I recently came upon my copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
It inspired me to write a blog post series on the Habits, and to give you my slant on each of these, as it relates to being a small business owner.
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Being proactive is something that a lot of people talk about, but fewer people actually do.
When I talk to clients about being proactive, what I mean is that we will plan and strategize all of the tasks we do, with an end goal in mind. And we will monitor our results as we go along, to be sure we are achieving the results we want. If we are not, we will tweak the plan (or the goal, but usually the plan).
In concrete terms, this is being proactive instead of being reactive.
For example, let’s talk about your free gift on your website. You have put it together, you have set up your opt in and you are thrilled to see signups coming into your list. Your autoresponder delivers said free gift, and then your new person will receive your newsletter once a week or once a month or whatever, moving forward. That’s it.
You stop there with the correspondence because you’re not really sure what you want to send them after that (other than your newsletter).
That’s a reactive mindset. What should you be doing with those people as they come in? You know for sure that they wanted to receive your free gift (they are interested in that topic), so what are you doing with them after that? Nothing?
You should know how you want them to proceed through your marketing funnel. Have a plan for them – and put it into place right from the time they sign up.
That is being proactive!
When they sign up for your free gift, take advantage of that opportunity. Know where you want to lead them once they have expressed interest, and then lead them there. Don’t stop at one email ‘here’s your free gift’. Set up a series of emails that they can get, that will introduce them to you and your wealth of information. Marketing strategy tells us that frequent ‘touches’ will help you build the know-like-trust factor with your people, so be sure to plan that. Theme your follow up to match the very thing that they opted in for, and you will build a relationship with them quickly. Invite them to be responsive – email you or click on a link in your email, so you can track their interests, and follow up with them accordingly.
That’s a simple way to be proactive in your business instead of being reactive. However, it’s a step that is missed by many, many small business owners because they are only thinking about growing their list – getting names on their list … but not thinking further than that!
When we react to what happens around us, we go along at our regular pace, and we react to what our business or our life throws at us. There are times when this is okay, but for things like business planning and marketing, it is not effective to be reactive.
To be proactive is simply to be looking down the road further than you are right now, and anticipating what will come. Herein lies success – because of the PLAN!
You make choices based on what you want to happen, and you work with the consequences of those choices. How? Simply by tweaking the goals or the path up ahead. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not reactive.
By consciously being proactive in your business, you are taking responsibility for what comes your way, and you are able to steer your course much better.
By working with support staff (from assistants to business coaches) you are better equipped to make long term plans and really have a solid foundation for your business planning and strategy.
Are you being proactive in your business? If you are, congratulations! If you are not, ask yourself where you could implement a little bit of the suggestions from above.
I’d love for you to share your insights about being proactive on my Facebook page.