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Wax Marketing Blog

What’s the right sense of urgency in 2011?

the Wax BlogI realized after 8 years in business I’ve seen some trends in how entrepreneurs kick off a new year. One thing I know I need to work on is calibrating the right sense of urgency in terms of all my goals and plans for 2011.  This seems to be an issue for many small business owners as well.  It’s not easy to keep everything in balance this time of year – not burning out too fast OR taking too long to plan. See if you can identify any of your own traits in these characterizations:

Roadrunner – This businessperson may take forever to make a decision to do something, but when they want to go they want to go FAST. Everything must be done yesterday and the sense of urgency on tasks makes everyone else feel as though they’re terribly behind. Roadrunners typically start multiple tasks at once at the beginning of the year but don’t allocate the appropriate amount of time to make sure they’re moving forward at a pace everyone can follow. Most of the time, they call “go” and those around them have to get going as fast as they can. This type of kick-off style creates a great deal of stress among employees and also resentments, especially if they don’t know how to set reasonable boundaries in terms of requests and deadlines.

Cecil Turtle – This type of entrepreneur is a big planner…an over planner. They spend January in meetings reviewing goals and plans. Everything is analyzed to the ‘t’ and there is no stone left unturned.  Cecil Turtle is the very opposite of Roadrunner. Instead of wanting everything done at once, this type won’t let anything get started until everything has been reviewed and reviewed… In addition, there’s no room for modification in the eventual plans. They’re set in stone and challenges are frowned upon. In today’s environment where change is frequent this can be very tough for employees who may need to respond to clients and partners fluctuating needs. In addition, staff gets frustrated as there is a lack of sense of accomplishment. With Cecil Turtle, you may get rolling as late as April on actual tactics.

Cowardly Lion – This business owner may seem like Cecil Turtle, but actually he or she is afraid to make a decision. Yearly strategies are often put off in place of day to day tasks. After the economy of the last two years, there are many folks out there that are Cowardly Lions, and that’s not really a bad response. But too much apprehension or fear of risk can make employees feel like they have no mission or direction. This can feel frustrating as well – and hurt the business.

All of the above approaches to starting off the new year can hurt your business, and with the job market heating up, could lead to turnover. I’m going to try very hard to operate my business like Steady Eddie this year. Here’s the profile of a Steady Eddie. This management style should not only get things rolling in the right direction for 2011, it will maintain the right balance between strategy and tactics!

  • Prepare a plan for 2011 that includes marketing and business goals, as well as a social media strategy
  • Develop that plan in less than 4 hours, and have a trusted colleague or peer review it for you to get an objective opinion
  • Review that plan at the end of every quarter, and adjust accordingly.
  • Review financial goals against performance on a monthly basis.
  • Allocate percentage of time spent on new business, billable work (if you’re a consultant like me) and social media and review that monthly

I come from the public corporate world, so working on a quarterly basis is completely ingrained in me. With a larger plan for the year, I can “kick-off” with a fresh attitude each quarter. And hopefully avoid the wrong sense of  urgency – too much or not enough – to make 2011 a fantastic year for business. How do you plan for a new year? What’s the best way to do it?

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6 Comments

  1. Florida Keys Fishing Says :
    Posted on January 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I see traits of all three within myself and business. It’d hard to move ahead sometimes and make decisions as the economy is unstable and the future uncertain. We run a fishing marina in the florida keys, so we’ve also been dealing with the disaster in the gulf, terribly cold winters affecting travel, and a general downturn in the fishing industry. Alot of business nowadays comes from on-line, so I’ve taken my spare time to learn alot about SEO and doing quite a bit of that myself, and it’s slowly helping which I am thrilled about! It takes some time to build up links and write articles, forum post, blog post, etc… but is well worth it a few months down the line when you see yourself moving up in search rankings and the phone starts ringing more! Here’s to a prosperous 2011!

  2. bonnie Says :
    Posted on January 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Florida Keys, I feel the same way. Although my business hasn’t been hit by nearly as many outside forces, it’s been quite a bit of “hurry up and wait” over the past couple of years too. Learning the right rhythm is always tough when the business environment is so chaotic..much like stormy seas for you I imagine!

  3. Medical Assistant Says :
    Posted on January 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I feel a lot like the turtle at the beginning of the year, and at the end of the year I’m going like the roadrunner, trying to hit all the goals before “time” runs out. Once the new year hits again, everything slows down and I resume a cautious pace until the pressure is on again.

  4. Learning holidays Says :
    Posted on January 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thank you for this post, it’s so easy to get carried away with plans at the start of the year and forget about actually doing the doing! Your 5-point plan is a good guide and although my 2011 plan is already in place (and took longer than 4 hours!) I’ll be referring to your plan for the rest of the year and beyond.

  5. Telemarketingforaccountants Says :
    Posted on January 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I find that lots of people plan to work harder but don’t actually think too much about whether their plan is the right plan or not!

  6. Vegetable Plants
    Posted on January 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    We’re using the lull of the current economic situation to build…literally. We are building an extension to our retail outlet and improving and refurbishing our existing buildings. With interest rates so low, it’s a great time to borrow assuming you have a good credit score. We are aiming to be well placed to take full advantage when the economy takes off again.

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