Well, it’s not entirely true that I don’t know how to manage my time. I do get things done. I do know how to get other people to get things done. But no matter how much gets done I’m not convinced it is A) Done the best possible way B) Enough – enough things done, that is...
The deal is, time is a finite asset. It sure will be cool when we can bend time, and that day is surely coming. It’s called the end of time when time doesn’t matter anymore. I’m actually looking forward to that day. I’ll be dead by the time that happens, but I’m hoping to make a comeback...Ok, where are all these existential musings going? Who knows, who has the time to tell.
So, in our business time isn’t just an asset, it’s a commodity. And I can assure you there is NEVER enough of it. My new concept around time management is “if you can’t get it done, you can’t get it done.” When you’re doing specific things for clients “I didn’t have time for that” will never work very well. So, the best solution we’ve come up with in our agency (and I borrowed this from a past client) Fewer, Bigger, Better. This helps as a filter. If the client wants More, More and More they had better be ready to pay for it.
So, time management. Honestly, if someone has a great solution please share because I’m not convinced anyone knows what they’re doing in this arena. It’s a slippery beast, time is. Just when you think you have enough of it, it slips away. Here’s what I think, do the best you can to enjoy the time you have while you have it. And make sure you appreciate those around you while you’re at it BECAUSE based on the way things go you don’t know how much time you’ll have with them — and your people are MUCH more important than time.
- Your brain (if you were out late the night before, maybe drinking, this is not your A-Game)
- 3 case studies in your back pocket to pull out in need (they should be relevant for your prospective client's needs)
- Homework -- with Google there is zero excuse for not learning all you can about your new client
- A capabilities deck with good examples of your work, not just jargon
- MOST IMPORTANT -- a good ear, because your clients (your new ones) want to make sure you HEAR them...
That's the list, super simple. Works every time!
It seems to me that now a days blogging is the only way to go. Whether it's micro blogging, the normal blogging or status updates, we no longer reach for our phones to make a phone call but rather to update our social media profiles. Should we no longer ask for people’s phone number, but instead their Facebook and Twitter user names? With all these new platforms emerging, I often wonder how we will ever have enough time to keep up with them all. Heck, our company devotes an entire division to managing this for clients.
Although my bread and butter is made from telling clients they NEED to be in the social media realms, I strongly believe that face time is much more important than Facebook time. Yes, it's important to have a social media presence. And yes, you should keep your virtual "friends" and followers informed, but at the end of the day, how many of these people are really your friends? If you can't make the face time, at least make the phone call. Maybe Twitter is onto this idea also since they just launched the new (but when you're reading this, probably not the latest) application allowing you to make phone calls via Twalkin. Oh Twitter, you're always on top of the trends!
I know we’ll most likely be using this new application for our campaigns, so go ahead and give us a call. But, to be honest, it’s probably easier to get in touch online ☺ Someday I’ll practice what I preach.
Well, according to the news and trend reports that's exactly right. They are. Reconsidering. What else have we been reconsidering based on the economy? I've reconsidered going to my incredibly amazing derm because he doesn't take insurance. I've considered switching out my car when the lease is up (though I love my Audi) because maybe it's just me, but the thing seems to be a bit of a gas guzzler. Forget about the cost to my pocket, I've got to consider the cost to the environment. I have definitely reconsidered buying some of the outrageously expensive face creams I've used over the years. I've tried a new product by Origins that I really like and it's 2/3 less expensive. And for my hair care I opted out of the hyper expensive brand arena. For my hair it's L'Oreal Paris all the way (they are a client, but I'd use them anyway).
If I'm doing this, I'll bet a ton of other people are doing it - watching their wallets. So yes, that baby boom of the boom years may be on the decline, but so are a lot of the ways we spent our cash when money was flowing (or credit was readily available for just about everyone).
Note to brands - you may not want to push a value message, but you had better consider how best to let people know you are a value, because no matter how deep the pockets EVERYONE is tightening up. LOL!
Running a business comes with a load of stress. You're dealing with HR issues, cash flow, new business outreach, keeping current clients happy, long term planning (oops, we're outgrowing our space), etc. That kind of stress is bound to produce some "bad behavior" every now and then, aka, “What the heck is going on here!" Raised voices? Yep, that could be me. But one thing I have learned is it's never really a good thing to raise the roof. It just proves you can't take the pressure, and most of the time (though your case may be justified) the person in your sites is trying as hard as they can. That's most of the time, but not ALL of the time...
So, when I heard about what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift I had empathy - yes, I've lost my head before (but not on national TV, praise goodness). I also thought, gosh, what a bad move. Not only for Kanye (he finally went too far) but also for Taylor who didn't deserve to have her moment spoiled that way. Apparently, he called her and apologized. And apparently he had a "good" reason for his behavior, his mom's death. But all in all a sad moment, one that he may always regret, somewhere deep down inside. Don't worry Kanye, America likes to forgive those that mess up, it's our way. And Taylor, you did win, after all.
