Debbie Mayo-Smith

A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Can you afford to bake your bread?

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

'I'm worried about you Debbie' my husband Steve said. 'This is very unlike you'. This comment was in reference to the obsession I've developed with the kitchen, although more specifically nurturing along a sourdough culture and making bread. It's been months now and he's only ever witnessed my antipathy to cooking and all things domestic.

It could be the nurturing mothering instinct now that one of our twins has left home (again) to study in Hamilton; or that the kids are so independent now. I'm not sure what the attraction of trying to get that flour and water to fizz is, but it has had a double detrimental effect.

Of course the first is my backside. I can't bear to throw out that daily cup of mixture to refresh. So I'm making sourdough bread, date scones, cinnamon scrolls, rolls and pancakes.

The second has been to my business. That is because the time I'm taking looking through cook books, mixing, kneading, cleaning and schmoozing the computer for recipes, I SHOULD be doing marketing and business development for the business.

Like many businesses, mine is suffering from the economy. Fewer conferences, less books sold over the internet and on site. Less training opportunities from less disposable income.

A critical aspect for all businesses - as well as mine is to create awareness and put the feelers out for new business, especially if you have long lead times to culmination, and each 'sale' is important.

By this I mean if your business is made up of infrequent high - value sales If you have a period of marketing inactivity, it most likely will result (depending on your cycle) in a loss of sales/income in the future. So this bread making could have the potential to cost dearly. This is the choice I am making at this time for two reasons. And please relate these to your activity - both personal and for business.

The first is that while this pleasurable activity has taken time from my marketing, it's only taken the icing time. In other words, I'm still doing plenty of marketing. Writing articles like this, sending out a useful monthly newsletter, driving a branded car, not letting opportunities fall by the wayside by following up. The bread making time is the personal time I'm devoting to doing something for me, something that's fun (at least for now because I'm still a failure at getting a good culture going).

Do you have your own pleasurable activity that is taking you away from your business? If you are do, and you've no time left for business development and marketing - the pleasure component of today might be too high a cost to your future to bear.

I think every business should have at least 30 minutes on average a day allocated to someone to conduct marketing. It could be preparing prospect lists. Calling old clients. Networking. Customer service follow ups. Writing marketing communications and newsletters. Working on a blog, social media if you choose.

One thing is absolutely clear in business. Activity equals success. So ensure you get your 30 minutes average in alongside your passion of the moment.

I'll write next week on the second reason - the one that will give you icing time.

- NZ Herald

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.

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