Archive for the ‘time management’ Category

Do you Tweet? Part Two.

May 15, 2011

This time last year, I wrote an article called Do you Tweet? I completed two Social Media classes in 2009 and decided to use social media online marketing as an affordable way to build my network. It’s working. My network has steadily grown. I went to a trade conference recently and folks recognized me when in many cases, I did not recognize them. Online marketing increases your visibility and helps you achieve “presence of mind” when it comes to getting referrals. This article serves to update you the new tools and techniques I am trying.
Last year I wrote how I spend a minimum (and usually maximum) of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night each day. Now, I spend more time. I usually devote a few hours on Saturday or Sunday. Here’s what I do with Twitter now:
You get followers by following others. If someone does not follow me in about a week or so, I stop following them.
How do I find followers and get folks to follow me?
1) I still get great twitter connections from my linkedin and facebook groups.
2) I upload a *.csv (comma separated value) file from linkedin into twitter to make sure I am following my Linkedin connections out on Twitter – and to encourage them to follow me back.
3) I look at every new Facebook connections’ information page to find out if they have a twitter account – if so, I follow them and email them to request that they follow me back. I also check out their website. I always do my due diligence to find out whether a Facebook invite or recommended connection is a good fit in my circle or space.
Why do I love Twitter?
1) It helps me direct traffic to my website. We have had an increase of website visitors as per our Google Analytics reports. I review our analytics monthly.
a. With each twitter follow, I use the Twitter Direct mail feature to send them an email:
i. thanks 4 the follow! I look forward to getting to know u! Free ebook gift for u: 25 Small Biz Tips: http://tinyurl.com/35rtl7e
ii. please support our Facebook biz page by clicking on the Like link & Join My List link – http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o
b. Each week I usually post a blog post and convert the post into articles. I then tweet the new arrival of a blog post and use auto notifiers to post the articles. This helps drive traffic to my website.
c. I have begun to post videos via YouTube, and photos using Twitpic.
How do I save time?

Well, last year I was using ping fim to post each morning. Now I use Hootesuite and schedule about 50 posts each week. I post about 7 times per day. I set up 2 or 3 posts in the morning, noon, and night. I use the ping fm feature in Hootesuite to distribute my posts to a number of social media outlets – myspace, linkedin, my personal facebook page, my company’s facebook like page, and other pages. I love the schedule ahead feature in Hootesuite.
Last year, in my Do you Tweet article I listed a number of news outlets that I subscribe to in order to read and cull out content to share online. This year, I have finally graduated to using Twitterfeed to share posts from my favorite blogs. At first I used their default of posting every 30 minutes. One of my cousins advised me that it seemed like I was posting on Twitter every minute and that was annoying. I went from about 7 posts per day to who knows what. So, I had to go back into Twitterfeed and adjust the settings.
I signed up for Gist and have begun to see dossiers on folks in my network. This helps me decide who to conversate with. But, I honestly lean more toward the Hootesuite mention feature to see who retweets my post or asks me questions. I can then easily respond. Gist is more comprehensive since it will show me my online connections’ posts in several outlets. But I will have to hire someone to help me make the most of that. It would be neat if all of this could be rolled into Hootesuite so that I could see everything on one website. If you know of a way, please let me know.
The key is to continue to try new marketing tactics. Post diverse things and use a variety of tools to stay fresh and interesting. No matter how much we small business owners do, we can always do more. You cannot get frustrated and quit. You simply build the empire one stone at a time with patience and persistence.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

Re-engineering: Balancing Patience with Time Management

October 10, 2010

I am writing this on 10-10-10. I once read that the number ten (10) means being “One with God” in Egyptian Numerology. If that is true, I am getting a triple dose today. The Godly virtue of Patience has been a common theme for me recently. I have been trying to re-engineering and rebrand my firm away from an emphasis on working with land development teams and more toward offering services that translate to and are helpful to a wider variety of industries.

Rebranding and Re-engineering requires patience. I was once told that one of my great grandmothers was a slave named Patience. I sometimes think of what she could have looked like and how she behaved. I think she was tough, strong, reserved, and quiet. Slaves were often named for a virtue their parents had or wanted them to have. Being patient is to bear misfortune and pain without complaint or irritation. Patient people have quiet, even tempered perserverance.

I have a healthy dose of patience in my fabric. Others have told me so. I also see it in myself. But, I have learned that the real challenge is time management and working with others that may not be so patience.

Here’s a case in point. You may need to hire help with rolling out sales campaigns and prospecting. If you cannot afford to hire, you solicit help with the terms and conditions (TCs) that when you get paid, they get paid for helping you. If “you” have patience, you can live with these TCs. But, if they cannot patiently await compensation, you are in trouble. Here’s a solution: hire folks that have other sources of income or compensation. For example, ideal assistance can come from retirees; married stay at home moms; and students that can earn course credit for helping you.

