Greetings From Old Orchard Beach Maine! by Bill Smith

I’m sitting on the beach with a suitably fruity drink in my hand. Yes, that’s Jimmy Buffett playing in the background. It’s nice to have a little stress-free time, isn’t it?

We all look forward to vacation so we can strip some of the stress from our lives, but it seems to me that we cause a lot of our own stress unnecessarily. One of the ways we do this is to chase every bit of work that presents itself. You’ve all been there: staying at the office late to finish a proposal for work that you aren’t even sure you want to win. Work isn’t always going to be fun (that’s why it’s called work, right?), but we shouldn’t be setting ourselves up for failure by pursuing projects that we don’t want to do or pitching people with whom we don’t want to work.

All too often, though, that’s exactly what we do. At many organizations, the mantra is “any work is good work.”

Rather than pursuing every opportunity that presents itself, parking organizations should seek clients, customers, and strategic partners they want to work with. The best connections are with organizations that share your values. The best customers value what you do and what you stand for—and, by the way, they are more willing to pay a premium for it.

How do you find these ideal customers? Part of the challenge is truly understanding the markets you serve and where the best clients can be found, and then directing your marketing—your personal outreach and networking, public relations, advertising, online marketing, etc.—to those targets, and other organizations like them.

Also, tell your story in your marketing. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? What sets you and your people apart? When you convey these types of messages, you will naturally attract the types of organizations with which you want to work. They will seek you out.

Connecting with the right customers (not just any customer) will dramatically improve your organization. Your organization will be more successful, your customer interactions will be more pleasant, and your stress level (and your staffs’) will drop significantly. It makes work a day at the beach.

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