As a small service-based business, what are the ongoing activities or habits — that create & sustain an ideal business?
As you read the following, ask yourself what you are neglecting now.
What practices could you integrate to benefit your business and life?
Also ask what you are already doing well. If you have practices that have been helpful for your business, you are welcome to comment on that section and help out other readers.
Habit 1: Enrollment
To create and sustain your ideal business, you will need a regular rhythm of enrollment.
This means having ongoing activities — whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly — to generate leads (prospective clients) and sales necessary to sustain & grow your business.
Lead generation activities could include:
Connecting with Peers & Referral Partners
Requesting Referrals from Clients
Conducting Discovery Sessions (Exploratory Calls)
Do you have a regular habit of Enrollment? If so, which activities work best for you?
Do you have a habit of consistently doing what works, improving upon what could work better, and occasionally try out new activities?
If not, start this week.
The sooner you start habituating your Enrollment, the sooner you’ll see an increase in client leads, sales, and your income.
Habit 2: Content
If your business involves sharing information with clients and prospective clients — which most businesses do — it’ll benefit you to have a rhythm of content creation and distribution.
I recommend thinking of the purpose of your content as three-fold:
- Exploration (using content-creation as a way to gather and organize your thoughts and ideas)
- Generosity (enjoying the impact of simply helping others—when you share content freely—without requiring a return)
- Visibility (knowing that the more you create & distribute helpful content, the more your kindred spirits — referral partners and prospective clients — will find you!)
When you regularly create content, you benefit your clients, your prospective clients, your audience, and your own personal development.
Your content strategy could involve one or more of the following:
(I’ve included my own links as examples)
Creating Youtube Videos (my examples here)
Posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
Contributing in Online Groups & Forums (example)
Blogging (I do this on Medium)
Creating a Podcast (my example here)
Being Interviewed on Videos or Podcasts (create a speaker page)
Creating Mindmaps (here are mine)
Writing Books (including Kindle Books)
Writing an Email Newsletter
What content activities might you enjoy?
How frequently would you like to do them?
The main key is consistency. The more often you create content, the more it becomes a habit. The more it becomes a habit, the easier it becomes for you. The easier it becomes for you, the more likely you’ll end up creating content that goes viral.
Another important point is authenticity. To give yourself less pressure, just write what is on your heart, on your mind. And share it. You can always edit and re-post a better version down the road. Your audience will remember whatever is current, whatever you are consistently sharing at the time, whether now or in the future.
Habit 3: Improvement
The most authentic way to market your business is through natural word-of-mouth by your clients and referral partners.
And the way word-of-mouth happens most authentically is simply because your services are so good that people can’t help but talk about it.
Therefore, do you have a regular process to look at your service and improve upon it?
This may include:
Skill-building through deliberate practice
Taking classes (for example on Udemy)
Getting coached on your expertise from a peer or mentor
Journaling to brainstorm ways to improve your client experience
Client surveys & interviews
Experimenting with new methods
Here’s how I have implemented the habit of service improvement:
At the end of each day of client calls, I take a few minutes to journal about these 2 questions: (1) Did any part of the client calls today not go as well as I’d hoped? What could I have done differently? (2) What did I do especially well, that I can bring into future client calls?
I have in my task manager (Wunderlist) a folder/list called Service Improvement. Whenever I think of an idea that could improve the experience of my clients, I add it to that List. Every week, I have a 90-minutes scheduled in my calendar to do this: Open the Service Improvement List, and make progress on any projects there.
Remember this: The more effective your services, the less marketing you’ll have to do!
To make your services effective means (1) to create more delight for your clients through the whole client-engagement process, and (2) to be more useful to your clients.
Habit 4: Renewal
This is a personal development practice that will determine whether you keep running your business joyfully… or burn out and jeopardize your chances of creating your true livelihood. It is important!
Renewal, recovery or “self-care” activities could include:
Getting enough sleep or Napping if needed
Movement practices such as Yoga, Dance, etc.
Contemplative practices such as Meditation, Prayer
Energy practices such as Tapping (EFT)
Deeper, slower breathing
Reading (especially inspirational or spiritual material)
Music (consuming or creating!)
Bodywork e.g. massage
Uplifting social activities
Comedy (consuming or creating it!)
Decluttering / puttering
Which activities are you neglecting? What do you need to schedule into your calendar?
To see my renewal activities, click here:
Green, Yellow, Red
Being aware of when you are in balance & flow, and when you are not, and how you go from one to the other... is one of…
Adequate renewal / recovery allows you to work with greater sustainability, creativity, and joy.
Habit 5: Awareness
Another very important personal development habit is ongoing awareness throughout your working day.
Consider pausing for a few moments throughout your day (maybe twice a day to start, then working up to doing this every hour) and ask yourself these questions:
Anything to celebrate?
Stanford University professor BJ Fogg who specializes in habit creation says that that brief “celebrations”—such as saying “Yes!” to yourself—after doing a desired behavior, strengthens the neural pathway needed to solidify a new habit.
Need some energy-recovery?
If you are feeling low energy, it may be helpful just to lay down on the floor for 3 minutes, or go outside for a walk around the block. It can make a huge difference in how the rest of the day goes.
Am I doing a distracting activity?
Are you aware of what your distractions are? These are activities that take you away from doing what you planned or scheduled to do. Examples include: mindlessly surfing Facebook or the internet, watching unplanned videos, playing a game, responding to emails just because they pop up, etc. Awareness of such distractions and reminding yourself why you planned what you planned to do, is essential to improving your productivity!
Am I experiencing fear? If so, let me move into Love...
If you are procrastinating on something, or feeling overwhelm, it is often because of fear. A powerful habit to develop is to name the fear, then dissolve that fear with your Truth, so you can move into Love.
See the companion video for this blog post—with more than 350 comments—on the following Google+ page:
Business Habits 2015 - Google+
Free* Interactive Online Workshop -- 5 Essential Business Habits *What are the ongoing activities -- habits -- that…
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George Kao is a marketing & productivity coach who deeply values authenticity, service, and personal growth. He has been featured on more than 100 webinars, telesummits, and podcasts. To get his best content via a monthly email, subscribe to his free email newsletter at www.georgekao.com/email