Tricks to Smashing Goals

It’s that time of the year when so many of us are focused on setting goals for the end of the year and to kick off the next year with focus and rigor. We have all seen the social media posts and the encouragement to smash the goals and become a “goaldigger.” But what are some tricks and tips to setting goals? Most of us know about setting SMART Goals (Specific, Measure, Achievable, Results and Time). However, is there more? Are there other tips that can help us get to where we want to go.

Below are some of my quick “Busy, Bossy and Branded” tips on setting your goals and accomplishing them.

1.) Set goals that excite you! Yes, get excited. Of course we have things that we need to do that don’t get us very excited. For example, getting your taxes done is not very exciting, however if the goal is to “Organize my finances to increase my savings account” – that may be exciting! One of the action items for this may be: Create a buget or File Taxes.

2.) Put some action to it. Action items underneath your goals is critical. It can be somewhat easy to come up with a “dream” goal list. However, the power behind goal setting is the action list. When creating your action list, keep it simple. Keep it VERY simple. Try to limit your action items for each goal to 3-5 activities.

3.)holidays office Celebrate Your Successes. I believe in celebrating. There is something power about celebrating your successes, big and small. It creates momentum and keeps your mindset in a positive and growth mode.

4.) Embrace it Everyday. Your goals list should be a part of your everyday life. Put it in several places throughout your home, office and electronic devices. Look at it every day, several times a day to make sure you are moving in the right direction and your mindset is aligning with what you want.

5.) Repetition. I hope you are writing your goals down, however, in addition to writing them down, speak them and write them often. As stated in the fourth point, your goals should be a part of your everyday life. Record them and listen to them a few times a week. Repetition is the mother of success!

I hope these tips and tricks are helpful to you! I would love to hear about how you have smashed your goals and created new ones! Email me at lee@ashbyandwatts.com if you have any questions or want to share your goals.

How to Practice Intentional Marketing

How intentional are you?  Intentional is about knowing why you are doing what you are doing and making a decision to go in a specific direction.  It always comes back to our WHY.  Are you intentional with your business?  Intentional in your relationships?  Intentional in your finances?

African female executive at work

Intentional living defines your life before circumstances destroy it.

The quality of our lives should not be an accident or a mystery.  When we live an intentional life, specifically with our businesses, we don’t get as distracted with mishaps or detours.  We realize that we have been so intentional and clear on our WHY and DIRECTION, we know that we are still on the right path.  We treasure our moments and are energized with even the mundane activities.

As we begin looking at the end of the year, I want to encourage you to be intentional with your time, with your business and your marketing.

Below are some quick tips on being more intentional:

    • Set daily, monthly and quarterly goals
    • Use a calendar
    • Know what you want (many of us don’t know what we really want)
    • Write it out
    • Change your mindset
    • Practice Gratitude
    • Declutter your life
    • Master your mornings
    • Make an appointment with Lee Watts 🙂 

If you need clarity, have questions on how to be intentional with your marketing or want to set new goals for your business, email me. I’d love to help you!

Keys to Clarity: Tips for Creating Clarity in Your Life

Clarity is everything.  Unclear expectations, goals or communication produces unclear results.

Without clarity it is very difficult to move forward and grow your business.  Being clarity lee wattsstrategic becomes challenging without clarity.  You will communicate ineffectively to your audience and clients. Ideas may not flow freely and you are unable to determine the next steps.

Many leader talk about the importance of focus.  However, without clarity – you may not be sure what to focus on.  Clarity must come first before you can obtain true success.

Below are XX ways that you can gain more clarity in life and business:

1.) What do you want?  Sounds like such a simple question, however, so few people can answer this.  I will often start my branding sessions with this question.  Over 50% of the time, my client will stumble through their answer.  Get clear on what it is that you really want.

2.) Exercise.  Exercising is such a big stress reliever, releases endorphins and overall helps you to feel better.  There have been many, many times I’ve received a great idea or an answer to a problem while exercising.  This doesn’t mean that you have to have a strict exercise program or train for triathalon.  Exercise could simply mean walking in the morning or evening or doing yoga in your living room.  The key is to relax, clear your mind and allow your brain to receive.

