This morning my son was telling me about his plans to be an orthodontist, worship Pastor and an "agency guy" with his parents. As his eyes lit up and his excitement filled the room, I couldn't help but be excited with him. His vigor was addictive and it made me want to draw close, listen and feel what he was feeling.
It reminded me how as business leaders, entrepreneurs, marketers, product managers, CEOs, CIOs, volunteers, moms, dads, and people we lose our "ummmph!" We let life get us down. We let mean bullies poke holes in our dreams. We let doubt of self stop us in our tracks or distract us from the goals.
We must learn from our youth. They have the confidence as nobody has told them they can't succeed or be anything they want to be. How are they different than us? How are they any better? Why should my son be able to achieve being an orthodontist, worship Pastor or "agency guy" any more than you or the guy next door that has the same dreams? The truth is he shouldn't!
The difference is that kids believe in themselves. Many of them have not been pushed down by the bullies or the hard knocks of life quite yet.
It's time you do the same. Put back on your "kid confidence." Put on your game face, get on the field and play the game like you haven't done in years. Play the game to win and win big!
16 Tips to Build a Social Business Game Plan that Rocks!
1. Find the kid in you! Remember when you started your business? Remember the excitement you could feel in your bones? The chills you got as you saw your logo for the first time? The feeling you had when you closed the first deal? The belief you had in reaching your dreams? Write down your top 10 memories of starting your business or career. Include wins, losses and how you grew from them. When the goin' gets tough, get out this list and be reminded how far you have come!
2. Embrace the WHY you started your business or career in the first place. Embrace those kid feelings again and get focused on the end goal.What is the WHY of your business and life? Do you want to be financially independent? Do you want to spend more time with family and friends? Do you want to retire to an island made for two? Whatever it is, embrace it and remind yourself of it daily! Write it down, hang it on the wall. Talk about it. Work for it! Own it and make it a reality, not a dream!
3. Refine the WHAT! What do you want to be when you and your business grows up? How do you envision yourself working, serving your clients? What will you offer that provides unique value? What is it that makes you and your business unique?
4. Develop a game plan. What are your goals? Why are you playing? How will you build a team? What are the plays you need to win? Who needs to be on your team? Goals and objectives are critical for any business large or small. If you don't have a plan for your business, marketing, social media and don't know how to build one, find someone who does. Get the help you need and don't waste another day guessing and missing the goal.
5. Slow down to speed up and win! Don't be afraid to take a time out or take time to work on game plays, build your communication and brand strategies, competitive attack tactics, or a simple day or week off to rejuvenate and reinvigorate. It's not about being first on the field and not being prepared. It's about being on time and being trained, prepared and ready to win!
6. Know the playing field. Any good teams understands the ecosystem. What is the weather like? What is the tone of conversations? Who is talking? Who is listening? Who is cheering? Who will throw rotten apples at you? How will you become part of the ecosystem? Who are your target clients? What do they need? How can you get in their head and connect with them? What parts of your business do you need to modify to ensure success? How can you fit in yet stand out? Knowing the ecosystem of your market, industry, social networks, client base is key to success. Take time to learn and understand where and how you fit in and the best ways you can provide unique value and compete better than the rest!
7. Work smarter not harder. My guess is your why of life is not to work weekends, worry about paying your bills or tweet 24/7! Remember your time is your most valuable asset. Social media isn't free. Be wise in how you spend each and every minute. Just because your competition is spending 20 hours a week at local networking meetings or spending 20 hours on Facebook and Twitter doesn't mean that's what you need to do. Building your game plan first will ensure you focus on the activities and priorities that will bring your business results. This is the biggest mistake I see businesses of all sizes and shapes make.
8. Build your team. Having the right people on the field at the right time is key to success! Recruit and nurture those who also have a why that aligns with yours. Avoid the toxic type who only want to complain or bad mouth others. You need team captains and go to people. People who have your back. Coaches who can lead you. When building your network using social media focus on conversation that helps you learn and grow. Conversation that can help others. Keep a focus on connecting with an objective to build your team, your tribe, your community, your business and your ecosystem.
9. Learn the drills. Don't get too tactical and technical that you lose sight of the why and how. With social media you could spend three years learning tools and technology. The truth is the only guarantee is change. You'll never learn all the tools. Instead focus on your audience, business goals, objectives and how you can leverage social to meet the goals. Facebook should fit within your business. Do not resize, reshape your business to fit within Facebook! Of course you need to learn tools. However, knowing why you're using them and what your objectives and goals are should be first priority! You don't need to know how to run a twitter auto follow tool or what your Facebook edge rank is to set objectives!
10. Show up for practice. Engage and truly show up with hands, feet and heart. Don't just go thru the motions. Accept you don't know everything and that mistakes are part of the game. Practice doesn't have to make perfect. Instead shoot for imperfect perfection. When you make a mistake, learn from it. Stand back up fast, wipe off the hurt and don't head to the bench. Head back to the practice field with a positive outlook. Failure and mistakes are events, not a person or a team!
11. Be real. There is only one you, period. Don't let your fear or insecurities of succeeding keep you from letting the real you shine thru and make people smile, learn and succeed! The more you share of yourself, the closer your target market will draw to you. Inspire them to be real with you by you setting an example of doing such first.
12. Seek joy. Don't look for trouble. Don't worry about the competition. Don't let only dollars keep you up at night. Focus on the joy, the people that bring you joy. Focus on what will bring you joy in life, joy in your business. If you do this then you'll find yourself bringing joy to others. If a potential client doesn't bring you joy then it may be the right decision not to work with that client.
13. People throw rocks at things that shine. The more you win, the more you open up to your audience, the more you shine will make the people who aren't doing the same want to dull your shine. Your "self proclaimed" competition may throw rocks at you. Let them bounce off of you. Those are the days that you embrace your game plan and your why. Chances are they aren't even in your league even though they think they are. They don't know your game plans or why you are doing what you are doing. They are probably so busy copying you, trying to figure out what you're doing that they're losing their own traction and place on the field. It's okay. Let them spin as the more they follow you, the further the distance becomes between you and them as you're moving forward while they're trying to learn everything you've already been doing for the past 18 months!
14. It's not only about winning. Yes, we all like to win. We want the big trophy at the end of the season. However, we don't have to come in first place. Set a plan with goals and objectives and you'll have something to celebrate.
15. Celebrate the milestones. As you reach a milestone, win a game, earn a client, win a point, celebrate! Take your team to lunch, dinner or special event. Take time to thank those who helped you achieve the success. Celebrate and embrace the greatness of what you've accomplished.
16. Don't quit. Most new businesses give up right before they would have succeeded! Even if you hit a wall, run out of money or become over tired, do not give up! If you're an entrepreneur, what is your alternative? Go back to the corporate life you left? Is that really what you want? Set your plan A and tweak it if you want. However, don't fall back to a Plan B if it has the word "Quit" in the first paragraph. You can and will succeed if you work smart. Be dynamic and respond to the market but don't quit!
What's Your Game Plan?
How do you plan to win the game? How are you already winning? What is your role in the ecosystem? What is your role in the game? Are you a good team player? Are you showing up but not really a true team member? What tips can you offer to coach and mentor others that are just joining the game?