Saturday, December 24, 2011

Who, and How Many are Your Suppliers?

In "What Porter Airlines chief learned pumping gas", Robert Deluce is quoted as saying "Never leave yourself with only one supplier; you must have choice and some tension to ensure value."

Now as soon as you read that you thought of stationery, computer accessories, and ground coffee, right?

Well, yes.

But as an entrepreneur, what do you value coming in more than stationery, computer accessories, and ground coffee?

That's right!


Think of your clients as suppliers, your most important suppliers, for without your clients you don't get revenue, and without revenue you can't consider stationery, computer accessories, and ground coffee.

That's a fact.

Now Deluce said "Never leave yourself with only one supplier; you must have choice and some tension to ensure value", and if that is true of your suppliers, and if your clients are suppliers, then Deluce's statement translates into "Never leave yourself with only one client; you must have choice and some tension to ensure value", and how often have you heard that?

I am in touch with one entrepreneur who has one well-paying client, yet is unhappy with the relationship.

"So go get another client" I suggest, but Oh no, "better the devil you know".

Trouble is, once that client becomes unhappy with the relationship, my friend will be stranded high and dry.

As would you.

Talk to Me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

How Often?

We all sat down and discussed "How often should I mail out my eLetter?".

Answers ranged from "It depends on your audience" through "26 times a year" to "3 times a year".

I think the best answer is to the question "How often?" will be found by following the path of thought that starts with "What is my goal?"

What is YOUR goal in issuing YOUR newsletter?

Write it down, write down the objectives (or sequence of steps you'll take to reach your goal), and you'll find the answer to your frequency question along the way.

Oh, sorry!

I forgot that you wrote all that down when you were planning your newsletter; just take it out an re-read it.


Talk to Me!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Volunteers are Priceless

A recent tweet said " Volunteers are not paid; not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless." Hats off to those that share ...", but I disagree with volunteering in most cases.

Over my career I've found myself providing services for free to non-profit organizations who save a bundle through my suggestions, but run an office with a staff of ten, salaries, benefits and electricity bills.

A non-profit is not a non-revenue, and I fail to see why I should not take part in the revenue stream.

I quit all this 15 years ago when a non-profit asked me to drive 10 km north to stand by while they did their first mail-merge. Why stand-by? In case it didn't work and they used a few sheets of paper unwisely.

For a few sheets of paper I was to schedule 3 hours of my time, drive 10 km each way, ...

No. My time is worth more than that.

I am NOT priceless; I am worthy of my hire of any organization in the business world that has a revenue stream.

Especially if their revenue stream is greater than my revenue stream.

Talk to Me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Failure To Communicate

A great blog item from the Fast Company blog. In essence a list of 20 common faults.

And a list of 4 things to do to begin resolving them.

I took it a step further after reading item 6: “Telling the world how smart we are”. I do that all the time. And why not, I’m smarter than most people, I’m telling you!

I collected the 20 faults and pasted them into a table that fit nicely onto a letter-sized sheet, printed it off on white card stock, then guillotined it into 20 separate small cards that fit easily in my shirt pocket.

Then each time I sat down to lunch with a friend or close colleague I asked them to select the three (of twenty) cards which THEY thought best described me.


After six such polls I tallied the scores and ranked the cards.

That’s how I KNOW you all know how smart I am!

If you’d like a copy of the cards, send me an email.

Talk to Me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to Get Paid for Freebies

We all have them (I hope); friends and colleagues, close associates, for whom we wouldn’t dream of charging a penny to help them with their spreadsheet, document, web site or accounting.

Sometimes it seems just too crass to even think about mentioning money.

This is not the client who calls up saying “I know it will take you only 5 minutes”, selfishly overlooking the fact that you spent 50 hours learning how to do it.

This is the colleague who drives you to lunch each time you meet, the one you phone to cry on a shoulder.

Here’s What You do

I’ll take a spreadsheet as an example; you can change the scenery.

Griselda wants to know how to set up her spreadsheet; you like Griselda and she likes you and you scratch each other’s back once a month or so.

Invite Griselda over for the morning; she’ll miss her tweets and eMail, so she’ll not hang around for ever. That puts a time limit on the face-to-face stuff.

