One of my favorite things to teach and coach on is strategic thinking for business owners. Entire books and degrees can be had on this, but one of the core ideas of strategic thinking is asking “Why?” before doing anything or expending any resources. There are so many moving parts to a successful business that it’s imperative to know what function each part serves and how it will contribute to the bottom line.
So often, I hear people tell me they are going to start doing something new to build their business and when I ask them how this will improve their bottom line they have no idea. When I ask what made them consider starting this new activity, it’s usually “fill-in-the-name told me to” or “everyone is doing it” or “I saw it on a forum for my industry.” There’s lots of right reasons to take on a new activity, but none of these are good reasons to add something. Your time, creativity, energy and mental bandwidth are some of your most important finite resources, and being a successful business owner has as much to do with managing these as it does anything else. So, no matter who said it, don’t ever just add more activity to your business without understanding why it will increase your profits.
This idea applies to general activities such as blogging, Twitter or email marketing but also to specific blog entries, Tweets and emails. In other words, you should have goals for the activity as a whole as well as goals for each individual entry in that activity. Take your blog for example. One entry might be to introduce a new product, while another might be to educate your market on a product or service you provide that they may need but not know is available. Still another might be to share some personal information to build a connection with your audience. You might have entries that are rants against practices you don’t like. Some entries might be geared toward enticing people to sign up for your list. These are just a few examples of purposes you might have in mind for specific blog posts.
As entrepreneurs, we are drawn to ideas like moths to a light. It’s a blessing and a curse – our fire for new ideas drives our business but can sidetrack us down unproductive but fun paths. Make sure you have a clear purpose for anything you take on.