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I think I inherited it. Although my parents and family members never labeled themselves “entrepreneurs”, we always found innovative ways to make ends meet to survive. We sold chicken plates, sold items at flea markets, home renovations, and home cleaning. When we would hit a stumbling block, the perspective that it was minor and needed a solution. So, if you cannot afford to hire, do not give up. Just do it. Find an innovative way to just do it.

Although it takes patience to re-engineer and rebrand your firm, it also takes balance. I am learning that you cannot attribute a lengthy amount of time to “just do it” to your having the Godly virtue of patience. You could easily take your sweet time and tell others that it is alright to saunter because you have patience. Well, is your patience paying the bills? Will your patience save your company?

The balancing act is balancing having the patience to see things through with having a clear strategic plan with set goals and deadlines to have things completed. Time management is a key skill. What works for me is calendaring everything. If I want to hire help, advertising and outreach has to be put on the calendar. Now, the pressure is on. The start and end dates are set. I can tell myself that I have the patience to await responses, but I have to balance that with the reality that the responses need to come in and be acted on by a certain deadline. I put myself under a little pressure. It will not break me. If I do not get the responses I need, I find a solution. I cast a bigger fish net.

Just do it. Do it with style, class, and patience. But, do not use that virtue as an excuse to watch your vision and dreams disintegrate before your eyes. There is an old saying that if you do the same thing with the same bad results, you are insane. Well, you may call it having patience. Others see it as a mental disorder. To truly persevere and be diligent, you have to achieve real change and real results.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Visit us at: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com – Follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans and LIKE Lemongrass on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/6cuu28o

How to Plan Strategically to Market to Government Agencies

September 17, 2010

The purpose of obtaining a Government Contracting Strategic Plan is to target your efforts to create interest in your company. Like private industry buyers, government buyers buy from people they know like and trust. Government buyers cannot buy from your company if they do not know that your firm exists. To gain visibility, it is important to target your efforts rather than take a shotgun approach.

You can create interest in your company to increase sales by marketing your business with advertising, promoting, publicizing, and engaging in public relations. A strategic marketing plan should outline what you will do; where you will do it; what you will say; and how to match your marketing and messaging to the way your customer already thinks and operates.

First, you should build the foundation of the Strategic Government Contracting Marketing Plan by asking yourself:

1. What do you provide of value?
2. Who are your target government agencies?
3. What do your target care about and need?
4. Where do you find your targets?
5. Who influences your target?
6. How do your target agencies want to engage?

With respect to what you provide of value, ask yourself:
1. What do you want to sell to the government? What products? What services?
2. Next, look up your product and services codes in the classification systems used by government agencies.

Product and service codes can be found in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP); and Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) by conducting key word searches.

With regard to who your targets will be, identify a few government agencies to target. You can start at home with the city, county, and state your business is located in. Then venture out into other counties and the cities in those counties in your region. Next, if you choose, you can expand into other regions in your state and eventually into adjacent states.

A strategic marketing plan need not be complex. It can simply be a list of federal, state, county and city agencies that need what you sell. You will need to identify the players in these agencies that you plan to contact by email, mail and phone to request face to face meetings. Your list should include:

1. Contracting Officers and Specialists
2. Contract Compliance Officers and Small Business Liaisons
3. Influencers such as End Users (Department Heads, Project Managers)
4. Influencers such as Elected Officials, Legislators
5. Winning Prime contractors

You can find these individuals by using Google Unclesam and conducting key word searches. Your goal will be to find government agency websites. The contracting and small business staff may be in the contracting, procurement, purchasing, or finance department web pages. You can also pick off contact information from bid solicitations and contract award notices for work related to the products and services you sell. To find end users and elected officials, you will need to venture onto their web pages.

Create a Contacts Relations Management (CRM) database. You can use Microsoft Excel or Access; or purchase a more robust software program.

With regard to how your targets want to engage, you may be asked:

1. to submit information by email or fax;
2. to attend a Vendor Outreach Session or Trade Fair;
3. to present your capabilities before a panel of agency representatives.

The key is to have a strategy so as to not waste your precious, valuable time and energy. You need to be organized and prepared.

Have the following marketing items at hand:

1. Website
2. Capability Statement
3. Trifold Brochures
4. Business Cards
5. Promotional Items (eg Calendars, Pens, Envelope Opener)

When you meet with government buyers and influences, ask “Do you have any requirements that are a good fit with what my company sells?” and “What are your needs?” Deflate the focus on how great you are, and shift the focus on how you can help the players achieve their goals.

Marketing will grow your business! So, NEVER, NEVER stop marketing!!

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc., http://www.lemongrassplanning.com (@lemongrassplans)
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans.