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  • 4 Simple Tips to Maximize Your Downtime

    DeathtoStock_SlowDown2I hope the holidays are simply an amazing time for you and yours!

    There’s such a fervor working up to it and then there’s the wonderful downtime. Or, at least I do hope that you make time for that downtime.

    It’s tough for small business owners.

    After all, it seems like we’re always doing things to be more productive or to keep the momentum going.

    Here’s four things you can do that make your downtime work for you (in the best possible way):

    1. Take an inventory of the people that you know

    One of the areas, when I work with people on making SMART connections that they don’t understand is Step 1 is that you must take an inventory of the people that you know. Understand just like inventory in a business inventory that it comes in the back-end and the expense of that inventory definitely makes a huge difference on your profit line. It does for you as an individual. Whether or not you own your own business or if you’re an executive or an employee with a firm or organization, who you know is an important part of your social capital and so who do you already know? I always ask people to start there. A lot of times when people ask me, “Maria, who do I need to know? What do I need to do? What networking events do I need to become involved with?” I’ll explain to them first things first, go back into your database of clients, customers, contacts, employers, fellow employees, co-workers, people that you know in groups like the IT Coaches Organization, let’s say here people that you have direct contact with, do you have their information and do you have current information? When we do what I call a database call for people, a lot of times when they look in their database, they realize they have people at positions they haven’t been at in the last 4-5 years, wrong phone numbers, old email addresses, wrong cell phone numbers. People have even passed away.

    On the average, there’s about 5 to 8 people on your database that have passed away and you have them currently on your database so you want to make sure and clean that and keep it current and active because your database, that inventory, that social inventory is just as important and just as costly. Maybe even more so depending on the time that you’ve invested in it and more costly than actual inventory that you would have in the backroom.

    1. Review reviews and respond to them

    When you review your reviews and testimonials, there will be some that make you happy and some that will frustrate you.

    As you read through blog comments that came in when times were too busy to respond, you might find some ones that can really make a positive impact as you move forward and get better.

    Often, reading reviews is a big ‘fear factor’ for many. Here are some of the common myths:

    1. Read and relax

    Take time expand your mind and nurture it.

    Stephen Covey’s famous saying from his book – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People really hits home here for me when he says to “spend more time sharpening the saw before you cut down a tree.”

    Use this down time as time to take care of you.

    After all, when you are a big driving force behind your business then you need you running in the best state of mind and physical state possible.

    1. Review 2014.

    Where you SMART in 2014?

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Action-oriented
    • Realistic
    • Timely

    SMART is an acronym and you’ve probably heard it before in goal-setting. Were you SMART in what you did in 2014?

    That’s S being Specific so be very specific in your goals and what you’re looking for and the type of connections you want so we’ll talk more about that as we progress through today’s topic.

    M is for Measurable, how you’re going to measure whether or not you’re effective at that, whatever that specific goal is.

    A is Action-Oriented. What did you do to take action on your connections and look for action oriented next steps.

    R is Realistic. Were you realistic in what you planned and what you accomplished? What would be an adjustment to be more realistic in 2015?

    T is for Timely. Were you timely in your endeavors and goals for 2014?

    Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat- a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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