Old School Habits for a Digital Age Small Business
Change is hard, sometimes necessary, and often times the thing we need most. That saying is true for both our personal lives as well as our business lives. Can you imagine if you had fought out adapting to the use of mobile phones? Fighting to hold on to the old way of doing things could be the end of your business.
There are a few things you might be doing without, but if so, you are likely hurting your bottom line. Must haves in the digital age are a website, social media, digital calendars with reminders that share across all your devices, and a computerized accounting system. Time savers that will give you back some of your valuable time are paying bills electronically, depositing checks electronically, and using the United States Postal Service’s printed postage and office pick up for packages and mail.
It’s time to adapt and embrace devices, systems, and services that can make you more efficient, help you reach a greater audience of potential customers, and catapult your brand awareness.
However, there are some things that are old school that just can’t be made better. People still like having a human answer the phone rather than pushing buttons to reach a particular department only to be met by another recording. Written thank you letters for referrals, for stories and articles published and broadcasted by your local media, and a personal visit to your neighboring business owners to introduce yourself are a common courtesy not equaled by an email. Some things done the old way make a better impression and just can’t be outdone, not yet.
Another old school habit that I think is important is jotting down ideas. It’s true I can capture my business ideas into software and arrange them with tag words for quick access, sorting, and print them into nice categories for review, but I don’t think it beats having it all laid out in front of me. I think it is so important that I’m willing to write about it and try to convince you to give it a try.
Choose what makes it easy on you to jot down your ideas, your business data, your goals, whatever you need to spread out in front of you to get a good look at where you are today and what needs to be done next. Spread papers across your desk, use craft paper spread across the whole of a large table, or hang up a large write-on wipe-off board in your office. Use a pencil, use a pen, use markers, use a crayon if it makes you feel good, and get at it.
Jot down your latest accomplishments, the great ideas that flowed through your mind, the latest information about your industry, your financial data, the impact of your latest project, and sit back and gaze at it all in one place. Just look at it, over and over. Let your mind flow over it, taking it all in.
This type of exercise helps clear my mind, helps me focus, and I often come up with new ideas that hadn’t occurred to me that looked obvious once it could all be seen together.
Along with writing down in detail what steps need to be taken in my coming week to get closer to my goals, jotting down all the information that defines my business for where it is today so that I can see it visually in one place are two old school habits that I find essential.
Just as I would give advice to anyone that was fighting off adapting to technology that has been developed for use in a small business to jump on board, I would also advise that some things are best done old school.
Now, go get a box of crayons or a fistful of markers and get at it. Put all your business information in front of you so you can see it clearly, and color it beautiful for all it is and all the potential it has for the days ahead.