scott ward art ( The dance of the Tortoise

Scott Ward Art ( The Dance of the Tortoise.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. Even with all our fast-pasted technology, taking time in business produces lasting results. If slow and steady is an integral part of your nature – lucky you! For others who (like me) go-go-go, this post is for you. Interested in finding out more about the type of “wait-er” you are?

No Follow Through = Failure

Once upon a time a curly-haired girl, full of fire, was taking the world by storm. She built operations, sales and marketing for her e-commerce company. Any given morning she’d try a new idea to improve customer and client experience: occasionally a variation on an old theme and every so often a completely novel approach requiring major process changes.

Some days, she’d do cartwheels upon discovering a new/better way to achieve more results. She’d make the team a little crazy by pushing them. Everyone feared change a bit, but the girl would talk through the idea, poke holes and perhaps add a few revisions, then execute it. Then, she’d come in with new concepts and change everything all over again. She considered this process adaptable and adventurous.

Most had merit and some would’ve been awesome – but the ideas simply hadn’t enough time to prove themselves. The perception throughout was not one of failure, just a quest to do better.

So who was that curly-haired girl? Back in early 2000…it was me. Looking back, not fully testing out my thoughts over an extended period in and of itself was a failure.

Slow and Steady

Movers-and-shakers find taking one’s time difficult. There is just so much awesomeness to create, implement, purpose…so many people with who to stay connected, and so many EFFECTIVE ways to do so. You never know until you try, right?

Right…when one implements an idea with care, and acknowledges and evaluates each milestone for any course corrections along the way. Not taking time to revisit each milestone removes chances to think through those inevitable, unforeseen occurrences. In fact, check-ins provide opportunities to look for the unexpected instead of being unpleasantly surprised!

Why do we try to move through ideas so fast? Do customers truly expect instant gratification? Maybe so. But customers don’t mind waiting – i.e. slowing down – when they know what’s going on. Therefore, be deliberate. Set aside the necessary time. Make certain every action promotes an understanding and mastering of online marketing efforts (and, ultimately, every part of your business) with both results and customers in mind.

1. Plan First

Think the concept through, and run it by your sounding board. Then let the idea sit for a few days (or weeks, depending on scope) to see what other creative solutions your team dreams up. Planning often receives a bad rap for being too laborious. In reality, the interim is mostly not active time, but rather allows space for valuable thoughts to make the execution of the idea complete.

2. Wait

Implement and wait. Ugh. Argh. Wait??! Intellectually, we understand the benefits of delaying. But remaining patient is difficult in practice, partly from expectations of instant-gratification…and partly because the long implementation process in which seeing things through can be hard.

What does waiting mean for all those ideas? Honestly, it depends on the idea. In a digital marketing medium, one needs to devote three months to gather and analyze the base data set – maybe longer. Incorporating the waiting time into part of the plan from the get-go makes the process easier. To make the interval a bit more fun, try using a countdown beginning with the data collection period.

What is your business intention? To move many projects at once, or to zero in and focus on one project at a time? (For those with teams and departments: do the groups within your organization work on lots projects at once or just a few?)

Trying to be everything to everyone; taking the personal out of customer support; and giving too much – all these resource-eating actions are “The good intentions that will kill your business.” Rushing increases the likelihood that the “WHY” of your business becomes diluted.

3. Measure

Part of the planning involves how to measure results. Of course, one fully analyzes results once the wait is over. But peeking at the entire data set at pre-planned dates during the collection process will provide the basis for any refinements.

Be the Tortoise

With so much information available about how to make businesses better, waiting is hard. All those facts and figures compete for your attention; it is tempting to multi-task. But strive to make just one change at a time. When too many modifications occur close together, the impact of any particular one becomes more difficult to track. Remember – time is on your side.

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