36 Lunch: How to keep up to date with business toys and tools

Written by  //  June 1, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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So this morning I learned how to schedule posts on Facebook, found how to promote posts on facebook,got an email about how to use Buffer in three fabulous new ways and received the link to my new Twylah (beta) page (here it is, for fun, I’ve not played with it…yet).

All that in just a couple of hours. Phew.

Keeping up with everything feels like a full time job. So how can we do it when we’re already stretched with busy businesses? Here are my thoughts:

How to do it

The most important thing we have to do every day is our core business, the stuff that our customers are buying. So if we are personal trainers we’ve got to do the training sessions, if we sell home cooked meals, we’ve got to do the cooking, is we’re interior decorators we’ve got to be designing and if we’re online retailers we’ve got to be sending our orders.

Once the core business is done we can think about two things: winning-new-customers-now and growing-the-business-for-tomorrow.

The growing-our-business-for-tomorrow stuff is the strategic stuff. It’s the little seeds we need to sow today to make next year, and the next five years, fabulous. It could be thinking up new products, it could be looking at new markets, it could be finding new delivery channels…..whatever it is, we’ve got to do a little on this each day (or at least each week) otherwise next year will look a little sad.

Then there’s the winning-new-customers-today stuff. Of course we’ve got to spend some time finding customers and we need to do this in the most efficient way. So we hatch a little plan – our marketing plan – and we get on with that.

For many of us, social media is part of the marketing plan, but it isn’t the whole of the plan. When I think of my friends who are personal trainers, home-delivered foodies and interior designers, they get most of their new business from customer referrals. It’s a low cost and hugely effective way of marketing. It’s not completely effort free so they need to make time to do whatever it is they do, but it works.

So when all that work’s done, where’s the time to play with the Twylah page, get in deep with Facebook and play with all the new Buffer tools? Well there isn’t much, but here’s the good news: it doesn’t matter!

All these things are tools and toys. They are fun but if they are not part of our core business (ie we aren’t in the business of telling people how to use them) and they are not core to our marketing strategy (ie we have more effective ways of finding new customers) then we can relax. 

Yes, at some point in time we’ll need to get to grips with this stuff, but it’s not right now. We’ve got more important things to be getting on with…..In practice, when something new turns up I:

  1. Look at it quickly and ask myself:


    1. Is this core to my business?
    2. Could it be core to my business?
    3. Is it central to my marketing plan?
    4. Should it be central to my marketing plan?


  1. If the answer to the questions is ‘no’ I file it away in evernote in a notebook I call “useful stuff to look at”.


  1. Every so often, depending on how busy I am and (how much I need a distraction) I go through the notebook and play with some of the new toys.
    1. A hidden benefit of storing all the new stuff up for later is that you then can quickly see from the pile which of the tools has the most potential upside. Last weekend for instance I came across About.me via Mytoolkit, did my page and then was able to point somebody straight to it when they needed info on me. The About.me page beat a few other interesting bits in my notebook, but the others are still there, waiting for the rainy day!


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