Since installing the see-through bird feeder on the window directly in front of my desk, productivity has plummeted at The Houlahan Group.
As soon as I figured out the right seed to use (the little birds like the small stuff), I started getting the regulars to the feeder all day. (We'll talk more about distraction another time!)
There's Walter, the neat and tidy sparrow who carefully steps inside and takes just what he needs.
He's quiet, a little selfish and stealth.
And there's his energetic sparrow cousin, Sally, who bounds in, scared of nothing, and proceeds to kick feed out of the feeder at an alarming rate while managing to grab a few bits and pieces for herself. She's an exuberant, sharing spitfire.
Bert, the yellow finch, is super nervous and can barely feed for looking over his shoulder - all fidgety, nervous and suspicious.
I don't even have to look up now to know who is at the feeder. I can see their various antics out of the corner of my eye, their unique mannerisms very much recognizable now.
These three regulars at the feeder remind me of three types of small business owners I've observed over the years.
The Walter-type owner keeps mostly to himself. He is a constant learner and keeps himself up-to-date with all the information he needs to run his business, but he is not thinking of others when he is at the feeder, he's very focused on his own survival.
The Sally-type, who is also very dedicated to constant learning, not only keeps herself in-the-know, but she is constantly sharing what she knows, so everyone around her learns and grows right along with her.
And by constantly sharing knowledge, the people around her get to know her better, and trust her as an expert. As she curates and shares, the Sally-type is not only solidifying her expertise...she is showcasing her likable personality too. (What's not to like about someone who is constantly trying to help you?)
The Bert-type is probably a little too skittish to be an entrepreneur. If he's always looking behind him to see who's coming and too afraid and overwhelmed to keep up with information and technology, he's going to struggle with the entrepreneurial journey. Time to fly the coop.
So if you want to be happy as a lark as a small business owner, you'll need to take to sharing what you know like a duck to water. Don't let the process of communicating with your audience be an albatross around your neck. Approach this process with the grace of a swan and the pride of a peacock. No need to be crazy as a loon.
And remember, when you reach out to your customers you'll find that birds of a feather flock together and with your eagle eye for the best content you'll be able to take your readers under your wing and any criticism you get will be like water off a duck's back.
Keep sharing. It's the right thing to do. Whether you're a night owl or an early bird, find the best time to get the work done to share what you know with your audience in a thoughtful and meaningful way. It's a great way to stay in front of the right birds (and people), so they'll know who to call when they need your services.
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
Small Business Guide ~ Archives
When the Rubber hits the Road
How is your Business like a Marriage?
The Right Place at the Right Time
Just Get Out There.
How Hard Can it Be to Describe What you Do?
What's Your Best Productivity Hack?
To Share or Not to Share
Relatively Small Efforts for - wait for it - Great Results
The Truth about Working from Home
What's YOUR Superpower?
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