Eat the Frog


Some of the things Mark Twain came up with makes me queasy, especially his “frog” advice. According to Mr. Twain, “Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

What he was trying to get at is your “frog” is the most difficult thing you need to do. It is likely something you are avoiding because you don’t like doing it or aren’t very good at it. At the same time, you know you’ve got to get it done. Let’s use our health as an example. Most of us would say that maintaining good health is a priority. While we value good health, how good are we at sticking to an exercise plan? In this case, eating the frog would mean getting your exercise done first thing in the morning, before anything else. With the hard part out of the way, the rest of your day should be easier.

For many business owners, the “frog” is making sales. Entrepreneurs get into business because they do something they are passionate about; most likely their passion isn’t selling. While you may be busy with a million important business details, without sales, your business is done.

So how do you increase your sales? First, you really need to know your competitive advantage. What makes you unique, and why should people buy from you? This requires knowing yourself and your business strengths.

Second, you must determine what your customers need and how you are going to meet those needs. While you may think you intimately know your clients, it is important to ask them questions and really listen to the answers. Which leads to the third point, what do you know about your customers? What do they read, where do they live, and how do they spend their leisure time? Are they online or around the corner? Knowing the answers to these critical details will help you develop a strategic marketing plan in order to effectively reach them.

Now that you have your plan in place, you can sell, sell, sell. But sometimes it’s not that easy and you will need to tweak and monitor your plan. As you do that, take note of what is working, what you need to modify, and what you need to drop. Remember, the Business Advisors at WECM can provide you with feedback on your marketing plan, either in person, by telephone of in an email.

Finally, step away from your business from time-to-time to think and strategize. Review your goals and long-term plans, assess your competition and how it is evolving, and evaluate your customers’ needs and whether they are changing. While slipping away to do this type of work may seem like a luxury, you may surprise yourself with the excellent insights that result and how rejuvenated you feel.

I have been trying not to overeat, except when it comes to frogs! It does take discipline to do that horrible but important task first, but the outcome is worth it!

– Heather Stephens