RUSNAK/SHTTERSTO C K
WHEN IT COMES to productivity,
email is a silent killer. To demonstrate its impact, consider the
productivity of a successful business adviser who minimizes his
use of email: my dad, Bill Mowatt.
Born on a farm in Saskatchewan
during the Depression, Dad quit
school with a ;;th-grade education.
Eventually, he started an oil and gas
service company that grew to have
more than ;;; employees, with
annual revenues of over ;;; million. By the time
Dad officially retired, the Royal Bank of Canada
had recognized him as one of Calgary’s most
successful entrepreneurs. Not bad for a Saskatchewan farm boy.
One secret of his success is the way he manages
his time. Because he’s “retired,” Dad works only a
few days per month. One of the smartest decisions
he’s made in his consulting practice is to minimize
email correspondence with his clients.
Because he rarely gives out
his email address, Dad doesn’t
feel obligated to respond to the
myriad messages that are copied
to him simply because it’s easy to
send him a copy. If someone
needs a fast response from Dad, they
pick up the phone. That way he’s not
spreading a conversation over five
emails—he’s doing it once. Most
important, the time that Dad would
have spent sorting through other
people’s email messages is instead spent focusing on corporate strategy.
I’m not saying that email is all bad. I use it
regularly and recognize its benefits. Most of us
can and will continue to use email. But we need to
recognize that it can be one of several factors distracting us from the strategic project we should
be working on. When it comes to labour-saving
technology, managers need to make sure they are
not sacrificing effectiveness. C
SMALL BUSINESS TODAY
Grand Opening Celebration
Work less, get more done
BY SUZANNE BOLES
AS A BUSINESS owner, it’s important to get
the word out about your business. In addition
to advertising and word of mouth, are there
other ways to garner positive attention?
Absolutely, says Costco member Sandra
Dueck, communications specialist with the
Greater Peterborough (Ontario) Chamber
In addition to sending out news releases
about a new business venture or changes to
your business, positioning yourself as a
professional gives you credibility. You can
do this by developing relationships with the
media as the go-to person for a topic that
relates to your business expertise.
“It’s not necessarily ‘This is my business;
you need to be my customer.’ It’s more of a
soft-sell approach,” says Dueck. “As a business you will be looking at doing advertising.
… But if you want to be in the news, and part
of those broader conversations, that’s a different way of approaching the media.”
How to connect with the media
Yes, you can send out news releases
focused on what’s happening in your busi-
ness. But if you want to offer yourself as an
expert source, Dueck advises contacting
your local media: radio, TV, newspapers.
Create relationships and stay in touch with
them. Send reminders that you’re available
to comment on stories they’re working on.
How to prepare for the interview
How to put your best foot forward
Dueck suggests, “The biggest thing is
to stay on topic.” And to handle those possible nerves? “Rehearse.”
In his booklet Are You Ready for Your
Interview (available at paullima.com),
Toronto-based freelance writer, media
trainer and Costco member Paul Lima says
that “weaving in key messages” can give a
business more exposure. For example, if
you’re asked how long you’ve had experience
in your field you could say, ‘;; years,’ or you
could expand, saying, “In the past ;; years
as a retail consultant, I’ve seen a growing
number of issues, including this one …” and
go on from there. C
Suzanne Boles ( suzanneboles.com) is an
award-winning Ontario-based writer.
How to be media savvy
Jeff Mowatt ( jeffmowatt.com)
is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker
and best-selling author.
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