Agency new business does not come from burning ourselves out, grinding ourselves down or using ourselves up.
Last year I felt lethargic. I went to my doctor for a checkup. Beyond being overweight and overworked there was nothing physically wrong with me. What I needed was a change of direction. I did a thorough self assessment and with a lot of reading and research, trial and error, I came up with a personalized game plan for a lasting lifestyle change.
I broke some old habits with some self-help strategies that required practice, patience and a positive attitude to get my brain and my body working in harmony and boosting my energy for business.
Business development is a tough business that requires a considerable amount of energy for success. Here are my 10 tips for supercharging your personal energy:
1. Eat Right, Exercise and Spend More Time Outdoors
This year I’ve methodically changed some of my old habits that have significantly boosted my energy level and renewed my productiveness.
- I’ve shed a significant amount of weight.
- I get the right amount of sleep every night.
- I jump-start each day with exercise which reeves-up my energy level.
- I wasn’t a breakfast eater, but it’s now my biggest meal of the day. The rest of my meals are portioned-controlled and low carbs.
- I drink plenty of water and limit my diet drinks to low sodium, no caffeine, Diet Rites.
- My wife and I have gotten back into boating to spend more time outdoors and be around friends and family.
Your best work comes from being healthy, happy, rested and focused.
2. Create a “System” for Reading
Reading fuels my writing. I use Google Reader, which is set as my browser’s Homepage. I’m not having to go from one website to the next or search for information. All of my reading, whether it is for pleasure or work, is now funneled to me in one location and my RSS feeds are organized in folders.
This is one of the most productive online time management tips I can share with you. I hope that you will give it a try.
3. Create a Zen-Like Workspace
Every distraction is a drain on your productivity. Every ringing phone call, instant message or flashing email reminder wastes your time and energy.
Distractions cause me to fall into a multi-task mode that quickly depletes my energy. Studies prove that multi-tasking is not efficient.
Every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus.
I work as a business development consultant to agencies. I’m either working from home or working while on the road. At home, my work area is an isolated upstairs office space. It’s a quiet space that allows me to stay focused on my work. However, when I’m traveling, my work environment changes dramatically and often. I’m either working from a train, plane or automobile, in a diner , in a hotel room or lobby, in an agency’s conference room or empty office. Today, I’m actually working from my boat.
My travel workspace I’m having to deal with more noise and distractions that will cause me to lose focus. I’ve had to experiment with tactics and tools when I’m not working from my home office. For example, one of the tools that I often use is a noise-canceling headset or earplugs when I’m on the road. I’m wearing them as I write this post. They help replicate the peace and quiet of my home office and help me to get into my zone, especially when I’m writing. One of many tactics that I use is simply muting my computer and setting my iPad and iPhone to airplane mode to limit any disruptions to my work.
4. Hang with Those Who Energize You
There are a number of people who seem to be in a perpetual state of negativity. Engaging with them is emotionally draining. Like someone who is drowning, you have to be careful they don’t drown you too. You will feel more energized spending time with those who are positive. I would suggest making a list of these persons and keep it handy.
5. Create a Not-To-Do List
A lot of our time and energy is wasted on non essentials. Most everyone has a “To-Do List.” But I would suggest that you periodically create a “Not To-Do List.” Simply make an assessment of all of the non-productive things you are currently doing that need to be eliminated.
Click here for some ideas for creating your own “Not-To-Do List”.
6. Control “Infomania”
We are constantly bombarded with information. With the digital revolution, it has become insane. Never before have we had so much information and messages coming at us from so many different places. You need a plan and tools to manage the constant bombardment of communications.
A study, conducted for the computing firm Hewlett Packard, warned of a rise in “infomania”, with people becoming addicted to email and text messages. It showed that people distracted by incoming email saw a10-point fall in their IQs, the equivalent of losing a nights sleep. More than half of the 1,100 respondents said they always responded to an email “immediately” or as soon as possible, with 21% admitting they would interrupt a meeting to do so.
Ike Pigott is a veteran communicator in television news and now as a spokesman for Alabama Power. He specializes in corporate communications. Ike has developed an easy to remember plan to deal with TMI – too much information. He calls it his Dr. Pepper Plan:
“I process my inbox three times a day – at 10, 2, and 4. By not processing until 10 a.m., I force myself to do something productive at the beginning of the day.
