One Degree Moves a Train

By Beacon Staff

Last week we talked about my Columbia Falls talk about mobile technology and how it should affect internet strategy.

Well, I left something out. Intentionally. Thing is, it was important enough that we could have talked for the rest of the day about it, even though it was somewhat off topic for the presentation.


That little something? Keeping up.

In other words, how is a small business owner keep up with this stuff when they already have to deal with sales, marketing, managing their staff, sweeping floors, doing books, changing oil, monitoring whatever has to be monitored,
plus doing the stuff that only they can do and probably 87 other things?

Keep up with what??? All of it. Any of it. Some of it. Stuff.

How do you get all those things done, keep their fingers on the pulse of all this new mobile (whatever) technology, while juggling plates and doing some or all of the other stuff that I suggest that you guys do in my weekly biz-rant?

And if you have the (ahem) pleasure of getting regular business advice from me, what about that pile of stuff I dumped on you? How’s *that* get done?

As much as I hate to give it away, the deal is that you don’t keep up with it all.

Nobody does. Besides, if it was easy, anyone could do it.

And you can do it, or at least most of it. OK, the really important parts at least, right?

Yes, there is a way to get pretty darned close.

The fear of the unknown and/or the huge amount of change I laid in front of the group provoked the question, so let’s try to answer it.

So how do you keep up? As I just said, you really don’t.

BUT, you’re always catching up. One thing adds to another thing, which adds to another thing.

If you read my email newsletter, you know that I always sign it off with “Do at least one thing today to get, or keep, a client.”

The point of that is to set aside a little bit of time every single day, just like you do to work out, play golf, relax with a hot cup of something and the paper, and so on.

Put this “one thing a day” time in your calendar. The earlier in the day, the better so that your daily crisis doesn’t come along and pre-empt it.

Maybe today you spend 15 minutes writing 2 blog posts, or an email for your email newsletter. Or you contact (or delegate it) 1 customer a day who hasn’t spent money with you lately. Or you contact your newest customer and ask them what they think about what you’re doing for them and why they chose you. Keep going in reverse order till you get to the customer you’ve had the longest. Or you contact the customer you’ve had the longest and ask them why they still use you. Keep going till you get to your most recent new customer. Or you read a chapter from a marketing, strategy, operations, or other business book.

Regardless, do *something*.

One thing a day. Same way you eat a meatloaf the size of a Suburban. One bite at a time.

As these things gain traction, give them a little more time. Maybe you hire someone to do the task, or delegate them to a staffer you already have. Or you do less of the busy work that seems important, but isn’t really making an impact. Or you automate what you can of the tasks that are now paying off. Or the ones you can’t stop doing that don’t appear to be making a difference.

Get each department or employee to do the same.

Do one thing a day. Five minutes, 15 minutes, whatever you can manage at first.

When you push water from 211 to 212 degrees, amazing things happen.

Pistons do their thing and soon, trains move. One degree does it.

One thing a day may be all it takes for your business to do the same kind of thing.

Once you’ve created a culture of continuous improvement, hang on tight.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.

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