to be more authentic in their marketing practices.  He had great advice.  While I had already started being choosier about my connections on LinkedIn (see Stop Polluting LinkedIn), now I also want to reduce the number of groups I follow so I can read posts more regularly and contribute more often.  (Next on my to-do will be Twitter, but that’s a whole other matter…!)   
  5. Reach out more and in unexpected ways:  For the first time in many years I didn't send Christmas cards this year.   They were too many things on the go and I ran out of time.  I felt guilty for a while but then realized:  even if I was sending personalized cards, when everyone is doing the same thing, how does it matter to the recipient?  What if I could reach out at other times of the year, in a more meaningful way?  And with a smaller audience, it should be easier to communicate more regularly...
  6. Try something new:  I may be turning 50 in 2013, but I never want that old dog who refuses to learn new tricks.  So I will be looking to my GenY and GenX staffers to help me implement new ways of bringing thought leadership and relevancy to our clients and community.  We're not sure what that may look like yet, whether it will be infographics, videos, or podcasts but I look forward to the journey!
Enjoy this holiday season and we look forward to the conversation in 2013!