Tell Griselda BEFORE she comes over that the spreadsheet is free, but if she feels bad about it she can buy you lunch. (Always order the corned-beef sandwich with spicy-fries; you can eat only half of it anyway; bring the other half home for a second lunch tomorrow).

Tell Griselda BEFORE she comes over that you’ll support her in her endeavors up to an including the last day of the following month. That’s anything from one to two months hand-holding.

Absolutely Free

But tell Griselda BEFORE she comes over that after the end of the first complete calendar month you’ll charge her for support at 50% your regular rate, payable by retainer in advance.

Is that Asking Too Much?

I think not.

Griselda is acutely aware that she is "imposing” on you, and you on her; but as well she values your friendship and hates leeching off you; as you do her.

This establishes, up front (“Good fences make good neighbors”) that a no-strings freebie is being offered, and accepted, but that if the task becomes onerous, you will be recompensed without placing a burden of guilt on here.

Talk to Me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Aim for the President?

I am often asked why I am using The Prospector to contact Presidents and CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, COOs and the like.

The answer is given simply in a recent Harvard Business Review article stated in part:-

Your boss's boss has a broader perspective on your organization than you (or your boss), and can see more of what's coming down the pike — be it new products or possible new assignments.

The President has the best view of the most urgent strategic needs of the company. My project leader may well be two or even three levels down, but my best work is done for the good of the whole company.

Talk to Me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


"I didn't apply measurement to our marketing efforts in any sort of disciplined way,"

I learned this a couple of weeks ago when I was assembling a series of web-pages urging people to experiment and measure their efforts at vermicomposting.

Suddenly realized that "experiment" means white lab-coats and Bunsen-burners to most folks in the domestic market. And who wants to invest in a set of gram-scales, count worms by hand etc?

"I just want to have the worms eat my food scraps".

The Answer?

Abandon the words "experiment" and "measure" and use the one word "observations".

Anyone can observe; I mean, that's just using my eyes, right?

And it's not a problem to write down, in my own words, what I have observed ...

Talk to Me!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Does Staying-In-Touch Work? – 3

Here’s another one:

I attended a free seminar sponsored by a major bank – definitely a member of the deep pockets Club, and in my target market.

Funnily enough the seminar was marketing-related – all about LinkedIn.

Next morning I resisted the impulse to ask the host for a LinkedIn connection, and instead dashed off a greeting card & flyer, popped it in the mail.

I figure that asking/getting a LinkedIn connection is just a matter of form once we have met or had a chat by phone.

I also figure that a hard-copy unsolicited essay lasts longer (“sits on my desk”) than Yet-Another-LinkedIn-Invitation.

Sure enough, yesterday the phone rang, and for 75 minutes the host and I chatted.

  • Sure! Send some stuff by email.
  • Sure connect with LinkedIn!
  • Sure!

Just what I wanted.

Lunch can’t be far away ...

Talk to Me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Après le Déluge, What?

The Avalanche is dissipated.

I am close to completing the mail-out of nearly 400 cards celebrating the Christmas season. It looks like that task will be accomplished by the end of November.

Then what?

My plan is to take a break from mailing out material and spend December on the phones.

I think I might phone every person on my list to wish them Merry Christmas.

It can be a short call.

For one thing it will establish voice contact with those I’ve not previously called.

For another it will allow me to determine which of all these new numbers are direct lines, and which are not.

It will help if I have something up my sleeves to offer to them. Such as a PDF file I can send by email.

Talk to Me!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Blocking

There’s an excellent little article on Time Blocking here, and I recommend you read it. Takes about 60 seconds.

There’s an excellent little time program here, and I recommend you download it.

Then start cheering as your backlog disappears!

Talk to Me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank You for Contacting

Thank you for contacting me at IHaveAWebSite. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Many thanks; I’m Me.

I don’t know about you, but I get a tad cheesed off when I am hooked up with an email address which uses an auto-responder to let me know “your call is important to us”.

I think it’s the height of insolence to use a robot to respond to my hand-crafted enquiry.

I think it’s ABOVE the height of insolence to use a robot to respond to my subsequent hand-crafted responses.

Talk to Me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What's Different this Christmas?

I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

It's just dawned on me that out of about 200 Christmas cards mailed out so far in the past month, not one has been returned.

Of course, now that I've typed THAT, there'll be a flood next week!

