I know you have good intentions about marketing your business. You may even have a pretty good marketing plan. But if you’re a typical self-employed professional, you don’t always follow through on the intentions or plans you make.
Sometimes you get busy with client work. Paying business is a good thing, of course. But if you stop marketing completely while you focus on your clients, you’ll have no business waiting for you when the work ends.
Other times, a household crisis inserts itself into your work week. It seems it’s always the self-employed spouse who gets asked to look after a leaky roof or transport your child’s soccer team on short notice.
Or perhaps, some fear of rejection or resistance to marketing nudge you to spend time perusing Facebook instead of making sales calls, or cleaning out a desk drawer rather than sending notes to folks you met at last night’s networking event.
These failings don’t mean there is something wrong with you as an entrepreneur. They indicate you are human, and subject to all the reasons we humans frequently don’t do the things we intend. All you need to get back on track may be a little help from accountability.
Accountability: A Powerful Tool in Your Entrepreneurial Toolkit
Accountability structures are simple to grasp, easy to implement, and don’t even have to cost money. Here are three ways to make use of accountability to get better results from your marketing.
1. Partner up. Tell another person exactly what you plan to do about marketing and when you plan to do it. For example, “On Tuesday morning, I will make ten phone calls to potential clients on my prospect list.” Then check back at a scheduled time to let your accountability partner know what happened.
This simple accountability structure works on three levels at once. First, it will require you to get specific about what you’re planning and when, which will increase the likelihood you will set aside the time to tackle it. Second, you’ll be making a commitment to another person, which will encourage you to follow through. And third, knowing that you’ll have to report back to someone else will provide extra incentive to do as you promised.
2. Write it down. Commit to accomplish a specific goal in a set timeframe, put it in writing, and look at it often. For example: “I will acquire four new clients by the end of June.” Even if you don’t tell another soul about your goal, writing down will give it more reality for you. Keeping it constantly in front of you will serve as a reminder of your intention. This influential combination will increase your focus on performing all the activities that achieving your goal will require.
3. Work together. Co-working can be a compelling way to get challenging tasks done. Schedule a time to get together in person, by phone, or online, with another person or group of people, and work on marketing tasks in community. One person might be writing copy for her website, another could be placing follow-up calls, and a third might be researching networking events to attend. Work for 45-90 minutes, then pause to check in with each other on how it’s going, and start again.
Why Spin in Place When You Can Crank Things Out?
To put accountability to work for you, pick one of the three structures above to use on your own, or in partnership. You might choose to work with a friend, group of colleagues, facilitated group, or business coach.
Applying accountability to your marketing can mean the difference between productively turning the crank, or just spinning your wheels. When you turn the crank of your marketing machine with purpose, paying business starts popping out the other end. When all you do is randomly spin your wheels, it may look like activity is happening, but tangible results rarely follow.