Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Is It That Really Makes Us Less Productive?

What Makes Us Less Productive?
When it comes to making up excuses to justify why we postpone things for the following day, or why we could not achieve the goals we have set for ourselves in our heart, or why we do not spend our time the way we really want, we’ve become completely skillful at building a collection of excuses: that it is our continued checking of emails, the temptation to spend more time than advisable on social networks, gossiping, unscheduled phone calls, our boss who calls us for an out-of-the-blue, unexpected meetings, and so forth.

It has happened to all of us: suddenly and unwillingly, we see as the day passes by and we haven't been able to complete those activities we really wanted to have completed today and we postpone it for the next day ... or the one after that one, and so we go on through life.

But what is really happening to us? Are those external agents really responsible for taking away all of our time and attention, keeping us from achieving our goals and making us less productive?

Just a few weeks ago I came across with one of those posts that really nailed it the way I like, (you’ll find the link at the end of this post, as always) and put the record straight.

According to the post, it turns out we are almost always looking for excuses in the wrong place, so we never end up reaching the real root of our productivity problem.

Why do we get distracted by so many things and just keep ourselves from reaching our maximum productivity?

Lack of planning: If you do not know where you're going, any road will fit you.


This is, for me, the most important of all reasons. In a post I wrote for this blog a while ago, entitled "5 Very Productive Habits You Can Incorporate in Your Life Today”, I wanted to highlight how important it is to start every single day and week with our goals clearly configured, as well as all pending tasks to be completed within the day.

And it turns out we do a lot of emphasis on the things we have to do, without realizing it is almost as important to be able to clearly identify the things we should not do, simply because they do not align with our immediate goals, or can be done on a more efficient way.


Planning ahead each day brings us closer to creating a more productive routine.


If you do not see clearly the importance of planning ahead every day, just imagine for a moment that you take your car, turn it on, take it out of the parking lot, jump on the first highway you find and just drive without known destination. Do you think it is productive?

Of course it is not. And it doesn’t make any sense at all unless your goal is simply to burn out fuel and nothing more. As soon as you define the place you want to be heading to, the first thing to happen is that you have a couple of routes to choose from, and that is then a completely different story.

Hence the importance of planning: Knowing where you are heading to, goals you would like to achieve, you can then choose the tasks that need to be implemented so that you can get closer to your goals and, at the same time, remove from your agenda those activities that will not be of any help.

Discipline: Plans which remain on paper, do not serve you at all.


Note that in the last section I wrote: "bring you closer to creating a more productive routine." Why did I write "closer to" instead of simply "you’ll have a more productive routine"?

Simply because the element we all most need to be fully productive is to have the discipline needed to concentrate our efforts into sticking to the plan, and do only those things we have to do which are aligned with our goals, and nothing else.

Moreover, even it takes discipline to just get going, and by saying that you can get the full picture. That's why there are so many New Year's resolutions that are never met, so many wonderful plans that never cease to be more than a few scribbles on a sheet of paper, many fabulous business ideas that are nothing more than projects in which partners have invested all their money just to see them simply get stuck right from the very beginning.


A good dose of discipline plus proper planning guarantees you’ll be achieving good results.


That's why I usually recommend my clients to put more effort into implementing their plans instead of spending all their energies in the planning process itself, of course without downplaying the planning.

There is even a syndrome called "Paralysis By Analysis" and it is what happens to entrepreneurs when they want to plan as thoroughly their business, down to the tiniest detail, that spend long months on this planning process and never get to the starting line.

At some point the figure of the “One Man Band” is no longer productive.


And finally, I think the other factor which does not allow us to be fully productive is the belief that we can do everything by ourselves, therefore we start to delegate those tasks that can (or should) be delegated too late in the game.

Every growing business needs a team, regardless of its size and characteristics.

And this is the first idea you have to get used to if you really want to see your business blooming and growing, and to be as productive as possible: Keeping the desire to be “a one man show”, willing to be the one playing all instruments simply ensures that, at some point, you’ll sound out of tune and your customers will notice.


To be truly productive 100% you need to have a team in which you trust and delegate.


Yes, we all know that our ego feels very good when shows that it is capable of doing many things, especially when they can all be done at the same time. However, it has been scientifically proven that this condition of concentrating all tasks in one single person is contrary to any productivity criteria.

Also, if you really want to make sure you develop a product or service of the highest quality possible, then you must allow each area of ​​your business to be managed by a highly qualified professional.

So I think if you analyze your daily routine from this new perspective, taking into consideration these three variables, then you’ll significantly increase your productivity.

Remember:

  • Plan ahead each day, and make sure everything you do is aligned with your goals.
  • Build and strengthen your discipline to stick to the plan, and do the things you should do, and say no to those which would simply be a waste of your precious time.
  • Delegate those tasks that you can delegate and trust your team will be able to deliver a high quality product or service.

Below you’ll find the links to the posts I recommended you at the beginning of this entry.



Photo Credit: Alphaspirit




5 Highly Productive Habits You Can Add To Your Life Today.
4 Easy Tips to Effectively Managing Your Time
4 cosas que se roban descaradamente tu tiempo sin que lo sepas (Sorry, only in Spanish)



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why Is Content Marketing So Important For Your Business?

