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24 Are you just uncomfortable enough

I know that marketing doesn’t come naturally to most business owners. Not many people say to themselves – “I am such a good marketer I think I’ll start a business selling something.” No, unfortunately the conversation probably goes like this – “I sure love to work with spreadsheets and do people’s taxes, holy crap, I’ve got to learn how to market.”

When the realization that you are in the marketing business hits, too many people want to grab onto the latest and greatest marketing idea and ramp up the selling machine overnight.

KaizenWhen it comes to marketing, you’ve got to decide that little improvements, metered out every single day are the way to gain a measure of marketing momentum. Don’t freak out and try to do it all today, or next week. Make it a habit. Think Kaizen! Kaizen (改善) is Japanese for improvement. It is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. It’s a philosophy that is bantered around my management consultants, but it so applies to small business marketing.

I know you want the quick fix, but get over it, that’s not the way it works.

Create a list of marketing activities that, if practiced every single day, would cause continuous marketing improvement. Make certain that about 1/2 of your list makes you uncomfortable just to think about. For some that’s public speaking, calling up really big prospects, asking a supplier to partner or simply asking a journalist to coffee. If you’re not stretching enough to make yourself just a little uncomfortable, you’re not growing, you’re not moving forward. Again, focus on daily sips of improvement rather than the tsunami.

Here’s a little exercise I love to use to check my comfort level. Clasp your hands together, like you might in prayer, interlace all 10 fingers. Most of us have a natural way of doing this – I’m left thumb over right. Now, switch your clasp to the opposite way – so for me that’s now right thumb and all corresponding fingers over left. It feels a little awkward doesn’t it. It’s not painful or really even that sensational, but it usually produces just a slight feeling that is uncomfortable. Try it any time you feel like you are phoning your day in and use it to remind yourself to push just that much every day.