Go where your competitors won’t

We’ve all got business rivals, and it’s easy to believe that nothing is as tough as our own industry. That’s because we’re all fishing for customers in the same pond.

There are people out there who would love to hear from you and know more about your products. You simply haven’t thought of them yet.

CRUISING FANTASY

Let’s say you’re working in the food industry, but dream of sailing the oceans as a luxury yacht captain. Indulge your hopeless fantasy by reading their blogs. Comment on providoring topics, where you might be able to add a fresh angle to the conversation.

Become the only person of your professional type whom they’ve ever encountered online.

You’ll one day be able to laugh behind your sails when colleagues and competitors complain how hard their life is.

Comfort is underrated

We’re tired of hearing it, aren’t we? Move out of your comfort zone. The advice is supposed to be a key to personal success.

I prefer to remain in mine – especially if it’s uncomfortable for everyone else.

Stretching yourself to the point where it hurts is based on the notion that unless new horizons are sought, we’ll remain forever stuck on the couch. I’m all for pain avoidance and have got nothing against wallowing, provided it’s productive.

ALBERT’S ZONE

The Swiss mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein spent his days working on complex theorems because he found them to be enjoyable and stimulating. “Get out of the house, Albert! Go put on your skates or climb a mountain.”

Einstein was entirely comfortable with staying inside and solving the mysteries of time and space.

Isn’t simply a matter of grit

The new year is a time for resolutions, in which we decide to begin projects or fix problems that require our attention.

We’ll need persistence to see these thing through, since outcomes can take time to achieve and may face hurdles along the way. Persistence is the key to success.

Or is it?

There are two types of people in the world: those who give up easily, and those who don’t cave in soon enough. Huh? We hear a lot about the first sort, and are encouraged to beat up on ourselves for showing this tendency.

Yet the second type is also common. These folk are inflexible and keep going after they should abandon their effort or change tack.

Here’s a resolution for 2019: If something isn’t working, don’t continue. Stop what you’re doing and think about what’s causing the blockage. Look around for an answer, ask people, read up, and sometimes just wait.

Resolve, in other words, not to let persistence get in the way of success.

Please, no more worms!

Marketing offers can appear like worms after rain, a dozen or more at a time. Why? Because the salespeople are all reading from the same data.

When you buy a house, register a domain name, lease a commercial property or give birth to a child, this action is recorded in public or industry records. Marketers watch for changes in these and use them to initiate sales calls or emails – for goods that may be required downstream from the recorded event.

Such items include home insurance, websites, office fit-outs and family trusts.

TOO MANY MESSAGES

This trick makes sense to salespeople, but can seem ridiculous to prospects, who are flooded with messages for the same kinds of products.

Smart marketers don’t do this. They base their leads on data or responses that other salespeople don’t have and they won’t share this data with anyone.

As a result, theirs is the only offer on the table.

Is it easy to find this unique information? No. Is it fruitful when you have it? Much juicier than worms.

Make your dirt wait

I love the industrial concept called batching. It’s a simple idea that means you don’t tackle a particular job until lots of items are waiting for your attention. Then you fix them all at once.

Batching is efficient. You’re not being distracted from other tasks in order to clear a small backlog. Checking emails once or twice a day is a form of batching.

Bosses or clients will try to stop you from batching. They prefer Just in Time, because it means they never have to wait for delivery.

Within reason, their demands should be resisted, in the interests of mutual efficiency. 

Batching works wonders at home. Don’t think about cleaning your house until the soiling is actually visible. Yes, you can batch your dirt.

For people who hate housework, batching is a perfect concept, because it legitimises procrastination. It doesn’t just excuse the delay, but gives it scientific respectability.

I’m going to save up that thought for later.

Air karate doesn’t cut it

Hand gestures are a hot thing among television reporters, especially when presenting straight to the camera. Speech alone doesn’t seem to be adequate – they’ve got to emphasise their points.

Trouble is, gestures are a language and an art form in themselves. This fact is second nature to ethnic groups who use gestures a lot, such as people of the southern Mediterranean.

Don’t know hand language? This doesn’t faze many TV presenters. They improvise, opening their palms and slicing the air over and over, framing every point with a two-handed chop.

Boring and meaningless.

Good presenters have a dozen or more useful gestures at their disposal. They use each one appropriately, without overdoing the movements. The effect is subtle, almost subliminal. It works.

People who haven’t yet developed this skill should ease back and practice in private. And save us from all the air karate.

They’re coming anyway

Facebook and Google are being pilloried for misusing the details of our private lives, but the silver lining is advertising that at last is something we can relate to.

Information in line with our interests – what an awesome notion!

This is after a lifetime of television viewing where the advertisers clearly don’t have a clue.

NOT MILES AWAY

Sure, online ads are sometimes out of date. We’ve already bought the goods or taken the holiday. Still, they’re not a million miles off. We appreciate the thought.

We’re also forewarned with cautionary pop-ups about intrusions on our privacy. Well and good, for we need to be reminded.

Who can object to cookies when they dish up ads that are startlingly knowing? The things are going to arrive anyway, so they might as well be apt.

Maybe it’s overdoing things to talk about advertising we can love. But accepting – that’s not too much.