Cutting Through the Clutter

time-moneyTime is money. I know, how cliché of me but I had to say it because it is true. Due to the amount of media attention I receive at M Communications, I could really spend all day on the phone talking to people. Unfortunately, I do need to pay my mortgage so I am now selective about whom I call back. I know that it sounds terrible from a customer services perspective but it is true. For example, if you are calling about setting up a merchant services account, and I already have one I am probably going to spend my time calling the reporter back who wants to do a story on my client (hence billable hours). Be very careful about how you spend your phone time a la viable client leads versus nonsense. I regularly get calls from authors who wanted a literary review via phone. Um, no. Whenever possible direct people to your website if you are in the business of receiving projects. Also, if someone gave you their card and asked you to call them regarding business you are losing money if you do not follow up. You would be surprised how many people do not follow up.

Watch the email clutter. Now, I know that our lovely graphic designer knows that I am always on my email but I always respond to her emails because they usually involve our clients work. On the flip side, I am pulled into so many different directions we could really spend the whole day responding to nonsense. Prioritize what is important and even set up folders in your Outlook so if you are getting media requests or requests for new work they are going into special folders versus being lost in the junk. You always want to respond to requests for new work and table the requests from people who just want to pick your brain for free advice.

Where should I network? This is a tough one and it really varies business to business. You never want to join a group that will cause you to snicker at speakers or take off your glasses so you can completely ignore what is going on … it is not professional and chances are if the speaking lineup is bad, the leader has zero leadership skills and any initial members will disappear. Look at who your audience or potential clients are and go from there. Most organizations will allow you to attend a couple of meetings before joining, which is a great way to test the water without spending money on membership dues. Also, interview the members (long standing ones) on what they think of the organization. I could literally go to different networking groups every day but I need to do client work too.

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