Use small and slow solutions

When you think about marketing for your business, does your mind automatically go to all of the things you ‘should’ be doing?

When you think of creating a marketing plan, does your body immediately tighten at the thought of spending hours working on a highly detailed plan that, let’s face it, you’re never going to stick to?

Do you have a Facebook page, an Instagram profile, a Linked In company page, a blog, a Youtube account? Are you simply everywhere? And when someone follows you, you get all bashful because your last post was in January 2017? Have you dabbled in webinars, podcasts, Facebook live or Instagram stories, perhaps for a month or two before getting too busy and letting them fall away?

You know, there is another way.

You could simply pick one thing. Choose just one activity, preferably something you love to do then commit to doing it regularly for three months. After three months, you will probably be starting to feel pretty good at your one thing. It probably won’t feel so scary to add another thing. The trick is, not to drop the first thing. To integrate. One activity supporting the other.

One of the 12 principles of permaculture is to:

“…use small and slow solutions: small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.”

And this principle just sums up for me what marketing needs to look like for small business.

Default mode

One of my goals for the first quarter of 2019 is to re-launch my marketing planning process for new clients. It’s a huge undertaking and something I have had on my to-do list since the summer.

To be honest, since then I really hadn’t been making much progress. The idea of working on it excited me - I would look forward to it all week but when Saturday rolled around (the day I typically set aside for business development work), I would either be distracted by a seemingly endless array of more important and urgent tasks or when I did sit down to work on it, I would rework the same few things over and over again.

It felt as if I didn’t know enough. Or that I didn’t have enough information. Or I would happen upon a new tool and decide I needed to master its use before I could use it to help my clients.

Until I got talking about work to a friend over the holidays. I excitedly told him about my new process and how soon I would be looking for test clients. Would he like to be one, I asked.

The following week he asked when I was going to schedule the first workshop. Shit. The content is nowhere near complete. But instead of putting him off, I scheduled the workshop for a Friday morning in less than two weeks’ time.

I pushed to send him the on-boarding questionnaire. Told him to have it back to me at the end of the week.

That weekend I nailed down the workshop agenda, notes and activities. On Monday morning, I briefed in the presentation deck, worksheets, posters and other tools in for design.

Tomorrow is the pre-workshop phone call when I brief my new client on how the process will play out. The day after that is the workshop.

If my friend hadn’t pushed to get his workshop scheduled, I promise you, I would still be working on the content through this summer.

When you have are working towards something that seems out of reach or you just don’t have the energy to make it happen, distinguishing passive action from massive action can be helpful.

The reason I’ve been able to pull together the pieces so quickly is not because I’ve pulled all-nighters and not because the process was easy, but because I took action consistently to get it done. Instead of burying my head in a book, taking passive action to learn something new, I took massive action writing the actual content I needed to create to get the thing done.

Instead of telling myself there was no way I could get the design briefed in time, I wrote the brief, scheduled the meeting and got the ball rolling.

There are times when passive action is needed. Energy ebbs and flows. New concepts float by that we want to explore. It’s when it becomes our default mode that it gets in the way of taking change-making action.