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How Zen Does a Small Biz Need to Be?

Marketing podcast with Leo Babauta (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes


Leo Babauta is the publisher of the very popular Zen Habits blog and author the Power of Less.

Leo is not my typical marketing/business expert type guest but Leo’s personal story and the subject he writes about are important lessons for small business owners.

As business owners we are totally free – free to work 80 hours a week, free to carry the stress of making payroll, free to eat junk food at our desk, and free to blow off any semblance of exercise, because, really, who’s got the time. Essentially, we’re all a bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen, but at least we’re free to have the heart attack on our terms, right?

I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can tell you that an entrepreneur’s diet, exercise routine, and stress release activities are just as important as any marketing plan every devised. Owning a business is not for sissies. Leo’s message of doing more with less is a breathe of fresh air and I count it as a daily.

So, take a long, deep, totally centered breath and have a listen. Namaste

Successful Marketing Requires Behavior Change

changeMondays are good days to think about change, establish new habits, and embrace chaos. And, all of those things come with successful marketing – it’s just part of the deal. You can’t not like marketing, not do marketing, or concede you’re no good at it – marketing must become a habit you come to love.

It’s tough to get around to marketing, I get it. You didn’t start your business because you were dying to get your hands dirty with blogging, copywriting, and selling, but you soon found out that your business would die if you did not. So, what to do?

The secret to getting marketing done is to make it a habit. Or, if I may roughly paraphrase Aristotle - “We are what we repeatedly do. Marketing, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Most of us, I think, have more experience trying to break a bad habit than establish a good one, the secret is to create a system and process you can focus your attention on while establishing the behavior that eventually becomes second nature.

When it comes to marketing I’ve learned that small business owners can move towards making marketing a habit by doing these three things.

1) Monthly themes – choose one big marketing need – redo your website, write your marketing kit, create a new customer process – and make it the theme for that month – you can even plan out the next 6 months this way and you’ll stand a better chance of actually getting these done. This is a great idea when it comes to getting your entire staff focused on one thing. The problem is that when we try to do it all at once, we go into overwhelm and don’t get anything done. Make it simple, take the long view, and watch what happens.

2) Weekly reviews – When it comes right down to it, once you’re clear on your marketing strategy, marketing itself becomes a set of projects. When you start to look at marketing as the habit of focusing on a group of projects, you can begin to break those projects down into action steps or tasks. Your weekly marketing review should include everyone in your organization and pose the simple question – “what needs be done next” to each project on your plate.

3) Daily appointments – While you may have many things on your daily calendar, make it a habit to schedule one marketing time slot with yourself or someone working on marketing each day. This is the only way to keep the focus where it belongs – on constant advancement and improvement.

When it comes to establishing a system for getting marketing done, few compare, in my mind, to David Allen’s very simple, yet powerful, Getting Things Done. You should read this book and make it a gift to your entire staff. His latest book, Getting It All Done, is a great read as well.

You might also want to become of fan of Zen Habit’s Change Cheatsheet: 29 ways to ingrain a new behavior.

I happen to believe that owning a business is the true ticket to getting what you want out of life and that the successful marketing of said business is the only way to realize that possibility.

Image credit: David Reece