3.) Write it Out.  Journaling or writing out your thoughts and ideas in an unsensored manner is extremely helpful.  In work, we are trained to sensor our thoughts and ideas.  However, clarity often comes during those times of letting unsensored thoughts flow. If you are not a writer, consider talking into a voice recorder or creating a private video.  The goal is to go back and review for thoughts and look for aha moments or common denominators.

4.) Immerse Yourself in Action.  Often we will sit and review our thoughts and ideas without trying anything.  Immersing yourself in action and taking chances will quickly show us if something will work or not.  Don’t be afraid to try and fail.  Failing is one of our best teachers and can quickly put on on the road to clarity.

5.) Ask Yourself Why. Knowing your WHY has become a little of a catchphrase.  However, if done correctly, it is powerful.  Don’t underestimate it. Knowing your WHY for doing anything helps to eliminate the things in your business or life that don’t serve your purpose.

6.) Watch Your Time. How do you use your free time?  Be careful and selective on how you use your mind when you are not working.  Are you numbing your mind with trash television, filling your body with junk food and sugar?  Create a clear and clean lifestyle, and your mind will follow.

7.) Build Your Tribe.  In addition to creating a clear and clean lifestyle, it is important to have a close network of colleagues, mentors and friends that have similar goals.  This will help provide you with clarity and vision for your business and organization.

Do you have clarity—about work, relationships, health, free time, friendship, or any other aspect of your life?

If you are looking for clarity with your personal brand or the your organization or business, feel free to contact me for a clarity session.  Signing up for a complimentary consultation session may also help with your direction.

 

 

 

Are You Listening & Watching?

The Power of Listening to Your Clients

Many companies have excellent services or products.  I also see amazing brands, with great taglines, logos and sales pages.  However, no matter how great your product or service, if you are not listening to your clients and customers to discover their needs, your business will only go so far. pexels-photo-110473.jpeg

I am still amazed when I speak with excited and ambitious entrepreneurs that design their wonderful plans and strategies based on their strengths and talents. Business and marketing plans should include your strengths, however, without listening and responding to clients needs or wants,  you don’t have a business.

Below are five ways to listen to your clients:

1.) Client or Prospective Client Visits:  Never underestimate the power of an in-person visit. When a business owner or professional visits their customers or clients, just for a check-in visit, more often than not, it turns into a business opportunity.  Many professionals have projects and needs sitting on their desk or in their inbox that they have not assigned or sought help for yet,  If your business is solving a problem or making someone’s life easier, visiting a potential client is a great way of reminding them about your value.

2.) Online surveys:  Online surveys are great and easy way to receive client feedback.  Not everyone will complete the survey,  however, you still may be able to collect enough information to impact your marketing strategy.  The key is to make the surveys easy and brief.  There is a strategy to creating surveys.  Be sure to be thoughtful and strategic when surveying your audience.

3.) Watch Your Analytics:  Notice what your audience is responding to on social media.  If your followers are not responding to your posts or asking more questions, you are not listening to your audience.  You should reevaluate your content and create content that is valuable to your clients.

4.) More Social Listening:  Not only should you watch your analytics, but also watching what your clients and prospective clients are responding to or sharing on social media provides competitive intelligence.  Look at your top clients and prospects.  What are they sharing or reading?  This should give you more insights on your clients.

5.) Create Forums:  Part of effective and strategic marketing is creating a community or a “tribe.”  It takes time to do this and it depends on your industry, however if you are able to do this, it helpful in gathering feedback. Within this “tribe” – you are able to ask questions and get feedback on new initiatives and products.  A tribe can be created and maintained through a private online group or focus groups.  Think about your industry and what make sense for your business.

If you listen and watch, your customers will tell you what they need. How are you listening to your audience and learning more about their needs?  If you need assistance with developing a plan to reach out to your clients or prospects, please contact me.

 

 

Making Magic 9-5 and 5-9

The balance of employee vs. entrepreneur

I come across people every week that are trying to balance between launching their dreams and still working as a good employee.  How does one balance it all?  Do you abandon your dreams and stick with your 9-5? Do you quit your full-time job and go for it?

It is difficult to move the needle with your side hustle and still produce outstanding work for your employer.  But its possible.

