How many times have you let an opportunity fall off your radar, or worse, completely missed an opportunity because you didn’t take the time to ponder the possibilities with a contact?
Don’t write those off as lost opportunities so fast. Like the smoldering wood of a once burning fire, what appears to be a missed opportunity cold from neglect may just need a little attention to rekindle into your next hot business idea.
No one enjoys being forgotten or neglected, yet at one point, we’ve all either had it happen to us or we’ve been the one that has forgotten to follow up. While it is unfortunate circumstance, it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. Since we’ve all done it there’s no reason to be embarrassed or uncomfortable about reestablishing a business conversation that fell wayside.
Every business owner wants more business. So, don’t feel weird.
Here are my top 5 steps for rekindling missed opportunities into new business:
1. Search Your Calendar, Day Planner, or Journal
Spend some quality time looking back over the past few months. How far you go back depends on how long it’s been since you’ve done this exercise. If this is the first time you may want to look over the last 12 months, otherwise go back at least 3 months.
Take notice of where you spent your time and which appointments you had that did not produce results.
Try to remember the people you met and the conversations you had. Did you follow up as effectively as you might? Did you explore all the possibilities?
2. Clear Out The Clutter
Go through and clear out all the places you stick your miscellaneous papers and notes: Your Rolodex, business card file, smart phone, purse, wallet, briefcase, or car.
Don’t throw away or delete anything until you have thought about potential opportunities. Look particularly for people who’ve slipped off your radar. Which business relationships may benefit from some rekindling?
See that pile of business cards that you set on your desk when you came home all pumped up from your last networking event? Rekindle that great sense of achievement and gusto you had and go back through the cards now with a fresh outlook. What was it that was so interesting back then? Did you write any notes on the backs of the cards?
If you use a Poken to exchange social media contact info instantly at events, go back through and check out the profiles of those you spoke with. Has anything changed? New jobs? New products? Find a reason to reach out.
3. Clean Up Your Inbox
I am admittedly one of the worst at returning emails and am making a public apology right now to everyone that I have not gotten back to. I don’t mean to do this, but I am a confessed multi-tasker that has fallen off the wagon. Great intentions, lots of ideas (too many ideas…maybe that’s my problem), and joint venture opportunities lie dormant because of lost focus or dizzying distractions.
Regularly clearing your email inbox is a major accomplishment and quite a liberating experience. Sort, take action and get rid of the rest.
A bit of my own advice:
Don’t leave email sitting in your in box. Organize in folders, when you check your email take action immediately by scheduling to calendar, replying, or moving to your to-do list if it needs more thought.
4. Get Through Those Files
Ugh, the dreaded deed. Papers shoved inside slightly corresponding folders, folders sitting in piles on the desk waiting to be organized, mail and notes kept with some intention of follow up still staring at you with guilty eyes.
Picture the stack of money with eyeballs atop from the Geico commercial. “Hey, this is the money you could be making if you called this contact”
Chances are amongst that junky looking mess there are some golden opportunities waiting for you. After all, you kept some of that paperwork for a good reason. Now go find it, take it out of the file, and take action on it.
5. Make An Announcement
Post an article on your blog or and update to your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn profile inviting your friends, followers, and customers to point out missed opportunities. Write and send out an email or bulletin to contacts or staff asking them their thoughts on opportunities you may not have seen or inviting them to kick you in the pants for not following up on what they saw as a great business idea.
Male and female alike, we sometimes underestimate ourselves or fail to see a natural talent we have that could be our profitable passion. So often others see things in us that we cannot see ourselves. Ask for outside opinions, listen to suggestions, and be willing to accept a compliment.
Act on the suggestions and opportunities that feel right.
By taking these 5 steps and applying them on a quarterly basis you’ll have a system to keep you fanning the flames of still smoldering opportunities. You may never be the super follow-through genius that never misses a beat…but, you don’t ever have to miss an opportunity again.
What are your best tips for rekindling missed opportunities? Have you ever experienced a business success from sorting through old information or contacts? Share your thoughts and stories with us below.
To Your Success,