By Amy Kinnaird
Are you all settled back into the swing of things at work? Are you ready to see some big results? For two weeks everyone was talking about planning, goal setting and their “one word for the year”. All of these are wonderful ideas, but as you have probably experienced, sometimes nothing happens until it’s written down in your calendar!
In the New Year, I talked to a lot of groups and wrote a couple of blog posts about having a marketing calendar. This is the place to put your marketing goals and action steps for each month, week, and day. Like many of you, I have a couple of big events already on the calendar. And when I finish doing my calendar for the year, everything will be much more manageable and I can rest knowing that things won't get lost in the shuffle.
Of course, a calendar is a living, breathing, working document. I'll be changing it during the year, but it is a nice compass to guide me along the way. If you are looking for some guidance along the way, I encourage you to create and use your own marketing calendar.
What did you learn at work today?
While you're building your calendar, make sure to include some continuing education.
One of the things that entrepreneurs have in common is their love of learning. In the last four years I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars learning new things and staying up to date in my current expertise areas. I do this because I love learning, but mostly because it makes me a better solution for my clients and a valuable resource to my audience. Therefore, I want to encourage YOU to keep up the learning in the new year.
Here are a couple of things that you can do:
1) Attend an out of town conference or live event in 2012.
Each year I plan at least one out of town business trip to a conference or meeting where I can network with amazing people and learn something new. The people you meet will be very talented and successful business people who can impact your business in many ways. I have found great mastermind partners, coaches, and new friends to team up with for joint projects. Plus, it never hurts to meet the leaders in your industry and those higher up the food chain. Not only can they mentor you, but they can connect you to others who are potential clients.
These kinds of learning and networking experiences have always been worth WAY more than the cost for me. Most conferences have an “early bird” sign-up that can save you hundreds of dollars, and even spread payments out over several months. Book your hotel and flight early and continue to save. Find a friend to go with to further reduce expenses.
2) Join an online forum or continuity program.
Check out the rich resources that an online group can reward you with. Groups can provide webinars and forums filled with indispensable information to your business. For instance, I pay a small monthly fee to be part of a group focused on social media. Not only am I connecting with leaders in the industry, but the others in the group are wonderful new resources, as well. There are twice-monthly webinars, a secured Facebook group, and archives filled with information and previous webinars that I have access to.
Do a little research to see who might be hosting something similar for your industry.
3) Read all the business books you can get your hands on. Buy them or borrow them from a friend or library.
Since my focus is marketing and social media, I try to familiarize myself with the latest books people are writing and reading on those topics. Often I will check one out of the library or scan through it at the book store prior to buying. Not all have made the cut! If you receive a good book recommendation, check it out first.
The number of books I own was starting to outgrow my office bookshelf, so I am using my new Kindle now to store them. All new business book purchases will be Kindle format, if possible, and that way, I can have them all at my fingertips.
The bottom line is, take the time and money to invest in yourself and your business growth. As one of my business coaches said, “How can you expect your clients to invest in you when you don't invest in yourself?” This has been a guiding principle of my business. It would be a great guide for yours, too!
Amy Kinnaird has over three decades of experience in Marketing with half of that time spent working from her home office. While working at IBM for 15 years, Amy discovered a techie inside herself, a trait she continues to use and cultivate in her own business – UnCommon Sense Marketing. Amy is a Social Media Evangelist, a Marketing Consultant, and a popular speaker based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Clients find that Amy makes the technical world simple to understand and can find her where Southern Hospitality meets the World of IT, and at just about every local networking event in between! For more information on Amy, visit http://uncommonsensemarketing.com.