Posted by: draknor | February 28, 2012

Struggling Along…

Ok, so you know that post I wrote last week — the one about writing and how I need to do it every day?  Um, yeah… ain’t been happening. Sort of like Moltke‘s philosophy “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” (just substitute “battle plan” for “good idea” and “enemy” with “reality”)

Despite not writing, I have been keeping busy with meaningful work…

Last week was a busy week of networking for me!

I’ve also been doing a lot of business & marketing thinking.  It is easy to see why many business owners skimp on this step — it is hard!  I spent a couple of hours yesterday researching the best ways to display photographs in a vendor booth. I got some good ideas, but it was relatively easy.  Enter my search terms in Google, click some links, read some forums & blogs, and boom — plenty of information.  Little thinking required.

But marketing?  Understanding what makes me different, and understanding what’s truly important to my [potential] clients, and how to craft & price my service — that’s hard.  I got some good “tactics” from online searching, but tactics are pretty useless unless you have an overall strategy behind it.  I’m thinking that I do this in a decent fashion somewhat subconsciously, but that I could really benefit from some dedicated, strategic thinking:

  • What do I know? (about my clients, their needs, their pain, their industry)
  • What don’t I know, that I need to know?
  • What assumptions am I making?
  • What assumptions can I test?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Things are rolling though — with the trade show coming up next week, I’m really feeling the pressure now to make sure that I’m ready.  This is going to be key.  One of my “live audience members” for my practice presentation last week gave me some great feedback — I wasn’t just reading off my slides, that I was really talking from a position of knowledge & experience.  And that’s EXACTLY what I want! Not just during presentations, but every time I talk with a potential client.

I never thought about it like this before, but “thinking” and “talking” are two separate things.  In my experience, I sometimes do really well doing both at the same time. But usually in only two specific situations — comedy (maybe I should try my hand at improv?) and problem-solving amongst peers.  A trade show booth, or networking in general, is neither of this (although a bit of humor never hurts!).  I’m the expert in my field.  If I’m busy thinking about a topic within my field, then my prospect doesn’t see an “expert”, they see the body language equivalent of the spinning rainbow wheel of death. But when I can speak comfortably & fluently about my area, adjusting the language or concepts to match their understanding — then I’m really the expert.  My prospect doesn’t care about ISO sensitivity or f-stops or barrel distortion, as long as I know what these technical topics are and how I create better photographs because of them, to meet my prospect’s needs.

Yikes, enough rambling for one post!  More writing & strategic thinking on my plate — right after this next coffee refill!