Do You HAVE To…?

A question I often get from new clients: “Do I HAVE to ____?” with the blank referencing some step in a marketing campaign (like making follow-up calls, sending direct mail or conducting some other activity, strategy, idea, step I’ve provided to them). What they are hoping is that they can somehow skip that action or activity but still get the results they want, or very close.

My answer is always this: You don’t HAVE to do anything. What you choose to do or not do is 100% entirely up to you. There’s no law that says you have to do any marketing at all. You aren’t required to grow, make money, get more clients, generate leads or even keep the doors open. Often, they think this is a flippant response – but it’s not. It’s the correct answer.

I’m a big proponent of autonomy and designing your business to fit your preferences, needs and lifestyle. I also firmly believe there’s nothing you CAN’T do if you’re determined enough.Can you ramp up sales and new client acquisition without hiring salespeople? Yes. Start a new division of your company (or start an entirely new company) without doing content marketing and endless social media posts? Absolutely. Replace badly behaving clients with those who will take your advice, pay you what you’re worth and appreciate you without doing direct mail? Yep. Change your pricing strategy and business model without suffering a dip in income? Without a doubt. Expand into different cities and states without traveling endlessly? Yes, and it’s all been done before.

A belief I’ve long held to be true: there’s ALWAYS a way.

However, that needs to be tempered a bit with reality. If I want to shed 20 pounds of fat, I need to create a caloric deficit. I can do that by restricting how much I eat or what I eat, or with exercise, or any combination of that. Can I get there by only eating Twinkies? Yes, as long as at the end of the day I have a caloric deficit. A few years back, a science teacher made news by losing 56 pounds and lowering his cholesterol by eating only at McDonalds for six months, destroying the belief that eating at McDonalds makes you fat. It doesn’t. Overeating makes you fat.

Of course, we can argue that one way is better than the other, but all coins have two sides, all actions have positive and negative. You get to pick your poison, but a little poison is always involved. I don’t know of a single successful person who waltzes through their day doing ONLY the things they truly love to do and that come easy to them. But successful people also know they can exercise a lot of control over situations and find multiple ways to reach their goals. They know they can accept or reject approaches and methods, mold and make things how they want. They can change approaches and creatively come up with a solution, a method, a path that eliminates those things they find truly onerous and offensive.

I have trained myself to be outcome-focused, not method- or strategy-focused, giving myself a lot of ways to creatively find a way to achieve any goal. Far too many people get task- or activity-focused, thereby locking themselves into a way of doing something because that’s what they’ve always done, that’s what everyone else is doing or that is the only way they’ve thought of, often losing sight of what they’re really trying to accomplish. Shame.

So, the next time you start your day, don’t think, “What do I have to do today?” Ask yourself, “What results do I want to produce? What outcomes do I want to create?” By starting with the end in mind, you free yourself from being locked into a prison of activities to being focused on more meaningful and strategic actions. Often when coaching a client, we discover that most of what’s in their schedule is actually irrelevant and unsupportive of their most important goals. Things they feel they have to do but probably could be outsourced, delegated or stopped altogether. This is a giant first step in real productivity.

Do you want more leads, more clients, more profits now but don’t know where to start? Click here and watch a quick video about the three biggest problems IT Service Businesses face and how to solve them.