What's different between this year and past years?

(1) I have spent more time this year "touching" my contacts, either by phone, by email, or by letter; and issuing letters is one way to check on mobility of the addressee.

(2) My contacts are higher-echelon, the C-crowd, and CEOs, presidents and the like move around less than do middle-level managers and clerks.

There are probably more reasons, but it is comforting to know that this year my mailings are reaching their targets.

Talk to Me!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When the Supply Chain Goes Bad

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I order postage stamps and they arrive by Canada Post.

That they arrive is a bit of a miracle. The short story is that I enquired of the supplier as to why the stamps arrived anywhere from 4 to 28 days after being ordered. Turns out Picture Postage is at the mercy of Canada Post, who stipulate “that we must allow 5-15 business for delivery once the order is shipped”.

Now 5 business days (BUSINESS days) to mail a letter from a major Canadian city to another major Canadian city seems a bit much to me.

15 days is downright lacking in responsibility.

My enquiry has resulted in the supplier advising Canada Post that the shipment has been “what they consider to be lost in the mail”, so now I’ll wait while another order is prepared and, perhaps, lost-in-the-mail or else takes 3 weeks (15 BUSINESS days!).

The clincher is this:

I have the option of using an overnight courier other than CPC, that is not looked at fondly around here as all parties would like to keep everything closely tied together from an overall business prospective.

The Overall Business Perspective seems to be that the supplier and CPC have to work together on this, but the supplier ships within 48 hours of receiving the order, so CPC is letting down the side.

And where, in the name of all that’s profitable, is the client (me) in all of this?

I don’t hear anything about “Gee we’d better make sure this gets tightened up”.

All the more incredible because I am, after all, ordering postage stamps that should be delivered by the very organization (CPC) that profits by my making use of postal services!

Talk to Me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Budgeting with No Cash-Flow

It matters not whether we are talking dollars or hours; it is the same principle.

Let’s Talk Dollars

My neighbour complains that she’s always short of cash, but she has a regular job, gets paid each fortnight. To me it’s an easy no-brainer: Sit down and map out your expenses; trim some. Cook at home instead of ordering take-out, and so on.

Me? I live from cheque to cheque. Never know when the next cheque is coming in. low bank-balance, the usual.

Yet I budget my dollars better than my neighbour.


I sit down at the start of the month and work out what I absolutely have to pay; typically rent, telephone, internet, postage. Food.

If I have cash to cover those, I write the cheques and send them out. Then I economize for the rest of the moth.

If I don’t have the cash to cover all my creditors – I phone them up and tell them so; they appreciate knowing I’ve not skipped the country, and I sleep a little easier at nights.

Let’s Talk Hours

My friend complains that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. She’s wrong.

There are 24 hours in each day, always have been, always will be. (This is not the place to discuss the moon’s gravitational impact on tides and their frictional impact on the earth’s rotation; we know we know that stuff …)

Like you, I woke up this morning with another 24 hours.

Like you, I get to choose what to do.

If I find that I need twenty wide-awake hours to get through the load, I decide that that can’t be done, and I shed tasks until the hours come down to a reasonable level.

Then I start work.

First task is a short email to a couple of people advising them that they WON’T receive an update today after all.

That they won’t receive an update is a pre-ordained fact; I don’t have that much time.

Letting them know in advance that updates won’t arrive allows them to plan their day accordingly.

When you don’t have the resources, managing the resources you do have is doubly critical.

Talk to Me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Proposal

My client’s client is having problems; I have a solution.

I submit a proposal for 10 hours work, and a few days later word comes back that “they like your proposal but think it should be only seven hours”.

My immediate reaction is to hit back, so I go to bed with a book, instead.

In the morning things seem much clearer.

I have 13 points now against the rejection, many of them knee-in-the-groin arguments, which never help in business relationships.

But I’m very proud of the first three, so I share them with you:-

  • Client doesn’t know how to do it; that’s why they approached me. How can they know what work is involved?
  • If Client doesn’t know what work is involved, how can they know how long it will take to do the work?
  • If Client doesn’t know how long it will take to do the work, why do they think it can be done in 30% less time than I think?

My business, you see, is the application of logic to business problems, and this is just another business problem (mine this time) that can be resolved by the application of logic.