Below are some practical tips on how to manage both:

Make the Most of Your Time:  If your primary job is from “9-5” – without question, youAfrican female executive at work must make the most of your mornings and evenings.  Most people will advise that you discover if you are a morning or evening person.  However, if you are an entrepreneur and an employee, it really doesn’t matter which time of day you prefer.  Early mornings are not optional; it is a must.  It sets the tone for your day and helps you to establish clarity.  Mornings give you the additional time and clarity to get work and strategy done for your passions and get a head start on your 9-5.  But evenings are important too.  Burning the candle at both ends may not be everyday – but at least commit to being an early riser or putting in an evening shift (weekends too) at least a few times a week or month.

Automate, automate, automate:  As much as you can, automate your life.  Anything that you can possibly automate, consider doing it.  This ranges from having your coffee brewing when you wake up, to your emails being sent throughout the day or social media posts.  Take inventory of your life.  Anything that you can remove from thinking too much about or having to manually do, try to automate.  I am a big user of Buffer and Acuity Scheduling.  Both help me to automate my life.

Calendar It:  This kinda goes without saying, but I am surprised by how many people do not use a calendar.  Or worse – they use too many calendars and have things spread out everywhere.  Figure out the best calendar for your personality: online vs. written, day view vs. monthly view, etc. Don’t rely on just your memory or your inbox.  Take that pressure off of yourself and use that extra mental energy for your work.

Write it Down:  Using a calendar is very different from having a “to-do” list.  It is important to create a to-do list each day.  I used to separate my lists from corporate job vs. side gig.  But now, I don’t.  For me, it doesn’t matter.  What needs to get done – must get done.  I put it all on a list and then prioritize my list.  Some things on my side hustle are top priority that day and requires me to take a moment out of my day or get up extra early to return a call or email, etc.  Get into a habit of writing your “to-do” list each day.

Get clear on your Why:  You will get tired and frustrated and wonder “why am I doing this?”  You must be very clear on your why.  Remember why you started and what you are passionate about.  If you don’t have a good why – then it will be very difficult to continue during difficult times.

Know Your Brand:   When you know your brand, not just your company brand, but your personal brand, it is much easier to know what to accept and deny in your professional and personal life.  When you know what YOU the product is focused on – you will have a better vision of where to spend your time and how to promote yourself and your business.  Knowing your personal brand brings clarity in all areas of your life.

If you need assistance with your personal branding or want more information on balancing your career and your business, contact me for a complimentary session to discuss more.

 

Client Service + Marketing Strategy

Great client service is what separates a good business and an amazing company.

Let’s face it.  Great marketing may get the people to your business or organization, but great client service is what keeps them coming back and telling others about you.

As I’ve stated in videos and other blog posts, the essence and heart of marketing is about building and maintaining amazing relationships with your audience.  Great relationships lead to more business, more referrals and more work.

Below are 5 reasons why client service should be incorporated into your marketing strategy:

1.) Client Retention:  If you want to keep your current clients, the goal is to make it difficult for them to leave you. How invested are they into your company or organization?  Are you aware of their needs and other concerns outside of the work you are doing for them?  If not, ask questions and maintain some type of system or file on each client.  If you are aware of their interests, how are you supporting your GREAT clients in their outside interests and objectives.  Build real relationships with the clients that really matter.

2.) Competition:  When deciding to do business with either your company and another company, for most people, client service can be the deciding factor.  This is true even with nonprofits or ministries.  Competition in every industry is fierce.  Excellent client service can set you apart from the others.

3.) Setting Expectations:  One part of great marketing and client service is to set clear expectations of the services and products you offer.  The goal is to not allow your client/customer to get lost in the processes of your business.  Are they aware of next steps and how they will transition in and out of phases of the relationship?  How do things wrap up or begin in your business?  Clients need to feel secure in their transactions and business with you.  Are you making their lives easier or more difficult? This is good client service.

4.) Brand Identity:  The type of experience your clients have with team members or others in the company, contribute to the overall brand of the company.  We see this with Chick-fil-a. It is very rare that you will see a rude or unhelpful employee at Chick-fil-a.  It goes against their brand identity and their values.  Does that same type of client service permeate throughout your company?  What is your brand promise and identity?  Is this reflected in how your clients are treated?

These are just a few reasons why client service should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.  If you need assistance with incorporating client service into your marketing or branding strategy, contact me for a 15 minute consultation.  I would love to help you!

