The Fire Hose
Keeping up with the “fire hose” of the things I’m interested in is enough of a challenge. Add to that the, shall we say, “Dynamic” nature of my business of consulting in digital marketing, and it’s easy to see how specialization takes place. Being a generalist in any area, while of some value, limits your effectiveness with your customers….especially if your customers have wildly divergent businesses.
Granted, there’s a lot I bring to the table for them. As a rule, the business owners and entrepreneurs I work with are totally focused on their business passions and a number ore still working on become viable. They are all aware of the need for marketing, but having constrained resources (the usual 3: time, money, and personnel….many are solo-preneurs…) they try to start by doing it by themselves. A few searches on Google for resources or tips, a Facebook page, maybe a web site, and some even have a customer list they turn into an email list. By and large, they quickly realize that it’s possible to spend a LOT of resources and not seem to make much, if any, headway…
So, a couple more Google searches, maybe try to read a book on it, and, if they are part of a decent local business network, maybe asking a couple of colleagues what they are doing. They try tweaking a few things and wait a week (most of us are pretty impatient…..). Nothing seems to happen, or, maybe they get a “blip” in business….HOORAY!!!!
“So, ummmm…..what exactly did I do that caused that blip? Can I do it again, only better? How can I grow this into something that will drive my business?”
All good questions….
However, what I want to look at in this article is the work you do to “keep up” on your business. I will share with you a few things I do regularly to make sure I can be of the highest value to my existing and future clients.
Signature of Richard P. Feynman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is much too easy to burrow into your business and go deeper into the knowledge, building more depth and expertise in that area so you can be an even better resource for your customers. But doesn’t this turn you into a “one-trick pony”? For example, in my social media consulting business, does it truly broaden my mind and stretch my intellect to become more facile in the inner workings of Facebook and Content Marketing…or is it kind of “more of the same”?
I have other interests. You do, too. How do I indulge them, push the boundaries of my interests, and maybe even develop new ones? I need to consciously expose myself to knowledge I probably wouldn’t otherwise, and I have to set aside the time to do it. This is a challenge as an entrepreneur, but to not do it means that I’m less likely to keep growing intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. There is also a much higher probability that, in exploring some of these new landscapes, I might come across a couple of new ideas that inform and impact my business in ways I have no way of anticipating now.
So, where do I start?
Illustration by John Tenniel of the Red Queen lecturing Alice for Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been in a number of conversations lately where my colleagues and friends are grappling with staying on top of their game, so to speak, both online and in the office. Not only are we coping with the well-known information overload, but we have the desire to improve, deepen and expand our skills, knowledge and expertise. Each of us is evolving a methodology to accomplish this, but it changes a lot and, with so much change, it can be difficult to feel like you’re really progressing. It feels so much like the Red Queen‘s comment in Lewis Carroll‘s Through The Looking-Glass : “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
I’ve noted a sea change in education and learning about which there has been quite a bit of virtual ink spilled. The phenomenon known as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has been added to the education lexicon, much to the joy of futurists, learners everywhere, and to the consternation of a number of university and college administrators. Like most things, I can see the light and the dark, along with the difficult.