Talk to Me!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“A Client is Bad-Mouthing Me!”

No, not me, but a colleague of mine.

Seems that the product was shipped and failed to meet expectations. In fact, the product was dead, due to an series of delays in the shipping service.

That Happens

What happened next is not normal, or abnormal, if you prefer.

My colleague’s client waited a year then sent an email reminding colleague that the shipment was (literally) dead-on-arrival.

Why wait a year?

Why bring the issue up again? Colleague said she was sorry, offered a refund, a fresh shipment etc.

No wait! There’s more!!

Colleague’s Client took care to point out the they are now letting everyone they know (church, friends, school etc) that colleague takes the money then ships dead products.

“Don’t worry” I tell my colleague.

“There’s one in every crowd”.

Every now and then you’ll run up against someone who is never happy unless they are both miserable and trying to make everyone around them (church, friends, school etc) miserable.

The good news is that everyone around them (church, friends, school etc) already knows that Griselda is a whiner, 100% negative, unforgiving, resentful, spiteful.

Griselda’s Grizzles will be shed like water off the proverbial duck’s back.


Come to think of it, Griselda is probably doing my colleague a favor by spreading the word; 50% of the people she tells will think “Griselda is always so wrong and negative; this supplier might just be good! I’ll go take a look at the web site …”.

Talk to Me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cell Phone for Freebie

Rick needs help with his system, and he phoned me.

He will buy himself an external drive and download RoboCopy and install that then run it to mass-copy everything from his failing hard drive to his new 2.3TB external.

I’m glad, because too many people leave the backup until “After I’ve tidied up the hard drive a bit”, and the hard drive fails terminally while they are tidying up.

I’m SO pleased that I’ve told him I’ll have my cell phone with me tonight when I go up the street to fix Betty’s TV.

Why am I on call for a freebie?

Why not?

It defines my level of service, plus chances are Rick won’t call anyway.

But it will make an impression on him, and he’ll remember that, and talk about it.


Rick did call me around 9:30 p.m. while I was adjusting Betty’s TV, and over the phone we wrote a little batch file and he saw it start to run, and learned how to adapt it, so life just got better!

Talk to Me!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shift Desk Sideways

My second 10-foot length of plywood, a.k.a. "The Other Desk", shows no surface area. It has become a storage depot for stuff.

Office Rule:

  • Tables and desks are for working on or at, not for storage.

So starting this morning I’m going to be shifting stuff leftwards towards the other end.

Some item has to be taken OFF the desk and stored where it ought to be stored; even if that dumpster gets emptied twice a week.

The space it leaves will be occupied by something else, and the right-hand side of my desk will become clear.

By the end of the week, or even by the end of the hour, the desk should be a beautifully long and wide working area.

Talk to Me!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Finger-Numbing, Wrist-Aching Grunt Work

From a longtime friend and dear colleague:

I know you are a huge macro fan, as am I. Many, many years ago (2001?) I bought this program that has saved me thousands of hours. There's nothing more satisfying than sitting back and watching the computer go to work doing finger-numbing, wrist-aching grunt work. Macro Express - Macros for your Windows Automation Needs

I haven’t used MacroExpress and am not endorsing it, but my colleague’s statement is just so RIGHT:

There's nothing more satisfying than sitting back and watching the computer go to work doing finger-numbing, wrist-aching grunt work.

If you aren’t using macros (in your word-processor, spreadsheet etc) or batch files (in your boot sequence), why aren’t you?

I Guarantee that Your Wrists are Aching

Either that or you are postponing tasks that ought to be completed by now.

Talk to Me!


Do yourself a favor and check out Macros in Minutes

Friday, December 2, 2011

Does Staying-In-Touch Work? - 2

2011/06/03 11:18 Mailed Goddamn.pdf //

2011/08/10 11:14 mailed Lawyers.pdf //

2011/10/12 08:09 mailed Excel.pdf //

2011/10/13 15:39 I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. //

Does Staying-In-Touch Work?

You Betcha!

The four entries above are taken from the memo/comments field of a single contacts-database record.

In June I mailed a one-sheet 2-page flyer with an article I’ve written (about Goals, Objectives and so on)

Two months later I mailed another flyer, this one about using The Prospector to generate more revenue from existing clients.

