“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
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.