No, I’m not talking about the kind that requires alcohol wipes, you don’t need me to add to that kind of advice. While we are all making our way through this COVID-19 situation, it seems to me that one of the things that might make us stronger coming out the other end is if we take advantage of the disruption of the day to day deadlines to tackle some of those things we’ve been meaning to get to but never quite do.
Certainly job #1 is to get the family situated. Then, you will be spending some time supporting your clients or, if you are an economic developer, your community, maybe a lot of time. But I am guessing there are also some voids in your schedule or your team’s schedule and at the end of the day you find that you have filled a lot of them just refreshing your screen to see if the news has changed. That’s normal, but the best thing to do with anxiety is to give it a job to do.
So here are my tips for doing a little spring cleaning. It’s true that some of these tasks are repetitive and a little boring, but sometimes boring repetitive tasks can be pretty soothing. Spread them out among your team, and fit them in between the ZOOM calls and the home schooling sessions.
CLEAN UP YOUR EMAIL LIST
Boy this one is boring, but it is also really revealing. Just scrolling through you will find contacts that you know are outdated, so flag those first, then tackle the updates in small batches Whether it is your personal Outlook, Salesforce your MailChimp or Constant Contact List these are the only contacts that you really own. If you don’t have emails for your LinkedIn contacts, now is the time to search them out.
SEGMENT YOUR MARKETING LIST
This is good advice for anyone who reaches out to groups via email, but I’m particularly talking to my economic development friends. For quite some time I have not been alone in saying that if your send every email to every contact, you are virtually guaranteeing that some of them will start to treat you as spam. This crisis has provided the most recent example of emails that are VERY important to your local business community being sent our to a much broader audience, but it was a problem before that. Virtually every email program gives you the opportunity to create groups or segments or categories, but few of us, me included, take the time when people area added to our lists to make these distinctions. Now is a good time to play catch-up, you will increase your impact for years to come.
REVIEW YOUR EMPLOYER LIST
If you are an economic developer or a workforce development professional, you are probably spending time reaching out to businesses, and maybe coming face to face with how good your information is. My guess is, what you have in your office is probably pretty good, but you might want to see if what you have on your websites for prospects to review is just as good. One of the brief videos you will find here talks a little about what I think a good employer list should include – the bottom line is, who are they, what do they do, how many people work there, and how current is the information.
CAPTURE YOUR STORIES
You always know more about the great things going on in your community and with your employers that you have captured in writing or on video. Now is a good time to archive some of that information for future use. What happened to the companies that moved in to your community or expanded after the announcement was made? And now, what creative and innovative things are your businesses, schools, and governments doing to stay adaptable and competitive? Do some interviews, they don’t have to be face to face, write it down, record it, and you will have stories to use to raise spirits and visibility.
WOW, that’s a lot, and all of it applies to me as well.
I’d better get busy, but first I’ll just check the news headlines one more time.