While a third flyer was winging its way out, my contact sent me an unsolicited invitation to join his network.

Is it possible that two flyers (the third crossed in the mail) made contact?

Does Staying-In-Touch Work?

You Betcha!

There is a bonus here: If my objective was to “touch” this contact once every two months, I can now send an eMail and advance the follow-up date by two months; that is, my response to his LinkedIn invitation surely counts as “Keeping my name in front of him”.

Talk to Me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paying Double At the Door

“We have an event tomorrow, and 26 people have registered online but only handful have paid $10 online. When these unpaid who turn up at the door, will be charged $20. Can some one explain to me, why are they prepared to pay double at the door, while they can get away paying only $10.’

It's Simple.

I may get a better offer elsewhere before your event.

  • When registration (online) is free, people will register.
  • When it comes to parting with money, we all think twice.

And hedge our bets!

Talk to Me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who is this Guy Chris Greaves? -2

Two months ago in Who is this Guy Chris Greaves? I issued some crude statistics on what a CEO would see if he received a mailing from me and decided to check me out by using the Google search engine.

I have re-issued the search with these results:

Visit for this image! ChrisGreaves2_only.png

Visit for this image! ChrisGreaves2_toronto.png

Visit for this image! ChrisGreaves2_mississauga.png

Quantities may vary if you repeat the search, depending on the date, and on the size of your monitor screen.

The results can be summarized as follows

Name Only

& Toronto

& Mississauga

4 out 7 or 57%

10 out of 10 or 100%

Top 6 out of 10 or 60%

The only change is in the Mississauga rankings (I live in Toronto, but right on the border of Mississauga), so this is an improvement, but not by much.

The good news is that “Arguments with the 407-ETR” has dropped off the radar; that sort of thing isn’t likely to impress a CEO at first glance.

Over the past two weeks I’ve been working diligently at tweeting my blogs, products and services, but I know I need to get more out there.

It’s a process, not an act!

Talk to Me !

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1 Easy Way to Get THAT Task Done

We all have them. The proposal that ought to have been completed yesterday; the article that should have been submitted last Tuesday.

I've been using a simple solution for several years now.

Here's the trick.

Clear Your Desktop!

I've got you there, haven't I? Because you don't know whether I mean your real desktop (made of wood) or the screen that faces you as you read this.

I refer to the screen that faces you as you read this.

No wait! There's more

Most users I see have a screen desktop that is a vast un-navigable array of icons. There are shortcuts and there are documents, and I get paid $100 per hour to sit while they mutter "It's here somewhere".

Silly really.

"A place for everything and everything in its place" was a motto my mother never taught me; if she had have done so, my early life would have been a great deal more pleasant.

I had to learn the hard way.

Make an effort, today, to start filing things on your hard drive in a logical pattern - client data in a subfolder of "Clients\", personal data in a subfolder of "Personal\".

And stop storing data on your boot partition (drive C) in that "Documents And Folders" thing. Drag everyone of them to your data partition (probably drive D) and stop using your desktop as a landfill site.

Use the QuickLaunch toolbar for those tasks (programs or documents!) you use throughout the day.

Then your desktop will be as tidy as mine:-

Visit for this image! Desktop001.png

Here's the 1-Step

At the start of the day, make a shortcut icon to ONE, and only one task that should be completed before the end of the day.

Visit for this image! Desktop002.png

Just one. Not two.

That icon will remind you that there is a priority task.

And it will get done.

Talk to Me !


Tomorrow is another shortcut!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Is Coming! - 3

In Christmas Is Coming! (2) I continued an outline of plans for printing Christmas Cards.

Today there’s a fresh idea that can be used by all of us.

First off: Do you sometimes shudder at the thought of picking up the phone and making a “cold call”?

I knew you did.

I do too.


Here’s What’s Good About this Time of Year

Call it Christmas, Hanukah, The Big Sleepover, or what you will: just about everybody is going around TELLING people to have a prosperous New Year.

Now let’s suppose you are a practicing Christian; you’ll be OK saying “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”, except for your fear of cold-calling.

Now let’s suppose you are a practicing Jew; you’ll be OK saying “Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year”, except for your fear of cold-calling.

Now let’s suppose you are atheist; you’ll CAN be OK saying “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”, except for your fear of cold-calling.

