One of my favorite books, not only about business but about life is Jim Collins’ “Good To Great” and one of the key components is his notion that we all need to create “stop doing lists”. Think about it, at this time of year especially, business owners evaluate their progress and make goals for the upcoming year. They often even create a “To-Do” list. These are all very logical and productive exercises for progressing your business or yourself. I would argue, however, that the “Stop Doing” list may be the most critical.
A common trap that we business owners or managers fall into is that of trying to do it all, manage it all (after all, we do it better and with more attention to detail than anyone else would), and simply trying to be it all. Guess what business owners, you will quickly burn-out and lose focus on what you should really be focusing which is growing your business. Having said that, at the top of my stop doing list is fighting the option of outsourcing the more menial or mundane and time-consuming tasks. Sure, I could do that well but at what cost?
A second item very near the top of my stop doing list is to stop chasing potential clients. I know that some marketers and sales people just threw-up in their mouths a little but I mean that. I cannot tell you how many times in the past I have met with a prospective marketing client, spent days researching their business, developed an awesome marketing proposal, sent it to them, followed-up several times via phone, email, etc., only to never hear from them again. Why? Was my plan or proposal not good? No, actually it was excellent. Did the client not need marketing help? No, they likely did get help later from another source. The hard reality was that the I had not gained the respect of the client because I had been the pursuer through the entire process. I am not implying that you need to act aloof or play games with the client but you must set-up an environment where you are the expert and they are pursuing you and how you can help them.
A third item to stop doing or at least avoid doing is the temptation to automate my client marketing services. There are so many tools, apps, and programs now that allow (or even encourage) you to automate Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc. for clients. Yes, it is a real time saver but, trust me when I say that your audience knows the difference and can sniff out disingenuine writing in a second. Is saving a little time worth undermining your client’s credibility and online reputation?
So, my question to you is have you made your “stop-doing” list for 2013 yet. If so, what items have you put on yours?