At 2 p.m., I do another pass.
Finally, at 4 p.m., I get a chance to finalize a few small tasks, and use the afternoon e-mails as a guide to setting my morning priorities for the next day.”
What I like about Ike’s plan is that it is simple and easy to remember. You can use it for all of your communications, not just email. You can advise your team and clients of the times that you will be reviewing and responding to your emails and you can also set up a way for them to reach you in the event of a crisis.
7. Break-Up Your “Chair Based” Lifestyle
We’re sitting longer than ever before in our history: 9.3 hours per day. New studies indicate that sitting is killing us. Even if you go to the gym before or after your work day, it wont offset the health hazards of sitting at your desk 8 or 9 hours a day.
Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, stated in a recent New York Times article:
The chair based lifestyle: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn, causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.
I set a timer for periodic breaks within the blocks of time that I have set for the day. It is helpful to get up and move or walk around outside. You’ll need to experiment to see what works for you. I’ve tried a Treadmill-Desk but found that wasn’t for me. I’m now experimenting with my own version of a Stand-Up Desk, similar to the one used by Ernest Hemingway. He wrote standing up because of a minor leg injury he received in World War I.
Breaking up the “chair based lifestyle” can help you to be more productive as well as save your health. Instead of putting in marathon hours plan out your day to work in shorter “sprints.”
8. Use Social Media Marketing to Make New Business Easier
Agencies were reluctant to participate as social media was becoming mainstream because they saw it as a major commitment of their time without much value to show in return. A lot of negative perceptions of social media has changed. But I don’t believe the majority of agency rainmakers have grasped how social media can actually make new business easier.
You need to look at social media as a savior not a nemesis, an asset rather than a liability and time saver rather than time killer for ad agency new business.
Here are some ways that social media makes agency new business easier:
- Social media allows agencies to define and adopt a more differentiating new business strategy than they were ever comfortable doing before.
- Social media provides a systematic way to create intellectual capital and gain a positioning of expertise.
- Social media eliminates the need for inefficient, interruption type tactics such as cold calling.
- Your agency’s reach for potential prospects is much greater through social media. Small to midsize ad agencies can affordably build a national or even an international awareness.
- Through social media, you can network for new business from where ever you are.
9. Don’t Go It Alone
You probably attend conferences, workshops and club functions that are worth your time and attention. You should also invest in an outside source, such as an agency network. Personal relationships within these networks will provide you with more energy than you will have on your own.
I believe every independent communications agency should participate in a network. There is power in sharing your knowledge and learning from others. This will provide insights that you will never get by reading books and blogs, or from attending trade shows and seminars. The concept of an open forum amongst your peers may sound as comfortable as going through a peer review for a master degree. But, if you are a part of the “right” group, it can be so valuable to you that you actually can’t wait until the next chance to stand up and open up amongst your “friends.” Peter Gerritsen, president of TAAN
There are many different agency networks for you to consider. Financial focus, shared learning, Business development groups, creative collaborations, management forums and collective capabilities associations. Then there is size of agency, ownership versus management, Local/National/Global. There is one that fits your business, goals, and personality. All offer opportunities to make you better. You just need to determine which group has the right mix to meet your needs.
10. Qualify Your Prospects
It is imperative that you can qualify prospects or you will waste a lot of time and energy. Unqualified prospective client meetings are as bad as no meetings at all.
Here are some quick tips to qualify a lead or prospect:
- Find the companies that need your agency’s service.
- Establish that the prospect has a large enough budget to pay for your agency’s services.
- Make sure that the company contact person has the authority to select an agency partner.
- Check out a prospective client’s credit rating and overall reputation.
Do you have some additional thoughts or ideas for boosting energy? Please share them in the comment section below.
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- 10 Tips For Creating a Game Plan For Ad Agency New Business
- When it comes to new business Ad Agencies are ADHD
- Ad Agencies: Three Things a New Business Director Needs for Success
- 10 Advantages When Ad Agencies Focus New Business Efforts on Their “Sweet Spot”