Focus Friday: The Snow Day Edition

I am continuingSnow Day my Focus Friday efforts. It is snowing in the Long Island New York area, so I am at home with the kids. I got the message that school was closed while on the rowing machine at 5:20 a.m. My plans for the day have gotten completely turned upside down.  Sound familiar? Snow days and changes in a schedule should not stop anyone’s efforts to grow and market their business or plan for the future. I look at quiet days like this one as an opportunity to focus on certain important tasks and to catch up on others and also to stay mindful of the future and my goals.

Here are my ideas for how to spend a snowy Focus Friday:

  • Snow Day University – The kids may be off from school, but a snow day for you means an opportunity to learn. Do you have a book, magazine articles or blogs that you want to read but haven’t had time? Get them together and spend the day learning more about marketing, business building, sales strategies, catch up on trends in your industry or simply focus on motivation. I like to listen or watch business and personal development related podcasts and TED talks so I can learn about new topics and marketing strategies. Block off the time and commit to learning and self-improvement. Why not spend half your day snow day learning and gaining a competitive advantage. Remember, when you are not learning you’re falling behind.  Take advantage of your free time and attend Snow Day University.
  • Create a Schedule – Even though you are at home, schedule your day’s activities. Set a time for work, set a time for dreaming and set a time for shoveling snow (if you must).
  • snow blowCapitalize on the Quiet – It is hard to concentrate and focus when there are distractions. On this nice quiet snow day, set yourself up and get to work on reexamining your business goals. Review the action steps you have already taken this year and be proud of your accomplishments. If you haven’t completed a task or two, get back on track.
  • Get Organized – Quiet snow days are perfect for re-organizing files, cleaning up your home office or getting tasks done that you have put off. I am cleaning up my office, shredding papers and organizing family photos today.
  • Make Phone Calls – Get in touch with friends, business contacts and others. Most of us are pressed for time and often put off those casual business hellos or “How are you doing?” calls. Snow days are ideal for this. Get your list and make your calls.
  • Relax and Recharge – If the pressure is off to get work done, spend this down time relaxing and recovering from work overload. Do you have a novel you would like to read? Do you like to cook, but don’t have time during the week? Do you need to catch up on sleep? Take advantage of this day to focus on these activities. You will be more productive tomorrow.

It’s easy to sit back and watch TV or do nothing on a snow day. Look at this day as an opportunity to use a quiet environment and unexpected free time to catch up and focus on your goals. Time is one of your most valuable assets use the time you have been gifted to reinvigorate your efforts to achieve your goals and get better organized.

What will you do on your next snow day?

Need to create a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn profile to drive market and drive business? Visitwww.growyourpersonalbrand.com

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Networking

Office-HOliday-party[1].jpg

I just returned from my third – yes, third – holiday party so far this month. Say “yes” to holiday parties and events and stay positive. While the holidays are a great time of the year to get out and see people, they also present a perfect opportunity to reconnect professionally with those you only interact with a few times per year.

The best part is that most of these tips can be utilized throughout the course of the year. Of course, you must always start with being prepared and having a plan for networking.

bill screenshot 2.jpgClick here for a video of my tips for making the best use of your holiday networking time.

Be prepared for each event you attend:

  • Know who is going to be attending
  • Have a goal
  • Have an understanding of what you want to achieve – whether it be meeting new people and/or strengthening existing relationships
  • Know the event’s setting  – restaurant, catering hall, etc.
  • Remember to take into account traffic and parking

Prepare your questions so they are designed to ask engaging questions about a person’s experiences over the past 12 months and their plans for the New Year. Among questions to ask:

  • How was your year?
  • What was your greatest success?
  • Who are you looking to meet?

Remember to listen and then be helpful in assisting them in achieving their goals:

  • If you ask questions listen to the answers
  • Think about solutions….be it your solution or how you can help them achieve their objectives

When attending:

  • Recap the year
  • Ask people questions
  • Be proactive in exploring ways in which you can help them   in2016
  • Determine what your and their personal goals are for next year
  • Practice your elevator speech and be prepared to meet lots of new people

Look to connect with key leaders and decision makers as this may be your only chance in linking up with them the entire year:

  • Don’t be afraid to approach key leaders and decision makers
  • Wait your turn
  • Don’t be too pushy

Be a connector and ask to be connected:

  • If it is your party or you know people in attendance, make the intros – especially if people don’t know anyone
  • Ask to be connected and if there is anyone here that you think I should meet
  • People appreciate thought and effort:  Send out those holiday greetings and follow up/thank you cards:
  • Utilize personal email: if you’re not a big fan of the ecard, try sending a short personal video instead
  • Call people if you can’t see them in person

As always, remember to thank your clients, referral sources and others who have helped you personally as well as professionally.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Black Monday – Why Proactivity and Being Top of Mind Matters

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

The financial market meltdown which occurred today, Aug. 24, 2015, is a stark reminder that being proactive matters.

Planning in finance, business and marketing is critical. Today and in the days to come, we will be hearing a lot about portfolios, risk tolerances, retirement, investment and financial planning.

Having a plan for your finances and retirement is important but many Americans fail to plan. Unbelievably, more than half of Americans have not even spoken with a financial advisor. In a time where 30-40 percent of Americans continue to struggle to pay their bills each month, it is amazing so few look for assistance.

These facts and the market meltdown puts into perspective the need for advisors and others who work with clients in the financial professions to be proactive. Communicating regularly is important to prepare for the future and to prepare for eventual downturns.

Proactive communications is key for customer service, relationship building and to maintain trust. Advisors should communicate regularly with clients by phone, in-person and now with technology: Skype, GoToMeeting or Zoom.com. These services allow advisors to meet virtually and “share screens.” With screen sharing it is much easier for an advisor to help his or her client visualize where they are and where they want to go. Engagement with clients allows the advisor to assess risk tolerances as well as educate clients about different strategies.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

Staying top of mind is also important. Advisors must communicate and share information regularly and when important news breaks. As we move through this current financial downturn, all businesses can learn a lesson: it should not take a crisis for a service provider to contact you. Your team should be in regular contact and understand your specific needs and challenges.

It is also vital for advisors and business professionals to listen to their clients and the marketplace. What are they discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they (clients) discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they reading and watching? During a day like today, clients are watching news and business news networks; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are buzzing with news and commentary. Understanding your clients and where they get their news is important. Some advisers correctly ask their clients what media outlets they follow and they connect with clients on social media. Although constrained in some cases by compliance rules, there are no rules against listing and finding out client concerns.

A few takeaways:

  • Communicate regularly with clients to provide information and education.
  • Listen to markets and observe what interests and concerns clients.
  • Provide solutions or at least assurances when crisis periods take place.
  • Have an ongoing communications plan and process to take during challenging periods.
  • Encourage planning; this is important for everyone in terms of finances but also in terms of business, marketing and when seeking personal objectives

This, unfortunately, is an historic day. Let’s hope it does not mark the beginning of a new economic downturn or recession. We can learn from today that ongoing relationships can regular communications can and do play a vital role. Clients will gain great respect for any advisor who is proactive and thoughtful.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

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