But there was a winner here, and his name is Jay Leno. Good night for ratings. So, does bad behavior ever go right? For Jay it did. And once in a while when I do flip out on someone who really isn't doing their job and they get back in line, I find the tough approach does help. It's unfortunate, but true. "Hey you, what's going on over there!"
In a people business you have to be for the people. I’ve spoken about this before, but I don’t think you can say it enough. It’s a hard balance to achieve. Clients are the basis of our business, so it goes without saying that we have to focus on them and their needs. But you can’t forget your own people.
With everyone under the gun these days it’s easy to lose sight of how a client’s fears around their business can spill over into their own accountability zone. I’m not saying there is a lot of finger pointing happening, but when a client is getting pressure they tend to pass that pressure on, it’s a normal human response. It’s also a normal human response for the owner of a company to pass that pressure down.
I say do your best to stop the madness. When things start to spiral, and they can, take a step back, look at historical data and make your decisions. I know this is something I have to do since I can tend to get myself into a lather. I think it’s critical to keep your own people accountable since that’s what’s happening with your clients, but it’s also important to remember to temper fear. Your long-term strategy is to grow good people, not just to keep your clients happy.
In business, especially in our business, things die. Or, in less dramatic terms, clients come and go. And honestly, it can be a bummer. Just when you thought things were going great there is a management change and you’re out. Nothing you can do it about. No hard feelings, just business.
The death of a client really used to bother me, especially because you put so much into what you do for them and there is a part of you that believes they will be there forever. But they won’t. No one lasts that long. So my new feeling is when a client passes, go higher. Instead of getting upset and circling the wagons, get BIGGER. Because if you don’t you will just keep shrinking.
Our business isn’t a numbers game, and I know quite a few agencies that operate that way. We aim to be a strategic partner to our clients, even if they only choose to use us in a more administrative capacity. But even though we don’t play by the numbers, we always need to expand, because that is just the way it works in our industry. So, if you’re feeling like things are getting smaller rather than getting bigger, remember that for something to grow it often has to die first.
People often tout the importance of smiling. When we media train our clients for television we always stress it. On television, even if your face is in a neutral position, it will look like you’re frowning. So SMILE! But that also goes for basic life.
Last night I was watching a GUILTY pleasure “My Antonio,” a reality show featuring Antonio Sabato Jr. (HOT!) and 12 sexy babes. His Italian mother plays prominently in the show, and though everything about her is disapproving (“You can’t marry a girl in a silver bathing suit Antonio, get rid of her.”) she smiles throughout and it softens her somehow, gives her a measure of likeability.
When we are in a meeting with clients, no matter how bummed we might be about various things, I always encourage my team to smile. Honestly, the one that smiles the least is probably me, and that’s because I’m always thinking about the bottom line and how will this meeting impact our business (it’s always there…) But when I remember to put on that smile it does change the way I feel and I know it changes the way I’m perceived. So, go ahead and smile, it might not have the power to change your destiny, but it can certainly change your day.
Have you ever felt like you were on a grand adventure? One in which you didn’t know the punch line? Perhaps your epic adventure is fraught with danger. What lurks around the corner? Will I find a safe place to sleep and food to eat? Maybe it’s just a lark, a chance to hit the open road and discover new paths to take, or not…
Business is like an adventure, if you ask me. And while this adventure can be DAUNTING, and cause you to FREAK OUT every now and then, if you’re in it, then you probably know that it’s worth it. When I started this business I was nervous. I wasn’t really capitalized to do it, but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, plus I had that little voice inside whispering, “Yes, take a chance.” So, I did. And boy what an adventure it has been, from cash flow to HR to a crazy economy and a host of clients all wanting what they want when they want it.
My SVP and I had a meeting the other day to discuss some future plans and after that meeting we were both struck by how far we’ve come in only a few years. We don’t have the London office yet, and Mumbai is still way off on the horizon, but we have dreams and so far a lot of them have been coming true. If you don’t know me you would think I was some pr junkie and just LOVED every minute of this stuff. In addition to my kooky golf obsession I am learning to play the piano and I paint quite a bit (and yes, people have been asking to BUY my paintings…). Plus, I write (I have a young adult novel I sure would LOVE to have published). And in my former life, all that I used to care about was art, in whatever form I could find it.
So, pr just kind of happened. But hey, it’s a great way for me to make a living and I DO like it. But what I really LOVE is running a business, and mainly because it’s an adventure. You just never know what’s going to happen next, no matter how much you plan. So, if you’re thinking about getting in the game I say go for it. You really don’t have a lot to lose and it could be the adventure of a lifetime!
The team here at BBC often finds itself in the position of a proud momma when our clients score an amazing hit. Thus, it was when Untitled 11:11’s striped bustier Rita gown custom woven in an eco-friendly khadi material showed up on the cover of the UK’s Bliss magazine. Even more fantastic was the fact that young woman of substance and talent, Taylor Swift, not only modeled the gown on the cover but also specially chose it. It’s a big accomplishment for two talented designers holed up in a small studio in Brooklyn making clothes for the love of what they do. Think of it as bringing home an A+ on an AP calculus exam when you’re only a freshman in high school. We say, “Bravo, Untitled 11:11! You can stay out past curfew this weekend!”