I was a newbie at Banfield-Seguin Advertising & Design in Ottawa back in the late 80’s when I met Bill.
I had heard so many epic stories about Bill and his antics before I got to know him.
Working with him every day was a hoot. I have never met anyone with more spirit and sense of adventure. He could figure anything out. He had an idea for every prank - no matter how complicated - and a costume for every event. Bill was legendary.
My favourite Bill story took place in 1988.
Bill was contacted by Randy Travis - actually, it was Randy’s “people” - they wanted to do a photo shoot at Bill’s barn. (Yes, THE Randy Travis, the country music star.)
The day before the photo shoot, Bill told Randy’s crew that he was going to call his boss and let him know he was doing this photo shoot at his barn with Randy Travis so he wouldn't be coming in to work.
Well, Randy's people freaked out when he said that! No! You can't tell ANYONE we're coming. It needs to be super secret. TOP secret. We’ll pull the plug on the whole thing if anyone finds out about this.
Bill said, “Trust me.”
So Bill called into work the next day and said, "Hey! Randy Travis and his team just rolled up the driveway with a couple of large trucks and they want to shoot an album cover in my barn, so I won't be coming in to work today. I'm going to stick around here and help them out."
When he told Randy's people what he'd said to his boss, they were shocked. But Bill knew this was the way to go.
Bill knew no one would believe a single word of it. Not one word.
The photo shoot went off without a hitch. No prying eyes or zoom lenses peeking through the bushes. No one from Banfield-Seguin drove out at lunch time to get autographs or sneak a peek.
Bill showed up at work the next day with some interesting Polaroid pictures from the photo shoot. (Way back then, before digital cameras, we used polaroid cameras for test shots. They were handy for taking pictures of dinosaurs.)
Randy Travis got his privacy and a nice album cover. Bill pulled it off.
Bill, as it turns out, was predictable, except when he wasn’t. Always pranking, pulling our leg. And he was hyper aware of how people perceived him. He used this superpower to his advantage.
Do you have a superpower? It can be a skill, a special mindset, or perhaps a unique perspective. Something that comes naturally to you.
Not sure what your superpower is or how to find it? Look at what energizes you, what inspires you! How do you save the day? What feels effortless? How do you amaze others? When do you feel most confident?
Here are a few superpowers I’ve noticed in people I know - clients, friends, and colleagues. See if you recognize some of these traits in others, or maybe in yourself?
Is your superpower...
Figure out your superpower and start spending more of your day wearing your cape!
You probably noticed that I didn’t include superpowers like invisibility, x-ray vision and shape-shifting on my list. If you have any of these special powers then I can’t see you, you can see too much of me or you aren’t what I just thought you were.
A few weeks ago, on my quiet residential street, I saw Alexander’s cool, kinda vintage, burgundy car go by my window on the bed of a tow truck.
Was this out of the usual? Yep. My typical entertainment through that window consists of commuters (some wave to me, hi!), random deer jaywalking, joggers jogging and dog walkers. Normally, I don't pay much attention to the comings and goings while I’m working.
Then Alexander’s car went by.
And on this day, it feels like a monumental event. I immediately fire off a text to his mom to get all the deets. I had to know. I had to know. Turns out, the car just needed a repair - no big deal. Mystery solved. Phew.
I don’t think I would have noticed his car getting towed on a normal day. But lately, not much has been going on outside that window, due to social distancing and stay at home measures. I guess I am a little more distracted and maybe a little less productive for the same reason. My head is up more, and I’m noticing different things.
That really got me thinking about what we pay attention to in our businesses in quieter times, when we have time to look up and take notice of the things happening around us - things we were too busy to notice before we were forced to slow down.
How can you take advantage of this unusual time, now that your head is up and you have time on your hands?
Here are 6 things you can do that you normally can't fit into your day...
1. Go Directly to Your Own Website
I mean, really take the time to go through your site page by page. Read and click through all the links. Make sure your email sign-up link goes to the right place. Any new clients to add to your client page? Do you have new testimonials to add? Have you changed your services lately? How old is your bio picture? (if it’s pre-1997, it might be time to freshen it up!)
2. Get Planning
Take the time to put a solid plan to some of those big goals you’ve been thinking about. It’s crazy the progress you can make when you break those goals down into bite-sized tasks and start chipping away. Go for it.
3. Polish Up Your Skills
I wasn’t really thinking you should learn how to knit, but what about diving in and figuring out some online tools to help you with communications and meetings (ZOOM), content creation (Picmonkey), CRM (Agilecrm), eCommerce (Shopify) or productivity (Evernote). So many tools. So little time.
4. Fire Up Google
Is there something you’ve been wanting to check out - I mean a deep dive? You’ve got time now, to see what your competitors are doing on Facebook or what’s going on with your existing customers (ask them). What about identifying possible new customers and cool promotion opportunities?
5. Get Yourself Organized
What does your workspace look like? Can you see your desk? Are you happy to spend time there? If not, take the time to clear off your workspace and file away (or throw away) everything that’s getting in the way of your productivity.
6. Put your Expenses in Check
A quick review of your credit card statement might reveal monthly payments for apps or programs you no longer use. I paid for an Adobe product for almost a year after signing up for one month. Ooops. The money you can save by putting those monthly expenses into check regularly can really add up.
PS: I know some of us are actually crazy busy right now in our businesses - I had one client in the food industry tell me he's working twice as hard for half the income right now - your quieter time is ahead, hopefully! (and thank you!)
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The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners connect with their ideal customers.
Small Business Guide ~ Archives
6 Things You Can Do Now
Perspective is (Almost) Everything
Are You Sensitive to Customer Needs?
Got a Process for That?
Don't Get Attached!
Aim DIRECTLY at your audience
Know When to Ask for Help
3 Things you Should Never Assume
Avoid the Wild Goose Chase
Where do you Draw the Line?
Give'em a Memorable Experience