Is it Ethical to Wish, Say, a Muslim a Merry Christmas?

I think so. Does your Muslim (or Jewish or atheist) contact celebrate Christmas? Possibly not.

Does your contact recognize that in your country Christmas (Hanukah etc) is a major festival? Certainly so?

But what if your contact is a rabid anti-Christmas (any-Hanukah etc) fanatic?

Then you probably don’t want to be doing business with them anyway.

Think About it

Business is about compromise; we compromise on features, price, delivery date, schedules. The whole thing about the word “Entrepreneur” (“between”-“taker”) is about give and take, flexibility.

You aren’t asking your contact to meet you for midnight mass on December 24th.

You are calling to express a genuine hope that the next week or two will be peaceful and restful, and that following the break, the next months will be prosperous for your contact.

Of course you want them to be prosperous: if your contact gets prosperous, there’ll be enough money in the budget to retain you!

Now About that Cold-Calling

Cold-calling has a bad reputation because it seems founded on approaching a total stranger and asking for money; that’s getting awfully close to a hold-up, and that’s not good.

· But for the next 4 weeks you aren’t calling to sell anything.

· For the next 4 weeks you aren’t calling to probe about anything.

· For the next 4 weeks you are calling SOLELY to emit a wish from you to them.

That’s it.

Visualize the Call

“Hi Jerry, it’s Chris. I’m just phoning to wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.

Suppose the phone goes into voice-mail. That’s a bonus. Your shyness doesn’t matter. You’ve left a short and positive message, and you have re-established your name in the front of your prospect’s mind.

Suppose you get a gatekeeper? You can ask to be put through to Jerry’s line, and if the gatekeeper asks to take a message, You can ask to be put through to Jerry’s voice-mail (see above).

Suppose you get straight through on Jerry’s direct line? That’s just great. “Hi Jerry, it’s Chris. I’m just phoning to wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.

And that’s ALL you need to say.

You aren’t selling today.

That can come in the New year.

Today you are calling ONLY to express your wish that your contact enjoys this time of year.

Talk to Me!


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukah, Seasons Greetings, Have a great ....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

You’re Right!

Don’t you just love hearing that?

Don’t you just love it when the other person puts you on a pedestal with those two words?

I know that those two words make me feel just GREAT!

So why aren’t I using them more often to make people warm to me?

Talk to Me!

Friday, November 25, 2011

But What Really Blew Me Away

Another great little post from Seth Godin.

I’m tempted to reproduce it in full here, it’s so concise, but go read it for yourself.

I plan to spend more time examining what makes ME feel good at places where I do business!

Talk to Me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Business Tweeting

Almost a year ago I documented my Introduction to the World of Tweeting, and am gradually getting a grip, as we say in the trade.

One of the subtleties is recognizing that my target audience tends to be online during business hours, and tends not to be so attentive outside those hours.

So I’ve tried to tweet about important topics – new services, new products, strong blog postings of mine and so on - during business hours, and outside of business hours I schedule those tweets to appear early in the next business day.

In the early hours of this morning I realized that I can still keep my name in front of people by using this slack time-of-day to retweet other users tweets, thereby getting myself into their good books (“Thanks for ReTweeting me!”), without cluttering up the twitter space during business hours.

Like I said, subtle but, I believe, significant.

Talk to Me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Stamp Date Stamp

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I’m feeling quite pleased with myself.

In Staying Ahead of the Avalanche 4 and related posts I’ve described my efforts at touching contacts, mainly with postal mail.

Inevitably I run out of my customized postage stamps, (Running out of Picture Postage Stamps), or get enthusiastic and run of an abundance of letters, and then I’m faced with a small hill of addressed envelopes waiting to go out.

Of course I want to keep my mailings roughly in sequence, and one day last week found me sorting a wad of envelopes in name sequence, then cross-checking them, record-by-record, against my data base.

What a waste of my time!

This morning I hit on the idea of augmenting my envelope macro to drop the print-date right where it will be hidden by the postage stamp.

Once they arrive!

Talk to Me!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Staying Ahead of the Avalanche - 4

My first week of “slack time”, but not really slack. I now have 377 contacts on my list. Two were due for processing today – instances where The Prospector alerted me to a promotion.