Developing Business During the Holiday Season

Marketing is all about relationships.  What better time to focus on your marketing and business development than around the holidays, when people are focused on their closest personal and business relationships? 

Office Desk Computer, Coffee Paper Christmas Holidays Decoration

 

Below are some five tips on how you can be strategic and thoughtful with your clients during the holiday season. 

 

1.) Know Your Contacts – If you have not taken the time throughout the year to organize your contact list, this a good time to tackle this important task.  You should be aware of where your contacts fit on your list of priorities.  For example, knowing if a contact is a prospect, current great client, a client with potential for growth (more work), or a client that is slipping away, or a referral, etc.  Once you know where your contact stands on your list of priorities, you are better equipped with a plan to reach out to them during the holidays (and the new year).  Some contacts may receive a card, other contacts may receive an invitation to dinner or a party, others may receive a company gift.  Get organized and know your clients.

 

2.) Brief Client Interviews –  Although the holiday season is not the time to do aggressive selling  to your clients, it is the time to lay the ground work and gather important information for the new year.  As you are visiting clients, don’t be afraid to conduct a quick assessment on how the year has gone for their business or your work for them this year.  As you are gathering this information, you should also plan on how to address their issues in the new year. 

 

3.) Plan Your Visits – This is a great time of the year to visit clients, referrals and prospects bearing goodies for the office or business.  A box of donuts or cupcakes can go along way and also opens up an opportunity to find out what they are working on or may need assistance with for next year.  On-site visits are an excellent way to glean more information and work from your clients.   

 

4.) Create a Holiday Message:  Consider tweaking a tagline or key brand message for your company.  It is completely appropriate at this time of year as long as you maintain an authentic brand voice for your company. 

 

5.) Don’t forget about the New Year: We often focus on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, however, don’t forget to celebrate the New Year with your clients and prospects. Again, this is an excellent time to celebrate and quietly bring up their goals and plans of the New Year. 

 

Don’t let the holiday season slip by you without doing something strategic and thoughtful for your key contacts.  The most important point is to know who your key contacts are and where you want the relationship to go.  This will help determine how to approach them for the holidays and as you go into the New Year. 

 

Finally, remember…. it is all about building the relationship.  You should never think its a waste of time toasting with your client or stopping by with cookies. Relationships are the key to great business development. 

Recharge Your Marketing for 2017

Time is moving so quickly! Can you believe we are halfway through the year? Where areMarketing goals
you on your goals for the year? Many of us may be disappointed with our progress, but now is not the time to get discouraged. Instead you have to get busy!
Below are a few tips in jumpstarting your marketing and branding efforts for the year:
  • Revisit Your Why: Why are you doing what your doing? It always begins with Your Why – the thing that moves you and makes you jump out of bed in the morning. If you are unclear on your Why – this may be the reason for your lack of focus or passion. Get the Why!
  • Network: Find an event in your area, in your industry and run elbows with those who are doing what you want to do. If you are mentally mature, this is always a good way to get our juices going and provide some inspiration. Have a goal to connect with at least one person and follow up with them after the event.
  • Stop Overthinkig It: Take the leap! Sometimes we wait until the moment of perfection to launch or release or do the marketing. Just do it. The moment of perfection may never come. Entrepreneurship is about testing, trying, failing and taking risks. It is about learning as you go. If you are uncomfortable with taking risks, this may not be the right avenue or the right time for you. Do your homework, trust your gut and take the leap!
  • Brain Dump: Often we are holding so much in our brain that it is paralyzing our activity. We have so many ideas and goals, but they are swirling in our head and we lack clarity. Take a few hours and get it all out. Write in a journal, notebook, chalk board, post it notes — something! Brain detox and the reset!
I hope these tips help you to recharge and prepare for a great end to 2017.  If you need assistance with any of these, please contact me or check out one my upcoming webinars!

Dazzle Them with The Experience

Do you provide great customer service or a great client experience?

Do you have a business, resimg_7967taurant or store that you enjoy visiting or supporting?  It may because of the products they sell, or it could simply be how the establishment makes you feel when you visit  Our emotions and our experiences play a huge role in branding and marketing.  As brand owners, we cannot ignore the power of creating a great and memorable experience for clients and customers.

Why is Client Experience (CX) Important? 

