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Business Priorities: Putting Yourself First (Or at Least not Last)

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It’s 9:45am on a Friday. I check our shared calendar to discover that my internal campaign meeting has been rescheduled…again (the fifth time this week, to be exact). Two hours later, it gets pushed back even further. Knowing our productivity success rate for late afternoon Friday meetings, I begrudgingly cancel the meeting entirely—maybe we’ll have better luck next week.

This got me thinking—we would never cancel a meeting with one client to better suit another, but why do we so frequently do this to ourselves?

This phenomenon is nothing new. In an industry where customer service is critical to success, it makes sense that we put our clients’ needs before our own. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Businesses that neglect their clients’ needs in lieu of their own interests have a hard time maintaining the relationships that are so critical to keeping their company afloat.

But there has to be a balance.

On the seemingly endless list of business priorities, it’s not uncommon for internal projects to fall to the wayside. But how can you find that balance?

RELATED: INBOUND MARKETING PRIORITIES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Recognize Your Priorities

Do you remember the TLC show, What Not to Wear? If you do, you probably remember that most of the participants had similar excuses for their sartorial choices:

  • I don’t have time to buy new clothes.
  • I have a family to take care of, and that’s more important than clothing.
  • I don’t have the money to waste on nice clothes.
  • Shouldn’t my character speak louder than my appearance?

Do any of these excuses sound familiar? You might need to replace a few words, but you’ve probably said at least a couple of those phrases.

Just like it’s important to take care of yourself, it’s important to take care of your business. How do you expect to sell your marketing services if you can’t effectively market yourself?

Schedule “Me” Time

Whether it’s once a month or once a week, begin by blocking out time for your business needs. Whether you meet with the entire team or just sit down and brainstorm by yourself, dedicating time to improving and maintaining your business is a critical first step.

In order to make the most out of this time, it’s important to recognize areas of improvement. Does your website need updating? Have you been keeping up with social media and blogging? What about that campaign idea you pitched a few months ago? Once you’ve identified the things that require maintenance, you can come up with specific tasks to improve them.

Delegate Tasks

Any effective leader will tell you that the key to success is finding people you trust to delegate tasks to so you can spend your time more efficiently. The same concept applies here. If your job isn’t specifically to manage your business’ internal marketing, then you have better things to do with your time. This burden becomes exponentially lighter if you are able to split up routine tasks within your team. If you post irregularly to your company blog, delegate someone else as editor to ensure posts are consistent and thought provoking. The same can be said for updating your website and social media presence.

Everyone on your team has specific strengths that can be used to ensure your business stays ahead of the curve, but it requires open communication and a solid plan to be successful. 

Stick to a Plan 

The key to all of this is sustainability. It doesn’t matter if you get everyone in the office to contribute to the blog if it only lasts a month. Setting aside the time and energy (and making sure everyone else on your team does the same) is the only way to ensure your business won’t get stuck in a sweatpants rut.

While it’s easy to push back internal meetings or skip a week or two of blogging, these habits are only hurting your business. Clients will always take priority in this industry, but make sure you’re still taking care of your business in the meantime. Just like we judge people on their clothing, we judge marketing firms on their ability to market themselves.

And if you’re wondering, with a little persuasion, we were able to have our meeting that next Monday.