Just yesterday, we said Happy New Year. We blinked for a minute, and now the 1st quarter is ending. Clearly, time flies whether or not you’re having fun. It’s not only time that moves so fast, though. Digital platforms are also evolving at a dizzying pace. Before you catch up with one tech feature, another one arrives.
Your favorite platforms keep evolving and rolling out new updates. IGTV today, Shoppable Instagram Stories tomorrow. And only God knows what next. It’s so hard to know what to focus on, but focus is important. Else, you’ll find yourself spinning wheels but not heading anywhere; busy every day, but no progress; active, but not productive. If you already feel this way, it’s never too late to get back on track; let’s set your priorities so that the rest of the year can be productive and profitable for your business.
Avoid the shiny object syndrome
When you’re still struggling to understand Snapchat filters, they say it’s YouTube stories. “Oh no, you should do webinars.” “What? Your ebook is the new business card,” etc. While it’s always exciting to learn new things, it can also become a distraction when you’re always trying to chase the latest and greatest. Don’t stress yourself, you don’t have to do everything. Besides, what works for others won’t necessarily work for you. Grab a notepad and ask yourself:
- What have I done so far that brought me clients?
- How can I do more of it to reach more people?
- What do I need to improve about this process?
The ability to identify the things that matter and bring the greatest value to you, your business, and your team is key.
Build a formidable team
Of course, you should hire the best employees that you can afford, but besides staff, there are many people that can help your business succeed. Still on your notepad, use the list below to note those people who have the expertise & character you need:
- Freelancers: Independent creative people who give life to your ideas. Think graphic designer, virtual assistant, website designer, etc.
- Advisers: Not everybody who went to business school can advise you. Your advisers should be people who understand what your business is about, believe in you, and have your best interests at heart.
- Mentor(s): Someone who has done what you’re trying to do, gone where you want to go, and can guide you on your way there.
- Consultants: You can avoid a lot of trouble by allowing brilliant people to do what they know how to do best. Eg, tax computation, legal documentation, HR, etc.
Because industries evolve quickly, it is hard to predict the future. The exact technical skill you need tomorrow will be different from what you need today. However, if you have a healthy team, they will point you to what you need to learn early enough in the game.
Develop strong communication skills
One overlooked skill among entrepreneurs is the ability to communicate. Everything you do to attract clients involves talking and typing, so it’s not something you can delegate forever. Learn how to talk about yourself and what you do. Listen to your clients so you can learn what their desires, needs and pains are. Learn how to make and build connections with other important people in your industry. This alone can make you more valuable beyond your skills, technical knowledge, or years of experience.
Protect your personal brand
Every week, I spend time with at least one business leader or decision maker and I’ve noticed that integrity is a huge factor in determining who they do business with. Expertise is simply not enough to land you clients anymore. That’s why you’ll ask your friends first when you’re looking for a make-up artist or fashion designer. You want to find out: “Did they do their job well? What was it like to work with them?”
In business, your personal brand boils down to one question: Can I trust you? That’s the essence of your personal brand. Can others rely on you to show up, act with integrity, and maintain a good reputation? As an entrepreneur, your personal brand is one of your most strategic assets, and it starts with the little things:
- Write and speak in a way that’s respectful to your clients.
- Make it clear that you have their best interests at heart.
- Underpromise and over deliver.
At the end of the day, it’s all about determining how you want people to perceive you, and working to build such trust with your customers.
All that said, which of these four points are on your priority list for the year, and what would you like to add? Can’t wait to read your thoughts in the comments section below.