I was reading Leo Babauta’s e-book about focus recently, and he was talking about the importance of rituals. He says it is easy to get distracted in this modern age, but when you engage in rituals, you are more likely to be focused and in the moment. He writes:
A ritual is a set of actions you repeat habitually — you might have a pre-bed ritual or a religious ritual or a just-started-up-my-computer ritual. One of the powerful things about rituals is that we often give them a special importance: they can be almost spiritual (and sometimes actually spiritual, depending on the ritual). And when they become special, we are more mindful of them — we don’t just rush through them mindlessly.
And I thought, I bet intrepid marketers have marketing rituals. So let’s examine this idea…
If intrepid marketers (CLICK HERE to learn what an intrepid marketer is) engage in rituals, based on Leo’s writing above, we should assume they are focused. On this point, I don’t think there is any argument. The question then becomes, what are they focused on? And thus, what part of their marketing process is cemented into daily ritual…
Are you focused on the customer? It is my opinion that each business needs to be more customer-focused, and thus, we need to devote more time – each day – to thinking about every customer interaction. We often overlook even the little ways our customers interface with our business.
What to do? Setting a ritual where you review these interactions – on a regular basis – is vital to success of your business. How about creating a series of questions you ask yourself – maybe at the end of each day – that help keep you focused and review how each customer interacted with your business, and how you can improve those. Include everything, from products, to voice mail, to your invoicing process.
Are you creatively focused? If being creative is an important part of your work, and it is for most of us, then ritual is probably a very critical element in your creative process. What does it take to get you in the creative mood? Do you need to remove all distractions, such as email? Twitter? Phones? Do you need to use a specific creative space, such as your studio, coffee shop, or the conference room?
What to do? Figure out what you need and then execute on the ritual so you can deliver your best creative work. And don’t let ANYTHING disrupt the ritual process.
Are you focused on process? Or results? These are two very different things, process and results. How you might ritualize to focus on these two would be different in my opinion.
What to do? First of all, do you have your process committed to paper? Can you measure the results of each step in the process? A regular examination of this process, and ritualizing to determine what is working and what can be improved might be a good thing to always be getting better at what you do.
As for results, well, isn’t this what we are after? Most people are more worried about the process than the results, and that’s why they have NO cash flow. It might be helpful to set a weekly ritual where you focus on thinking through all you are doing to be sure they are leading to actual positive results for your business…
Are you focused on conversation with your marketplace? Is interacting on the social web important to you and your business? Well, then you need a ritual. And I am not talking about getting on Twitter and just doing whatever for several hours.
What to do? What is your goal on the social web? If it is to identify and make relationships with new prospects, then create a ritual where you listen for keywords that are of interest to you, and begin a conversation. Then share information with that new contact. This three-step ritual might work for you. Here is what I do to help bring some sense of ritual to one element of my social web activity.
See, I am thinking most small business people don’t have marketing rituals. We are all too busy trying to manage the mundane and time consuming tasks of running our shop day-to-day. But, if Leo is right and rituals are a set of actions you repeat habitually, then we all need to formulate some new rituals. Life is too hectic, and we probably don’t have the discipline to focus our minds – on a regular basis – on the important things related to our business.
What do you think? What are your rituals? What works for you?