Is Your Business Running You?

Posted by Helen Vandenberghe - October 5th 2016

Is Your Business Running You?

I recently spoke to a wonderful lady, who’s just left her corporate job to set up her own consultancy.  She’s a few weeks in and has achieved so much already including getting her first corporate proposal in…but is already starting to feel exhausted and frankly – a bit cheated! There’s so much to do with seemingly vague results!

Without the structure of an office routine and a boss to keep you accountable, it’s amazing how suddenly work seems to expand to fill the time available, and that’s well, simply ALL of your time now!

Before you know it, you’re watching video tutorials, going to networking events, doing ‘coffee’ with anyone who might know someone and then there’s the biggest time vampire otherwise known as… SOCIAL MEDIA!

If you visit Linkedin twice a day for 15 minutes (yeah right – when was the last time you spent only 15 minutes!), visit Facebook four times a day for ten minutes and twitter six times a day for 5 minutes, then that’s TWO AND A HALF  HOURS a day! And that’s if you’re disciplined.

So with a 40 hour week, that’s 10 hours spent on this stuff….yes 25% of your productive business time floating around on the net.

If you were doing, say, 6 of those hours to follow up other marketing activities I reckon you could achieve any one of the following tasks during that week:

  • Send out a dozen press releases
  • Create three speeches or a complete multi-day workshop
  • Call (at a moderate pace) 20 past clients or warm leads
  • Create a new product to be sold on your website
  • Create and develop a marketing plan for a teleconference
  • Create and record three podcasts
  • Contact 30 prior contacts for testimonials, referrals or references
  • Create and distribute two newsletters
  • Respond to 20 or more enquires on
  • Contact and follow up with five trade associations for speaking opportunities

Which of these would you like to say you’d achieved by this time next week?

Now a structured, planned social media lead generation campaign can be a huge asset to a business, but if you’re randomly adding friends and checking out competitor’s business pages, then I’m guessing you’re not getting great results from it.

The Un-Sexy Truth About Business:

“The best marketing tools are seldom the easiest or to be found on the path of least resistance. It’s better to face the fear of rejection and start calling a prospect for an appointment than it is to fool yourself about the acceptance of new ‘friends’ on facebook.”

And of course social media isn’t the only Time & Energy Vampire!

Attending non-targeted networking meetings, spending hours on web research or business plans, and going to only vaguely relevant conferences– are all lovely ways to spend time, but often not great ways to build a business.

So it’s time to grab back control of your working week and your results.

I always say to clients that if you don’t have enough business you should only be doing two things – Marketing or Selling – but that doesn’t mean just randomly trying a few marketing activities – you have to have a plan.

Here’s your 5 Step Plan to making your week work for you.

People will often advise you to select a range of marketing activities first then schedule them into your diary. All good stuff, but I’d like to turn this on its head and start with:

  1. Decide what RESULTS  you want your marketing to achieve for you in the next 90 days?


  • Grow your email list by 100 new prospects
  • Get featured in a trade or professional magazine or newspaper
  • Be featured to a joint venture partners’ list of 1000+ people
  • Have 16 people book in for trial sessions or sales conversations

When you know the outcomes you want, then you can be more discerning about what activities will REALLY help you achieve them – and feel less guilty about not engaging with the 25 new ‘friends’ on facebook!

  1. Define the amount of working time you are going to spend on marketing.

If you have anything less than a full client base, then I suggest AT LEAST 50% of your working hours (seriously…what are you doing with the other 50% if you don’t have clients?).  Book these as marketing sessions in your diary and make them non-negotiable.  The only thing that should interrupt is paid for client delivery.

  1. Ruthlessly select NO MORE than 5 marketing activities.

Make sure they have the highest chance of helping you meet your marketing results goals.

Suggested activities might be:

  • Enquiring about & booking speaking gigs at local groups
  • Creating a valuable free report or training series you can offer to potential clients
  • Calling old colleagues, clients & friends to find out what they are doing and to let them know about your offerings
  • Creating a webinar to promote your core offer
  • Finding joint venture partners who will email out for you
  • Writing Press releases
  1. Create a project list for each marketing action. 

Yep, left to our own devices, even with our key areas mapped out, we can still find ourselves noodling around on the net and not really making progress.  So look at each result you want and create a project to do list for it.  What are the simple next steps?

For example:

Booking 3 speaking gigs – Project list

a)    Research and create a list of 20 local networking groups

b)    Create my speaker ‘1 sheet’

c)     Call and email group organisers from list

d)    Send 1 sheet

e)    Follow up calls

So you see with this list, you might even break it down further – for example creating your ‘1 sheet’ may require new photos, getting testimonials and hiring a copy writer. But you get the idea?

  1. Schedule specific tasks in at specific times &…just do it!

And finally… remember to reward your success with a glass of fizz and some random facebooking, or hanging out with business friends for coffee and a chat.  Just don’t pretend that that’s actually brining your clients !

If you’d like to simplify your sales process and make getting clients easier and more natural for you, then it’s probably time to work with a mentor.  I’d be delighted to speak to you to see if I can help.

Contact me at


Helen Vandenberghe