The Pareto principle tells us that 20 percent of our actions are responsible for 80 percent of our results. Likewise in business, you have a few activities that result in income-generation, and the rest is just busywork. The problem is when we get overwhelmed by the busywork; in order to do creative work, you need to provide separate time to focus on demanded work instead of reacting to the latest email.
Thus, creative individuals should be encouraged to “show the money”. This is in essence specific time to be able to focus on income generating activities and ignore everything else that distracts them from that ultimate goal. While each industry would have a specific set of income generating actions, the following are some of the common activities that are present regardless of the kind of business:
- Product and/or service development;
- Creation of a product from a service based business or vice versa;
- Performance of paid consultancy calls or visits;
- Sending correspondence to clients for a promotional offer or reminder of service;
- Expanding the reach of the business for new prospects and/or customers;
- Creation of an affiliate or referral program;
- Find activities that generate income and/or sales.
On the other end of the spectrum, busy work is non-income generating work. The prime example of activities that are actually expenses to the company time and resources is any other work not identified in the previous list. Of course, some busy work is required in the normal operation of a business, so not all of it is bad. The point, however, why busy work is an expense, is that it does not generate income or revenue for the company.
Thus, it is important to plan ahead, even on a week by week basis, focusing more on the income generating activities and letting the workday revolve around them. There are but only two ways to create income in a business, namely to bring in new clients or increase sales from existing ones. It is imperative that all company and individual plans and tactics would fit into one of the aforementioned categories.
There are recommended ways in order to achieve either bringing in new clients or generating more sales and these are as follows:
- Use social media networks to post special offers;
- Sell first offering at a loss and then convert the newer customers with a higher offer;
- Offer to help new customers for free and then include a paid offer for any additional services;
- Add a special ‘email only’ promo at the bottom of one’s email signature as this is a passive manner to advertise for new sources of income;
- Ask for testimonials from current clients since this would help influence others in their purchasing decisions;
- Post a free ad on free message boards such as Craigslist;
- Add the product or service for auction on eBay. This serves two purposes, purchase of the product and advertisement;
- Create a contest with a big prize or offer giveaways to be included in smaller prizes;
- Search for sites with local news components and have them pitch your product or service;
- Pitch your offer to a blog or agency site on a guest post or special feature;
Once a relationship with happy clients has been established, the second option would be all the more easier. This can help create a better business and these activities are as follows:
- Provide incentives for current clients in increasing their purchases or referrals of new customers or both;
- Offer a customer discount to frequent purchasers, but be careful of this as it may affect your bottomline;
- Understand your customer’s needs through up selling or have special in house product offerings;
- Expand the menu of services to include both products and/or services;
- Provide options, such as a high end product to serve as anchor to other products and/or services or even do the opposite, moving from low end to high end;
- Create urgency around an existing product or offering;
- Increase prices but inform clientele so that they can purchase at lower prices;
Thus, busy work and income generating work is important. It is just a matter of creating a healthy business and creative environment to allow the business to grow and flourish in the long run.