I do my best not to write list posts or tips and tricks or those posts with specific tactics.
I like to write more about strategy and ideas.
Here’s why… generic advice sucks.
Settle down… settle down…
Here’s the thing… after you’ve read three books on productivity… ummm you pretty much get that there’s really only one strategy… just do it.
Sure you could use an app, or written list, you could go all GTD or buy one of those fancy organizers, but really… those tips are just fluff. It doesn’t matter what method you use they all lead back to “just do it”.
If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, I’m certainly not suggesting that you should stop reading about how to grow your business but all those books and articles are generic. The information in them is only specialized to the author or writer based upon his or her research or experience.
It probably won’t work for you. In fact, if you are reading books instead of doing… then Houston… we have a problem.
When I first started the family millwork business, I read nothing. I didn’t have time to read. We were busy building a business. We tested and experimented. We used what we had learned from experience. We kept what worked and tossed out what didn’t. No books, no articles, no marketing.
It wasn’t until I started my second business, that I started to think about marketing. Unfortunately, at first I had no time to think about it. The start up phase of getting things off the ground can swallow every bit of time and energy you have. But as we got things in order, I decided that if I wanted customers, I was going to have to start marketing in earnest.
I started reading books. I generally hate to disclose my super-secret life changing books, but today I’m going to let you have the name of the book that changed my views on marketing and business. In fact, this one book helped me create a successful business where I had no previous reputation, no customers, no customer lists, no methods of reaching niche customers, nothing, nada.
The book, Dan Kennedy’s No B.S.Guide to Business Success. I have no idea how I came upon the book, none. It was too many years ago. But what I do remember is that I devoured the book, highlighted and tagged it with post-its, and put it on the shelf. I still have that same copy today.
Here’s what I didn’t do… keep it open on my desk and follow it like a task list.
Instead I read it, I digested it, I let it stew, and then I started taking action; small steps to create a business that made sense for me. Never mind that at the time I had a business partner! I was going to create a thriving business that suited me.
I culled the best ideas for me from that book, then, I morphed them and massaged them. I tossed 75% of the ideas out and kept just the 25% that fit me, my business, and my business values.
I then took that 25%, and worked them so that they fit my business. Kennedy would talk about restaurants and I would flip the idea inside out and apply it to auto repair. He would tell a story about a tactic that one of his customers used and I would stew on it, sleep on it, until I figured out how to use the concept for my business.
Some folks thought I was crazy and that the idea of sending out a mailed newsletter with a monthly column written by my dog was insanity. But, it worked.
Even I had doubts, but I was very often surprised by the reactions our creative methods received.
I took that book and its advice, and I made it mine. When I talk about some of the marketing tactics I’ve used, I rarely credit poor Kennedy. The reason is… what I came up with was so different from what he suggested, or told stories about, that the marketing had become mine. I know Kennedy wouldn’t mind because I also learned from him the concept of differentiation and keeping a swipe file.
So, not all generic advice sucks, I was simply trying to make an important point. If you don’t know where you are going, then take in as many tips and tricks as you can. But remember this, it is a successful business owner who learns and creates, not one who learns and simply deploys.
You must put your mark on what you do. There comes a time when you’ll realize, as I did, that a book alone cannot get you to the next level. That’s when you seek out someone to help you, a coach or a consultant, a friend or a mentor, or you could pick Dan Kennedy. I have to admit that in 15 years I’ve had the opportunity to speak with him on two separate occasions, and in the 15 or 20 minutes of time I had, I took away enough info to last me all these years.
I’ve paid for classes and workshops that provided less.
Skip the generic, “for everyone” advice and find a successful business owner that you admire, or whose track record speaks to you. Then, do whatever you can to get those 15 or 20 minutes; it will totally be worth the effort.