Your number one objective should be to maintain, if not increase, your engagement with prospects.
I’ve been working from home for almost thirteen years, but many of you are working from home for the first time. You’re having to adjust to a new work environment that includes kids, spouses, and pets. You’re probably having to develop new skills to successfully work remotely. The last thing you’re probably thinking about is new business.
But just because your environment has changed, doesn’t mean your commitment to growing your agency should change. Many will find more time available to work on business development if you learn how to stay focused and productive working from home.
Here are some tips I hope you’ll find helpful:
- Create a designated workspace. We’re working from sofas, dining room tables and beds in our own homes. To stay focused and help separate your home-life and work-life, you’ll need to have a dedicated space to work. An organized workspace will greatly improve your productivity.
- Set office hours. Set your work schedule and be consistent. It’s 4:30 on Thursday afternoon and I’m still in my office working on this article. At 5 pm, when I walk out of my office door, I’m home, and work is done for the day.
- Get comfortable. I enjoy my work environment. My desk, my chair, and the computer screen are at the correct height. I have adjustable lighting for my workspace. The temperature is just right. My office is organized. Everything is conducive to keeping my mind focused.
- Turn off the TV. Especially the news. Instead, listen to music. Create a playlist of the music that will enhance your work environment. 78 percent of employees said music makes them more productive.
- Limit social media. Social media can be another source of distraction if you’re using it to hangout. Set a limit on how much time you’ll spend reading through your social media pages.
- Use noise-canceling headphones. I’ve found they help me quickly get into a ‘focused zone’ for completing a task. I’m actually wearing them as I write this article.
- Switch off all communication devices, alerts, and notifications.
- 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.
- Write down 4 to 5 of the most important tasks that you need to accomplish as you begin your day.
- Dedicate blocks of time to similar tasks. It greatly increases your productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness. It also decreases fatigue and stress which keeps me from procrastinating. Set aside a specific amount of time for each specific task.
- Don’t allow distractions to break your focus. Every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus.
- Keep time. Use a timer on your mobile device or computer. Once a task is completed, take a brief break. Then reset your timer and begin working on the next task.
- Set times for checking email. A study showed that people distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQs, the equivalent of losing a night’s sleep.
- Discipline your time online. Everybody is ADD when they’re online. To avoid distractions, my browser’s homepage is set to Google Reader. Having online content aggregated in one location is extremely helpful in avoiding distractions online.
- Community development comes before business development. The battle for new business has moved online, which makes community development indispensable in marketing your agency online. Knowing how to build an online community has become an important skill-set that needs to be practiced daily. For example, set a goal of initiating connections through your personal LinkedIn account. You’re more likely to grow your connections if you’re also creating long-form articles and sharing content from other sources that would be of benefit to your audience.
- Network daily. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. Agency owners should spend 50% of their time on new business. Prospects want a personal connection with the agency’s brand leader. Social media makes networking efficient and effective. Our current, common crisis can forge a foundation that allows us to get to know people in more personal and authentic ways. Make use of this opportunity. It will be good for not only your business development plan but your mental health as well.
- Write. Industry expertise is more than credentials, capabilities, and case studies. The commonality among experts is that experts write. This makes content marketing a tremendous tool in establishing a positioning of expertise quickly. You’re not selling your expertise, you’re demonstrating it. Your content becomes the fuel that builds relationships and trust.
- Become competent with video conferencing. This pandemic has drastically changed how and where we conduct business with so many people working remotely. Building and maintaining quality relationships with your staff, vendors, as well as prospects is essential. It’s about instant connections and developing relationships. So, socialize with colleagues, business associates, family, and friends. Just don’t forget that video conferencing is an important tool for prospecting. As an example, I had a video conference call with the president of an agency in London this morning. It significantly improved the quality of communication for this introductory meeting. The impressions I had prior to and after the call were remarkably different. It was the next best thing to meeting in person.
As I mentioned, I have been working from home for over a decade. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve always been much more focused and productive working in my home office. I have more control over my schedule and my work environment. There are fewer distractions, less unnecessary meeting and I get things done. I hope these tips will be of help, but you’ll have to figure out what works best for you.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or you’d like an overview of my program. I’d be glad to also include a copy of my guide, Seven Steps for Fueling New Business Through Social Media.
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