The Power Of Content Marketing
If you want to ensure for your business a successful and sustained trajectory over the years, you have to make sure it’s present on the minds of its’ customers or potential buyers every time they need to purchase your type of products or services.

It's really simple: If you sell leather jackets for men and I, as a potential customer for your business, don’t even think about your brand when the time comes for me to buy a new one, because mine doesn’t fit anymore, then you have a huge problem to solve, or your potential customers will never approach your business to make the purchase.

In advertising, this is called "top of mind" and refers to the process through which you assist customers in remembering your brand and business in a positive, memorable way and consider it as their choice of preference when making a buying decision.


The goal of your strategy should always be to position your business in your potential customer’s minds as their choice of preference.


If your company is not "top of mind" for customers when deciding to purchase, unfortunately the business will be taken by another people. Guess who?

That’s a given: It will be taken by the company properly positioned in that particular space of consumer or potential customer’s minds, regardless of their leather jackets not having even the same quality as yours.

Of course, the next question is: What tools can be used to reach and occupy such a privileged place in potential customer’s minds?

In addition to paid advertising and the likes, I’d like to talk to you about a special one.

A powerful and silent sales representative for your business: content marketing.


Some time ago I wrote in this blog an article entitled "What do you talk about with your customers when you're not selling to them?". At that time I made a reference to this powerful tool you can use to properly position your business in your potential customers’ minds and become their choice of preference when they make a purchase decision.

Content marketing allows you to do it without having to become the sales rep who calls customers once a week just to “check in”, or who sends an email or "drops by" customer’s offices from time to time just to "keep himself within the radar", all of those things that if you perform them the wrong way, will send you directly to the "annoying characters nobody wants to talk with" drawer.

It’s the main benefit you’ll receive from content marketing and therefore its strongest value. If you invest part of your time developing content that might be relevant to both your customers and the industry in which you are immersed on, you are creating both for you and your business a very important venue to be recognized for the value of your opinions and knowledge, and not only for the products and services you sell.


Differentiate yourself by the value shared through your conversations and the usefulness of content you share.


It is clear that "content marketing" and "promotional content" are two very different things. It’s not the same to share with your customers a very well written article in which you describe in great detail the products and services your company offers; than to write a detailed post about the problems your customers face most often and which are the best ways and tools to solve them.

As you sure have noticed, in the first example you are simply putting down on paper a sales speech while in the second one, you are sharing value, because you’re helping clients (or future clients) to solve one (or more) of the problems they have.

Do you see the difference?

Now, how does content marketing work? Why is it so valuable?


Developing and publishing relevant content is one of the most valuable tools you can use to attract and cultivate new contacts and business relationships.

Why is it so? I can show you here at least some of the ways content marketing works:

  • When you publish new content on LinkedIn, for instance, each of your contacts receives a notification from the social network and is invited to read it, even those contacts who don’t answer your phone calls, don’t reply your emails or even those who you haven’t seen personally in the last few months.
  • When you share your knowledge through other platforms, all that content is available to people who have questions regarding that specific topic within your industry, who look for answers to those questions online. If your proposals are valuable and relevant, you immediately enter on that person’s radar, providing you truly create concrete answers to real problems.
  • Each time you send a newsletter to your database, regardless of how often you do it, you're reminding each of your prospects / customers / acquaintances that you are a specialist within your business sector and have a selection of relevant articles which provide answers to the most common problems related with your industry.

As you can see, you don’t have to use the phone or email to make direct contact with your market. Quite the opposite. You've approached them in a different way: a positive, constructive and, above all, disinterested one.

You're not focusing your conversation on selling your products, but on issues that are relevant and interesting for everyone, and this leads always to much more attractive and interesting conversations.

That is why content marketing is so powerful and effective. If used the right way it’s a powerful reputation builder for your brand, your company and its products.

We all have a story to tell. What matters most is how to identify it.


The hardest part of a content strategy is precisely developing such content.

In many cases, I get to talk with entrepreneurs who, after 10, 15 or more years within their respective industries, tell me they don’t have a story to tell, that generating and creating content is not for them.


How many customer’s related questions have you had to answer throughout your professional life?


And the reflection is always immediate: During your career, how many customer or even product and industry related questions have you answered?. How many problems have you solved?

When you have participated in professional or business meetings, forums and so on, how many relevant discussions have you joined?, how many interesting topics have you come across during all your years in the industry?

It is at this moment when all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and allow you to really appreciate its beauty.

If you can put on paper all these stories, you will have an excellent opportunity to create a powerful source of relevant, interesting and inexhaustible content for your customers, actual and future.

In addition to that, you will be demonstrating how valuable an experience you've accumulated during all those years, experience that may be even deeper than that of your customers, so they will come to realize there are many things they can learn from you.

And that is quite a great opportunity, both for your business and yourself, to strongly position as a reference point within your industry, an opportunity you can take full advantage of using content marketing.

Following you’ll find links to the articles I did mention throughout this post along with an additional one I’m sure you will find of your interest.



What Can You Talk About With Your Customers When You’re Not Selling To Them?
Differentiate Yourself By The Value Shared Through Your Conversations.



Photo Credit: Billion Photos