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Marketing mastery: Ideal business, ideal lifestyle

January 6/13, 2014; Volume 27/Number 18

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 3.58.28 PMBy Jim Armstrong

(Second of three parts)

In the first installment on this subject (FCNews, Dec. 23/30), I made the case that the main purpose of your flooring business is not to provide jobs, sell stuff, help customers or even to make money. The main purpose is to fund and facilitate your ideal lifestyle. Yes, you should be doing those other things that are not your ultimate goal, but none are the main purpose.

In order to fund and facilitate your ideal lifestyle, you must have a clear picture of what your ideal lifestyle looks like. This may sound obvious, but few dealers give this any thought.

I was recently on the phone with Rick, a floor covering dealer from New York. He made good money but was working 70-plus hours per week and was on the edge of total burnout.

“Rick, what does your ideal week look like?”

After a long pause, he said, “To not work so much.”

“If we get you to a point where you are working a lot less, what do you want to do with all those extra hours?”

He didn’t have an answer for me, so I gave him an assignment. I told him to get a week at-a-glance calendar and go sit in a coffee shop, away from work or home. Phone off, no emails, no distractions whatsoever.

“Rick, I want you to build your ideal week in that calendar. I want you to start dreaming again. If you only want to work Monday through Thursday and take three-day weekends every week, fill it in. If you only work 30 hours per week, block out the hours you want to work. If you quit Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 p.m. so you can coach your daughter’s soccer team, fill it in. If you take martial arts classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, fill it in. If you spend weekends traveling with your wife, put it in the calendar along with somewhere you’ve really wanted to take her. This is your ideal week, so totally let go. Make it good, because this will be the blueprint for your ideal lifestyle. Oh, and one more thing…”

“What’s that?” Rick asked.

“While you’re filling out that calendar, don’t worry about how you’re going to make your ideal lifestyle a reality. We’ll get to that later. For now, just dream.”

And that, loyal reader, is my assignment to you. If you feel like your business totally dominates your life, that you don’t get enough time to enjoy the things that have meaning, purpose and value to you outside of business, then I challenge you to get a calendar, visit your local coffee shop and build your ideal week. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

•What do I enjoy doing outside of work? Or what might I enjoy doing if I had free time?

•How many hours per week do I want to be at my business? (Make sure to leave plenty of time for doing what’s important to you.)

•What time do I get up?

•What time do I arrive at my business?

•What time do I leave?

•How many days per week am I at the business? Which days?

Put it all in your calendar. You’ll now have a clear picture of your ideal lifestyle. Remember:   Don’t worry about how you’ll make this a reality. We’ll cover that in the next installment of this series.