Can you have fun navigating without technology tools?

Small business marketing strategies can let you walk alone while having fun

“It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.”  — Diane Grant, Canadian playwright and screenwriter

Poetic justice perhaps, particularly if panting a technology device as a villain is how you interpreted my last blog post.

I fried my cell phone last weekend – literally (who knew it would get so persnickety about remaining in the car during another 80 degree day). Never saw a screen with a thermometer in red indicating the temperature was too hot for operation (seriously). Guess it’s a good sign there still was a screen working to tell me so?

Ordinarily this wouldn’t have caused much of a disruption in my routine. This was, however, a different kind of day. I was in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire, had a possible get-together planned in Manchester, was thinking of visiting Portland ME and recently discovered I no longer had AAA coverage. Oh right, there’s that 2007 Saturn thing too (reliable and gutsy steed to date, but then there’s Murphy’s Law).

Anyone who’s driven New England roads knows there’s no direct way to get from here to there. When the phone cried uncle, I was in New Ipswich, population 5000. The closest city was Worchester, MA – about 1 ½ hours away. So, I pondered backtracking through countless turns to the south, or venturing up to Maine.

Fortunately, I had printed MapQuest© directions (to Portland, of course – and not back home from my initial stop). I bothered my recent host with a revisit, put my phone in her freezer (it said it was too hot) and pondered the options. The prospect of being without that usually annoying (but now kinda missed) voice threatening a guidance-lending strike made risking a wrong turn a more challenging puzzle to contemplate.

Freezing the phone didn’t work. Maine is the only New England state I’d never seen; one I’ve always wanted to visit; and I figured this would be about the last time I’d be this close, so was hedging in that direction. Route 95 was an easy target north, vs. the byways to the south shielding civilization.

My Manchester get-together was cancelled (good thing – without the destroyer of my navigate-by-feel confidence I would have been lost). Portland was fun, including the waterfront. On the way back, I stopped in Wells for a rocky coastline view.

Heading home from there was like living in New York again – 295 to 95 to 495 to 90 to 84 . . . – easier to just follow numbers than try to decipher street signs and turns every mile or so.

Years ago, I had an adventurous soul. It’s not fair to blame technology, but admit I’m less likely to venture into new realms of unfettered discovery.

Once without the encumbrance, I realized looking at the route to be traveled and trusting my gut still worked. There’s fun in the game of mindful discovery.

Small business marketing without a map

Small business marketing strategies can let you walk alone while having funThis experience reminded me technology dependence isn’t always a good thing when it comes to smart small business marketing strategies.

Reactive approaches to what your inert devices are directing – whether that’s for “help” or “social” interaction – isn’t good for business, or life.

Blind technology obedience rarely works. Smart small business marketing requires forethought – and a plan borne from human thinking and creativity. No device has the power of your big-picture view or the instincts of your gut.

While everyone else is depending on smart technology to make them look brilliant, you can be brilliant by tapping into gray cells.

Before you decide to let the latest fad or text message shift your small business marketing strategy or focus, consider the crazy idea of using your head – and sticking to your plan (at least long enough to know if it’s working).

Oldfangled, yes, but the best way to succeed with any trip you envision – whether that’s cross country or toward business success – is to think ahead and plan your route.

Yikes! Create a plan?

Business plans need not be exhaustive.

Unless you’re applying for financing, a few pages that include a marketing action plan, time frames & costs and goals to reach for along the way is enough for most small ventures. If you’re not reaching your mark in reasonable time, “recalculate” to get back on track.

Technology can’t tell you what your prospects and customers are thinking. Watching and reacting to tweets and Facebook posts won’t do much to help you prosper. Talk to people face-to-face or ear-to-ear to find out what’s missing.

Make a plan to appeal to clients in a personal way those technology-dependent strategic schemes can’t. Map your route and you’ll be surprised the success you see. Sometimes, letting go of technology will reveal your creative soul and offer solutions you never imagined. At the least you’ll have some fun living in a new realm for a little while.

21 Responses to Can you have fun navigating without technology tools?
  1. Vickie Martin
    September 27, 2015 | 6:25 pm

    I really liked the analogy – and your story about going to Maine. Down here in the South – 80 degrees is considered moderate and during the summer a nice day! You are right about having a map – i think it is good to have a goal and have plan of some time. But, flexibility is key – things happen, things change. and if you are relying too much on technology, you might just not physically “connect” with those you need to connect with!

