Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Are you letting your Army drift away?

Growing up, we always looked forwards to walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons. I guess the money went to help some cause or another, usually cancer I think. I do not remember if we got a thank you after the fact. We did it because it was fun. Now I wonder why they did not keep in touch. Sure, I am old and keeping in touch was more expensive back then, but we were an army of kids going door to door collecting money for them. They could have built a much more powerful advocacy group if they got creative. Who is your army of advocates and potential advocates? What are you doing to keep them your advocates when they are not directly involved? Your Potential Army is bigger than you think:
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Ex Employees
  • Co-workers from previous jobs
  • Classmates from school
  • Suppliers/vendors you do business with
  • Other business owners in your community
  • Business Reporters and bloggers
  • Local government officials (While they cannot promote you, they like to talk about success stories)

OK, so you have a lot of potential advocates. Now what? Begin by setting some very long term goals for yourself and for your business. Some examples might be to double your referrals. One may be to find a new job or to find new employees. Now build a database of your advocates and start communicating with them periodically. Do not start your first communication as “I need…” Build the relationship back up and when they ask how you have been, that is the opportunity to say, “I am well, thanks. I would be much better if I could…” Don’t do it for the goals though. Do it because you want to. Do it because you want to help the people that also care about your success. This is the road to growing your army of advocates.