Those done I check the “follow-up due today”, and find none.

Makes sense. These past few weeks I’ve strenuously “touched” every contact and set their follow-up date to be 2 months ahead.

Now I have a sense of foreboding: Is this the calm before the storm?

I decide to check the distribution of my follow-up dates in an Excel pivot table:

























































The average number of follow-ups per week starting at today (week zero) is 27. That means if I “touch” 27 contacts per week, I’ll stay on top of things.

The follow-ups prior to this week need attention. Are they inactive records? Did they slip through the net?

Given that every day or so I receive an “immediate” update from The Prospector, I should contemplate a goal of 30 contacts per week from now on. That would be 6 envelopes, emails or phone calls per day Monday through Friday.

Talk to Me!

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Pet Peeves

The San Francisco Chronicle in a post titled “LinkedIn’s top pet peeves at the office” lists them as follows:

1: People who don’t take ownership of their actions. This was picked by 78 percent of the respondents.

2: “Negative Nellys” who constantly complain.

3: People who don’t clean up after themselves when using the fridge, the microwave or other common areas.

4: Boring meetings that start late or go way too long.

5: People who “consistently seem to miss your email (you can only use the “it hit my Spam” excuse so many times).”

What about people like us who don’t trudge into an office at nine each morning?

1: I can take ownership of my actions and show responsibility by admitting fault and mistakes as soon as I see them. That let’s my clients know that I’m honest and won’t let surprise cost-overruns leap out at them. Fixing mistakes as soon as they happen is the fastest way to get rid of that dirty smell.

2: This is easy for me. “The answer is always YES!”, and each time I’ve answered “No”, I’ve regretted it. The journey should be fun with someone else who is prepared to give-it-a-whirl.

3: I don’t share a common kitchen area, but I can clean up areas of the project used by me. That includes printing a hard-copy of a document and proof-reading it in a different room a day later to catch even more typographical errors.

4: Each email or phone conversation has a goal. I ought to be aware of that goal before I pick up the phone, or start typing. Staying focused on the issue lets me deal with clients quickly and frees them up to get back to their own job.

5: Making sure I respond to all emails the same day is mandatory, even if the response is just an acknowledgement that I’ve received the email. “I’ll need a couple of days to put this together” let’s my client budget their time and schedules. Plus it gives me a chance to send two emails instead of one!

Talk to Me!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting the Word Out - 2

(Please see also Getting the Word Out )

More thoughts as they arise:

  • Thought 1:

No matter what I’m publishing, it’s going public because *I* think it is of value to the world out there. I should, at the very least, Tweet everything I publish. It is up to my Twitter followers to decide whether what I create is of value or interest to them; it’s not for me to decide their likes and dislikes.

  • Thought 2:

Some blog items, Clear Thinking is a good example, are immediate candidates to be appended to my “From The Blogs” section in the embryonic next-month’s issue of the eLetter. By appending them as I publish them, I reduce time spent looking for articles at the next publishing date. My function is reduced to that of deleting unwanted items.

  • Thought 3:

Tweets automatically get posted to LinkedIn and from there, I think, my LinkedIn groups or connections get notified; I’m not sure how that works, but I do see that LinkedIn notices all my tweets.

  • Thought 4:

Most blogs, and Clear Thinking is one of the set, don’t warrant an entry in an updated LinkedIn summary. That area is better suited for new products or service of a major nature.

  • Thought 5:

Having begun the process of documenting the procedures for publishing, I find that I discard 50% of my bookmarked news items! They’ve been sitting there for so long that I can no longer recall why I thought that they were important. Dealing with them through my speedy process at the time they arise will mean a better harvest for me.

  • Thought 6:

My Twitter audience is business-oriented, and while most of us will glance at twitter during the weekend, the majority seem to be desk-bound, like me. It makes sense to use a service such as Twuffer to schedule tweets on the weekend to appear the following Monday or Tuesday during business hours.

  • Thought 7:

My preference is to compose my web items in Microsoft Word and compile them to web pages, then copy from the web pages to the blogs. This gives me a chance to examine, inspect the material, test links and so on before making the issue public. For example, a candidate for Macros In Minutes gets posted to before being posted to .

  • Thought 8:

A working document has been made: Getting the Word Out - 3

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