    • Nanette Levin
      September 30, 2015 | 1:33 pm

      Oh, Vickie, I suppose that’s one of the reasons I don’t live down in the South. Good point on flexibility. Rigidity with or without technology doesn’t make for very happy times.

  2. Tat
    September 28, 2015 | 2:29 am

    We can definitely achieve a lot of connection without technology and in a way that would help us stand out, because no one else is doing it.

    • Nanette Levin
      September 30, 2015 | 1:35 pm

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Tat. It’s funny how the old seems to become new again, isn’t it?

  3. Debbie Goode
    September 28, 2015 | 10:56 am

    Awesome stuff girl! I found out a long time ago that in order for my little biz to succeed I had to ‘personally connect’ with my potential clients. YUP…they need to know me to love me…LOL! Problem is it is difficult to create the numbers I need to truly be successful….so I have embraced technology in the hopes of enlarging my audience. NOT AN EASY TASK!

    • Nanette Levin
      September 30, 2015 | 1:38 pm

      Debbie, I sure get how a personal connection is so important in your business, when you’re capturing another’s “baby”. You might consider talking to Ali Farkas and some others who are venturing into the note card, wearable art, product, etc. arenas. It might be a way for you to “create the numbers you need” a little more easily.

  4. Amy Putkonen
    September 28, 2015 | 3:31 pm

    Hi Nanette,

    Great story. Well, I’ve been there with the hot phone thing. It does not like direct sunlight on it – pretty much ever. Also, if you reach that state – close all open apps. They can heat it up too.

    I had a panic this week after updating my iPhone that the new OS didn’t have a talking map app. As it turned out, it does still talk – I just had it on mute! lol… It is so hard to go back to the old way once you are used to something better.

    I work in a school district as their tech support. The teachers often end up having to fall back on old fashioned non-technical lesson plans sometimes (like this week when our wifi went down for an hour or so!) It happens. You are best prepared if you account for that possibility. I love how you tied it in with business ideas. Yes, planning is good but you should always be prepared to go off the plan too.

    • Nanette Levin
      September 30, 2015 | 1:41 pm

      Amy, you are the first I’ve heard of who’s also seen this phone talk. Good to know on the sunlight and aps. Probably not surprisingly, I don’t often use many ;-). Too funny on the mute. I bet it’s crazy days at school when the wifi goes down. No worry to the kids, I suppose – they still have their phones.

  5. Michelle
    October 2, 2015 | 4:39 pm

    Thanks for reminding me of the value of face-to-face and “old fashioned” marketing. I could use a more solid plan…I don’t want to get lost in the woods, after all, adventure though it might be!

    • Nanette Levin
      October 4, 2015 | 9:27 pm

      Of course, those adventures can be fun if you have a bit of a plan on how to get out, though, can’t they, Michelle? Agreed, if you can do it, face-to-face is incredibly valuable.

  6. kimberly
    October 3, 2015 | 2:35 am

    I think we all could use a little off line time built into our lives. Especially in business. Luckily, my office is a complete offline zone. I even have my clients turn their phones off. The time is solely presence.

    • Nanette Levin
      October 4, 2015 | 9:29 pm

      What an interesting idea having an office as an offline zone, Kimberly. I’ll have to consider how I might be able to apply that. Thanks for the idea :-).

  7. Harmony Harrison
    October 6, 2015 | 12:27 am

    Next time you’re stuck out there sans phone, get yourself to the nearest library. The librarians will straighten it all out for you, though I think they’d draw the line at lending their freezer for overheated tech stuff.

    Do you have any business planning resources that you’d recommend? Not for service-based businesses (those I’m familiar with) but for product based ones? I’d particularly love to know what you’d recommend for artists who want to merchandise their wares without going bonkers in the process. Thanks, Nanette!

    • Nanette Levin
      October 6, 2015 | 12:45 am

      Oh, yeah, right – try to find one of those in rural New Hampshire, Harmony – although it is a great suggestion for other places in the world.

      On your question for product based business planning resources, some of the SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) have great planning tools (YMMV – it really depends on the quality of the advisor you land and the mindset of the Director relative to what tools they provide). Services from this organization are free.

      Relative to merchandising artist wares, I’m still working on this one but have found WooCommerce to be an interesting free WordPress plug in. Craftsy is another I’m starting to watch (video tutorials designed mostly for amateurs seeking how-to input from artists – very interesting marketing opportunity for the right business – revenue opportunity regardless). I’m also exploring crowd funding sites with a friend of mine wishing for a full time job doing illustrations. Of course, there’s EBay, Etsy and other sites for selling your wares, but perhaps I’m not completely understanding your question, Harmony?

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