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I’d like to share with you probably the biggest lesson I ever learned in business.
If you've read my story on my website, you'll know that when I first started out in business development I discovered I was far from a natural.
I really struggled early on. It took a lot of support and mentoring from some genuine experts and a lot of work on my behalf before eventually things clicked in to place.
But I still remember those early days well. The fear of not knowing what to do, what would work and what wouldn't. Yet also knowing I absolutely needed to make it work.
I went through something similar when I first set up in business on my own.
All of a sudden, the marketing approaches I'd used when I had the backing of a big team and a brand name just didn't work so well.
Marketing for the small firm or solo professional is a different world.
At first I did OK - in fact pretty well. I got passed a lot of business from people who knew me from the corporate consulting world and knew what I could do.
So referrals and recommendations fed my pipeline and I hit six figures in my first year of business.
But then things began to dry up. I'd pretty much exhausted the work that I could get from my "inner circle". I was making progress with local networking and referrals - but slowly.
And for quite a while I let it drift. I kept thinking something would drop in from my network, or that the local referrals and networking would begin to pay off.
But, of course, it didn't. Not enough of it anyway.
Hope is not a strategy.
Eventually I figured out I needed to be a lot more pro-active. I couldn't rely on people passing work to me.
I needed to take control.
So I took a step back and really thought about who my ideal clients were and the value I could bring to them.
I narrowed my client focus. And I picked a small handful of pain-free marketing tactics I could work on and excel at.
And most importantly of all, I got much more systematic. I set targets for each of the marketing tactics and translated them into weekly goals.
And then week in, week out I implemented those tactics.
Of course, some weeks I lapsed. You can probably track back my blog posts and spot where some other priority got in the way of my blogging strategy, for example.
But 9 times out of 10 I stuck to my plan. And it turns out that's about 8 times out of 10 more than most people.
You know the rest of the story. The planning and the action really paid off for me.
Today my business is much more on autopilot. I know the strategy works so I get on with implementing the plan.
But the start of it all was that day when I took a step back and chose action over hope.
If you ever find yourself in that position of thinking "something will turn up, it always does". Or "once the recovery kicks in we'll be all right". Take a step back and remember hope is not a strategy.
Start by choosing to take control.
Start by putting yourself in your clients' shoes and figuring out what they really want.
Start by finding ways to get yourself in front of your ideal clients more often and in ways that add value to them.
Start by thinking about how to nurture your valuable relationships with clients and prospects.
Start by learning how to have pain-free sales discussions with clients.
Then do it.
If you do, you'll be way, way ahead of most people. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're in control of your own destiny.
If you'd like to learn the most effective ways of marketing to take control and take powerful action, then check out my Momentum Club private membership site where I deliver advanced marketing training, regular webinars, and specific projects designed to help you get more clients.
Right now I'm running a trial offer of $1 for 14 days access to the program. You can take a look at what's inside by clicking here and take it for a test drive by clicking here.
If you do think it's something that can help you, I'd love to see you inside. If not, I hope you found this video useful.