We’re all familiar with the age-old phrase about “working smarter not harder” – and you know what? It is absolutely true! In any startup or small business you don’t have to be the best to succeed, but you do have to be smart!
There are over 28 million businesses in America. Therefore, the chances are good that your big idea is not completely unique. As a matter of fact, your business has probably been duplicated a number of times already. If it has not yet, then someone is on the verge of recreating it as we speak. Let’s face it, there are very, very few truly unique ideas anymore. With that said, you need to be able to differentiate yourself in a sea of similarity in order to succeed. The best way to differentiate yourself is not necessarily by being the best, but being “smart.” You only have so many hours in the day and while there is much to be said about working hard, you can only do so much.
What does it mean to “work smart?”
Here are my 3 tips to help you focus on working smarter not harder if your startup or small business is going to succeed:
Dream Big and Make it Personal
There is no such thing as a dream that is too big. In fact, I openly encourage anyone to dream a generous proportion above what they even consider “wild.” When we have a clear, recurrent dream present in our minds, it becomes a worm that burrows its way down into our hearts and souls. Others around you can feel this and sense your passion and personal tie to the subject matter just by seeing you in action or overhearing your ideas – make no mistake, your business is about the business of being you.
Passion creates purpose; never forget that.
Present your business – your passion – as an extension of who you are rather than just “what you do.” This sincere passion will help people connect with your message and the heart of your company.
Utilize Proper Tools
Tools are necessary for every successful job. However, not all tools are tangible. While a carpenter’s most valuable tool may be a saw, the most valuable tool for an artist may be his vision. If your business is not a typical bricks-and-mortar business, and you rely heavily on your online presence, then an audience is actually on of your biggest tools. The smartest way to advertise and grow your business is by using your tools – sharing with your network of people.
Maybe your company relies less on social networking and more on utilizing smart technology. There are countless technological tools readily available to help grow your business. SumoMe, WordPress and Squirrly SEO are just a few of the many thousands that are ripe for the picking. Don’t forget video marketing! Videos are unquestionably the most important marketing tool available right now and they will be well into the foreseeable future, too. Don’t have time or the ability to create videos on your own? Again, this is where working smarter not harder applies; don’t go to the time or expense of gathering video equipment and learning video production and editing. Online marketplaces, like VideoToOrder.com, offer freelance editors, videographers and even freelancers that know how to market your videos and get your videos to the top of the search engines for more visibility and effectiveness! You’ll find freelance marketplaces like these will save you a huge amount of time, aggravation and money.
Let’s not forget about our marketing tools. The old-fashioned SWOT Analysis still provides business owners with invaluable information about their competitors, but as your market and business conditions change, you must continue to refine not only your SWOT analysis but your business plan and new technology as well. Using all of these tools in concert will help you gain a competitive advantage.
Perfect Your Pitch
One of the most commonly asked questions in a social situation is, “And what do you do?” This is your moment to shine! You have just been given the opportunity to build rapport with a total stranger and share a solicited advertisement to a totally interested audience completely FREE of charge! Make the smart choice, and have your response ready. Prepare an “elevator pitch” about who your company is and the benefits it offers. Remember – the guy next to you on the train could turn into your next biggest client.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, business IS personal. With so much duplication in the marketplace, it may seem a bit daunting to differentiate yourself from your competition.
The key is to remember that it is not those who work the hardest, but those who work the smartest that succeed!
Working smarter not harder is an oft-used phrase for a reason. Find a way to improve your processes and, most importantly, save time. If you are passionate about your business, then you will naturally work hard without even thinking about it. So you need to look at the thousands of tools that are available to you to make your work more productive. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just use better wheels – oh yeah, and learn to take some time off to relax, too.