I always feel so starry-eyed this time of year, like everything is possible. My mind is a flood of ideas, each screaming to get my best attention. I think, “oh, I can do that, and I can do that, oh and that’s a great idea too!” And you know where this trip is going… straight to Overwhelm City. That’s why learning to let go is so important. Brainstorming is a great activity, but then the time comes to narrow your focus, choose the achievable ideas, and set your goals for the New Year. This always means letting go of a few (often really great) ideas. Just breathe; it’s going to be okay.
Planning doesn’t have to mean adding to your list of goals. Sure, you should be reviewing your goals from last year and hopefully checking off what you accomplished. Congratulations! But don’t just mindlessly move the unaccomplished goals onto the New Year list. First, ask yourself, “Is this even still important to me? Is it achievable, considering how my life and practice have changed over the last year?” If the answers are “no,” or even, “I’m not sure,” get rid of that goal.
Sometimes, planning means eliminating old thoughts, behaviors, and activities, to make room for better ideas or—dare I say it—to make room for rest and balance in your life! And sometimes, you do have to try something new.
Planning at SMA
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Here at Sohnen-Moe Associates, we have a lot on our plate already. We serve the educational community through our textbooks, teacher webinars, and TA Newsletters. We serve the practitioner community through our books, practice-building tools, presentation kits, marketing materials, and coaching services. And, we have our free Marketing Mastery newsletter, our blog articles, and our free practice-building video tips. So, that’s a lot already. But my recent brainstorming looks like this…
How could we serve practitioners in a way that helps them reduce their time spent on back-office activities? Many independent practitioners aren’t to the point of hiring help quite yet, but also don’t have the free time to study all of our practice-building products and prepare marketing content for their clients and potential clients.
I’ve been thinking of creating a service called Marketing Mastery Pro. It would take some of the suggested activities in our free Marketing Mastery Newsletter and automate them for the busy practitioner. Things like, emailing new clients their Welcome to My Office kit, and preparing and sending out Monthly Wellness Newsletters to their entire mailing lists. Sure, practitioners can easily do these things themselves, but many don’t want to write articles for newsletters, or learn to use MailChimp (or another email marketing app).
We have been using a robust automation software for our business, called Infusionsoft, for 4 years now, and we are experts at building automation. So, maybe we can find a way to share that expertise with small businesses and practitioners in the wellness field? Things like the above or sending appointment reminders and follow-up emails after appointments, connecting with other like-minded practitioners in the area for collaborative marketing or cross-referral plans, and organizing client treatment charts. There are actually programs out there that do all these things for you, but you still have to write your own content and learn to use the system. There’s so much out there, but what things would actually be helpful to independent practitioners?
Essential Questions to Ask Yourself
So, I’ve got to answer some questions for myself over the next few weeks, and set our intention for 2019:
- Would anyone actually want or need these services?
- What else do practitioners need that I’m not thinking of right now?
- Can we add these things using our current company time and resources?
- Would we have to drop some of the other products or services that we offer?
- What additional knowledge or skills would we have to acquire to make our best effort to succeed?
- Will a new project disturb the balance of rest and work in my life and the lives of my employees? (In other words, do I need to just let it go?)
If you are thinking of adding new things to your plate, you should be asking yourself these same questions.
Notice that I did not ask, “Can we make a lot of money with this?” I don’t want you to think that is not an important question, but the other questions need to be answered first. Then, you can run the numbers and set a reasonable plan that adds to your bottom line. However, the focus needs to be on serving a need or serving your passion, and planning accordingly. Then the money will flow naturally.
My Direct Questions for You, The Independent Practitioner
- Do you want more clients?
- If so, where do you need the most help?
- What type of business or marketing or automation software needs do you have (if any)?
- How can we share our expertise with you more directly?
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping it’s the best one yet!