Using tools like FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote your business can be very profitable and can also be a tremendous waste of time. The more I teach my clients about the use of social media to grow their businesses, the more I am reminded of the need for strategic thinking before starting any new marketing avenue—especially social media.
Strategic thinking is about your mindset and how you approach running a business. It means that, as a coaching entrepreneur, you have a vision and take the time to develop a plan for how you will get there. You must focus on long-term and not just short-term issues. Being strategic requires you to think about your business as a system. Each decision impacts other decisions—effectiveness then requires understanding the big picture. Thinking strategically means carefully assessing resources, weaknesses and opportunities for your business and basing your plan of action on this analysis. If you plan strategically, you also include the concept of leveraging—using what you have for maximum effectiveness.
This type of thinking utilizes the best of both sides of your brain. You must be creative and intuitive in deciding where you want to go and how to get there. At the same time, you must analyze your path, make regular reviews and take stock of true progress in your coaching business so you can make appropriate course corrections.
Strategic thinking is finding the best possible answers for the actual conditions you find yourself in. You must examine your assumptions, question your belief systems and be open to training in new areas or new tools. It is vital to bounce ideas off others, both trusted advisors and members of your target market. Your business will grow more quickly if you rely on this input as a large piece of the process.
Many coaches operate on the "next new thing" system of marketing instead of thinking strategically. That has lead to the ineffective use of tools like Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of the strategic questions to ask if you are using or considering a social media marketing tool:
- What is my goal for using this specific tool?
- How do I attract prospects to my business using this specific site?
- What specific capabilities of this site will I need to understand and utilize?
- How do I move prospects from this site to a deeper relationship with me elsewhere?
The time and effort required for strategic thinking is often neglected by the busy coach. Instead, put your strategic planning time into your calendar in pen—don't let anything else get in the way. No matter who you admire in the coaching field, I guarantee you that person achieved success because he or she had a goal and a game plan on how to achieve it. Success does not come from shots in the dark; success comes from having a blueprint and the wisdom to adjust it when needed.
Janet Slack writes, speaks, blogs and coaches on topics related to running a thriving small business. She is a social media expert who coaches her clients to profit from social media and effective business decisions. Janet’s ezine Biz Tips for Coaches is widely acclaimed for its readable business information.