If a customer has a great experience with you, he/she will likely be a repeat customer and will tell others about your business, service or product. If they have enough good experience, they will be a loyal customer.

Customer experience is NOT customer service.  Customer service is often that point of contact your customer may have your business.  Customer experience embodies every experience, from digital awareness/media until after the transaction or service has been provided (follow-up or surveys).

Below are a few things to consider with creating a strategy for a wonderful and consistent customer service experience.

Keep It Simple 

Unfortunately, I’ve seen businesses or organiations make this too complicated, and then not able to maintain a consistent customer experience plan.  You have your core business – the service or product that you provide – therefore, be careful not to overthink providing a good client experience.  Think about your current client interactions on a daily basis.  How can you improve it?  How can you make it easier or more efficient for your clients or customers? Is there another small way that you can make them feel appreciated?

Ask Them

We often underestimate the power of simply asking our clients/customers how they feel?  If we remember that ultimately marketing is about creating and building relationships, we will keep in mind that in every relationship people just want to be heard and validated.  Are you listening to your audience?  Do they know you are listening and that you’ve heard them?  Are you addressing concerns and issues?  Ask. Listen. Respond.

Look at the Big Picture 

Be careful that you don’t judge your client’s experience on one touchpoint.  They may have a great interaction with you and your service or product, however,  the payment process may have been complicated.  Or they may have tried to order something from you online and it wasn’t clear.  Or someone from your accounting department was rude.  Be sure to step back and look at all touch points and the WHOLE experience of your clients/customers.

Don’t Forget Emotions

Emotions play a big role in marketing and branding in a myriad of ways.  With client/customer experience, you must know your audience and what is important to them.  When we know what is important to them, we understand more of the emotion to connect to and better able to make the the client experience relevant. Always know your audience and what is important to them.

If you need assistance with creating a client experience vision or strategy, feel free to contact me.  I would love to answer any questions that you may have or help you create an amazing strategy.

 

Building a Brand or a Movement?

Creating a movement or a brand-Starting a business is hard work. The hours can be grueling, along with the emotional and mental stamina needed to stay focused and innovative.  One thing that helps with turbulence and challenges of starting a business or organization is to understand if your business or organization exists for more than just paying bills.  It’s always exciting when you are brand is also a movement.  When the company or organization is more than about a product or service, but you are wanting to create change.
Brand vs. Movement
So what is different about creating a movement?  Movements are built on the things that make us human, which is ultimately that we want to be a part of something greater. Connecting to something to believe in and follow.  Movements are about creating a change.  This doesn’t mean that brands won’t do that.  However, the goal of a brand is about telling the story of your business, organization or product and allowing people to experience and follow that brand.  Movement is about transformation, where brands are often looking to dominate and compete in the marketplace. The goal of a movement is to change lives. Both are needed and critical, however the strategy and tactics needed with each are different.
Which are you doing?
If you are interested in creating CHANGE, if you have a message, if you want to go deeper, bigger and bolder, it’s important to see yourself as creating a movement. Movements build momentum and loyalty.  Movements offer hope…
 
Are you creating a brand or a movement?
Below are some key elements to creating a movement:
  •  Inspire.  You can’t get away from it.  If you want to create a movement, you have to inspire people to love something or hate something.  You have to tell the story in such a compelling way that you tug on the emotions of your audience.
  • Experience.  Stories are great; they keep us engaged and help us to think.  However, experiences make us FEEL something.  When creating a movement, you have to create an experience for your audience.  The experience you offer will depend on your industry and the vision for your company.  But don’t ignore it.
  • Live it. Whatever you are asking people to do, you have to be already doing it.  It needs to be ingrained in you and what you believe and do .
  • Create a call to action. What do you want your followers to DO?  Do you just want them to share the information? Donate? Follow? Attend?  Buy?  Whatever it is, tell them what you need for them to do and engage them to be part of the project. You have to show people how to follow.
  • Build a Tribe.  In order to build a tribe, you need to build trust.  Trust allows you to ask people to do some amazing things.  When creating a movement (or building a brand), you need trust.
Again, some brands are both.  They are about telling your company story, creating a following and proposing change.  Whichever you are doing, know the difference and tweak your business model accordingly.  If you need assistance in this area, feel free to contact me at lee@ashbyandwatts.com.  Or attend my next workshop Strategy & Stilettos- The Workshop.